February turned out to be an incredibly busy month here on the homestead! Unfortunately we didn’t get much of a break from the rain. It was cold, wet and muddy! But, despite the weather, things must get done and life on the farm goes on. Hopefully March treats us a little bit better!
In the meantime, here are a few projects we completed and a few that are still ongoing!
Homesteading In February, What We’ve Done This Month!
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Baby Bunnies Have Arrived!
That’s right! The second breeding took and we have had two successful litter’s born on the homestead. Hazel gave birth to five kits on Feb 13th and North gave birth to eight kits on Feb 14th. So we did indeed get Valentine’s day babies!
As expected most of the kits are blues, however, we were also surprised by two tort kits and one little white and blue magpie kit. All of the babies are doing well and both mothers built beautiful nests for their young ones. As first-time moms, I’m very proud of both Hazel and North!
Fenced in the Ducks and Created a Small Critter Habitat.
We discussed this in our review of the Omlet Fencing but the ducks have been moved to a new location on the homestead. The Omlet fencing was quick and easy to install and has been very successful in keeping the ducks in and the chickens out!
This is great news for me because it means that the ducks are safe (since they kept trying to wander down the driveway) and I no longer have to guard them against the chickens at feeding time. The chickens are tiny piggies and even though they are smaller liked to bully the ducks away from their food. Now everyone is happy!
We also decided to move the majority of our small animal hutches into this fenced-in pasture, while it won’t keep predators out all of my animals are locked in at night and it might allow me the chance to recapture an escaped bunny before it manages to make a run for the woods. As we expand the rabbitry I expect someone will manage to escape at some point. The rabbits and the ducks don’t mind each other at all and the hutches provide some extra-shady spots without taking up any of the duck’s floor space since they can easily walk underneath. You can read more bout how we did this in our Omlet fencing review!
Started The Great Fodder Experiment
I have been researching feeding fodder to our animals for a few months now. Not only does it seem to be good for the animal’s health and add a bit of enrichment for them but I’m really hoping it helps lower the feed bill a bit too.
While I am more than capable of continuing to feed everyone commercial feed (and it’s by far the more convenient option) there have been a few issues with animal feed supply’s lately thanks to the pandemic and recent winter storms. I would rather have the ability to feed my animals without scrambling to try and find their specific feed at four different stores thanks to a hiccup in the supply chain.
Built brand New Rabbit Hutches
Now that we are actively breeding ( and I might have put my name down for some nice well-bred additions) it was time to expand our hutches. We have built two double-stacked hutches so far that are capable of comfortably housing two does and all their kits in each bunny duplex! The original hutches will be used to house our bucks and grow-outs with a few modifications – because we have learned a bit more since building them!
Started Some Seedlings
While we are still getting some chilly weather I wanted to get a few seedlings started indoors. I haven’t always had the best of luck with this in the past but so far they seem to be sprouting and growing fairly well! Now I just have to hope I can get the garden finished up in time to plant them!
Truth be told, gardening is something I have always struggled with to some degree. Growing plants just don’t seem to come as naturally to me as dealing with the animals and livestock. That said I really want to improve and learn as you can’t have a homestead without some sort of garden!
Sold Hatching Eggs
Our earlier work with the chickens is starting to pay off! This month we have managed to sell some of our eggs as hatching eggs. Our Black Copper Marans and Easter Eggers have been incredibly popular. In fact these sales have paid for the livestock feed and some building materials for the new rabbit hutch’s and goat pen!
Plan Going Forward! What’s on the list Next?
March promises to be a busy month, but here is what I have planned so far!
- Finish the Male Goat Pen – This is a project that must be done by the end of the month as our new baby is due to be picked up at the beginning of April!
- Rethink and Plan Our Chicken Flock – Selling the hatching eggs has taught me a lot. I have seen what is in demand for our area and maybe doing some reconfiguring. The Marans are very popular and I think I would like to work on our current stock. With that in mind, I have ordered some hatching eggs to bring in some new bloodline and have plans for breeding pens to really improve our stock. I may also move away from the Easter Eggers and choose a purebred blue egg layer to focus on. In fact building, one coop may turn into building breeding pens instead.
- Fence in the Bigger Pasture – This will be our main project once the male goat pen is finished.
- Increase the Ducks – Still looking into this but may change our breed focus. The current flock may be kept for our own production but I may not increase them anymore and instead start a secondary flock of a separate breed. Still working this out.
- Turkeys and Geese? – Turkey’s are more likely at this point as I have a contact for Red Bourban turkey poults but the geese may be on hold as I am having trouble finding the breed I want. This is fine as we already have quite a lot going on!
- Breed the Goats – This will happen later this summer!
- Learn to Tan Hides – I have all the materials finally! Now I just have to find the time!
- Keep Working on the Garden – This needs to be a priority as I already have seedlings growing!
- Continue With The Rabbits – Since it gets so hot here in the summer we only have a few limited months to breed our rabbits. Since rabbits can be rebred quickly after producing and raising a litter I am hoping to get in one to two more breedings before it gets too hot to risk anymore. They will get the summer off and start breeding again in the fall.