Herd Shares and Flock Safety

These are exciting times around the farm! It seems that Spring may have finally arrived – and I know I’ve said that before, but that’s because I fell for the “psyche!” that it pulled on us a few weeks ago. I’m hoping not to get weather-wedgied again this season, and I’m sure you feel the same.

The ducks are splashing around in their kiddie pool, the baby goats are bouncier than ever (so are the adults), and we are up to our eyeballs in delicious goat’s milk. So much that we are now offering shares in our herd – you can check out more information on that over on the Goat Herd Share Program information page. We’ve been making some delicious soft cheeses, and can’t wait to try some aged cheese recipes out too. I’ve been waiting months to be able to do this, and so it’s thrilling to finally have at it! We’ve also made some decadent Mexican style milk caramel sauce, known as “cajeta.” There will be more of that on deck this week.

It hasn’t been all fun, however. As you may recall from the previous post, the gradual warm up has also brought some unwanted visitors to the farm. We are not certain now that it was the neighbor’s dog that attacked our flock. We suffered another attack on Saturday, and this time, several babies were lost, including my favorite: a little black Turken (“naked neck”) pullet who I called my Baby Vulture. Once again, the birds were all attacked in a area close to one another, and nothing was eaten – it had just been killed. Which does seem more like the work of a domestic pet that is not hungry. However, I did spot a fox on Saturday evening, and it was maybe 30 yards from our front door. There is a coyote population around here, and it would seem that they have driven the foxes closer to humans. We are attempting to live trap the fox, but have doubts that it will work. In the meantime, we are hesitant to allow our flock outside – the trap is up near their coop where the killings have taken place, and we’ll have trouble with them going into it. And even worse, we don’t want to suffer more losses. As it stands, we are feeding about 160-170 birds (including all of the chicks we are raising) and only getting about two dozen eggs per day right now. Anyone who keeps chickens can look at those numbers and realize how much money we are currently losing.

We’d love to be able to fence in a large enough area to provide the chickens with contained pasture, but fences are no guarantee of keeping out predators, and we frankly do not have the funding to do anything like that right now. It’s put us at a loss in terms of what to do, because we still have yet to make a profit from the eggs we sell – we have put more into it (and continue to) than we have ever gotten on return from egg sales. Every day, we question whether or not we should downsize our flock so that we can better insure their safety. But that would, of course, mean that we could no longer provide eggs to anyone outside of our own family. We continue to ruminate about this, and how to proceed.

Ginger’s little buckling, Badger, who I’ve been nursing in the house over the past week, is back out in the barn as of this morning. He’s doing so much better, which you can see in the video below. I’m still bottle feeding him, as he just won’t take to that bucket, but I’ll be honest, I don’t mind at all. I actually kind of miss him being here in the house. But I know that he needs to be a goat, and I don’t need to be cleaning up goat berries and pee off of our floor all of the time! We have decided to keep him. But we do still have another buckling available, and we will be putting up a Nubian wether for sale here soon, too.

Well, it’s time for me to go and get some more chores done! I hope that your Tuesday is treating you all well. 🙂

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One response to “Herd Shares and Flock Safety”

  1. Terri Avatar

    Love the blog! cute video too.

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