Art of Proprietation

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We are one buckling and three roosters lighter

Today was a slaughter day. Time to prepare the various unproductive males for their "next stage"...

Slaughtering is never pleasant, but a necessary evil if we are going to breed animals. The facts come down to we cannot support an ever growing population, maybe humans should take note.

I had been planning to keep the buckling, Alarm, through breeding season to breed to our one unrelated doe, Heddar. Alarm comes from one of our original does, Sparque, and Heddar comes from the other, Ruffles. But I realized we already have that genetic mix (last years bucklings, same dam and sire bred to this target doe gave us this springs doeling, Able). So there is not a lot of sense breeding Alarm to Heddar. It's further redundant because the other does from this spring all come from that Sparque Sire mix, either first generation or one generation out. Heddar is our only animal not related to Sparque and her suitor from last year. I bred Sparque to same Buck three times waiting for her to give us a doe. In the meantime, I bred one of her bucklings to Heddar and Ruffles last fall. So it's important that we get Heddar bred to a new line in order to get some balance back in our genetic diversity. Breeding Alarm to Heddar does save us $50 in breading fees, but that wasn't enough of a reason.

And now, we don't have to keep the buck separate from the does going into breeding season. That greatly simplifies our paddocks. Pretty soon the kids will be weaned and we won't need any subdivisions. Woo Whoo! Sad for Alarm, good for me.

So, Alarm was just about three months old. He was coming into sexual maturity and he yielded about 30 pounds of meat, bone in. That's pretty interesting because last years bucklings I slaughtered in Late winter and they were also 30 pounds bone in. It was winter, and they were on hay only. This buckling has been nursing and getting Lamb and Kid grain. In addition to the meat, he had significant organ fat and fat under the skin. The boys from last year had very little fat. Again, time of year and ration. But still interesting that going into the fall Alarm had as much meat and more reserve as the boys twice his age and similar genetics (they were all brothers from the same dam and sire). And the boys from last year looked good and performed well (the breeder buckling sired three does by Heddar and Ruffles).

I didn't face any quandaries about the Roosters. We had a clutch hatch earlier this summer and they are well along. The Roosters' days have been numbered since. It was just waiting for an ambitious day. It didn't help that the dominant rooster was attacking the back of my legs on a periodic basis. And they were waking us up at slightest provocation. Killing sucks, but I am not going to miss the roosters.

My PI cleared up by the way, in less than two days without more than a light rash. I am going to claim the prompt washing helped. If anyone cares.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

I got PI

I think I have a poison ivy rash going on my wrist. Hazard of the locale. The field that we are developing has areas that are rife with poison ivy. I've been cutting new fence lines for the goats. If I think about it ahead of time, I cut the PI out of my way to keep the risk manageable.

I don't have a lot of trouble with PI sensitivity, but I try to avoid it when possible and washup as soon as I can when contact is unavoidable. I keep soap and water in the field and try to washup periodically through the day. Another tactic I use is spraying down my boots and laces with a dilute mixture of vinegaur and water. I thought it up this spring and it may not help, but have had less trouble with PI this year than last.

I don't have a terrible time with PI, my wife has it worse, but I was wondering if others have found solutions that work.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I got to do some bailing

A friend of a friend needed help getting in his hay. He has a bumper crop of hay and is struggling with where to put it all. So he was selling it in exchange for help getting the rest in. I ran a baler today and yesterday, maybe eight or nine hundred smallish bales. And there was the work of gethering, loading the bales onto a trailer and then loading them into the barn. Noon to eight or nine PM yesterday, one to six PM today. In the middle of this I got about 150 bales out of it today. It's not great hay, but I was willing to trade experience for labor.

It was a small baler, I think, maybe five feet wide. An old New Holland. It was good experience. I've been interested in learning more about hay production to better understand what I buy for hay and to do a better job with the little bit I cut myself.

So what did I learn? I am not an expereinced tractor driver. Most of my tractor work is loader work, and it does not translate well to open fields. I am slow as molasses because I lack experience. But slow is better than fast and risky, anyway.

I only sheared one pin, I didn't break anything and we didn't re-rake anything I baled. I feel pretty good about it.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tilt'n back a couple of pints

100704117 Milk pint resized

It's been a very busy spring. Bottle kids on top of extra kids. We have twice as much ground planted. We have maxed out on daily chores with the new animals and farmer's markets. We have been working at learning to work smarter instead of harder, but finesse comes with experience and it's tough to learn much without making a mistep here and there.

But as the kids get older, our efforts are beginning to bare fruit. Literal fruit in the garden, Fruit of our labors with the goats. We had gyros from last year's bucks this weekend. And there is enough milk in the house for drinking again.

It's nice to be able to tip back a pint or two in the evening.

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