This past week has been a busy one at home. We are preparing for fall and winter, which means getting the animal shelters up the task, building and repairing. We are also preparing for hay deliveries, tending to baby animals and dealing with goat mating season.
The new chicken coop is almost done. It is bigger than the original, and hopefully much more efficient for us and the birds. We have planned the nesting box opening to be on the outside of the house, so that you can collect eggs without going inside the fence. I have hosed off more than one child this summer, who has slipped in chicken poo while collecting eggs.
We also planned a new gravity feeder that can be accessed from outside the fence. The new coop will be at the edge of the goat yard, and will give the chickens much more room to roam. This should also allow them to pick off any bugs and such from the goat yard, keeping the goats happier too.
The mini horses have one new run in, with another being built before winter. This should give them plenty of options. I don’t lock them in a stall at night, because I feel like they deserve to be able to move about if they want. They are funny, and often stand out in the rain, or go in during sunny days. It’s their prerogative to be sure.
The goats are currently all together in the front for breeding. I am thinking about castrating my buck in the spring. He’s had his fun, and will hopefully make some beautiful babies, but I would much rather have my snuggly boy, than a stinky pee face buck.
We have had two successful rabbit breedings so far this summer, resulting in sevent kits from one momma, and eight from the other. The babies are precious. I have already sold four, and any remaining will head to freezer camp before winter.
With help from my future son in law, I built the new rabbitry, Hopper Heaven. The rabbits all have larger cages, with wire bottoms for optimal health. Their waste is deposited directly into worm bins, where the composting magic happens.
I added 3,500 composting worms, shredded paper that they love, and some veggie peels to get the action started. We also add egg shells to the mix. The worms do the work to the compost the waste and eliminate odor, and our garden will benefit next spring.
Our crazy little flock of Muscovy ducks have been an interesting experiment. We have one male and three females. This breed is well know to be excellent parents. Mine, well, not so much. So far they have killed every single duckling before it even finishes getting out of the shell. And then one morning…
M, age 9, was checking for eggs and feeding the birds, when he saw the chickens chasing something. It was a freshly hatched duckling. It somehow evaded its cannibalistic parents, escaped into the chicken yard, and was running from my velociraptors. Chickens, I meant chickens.
We now have a lone duck who is convinced that she is a human. She loves to cuddle and snuggle under my chin, and follows me around the yard. I’m not entirely sure what will happen with her. She is too young to hang with the big ducks, but way too stinky to be a house duck.
As you can see, we have had lots of busy work here. Next week…school!