Wow, time has really been flying around here. I haven’t even had the chance to sit down and write a blog update for months. There has been so much going on but the season is starting to wind down and I wanted to take a few minutes to catch everyone up on some very cute and exciting news on the farm. Those who follow us on social media already know of this cuteness but for those that don’t, here we go…
Our farming focus has always been vegetables and fruit. As we planned for our future farm we never really gave a thought to having animals (besides our Winnie) around. However, once we moved here we noticed there was a lot of a certain type of weed around called wild parsnip. This plant spreads rapidly and can be harmful to humans. Since our plan was to let a large portion of our property re-wild and we also use no till practices there was a very good chance that this weed could become a huge problem. So we started reading up on organic solutions. The best solution (to me anyway, wink wink) was to get goats. Goats are amazing creatures and will easily eat most noxious weeds that can hurt humans with no ill effect on them. Well, I started doing some research and put in an application to adopt two Nigerian dwarf goats to help us with our potential weed problems. This was mid-winter so as the season began I was completely wrapped up in a lot of other things but then came the time to go and get the girls. They were happy, healthy, had been properly weaned off of mama and were ready to go to their new home. We drove to pick them up and when farmer Becki put these little girls in our arms, we just MELTED. They were (are) so small and so sweet and it has been the best adventure with them so far. Their names are Daisy and Buttercup – named after two wildflowers in our fields. They both have a lot of spunk and love to get into trouble. Their favourite hobby is headbutting the chickens. Ohhhh right, well, that reminds me, we also got a bunch of chickens!
I have never once dreamt of getting chickens. I don’t eat eggs and I have always heard of how much work it can be to keep them healthy. But when I was researching what it takes to look after goats I read that chickens are excellent at keeping nasty ticks and fleas away and can help keep goats healthy. And so the ball started rolling…
We decided on three hens. Then, all of a sudden, that 3 became 5 hens then 5 became 7. Then…somehow…it became 17. Oops.
(Yes, some have wee vests. Chickens can be mean and pluck out back feathers so this gives them time to grow back. Not a fashion statement, though, Midge here pulls hers off beautifully)
These gals are all about 2 years old so that's a lot of old ladies hanging around. But, in my defence, I wanted to start adopting older hens for a certain reason. I have been learning a lot about the poultry industry and to be honest it's frightening. Laying birds are rotated (i.e. culled) almost annually to keep the flock in prime production when in reality these girls can live up to 12 years old. So I have taken up the hobby of rescuing old hens that still lay but not on the daily and were about to be sent to the chopping block. They live out their days eating the finest seed and have their own free range space. With the exception of being headbutted by Daisy (because she thinks it's funny) these girls live out their days in a little oasis. It has all been a pretty big learning curve because neither of us have previous animal experience. But after a few mistakes and trying to read as much as possible on how to raise animals we are feeling a bit more confident now we've had a few months with all of them.
So there you have it. Definitely the most exciting news around the farm. We are having so much fun with all these crazy animals and will definitely be adopting more in the future so stay tuned for more cuteness.
Fingers crossed for no uprisings.
Jennie, Chris, Winnie the farm dog, Daisy and Buttercup the goats, and all the gals.