Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Arrivals: Geese and a Kid Goat

In Chickens, General Farm News, goats on July 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

This just in ~

While I was at work at the public radio station Saturday, the rest of the family packed our children up and drove to a local farm “tag” sale — I guess, from what I hear it was a kind of multi-family, farm oriented and household sale. There were chicken feeds, water tubs, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, and all kinds of miscellaneous things for sale. From what I understand, there were about twenty cars parked at this farm, with the associated people excitedly exploring the wares for sale. We were hoping to purchase some field water tanks, and chicken feeders — but just as my husband drove in, he watched someone literally run over to the display of feeders, and grab them all…except for the one waterer with the split seam. He did not come hope with any feeders. He did, however, bring home some stuff. Seth asked for some peacock feathers ($5 and got them) and Myles offered $15 for a dog crate and got two free geese in it. Yup. Geese. My mom brought home a $5 microwave (that works better than our old one!) and some miscellaneous kitchen utensils. Everyone decided that it was a good day and lots of fun.

So, now we have two geese in addition to the rest of the animals on the farm. The geese have been named Laverne and Shirley, and are currently living alongside the ducks in the cow pasture.

Bambi, one of the youngest of our Boer-cross goats (born last summer) kidded yesterday evening, with a beautiful Boer-cross female. Bambi has a beautiful goat udder, but very little maternal instinct. We’ll see how this goes — it is always an adventure when dealing with the goats!

And I just realized that in the height of their laying this fall, we will likely be collecting five-six dozen chicken eggs a day.  By then we will also be getting a dozen or so duck eggs everyday, or maybe every other day.  We are newbies to raising ducks and geese, so that prediction is little more than a stab in the dark, along with a healthy dose of hope.

Don’t forget the turkeys!  If you are thinking that you will want a local, fresh heritage turkey for Thanksgiving this year, make sure that you send me a comment or email, or phone call — so we get you on the list — we have about forty birds available — and when they are gone, they’re gone!

The Weather (…groan!)

In Chickens, General Farm News on July 26, 2008 at 11:18 am
  • Weather.

It is the only completely safe topic that someone can talk about at a party, isn’t it? Maybe not, after this past week in Western Massachusetts.

It was a wild week — complete with a microburst that may turn out to be a real tornado touching down in Sunderland and Whately (not far from us) which negatively affected a number of farms in the valley. There were thousands of electric customers without power, tobacco barns destroyed, crops flattened, not to mention the number of OLD beautiful hardwood trees that lost limbs and life.

In Shelburne we experienced an abundance of wind, lightening, thunder and rain. The weather week was riddled with rain and overcast skies. Personally, I have always quite enjoyed wet and foggy weather — I actually prefer the wet weather to sunny hot and humid conditions. The farmer in me should not prefer the wet weather, though, I learned… and not just because it is terrible for farms trying to make hay (that we’ll need to buy!).

Egg production this past week was abysmal. It was completely embarrassing — so many chickens, so few eggs. I am blaming it on the weather. After some research, I think that I can honestly say it WAS the weather.

For example, here is what our weather was served up — Monday the 21st through Friday the 25th:

  • 21: rain & thunderstorms
  • 22: rain
  • 23: fog & rain
  • 24: rain & thunderstorms
  • 25: sunny

What does the weather have to do with our chickens? They layed about a third the number of eggs last week that they normally lay. It was entirely due to the weather. Yesterday they layed more than 21 eggs in total — a bounce-back of about 50% compared to the numbers that they layed earlier in the week.

  • But the weather wasn’t our only problem last week! Oh yes, there was more…

We were not able to fulfill our delivery of eggs to McCusker’s Market this week because we lost everything that was in the egg refrigerator, due to freezing. We have two fridges for egg storage during the week, and the fridge that we were collecting eggs in to take to the market apparently just freaked out and cycled too cold for a period of time, and froze our eggs. We had dozens of frozen, cracked eggs. It was heartbreaking. The phone call explaining that we couldn’t bring eggs to the market was a call that I hated to make.