Category Archives: Animals

Reality of Bottle Babies

Reality of bottle babies

 

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It’s the time of year when you start seeing lambs and goat kids for sale as bottle babies on Craigslist at low prices.  They are so CUTE!!  But before you make a spontaneous buy and come home with a 2 day old lamb, there are some realities to having bottle babies that we need to discuss.

What are you getting?

First, it’s important to know what you are getting, when you decide to purchase a bottle baby.  There could be several reasons why this little baby is for sale.  It could be a large goat dairy that wants to start milking the goats without the babies getting in the way, the mom could have rejected the baby, the lamb or kid seems weak or it’s simply a boy. The good deal means that they’re trying to get rid of this cute little lamb or goat kid as soon as possible. 

Why on earth would someone want to be rid of an adorable little bottle baby??

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Hair Sheep

 

Animals on the Homestead: Hair Sheep

 

 
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Sheep are a great addition to the homestead.  They’re a small, docile animal that doesn’t require a lot of space and fattens up on grass. Sheep will follow you everywhere with a bucket.  And I mean everywhere.  Most people immediately think of fiber sheep, that tend to be high maintenance.  Have you ever considered getting hair sheep?

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Electric fencing supplies

 supply list for temporary electric fencing

 

Homestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

On our farm, we practice rotational grazing while still getting our perimeter fencing fixed up. This means that we use a lot of electric fence.   We have purchased a lot of movable fence posts, poly wire and reels and have found that they are not all created equally.  If you’re getting started with electric fencing, it’s good to know what do you really need and what works. Here is the supply list of what you need to get started  and our top picks of what we use.

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Guinea Fowl

Guineas on the homestead

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Guinea fowl have a reputation for being loud and going where ever they feel like.   Rightly so, they are constantly making noise and refuse to go into the coop at night.  Despite that, guineas are an essential animal to have on your farm or homestead.  If Guineas are kept right by your house, their noise may be a problem.  We have a large property, so our barn is within walking distance from the house, but not right by the house.  We hear their noise in the distance, but it is just another barn yard noise.  Roosters crowing, cows bellowing and guineas calling.  

why guinea fowl should be a part of your homestead:

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Putting Farm Animals to Work

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Farm animals have an important place on the homestead.  From the backyard homesteader to the full time farmer, producing your own eggs, milk and meat is a fulfilling accomplishment.  We give our farm animals fresh food and water and the best care possible.  But could our farm animals being doing more for us in return?  We need to look at “the pigness of the pig and the chickeness of the chicken” as Joel Salatin puts it.

 

Instead of working against each farm animal’s natural instincts, why not have those instincts work for you instead?

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Getting started without permanent fencing

sheepHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

When we purchased our farm in the summer of 2014, we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us.  Our farm had a lot of barns, most in disrepair.  The fencing wasn’t much better.  There was a lot of barbed wire, some of it was in good shape but most of the fence was in desperate need of repair.  There were some rotten posts, holes in parts of the fence, the entire fence down in other areas.  Despite all of this, we were eager to get started adding animals as soon as possible.  We wanted to add sheep, goats, cattle and pigs to our farm.

From the beginning we knew that we wanted to practice rotational grazing with all of our animals. Rotational grazing involves moving livestock to fresh paddocks to allow the grass in the previous paddocks to grow back. How frequently you move your livestock depends on your situation and can range from a couple of times a day, to once a week.  Electric fencing is often used in rotational grazing systems, with a permanent perimeter fence.  Electric fencing seemed like a good solution to our fencing issues.  The decision was made to use temporary electric fence exclusively until we could get some permanent fence built. 

 

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The Chicken Coop: “Coop Deville”

The Coop Deville: A mobile chicken coopHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
When we moved to Missouri we had to leave our mobile chicken coop, “The Eggmobile” (a la Joel Salatin) behind.   Travis had designed and built that coop, but it was just too big to move from Colorado to Missouri.  We sold the chicken coop to a good friend and decided to build another coop similar to what we had had before.  A mobile chicken coop was a requirement for us, we wanted the chickens to follow the livestock for pasture sanitation and fertilization.

 

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Goats Gone Wild!

 

goats2

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We have been using electric fencing to keep our Kiko goats in all spring and summer, moving them at least once a week or more often to make sure they have plenty of food to eat.  We don’t have goat proof perimeter fencing, some areas have no fencing at all.  We are working to remedy that problem, but have had pretty good luck so far.

Suddenly it was fall.  The leaves started to change colors into a beautiful world.   A beautiful world where the goat’s favorite foods (brambles and woody plants)  are losing leaves.  The goats suddenly had to be moved every other day, they would eat every edilble thing they could find, and fast!  We were watching the goats and their food supply closely, but one Wednesday afternoon when Travis and I went to move the goats, the goats were gone!

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Raising Chickens: A Kid’s Perspective

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As a homesteading, homeschooling family, we try to include our kids in what’s going on around the farm.  Our son has been watching all this blog stuff with great interest.  He finally asked us if he could write his own article.  So, here is the kid version of raising chickens.  It is really quite interesting to see what things are perceived as the highlights (by this kiddo anyway).  Just to make things a bit clear, here is some background:

Chick Mobile: several years back, my husband built a brooder in the pole barn in CO.  It was roughly 4’x4′ and when he finished, he set it on a wheeled frame he used for working on arcade games.  It turned out to be handy to be able to easily move the brooder around the barn, so now our son thinks a brooder should be mobile… and hence the “chick-mobile”

Egg Mobile: we can thank Joel Salatin for this.  Joel is always so creative with his naming, so we called our first mobile coop an “eggmobile” as well.  Ever since our son can remember, we have moved our little layer flock around our property.

Scraps: all our plate scrapings and such are shared with the chickens.  Don’t worry, we provide plenty of layer feed as well. 

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Why We Love Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Why we love Nigerian Dwarf goats
Homestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Goats are a fun and useful addition to your homestead. They are a lot of fun to watch and the fresh goat milk is great! There are a lot of different breeds of goats to choose from, all of which can give good milk. However one breed of goat that is consistently overlooked for milk production is the Nigerian Dwarf.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are often considered pets and overlooked as a good dairy goat because of their small size. They may be smaller than a full sized goat, but to us, that is just one of the many benefits!
Here are some reasons why we love Nigerian Dwarf goats and chose to keep some in our herd.

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