About Old West's Farms & the Animals

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Chicken Hilton

It started with the dream of getting a few chickens, it's always just a few at first.
Then looking at Pinterest and pictures of chicken coops, my mind spins with possibilities!
"We can build our own using vintage windows, no wait, I love this one, can you build me this one... no wait..." After much eye-rolling from my husband, actually really surprised they didn't stick in the back of his head, he said "let's go look at some up the road"!
OK, so off we go to Hilltop Structures in Cumberland Furnace, TN.
Camera in hand for ideas, I see this beauty staring at me.
My vision narrows, I think I hear a symphony playing in the distance, and I start leaping like a little child. I grab his hand and drag him over to my new chicken coop.
It's a cheerful yellow, and I could just see myself decorating it all whimsy like when I start babbling on about how I LOVE the color.... ERRRR the screeeech of tires ...
Husband, aka total buzz kill "we are not having a whimsy, yellow, chicken coop"!
GASP, what? Why not?
Hopes dashed, mind starts turning, how am I going to convince him to let me have a whimsical chicken coop.
"Seriously hun, a bright yellow paint with maybe some purple flowers on it, can't you see it?
It would be so cute! Please"!!!
"No, it would look stupid, but you can decorate the inside however you choose"?
Inside? Why would I decorate the inside? Well actually I have seen some cute one's decorated inside, but isn't that stupid? It's just going to get dirty and yucky!
But I have to look at this as a win ~ but it's just a small win ~ I want go for the big victory!!
"Well, if we saved for one like this, you wouldn't have to actually build it, after all, they deliver"!
Seconds turn into minutes, the silence is defining, I'm looking at him, he's looking at the coop, uh-oh, he is totally avoiding eye contact with me...he's going to say he can do it, and that means me waiting a long long long time... He gives a little cough, "I guess we can do that!" but no credit card. You save the cash!" I leap into his arms and agree to "his" terms. YAY!!
I say "this coop is not exactly right, I have to make some revisions". He says "of course you do!" and I am pretty sure I saw another eye roll.
So I have an expert craftsman come over and I begin to tell him about my revisions.
He just keeps saying "no problem, and OK" man of my dreams ...
so I keep going with additional revisions.
When I get it just right, and he has sketched it all out for me, I ask how much more he will add on to the current bill for all my amazing upgrades. He says, "nothing, it won't take much additional material to take care of this the way you want it"!!
LEAP, YAY, totally wanted to kiss him!!

OK, so begins the saving!

The day has come!
I'm ready to make the purchase!
I have toiled months on where to place the new coop and think I have found the right spot,
but how in the world will they squeeze it in there.
I call them and say "well you see, the perfect spot is between a few trees, over this hill, around
a curve and just on the other side of that fence". A flash of heat over-comes me and I break out in a sweat waiting to hear the dreaded words ... pick another spot, or we can't do that,
but Dave says, "sure, we can do that!"
What? These people are like Burger King!! I'm totally having it my way!
So enough talk ... Check it out!!

IT'S HERE!! And they are on time!!
He delivers it to the perfect spot!!
Then a tree falls on it and I cry!!
I call Dave again and say
"I need you to move my coop again, I'm sorry, that perfect place is
no longer perfect and it must be moved."
What do you think Dave said "No problem, I'll see you soon"!
This dude at Hilltop Structures is seriously my hero!
He comes and moves it and I finish decorating it!
Here is the almost finished product!
My custom curtains with natural branch rods -
Lights for warm ambiance -
Lilo my goat checking things out -
YES, that is wood looking linoleum floor for easy clean ups !

The Hen Hangout

What kind of barbarian would I be if they didn't have some lavender in their boxes!
So many nesting boxes to choose from! I wonder which 3 they will be fighting over?

And the end all be all ... if you need or want a chicken coop, or any outdoor building, cabin or barn
do NOT call anyone but these guys!!
Tell them I sent you!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winterizing the Farm

It's that time of year ... FALL!! My absolute favorite time of the year.
Right now, it feels more like winter, so what better time to pull out the
"honey do list" for winterizing the farm and home.

1. Caulk all windows and check doors for drafts

2. Inspect your barn and chicken coop. Look for drafty spots, boards that need replace.
    - Clean out all bedding
    - Bleach/Vinegar spray out the barn
    - Once dry, sprinkle DE everywhere and lay down new fresh bedding

3. I love taking this time to plant my bulbs, and protect any outdoor plants with extra leaves.

4. Tractor and mowers and any other equipment that won't be used for winter... Drain fuel, sharpen     blades and get it into tip top shape!! Gas cans - add Stable to them!

5. Purchase pipe warmers and disconnect any hoses you won't be using. Cover all water pipes, etc...

6. Animals ... time to take care of your babies. Goat housing, blankets, heating lamps, sweaters, break it out!! They will need lots of extra hay to keep warm too!!

7. Oh my...so much more!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Homesteading ... It's a family affair!

After many years raising and selling Nigerian Dwarf Goats, it's time to move up to the next level.
Genetics baby... it's all about the udder...the teats... the tata's ... HIGH AND TIGHT.
The goat is to produce goats with an exceptional mammary system.
Much like Bill Clinton is always looking for, but...we are talking goats people.

While my initial herd was good, the herd I am creating is going to be GREAT.
I have watched and waited and watched more until I have found the genetic lines I like most.
This entails going to shows, browsing show results from all of the country, attending Nationals, and just paying attention and being on the look out for winners.
Then you strategically buy ... and buy ... and sell ... and buy more.
That is when funds are available.
Which being homesteaders is... hit or miss.
Thankfully, I have a day job that keeps me busy and most of the time, brings in decent money.
So we will begin showing, God willing, in 2015. We have a lot of work to do before then, but we
are an ever growing, ever evolving homestead.

More news from the homestead:
My husband is now homesteading full time!! Yay~ EEEK~ this will be great ~ oh my gosh ~
I may have some mixed emotions about that, but this is what we are going with for now.
So 2015 could potentially be a train wreck or great. Only God knows!!
So now we need to focus on how the farm can bring in additional income.
We had some agricultural experts come out and asses our land for what would be best to farm.
They recommended feeder chickens because they are cheap to purchase, and mature in 100 days.
They also suggested sheep, meat goats and a few pigs.
Me "so you want me to raise them, then kill them"?
Yes, apparently that is what they want me to do ... and I could ... I think ... kill them, well cull them.
BUT, is that what I really WANT to do?

For now we are focusing on goats. Then goat milk, butter, cheeses, soaps...etc...
Then in summer, organic veggies, and possibly pork, or rabbit to sell with those veggies...eeekkkkk

Don't say it, I already know... worst homesteader ever that is mushy about killing animals for their meat.
Actually, I have this rooster that I would boil up in a second. I just have to, well you know, kill him.

So here are a few of my new goaties. More to come!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Selling Nigerian Dwarf Goats

If this one post helps anyone, my pathetic little blog will be worth it.
It's not pathetic ... I'm pathetic because I just can't seem to be a faithful blogger.

If you choose to sell goats to boost income for your property like we did, get good quality goats right off the bat.

What you need to know:
- First, make sure you research owning and caring for goats...It's not easy!
- If you decide to sell your little goat babies, DO NOT SELL KIDS UNDER 3 WEEKS OLD.
Even if they tell you they are the bestest goat people evah... and have bottle fed hundreds of kids...
- Have a sales terms page i.e., stating you are not responsible for goat once it leaves your property. People will not care for them properly and a week later they are calling you for a refund.
- Keep excellent records of births - when bred - who bred - pictures of kids - etc... when lots of babies are hitting the ground, you can get confused.
- Wether your boys. Keep the best to sell, then wether the rest.
- If you don't know what a wether is ... do more goatie research.

This is not my most thought out post, nor witty... It's just been a bad breeding season and I am still trying to recover from it.

This website is one of the BEST goat sites I have ever found.

Just make sure if you use their info, you kick them some cash for their efforts.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guardian Dog SHEBA

As may know, I have been going back and forth on whether or not to get a Livestock Guardian Dog after losing several chickens to predators.                 Well, we did it!!

Meet Sheba!! My grand-daughter LOVES her to pieces. We were totally blessed as she has done a GREAT job!! She does bark a lot at night, but I have been told that may reduce once she knows which noises are acceptable at night.

WE LOVE HER!! She is doing a wonderful job!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

I can SMELL Spring!!

So if you're not going to give me snow to play in ... GIVE ME SPRING!
I am so excited to get my gardens started again.
I am going to be making some changes this year. ALL of my garden will be RAISED BEDS!
I had 4 raised beds last year but it was not enough... WEEDING was out of control.
I'm also going to be moving my herb garden closer to the house and will be adding
medicinal herbs to the mix. SO EXCITED!

I am preparing by getting all my tools sharpened (thanks honey) and
purchasing in increments the 2x6's I need to make additional raised beds.
I have pages dog eared of what I am buying and I already have a bunch of seeds
just ready to be planted!

News on the goat front:
Oh my goodness ... the Lord has blessed me with some BEAUTIFUL kids this year.
My favorite so far is a buckling ... yes a buckling! He is blue eyed and polled and just has amazing colors.

We have been blessed.

Monday, December 31, 2012

To free range ... or not to free range

Public Enemy #1 ... a cute but ferocious black cat. It has killed 2 of my sweet hens this week.

Country folk out here say ... "well you gotta kill'em"!!
In my mind I know this to be true, but my compassionate animal loving side side says 'how can I possibly kill a cat'? Between my dogs, the cat, and other bizarre crazy happenings, I have lost 15 chickens this year.

I have to do something.

So I looked on Craigslist and found a LGD (Large Guardian Dog) but sigh ... yet another mouth to feed. But this would solve my cat problem and other wild animal problems.
I think this is the way to go.

So for all you wanna be homesteaders, here is another helpful hint from this city girl turned homesteader:
- Keep your 'do nothing but sleep and eat' pets to a minimum.
- Decide if you want your chickens to be happy free ranging or cooped up ... but safe
- Decide if you want to invest in a LGD
- Decide if you are able to pull the trigger on a cat that is killing your hens :(

Country life is hard for the animal lover ...
I have roosters I should have killed and cooked up months ago... I just couldn't do it :(
I know I should ... sigh

Homesteading is a lifestyle ... Nothing should go to waste ... Still learning ... Still growing ...