Homesteading in March & April – The Spring Rush is Real!

Warmer weather and a break from the rain made the last two months a lot more enjoyable than February and January! Homesteading in March and April was our first look at how spring would treat us and let me tell you the spring rush is real. The woods around the house are coming back to life and with that has come a million and one projects we need to work on. It’s exciting and I have to admit I kind of love it! At the very least I like being able to do chores in the morning without freezing! Here is what we’ve done in the last two months!

Homesteading in March & April

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Finished Up The Goat Pen

This has been an ongoing project for the last few months so I’m really glad to have it finished. We changed the design several times while planning it and overall I’m pretty happy with how it came out. It’s given us a pretty good template to work with should we want to expand the barn again in the future. We will have to see how well it holds up over time but I’m pretty confident that it will be fine! It was completed just in time too because…

We Brought Home Mars

Mar’s will be our new herd sire! We are still working out what his official registered name will be but my husband has called naming rights on him and deemed that it must be related to the movie The Martian. If you have any idea’s leave them below! Mar’s or Martian will be what we call him on the farm. He’s a bit nervous still but has been coming around and letting me pet him. Just like the girls, it will take a while to gain his trust and overall he seems like a really sweet fellow.

The girls are still getting used to him and sometimes give him weird looks as he runs around but overall they seem to have accepted him as part of the herd. He’s been trying out his manly wooing tactics but they aren’t too impressed yet. He’s still quite young however so while he is technically capable of breeding them I’m not expecting it to take until he’s a bit older. The girls however are old enough (that’s why we waited to buy a male) so even if it does happen it’s not going to be detrimental to their health. I will be keeping a close eye on things just to make sure I don’t have to mark down a calendar date though!

Along With Mars…

We also brought home a trio of pedigreed standard rex rabbits! It turned out that North, Hazel, and Blackberry are mini rexes which I have suspected for a while now. In any case, we will continue to breed them as a group as they are both great mothers and mini rexes are fairly popular in our area. But, in the future, I plan on focusing on our new trio and larger rabbits. The new rabbits are of amazing quality and I’m positive they will be a great addition to the homestead!

The kids have named them Dustbunny, Mapleshade, and Solarflare. As mentioned before both Mar’s and the rabbits came from Tiny Patch Farms who I highly recommend.

Sold Some Chickens!

In February’s farm review I mentioned that I am in the process of revamping our chicken flock. To that end, I have sold several hens and one rooster. They went to a nice home and I made room for more purebreds. We also sold 18 chicks that we received from a Cackle mini surprise box. I won the box in a raffle and selling the chicks that didn’t meet my future goals has paid for this month’s feed bill for all the livestock on the farm. I’m going to call that a win! Out of the surprise box I held back, 1 turkey, 1 duck, and 7 chicks to grow out.

Of course, we couldn’t keep just one turkey and one duck by themselves so we had to pick up a couple of extras. It’s likely these turkeys will all be processed in a few months as I suspect they are all Broad breasted turkeys which are not suited to long-term life without heavy diet management but I’d rather eat turkeys I raised myself than ones I bought at the store anyways. That is a pretty big reason we started this homesteading lifestyle! For the ducks, if there happen to be any females they will likely be added to our flock but males will have to be processed as well since we already have males and don’t wish to deal with fighting drakes. I have warned the kids not to get attached to them…but

We Ordered Some Cayuga Ducks and Red Bourbon Turkeys

And those we plan on keeping as breeding flocks. They should arrive sometime in May and those the kids can love on and get attached to. These will be the start of our purebred ducks and heritage breed turkey flocks. Geese have been put on hold until I can find the ones I want..maybe next year!

Have Started Hardening Off My Seedlings

With the temperatures outside mostly stabilized I have started hardening off the plants I already started. I am unsure if we will be able to get the large garden plot going in time – the soil needs a great deal of work but I have a smaller area I’ve been working on and will be able to get these guys planted within the next week! I will likely do some container plants and a few other vegetables that can be started outside as well. Not quite as big as I wanted to start off with but it’s all a work in progress!

On the plus side, most of the berry bushes we planted last summer seem to have survived the winter. It seems some of the blueberry bushes failed to come back but the Blackberry, kiwi, and raspberry plants have all started to leaf out with a vengeance. The blackberry already has flowers!

What Are We Doing Next?

Fence in the Bigger Pasture – This is one of our major focuses over the spring and summer and something we would really like to get finished sooner rather than later. Now that the rabbit hutches and goat pen has been completed we will begin buying the supplies needed for this project next.

Continue to Improve Our Chicken Flock – I have ordered hatching eggs from several good quality flocks of purebred Ameracaunas and Black Copper Marans. These are the two breeds that we have chosen to focus on as we move away from the mixed breed Easter Eggers. Shipped eggs are a gamble but I’m hopeful that we will get enough to hatch so that we can improve our marans and get started with the ameracaunas. Of course, this will also require the building of breeding pens. Still researching the best cost-efficient option for those but we have time since chicks require several weeks to hatch plus several months to grow up. Breeding pens will likely be our focus after the fencing.

Continue Working On The Garden -Pretty sure this is going to be an endless ongoing project. The soil here is rough to work with and it takes a lot of time to build up. That’s alright! I have a small area to start with and we will continue to work on it and expand it throughout the summer. I still want to put some strawberry plants in the front garden. Will have to look out for those pretty soon!

Learn to Tan Hides β€“ I have all the materials and it finally not freezing outside so I really have no excuse not to get started on this one.

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 breeding’s before it gets too hot to risk anymore. They will get the summer off and start breeding again in the fall.

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