About Old West's Farms & the Animals

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 ...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Winterizing the Farm

Well it is that time of year when we should be taking steps to winterize the farm.
The honey-do-list is long, but we have been knocking it out over the past few weekends.

* Add lights and heating lamps to the chicken coop. We did this last weekend and have already seen an increase in egg production.

* Add heating lamps for the girl goats and an extra layer of straw. We also added an extra tarp to the boys house and stacked up the straw inside nice and thick for them too.

* We will be checking for drafty areas in our stall and patching them up. Chickens DON'T like to be cold.

* Got out the water de-icers.

* Wash horse blanket and goat sweaters

* Stock up on hay and straw while it is still relatively inexpensive.

Side not from winterizing: The chickens are rummaging through our compost pile. I will have to build some sort of enclosure for it because they are eating all the worms :(

Our goal this year is to have a Greenhouse built and ready for plants by February. I would really like to increase our growing season.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Newbie Chicken Owners:

I have to be the worst blogger known to the blogging world.
I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and blog.
Well I could just blog ... but trying to make it entertaining takes ... well, see there ... I got nuttin.
I feel the pressure of finding time to read my bible, cook, clean, exercise, take care of the animals, be a mom, be a Noni, be a daughter, a wife ... SEE, my life is exhausting. And yet, so many do it!!
I don't even play WWF any longer because it was stressing me out trying to find time to play.
Anyway, the reason for this post is important ... SEE BELOW!

So my beautiful flock was doing so well, we were up to about 6-7 eggs a day when all of a sudden
they come down with some sort of respiratory infection :'O .
I write my friend who knows bunches about chickens and she says you have to kill them all.WHAT :O -
I of course said NO, I must have another option. So I began treating them all with antibiotics. She said the 6 chickens I rescued/purchased from a yucky farm must have been infected and then infected the rest of my flock... EPIC FAIL ...

1. NEVER EVER EVER buy chickens from yucky places -
2. If you do buy chickens from yucky places because they are in horrible conditions and are nothing but feathers and bones ... ISOLATE them for at LEAST 3 weeks.
3. Go back and kick those YUCKY PEOPLES butt for selling contagious birds.
4. Kick yourself in the butt for not knowing better.

Symptoms of sick birds:
Not eating -
Yuckiness around beak -
Wheezing -
Goopy eye -
Major drop in egg production -

Currently, not all my birds are sick. And the ones I have treated seem to be responding to treatment well.
I could have spiked their water with antibiotics, but doing them individually insures they are all being treated.
My brilliant idea of marking them was HOT PINK finger nail polish on the tips of their beaks. Genius right!

So, I hope my newbie mistake saves someone else from this mistake.

There ... I blogged ... Whew ...

Ain't she purdy!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Homestead ...

Well it is really starting to look like a little homestead around here.
The garden is in full swing.
The goats are done having babies until next year. (Is this really making us $$) that is for another post... And the chickens are growing and getting ready hopefully in 8-10 weeks laying eggs for me.

The question of the week is?
Do you know what Chocolate Gravy is?
I was born in Texas and raised in Florida and had no idea what it was, so my "southerness" was called into question. So, I made some. First I drizzled it over homemade 'from scratch' slightly dense (overworked them) biscuits.

Then next with some fruit...

I gotta say it was pretty darn good. I am now officially a southerner :) Yay for me. Can you say the same?

I still haven't figured out how to add a "pin it" link to this blog, but I am absolutely addicted to pinterest.
Hook up with me there for the recipe.

On this Memorial Day a heartfelt thank you to the men and women that have so bravely sacrificed for my freedoms ... THANK YOU and may God always bless you and your family.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Goat Stand - YAY

I have been wanting to build or should I say waiting on my husband to build me a Stanchion for ... well about a year. So I decide to enlist the help of a friend and build it myself.


I have the directions on how to make this ... just message me if you want them.
It took my friend Allison and I 2.5 hours to make it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Stuart Litte 1 ~ Me 0

So, he's cute and yuck ... a mouse ... I said a rat, but my husband corrected me "he's just a small mouse".
However, I'm the one bleaching everything when I see he has appeared.

My plan "the glue traps"! THEY WORK. Believe it or not, (I'm kind of embarrassed mentioning this) I have tried the 'humane traps' they DON'T work. The mice that have made their way into the house I swear have a PHD in evasion.

It started this morning... I come down stairs and check my glue traps. The first 3 empty, the last one - "MOM, I CAUGHT STUART" - first epic fail, NEVER name the rodents.
Mom says, "is he still alive? I said, I don't think so I just saw him then shut the door. She said "you have to go save him". "Mom, he's glued to the trap, there is no saving him. Anyway, Dan is going to have to get him when he gets home...I can't do it."
I know ... what kind of a farm girl am I ... I know ... So I go upstairs, get dressed, and well... Man up!
I grab a bag and decide I've got to get him. I open the door and Stuart JUMPS and drags the glue pad with him. "AHHHHH, Mom he's still alive... I can't do it!! Barbara Lee, you HAVE to do it, he could starve to death!!" WHAT ??? Mom, it's a rat ...

Shut the door ... Leave for work ...

Dan calls me, "where's the mouse" I tell him "nope, not there" WHAT? "looks like he chewed himself out of the trap, trap there, Stuarts gone" WHAT???

Yep... I said, "well he deserves to be free if he went through all that".

Sigh ...... I don't know if I'm pathetic or cute for the fact I still can't dispatch a mouse ;/

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's in your tub??

I almost feel like I can remove the "Newbie" portion of my blog title ...
I HAVE CHICKENS ... I'm a real, honest to goodness HOMESTEADER.
Chickens validate me :)

So Dan finally caved (ssshhhh, I told you he would) and said I could get a few :)
Few to me means 26 hehehe

I got a variety because I thought they would be both good layers as well as just being
aesthetically pleasing to look at. I got some Americano's!! They will lay different colored eggs like blues, greens, etc...

6 months... seems like such a long time!!

Note to self and whoever also dehorns/disbuds their goats:
My poor babies were in so much pain :( they looked up at the sky, and kind of acted dizzy.
I ended up giving them aspirin and they seemed much better this morning.

Next weekend we should get the garden tilled and partially planted. The seedlings are doing pretty well :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring ... Garden ... Chickens ... Kids

Bring it on ...

So excited to get my garden going. THIS year I will work hard to make it a success!! THIS year I have tripled it size and will be bringing in 3 other women to help with the up keep it and share in the bounty.

Then chickens ... SO VERY EXCITED about them.

and more cute Nigerian kids ... Need to sell some of them.

It is begining to look more like a homestead around here. We have been working to keep the property maintained and clean.

I'm just excited to be checking some things off the list.

Now ... we need a new president!! OH, where did that come from (:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chickens ... Chickens ... Chickens YAY!!

A real HOMESTEADER... With chickens and ALL!! Woot Woot!!
Hubby has finally given it :) 

I already have the breeds picked out.
I want a couple Rhode Island Reds, some Black Sex Links, Australorp's and may a few Ameraucana's.

So excited.

Now we just have to build some laying boxes and the ramp to the coop.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Belle Stars Babies...3 doelings... YAY

3 doelings all doing well.

Tough Kidding Week -

Really tough week with kidding:

RIP Scarlett O'Hara - She had problems with a prolapse, then couldn't kid. Took her to the vet and both her kids were dead inside her. After the vet delivered the kids, I took her home to recover. Sadly, she died during the night :(  So sad.

Then Calamity Jane kidded 2 really big healthy kids, I was very happy ... then while I cleaned out her stall I discovered another kid still in the sack dead. :(  It too was a big healthy looking kid ... So sad :(  but God gave me 2 healthy kids and Jane is doing well too ... Thank you Lord!

I am going to begin taking extra precautions with Selenium and Vit. E shots.

I will be sending in the DNA samples on Belle Starr's triplets, but I am 90% sure they are Jessie James.
We shall see...

Blessings to all ... Jesus loves YOU ~ He came here, fully man, fully God and died on the cross for you...So that one day you would have the choice to chose Him and spend eternity in Heaven with Him or chose to be ETERNALLY separated from Him.

If you have any questions about salvation or Jesus, please feel free to write me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been asked for my recipe for homemade soap several times ... So, here it is:
First all I like my clothes to "smell" nice so I have recently added some smell good laundry stuff.  Previously, I would add essential oils and yet it still didn't smell as good as I would like. All supplies can be purchased at good ole' Walmart.
So here we go:

Total time to make: Less than 20 minutes - The longest part is grating or peeling the soap.
(If you have a loving husband...hehehe get him to do this part for you)

1 bar of soap - I use Fels-Naptha
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda (not baking soda) Washing Soda - $3.24
3/4 cup of Baking Soda - $2.12
1/4 cup smell good like Purex Crystal - $4.76

* Grate bar of soap - Freeze it for 30 minutes or so and it will make it easy to grate.
I actually use a vegetable peeler because I find it a little easier.

 Then I put the grated soap & the rest of the ingredients in my food processor or a blender.

VOILA awesome homemade laundry detergent for about .08 cents a load. 

This makes about 3 cups of detergent and I always double the recipe. This will make a lot of laundry soap for about what it would cost for one large box of Gain.

BTW, you only need about 3 tablespoons of this - The stuff is seriously awesome.

If you have dirty little creatures running about you may want to use 4 tablespoons. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Who needs the gym :O

I have discovered an EXCELLENT work out called "Catch the baby Goats": It includes, running, jumping, squats, lunges, dive rolls, yelling, and jumping over tables, At the end of 35 minutes you will be sweating, huffing and puffing, your heart rate will be up AND hopefully you will have 3 baby goats in the back of your car :D

>/ Oh the joys ... they are really cute and the people at the vets office just LOVED them.

OK, so I have goats ... made mistakes with goats ... lots of them ... And this is AFTER I researched owning them for 4 months before buying any.

So if you are interested in goats, ask me ... I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made.
Or if your stuborn ... hehe  learn on your own :D

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cold, Windy, BLUSTERY

It is days and night like these that I am wondering WHY I ever began this whole homesteading adventure. SIGH ...

Let me sum it up for you:
Goat pregnant, due any time, prolapsed uterus, must watch... Did I mention it's COLD - So I sit in her stall, bundled up, waiting for the blessed event. It doesn't come - get up at 3 to check on her, bundle up, no kid. Next morning, bundle up, feed animals, still no kid. During the day, bundle up go check on her no kid. And this routine continued for 3 nights.

NO I DIDN'T PLAN ON HER KIDDING IN DECEMBER - It was a buck break in - OK, well 2 broke in so now I have to have a DNA test run.

Did I mention I had 3 doelings hit the ground (buck break-in) 2 weeks ago, so I ran out and bought them all little sweaters.

OH, has she had the kid(s) you ask... NOOOO at least not when I left for work this am.