Settling into the homesteading life has been both challenging and rewarding! I’m happy to say that the kids love it so far and I’m a pretty big fan myself! I’m pretty sure even my husband has enjoyed expanding his woodworking skills when I badger him about building yet one more thing. It’s become pretty apparent that there will always be something to build, fix, or improve upon while we set up and learn!
But that’s half the fun of it all! The kids have jumped in full force and participate in the morning and afternoon chores which I am grateful for as there are a lot more mouths to feed around here now!
Homesteading Life – What We’ve Done This Month
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What We Accomplished This Month
- Introduced our Big chickens to our Little Chickens & Guinea Keets – Everyone is growing crazy fast and since they were fully feathered out they needed to be kicked out of the garage! Although a new chicken coop is still in the plans, we ultimately decided that it was a project that could wait a bit longer and everyone could share the horse stall. We don’t have a pressing need for the horse stall at the moment and it’s more than big enough to make everyone happy! Introducing the keets and chicks to the big girls went pretty well! We ended up moving the brooder into the stall so that they could see each other for about a week and then doing supervised playtime for another wee before letting the chicks live in the stall full time. They still have access to the old brooder box as an emergency bolt hole as needed.
- Fenced in a Portion of the Pasture – We have decided to do rotational grazing. Since our pasture is a limited resource at the moment we want to keep it healthy! To that end, we portioned off a part of it and fixed up the fencing. This leaves us with two more portions to work on but gives us one useable space right now. Fencing is expensive so splitting the bill into a more manageable bit was a nice side benefit of this decision. Besides we really needed a functional pasture because…
- We Got Goats! – Two registered, polled, blue-eyed Nigerian dwarfs were added to the homestead. Luna and Cyra will be our foundation does and come from good backgrounds and pedigrees so I’m very excited about our goat future! We also joined the American Dairy Goat Association so that we can register & show our goats and submit an official herd name.
- Planted Blueberry & Blackberry Bushes – Currently we have two of each but will likely expand in the spring.
- Planted Some Peppers – This is my oldest daughter’s project. She wants to learn how to make her on hot sauce so she picked out a small variety of peppers to get her feet wet. Currently, she has a mild Jalapeno, Hot Jalapeno, Habanero & Ghost Pepper plant in the ground.
- Added Quail – This was my husband’s project but I have to say they have quickly become some of my favorite birds. Baby quail are adorable and as they grow they are both goofy to watch and pretty sweet-tempered and easy to handle. Quail grow exceedingly fast. They are already feathered out, in their own hutch outside, and should be laying eggs within the next couple weeks!
- Built Our First Rabbit Hutch – We have never built a hutch before and while this one is not perfect and we will be improving on the design (and possibly moving to stack cage system) in the future we are still pretty proud!
- Got Bunnies! – I mean we built a hutch so you had to know this was coming! We settled on Standard Rex rabbits as our breed of choice as they have multiple purposes. Currently, we have three (two blues & a little tan/grey striped girl I don’t know the proper color designation for yet). The kids have named them Hazel, Blackberry, and Nothern Lights (North for short). They are all supposed to be girls but I have my doubts about Blackberry. Will need more hutches and possibly a buck (depending on Blackberry) pronto.
- Built a Goat Playground – Goats love to jumps and play and since we got some free pallets from my husbands office we decided to build them a little playground. So far they have loved it and we plan on expanding it with some old tires sometime soon!
What We Plan To Do Next
- Get a Small Fall Garden Set up – We have already planned our fall garden and gotten the seeds. I just need to go out and work up the soil. Hopefully, the addition of some animal manure will help make the red clay more manageable. This experimental garden plot will tell me a lot in regards to next spring’s garden plans!
- Build (or Buy) More Rabbit Hutches – We plan on breeding our rabbits, while they (like our chickens) will be spoiled rotten and much loved while they are here they are ultimately livestock when it comes to the homestead. In order to control breedings and keep everyone healthy, they will need their own bunny homes. We will need a hutch for each buck & doe (with extra room for her future kits) as well as grow-out pens for the adolescents. I will also be joining the American Rabbit Breeders Association so that we can ultimately register our rabbits and the girls can earn show points with them if they desire.
- Expand the Quail Flock – This will require more quail hutches and an incubator but our current flock is far too small to be self-sustaining long term. We knew this and always planned on expanding! We just wanted to see what they were like with a small batch first as I had no prior experience with quail as I have with rabbits, goats, and chickens which I raised as a teen. Plus I found a type of quail that lays blue eggs…so I need some!
- Continue Planning an Orchard – Will have to wait until closer to fall before any saplings we buy will be delivered. We still haven’t figured out exactly what we want and should probably get on that! t least we have decided where to plan them right?
- Continue Fencing the Pasture – This will likely be an ongoing project with the goal of having it completed by next spring. The smaller pasture we already have should be more than big enough for Luna and Cyra!
- Continue Planning and Building A New Chicken Coop – Like the pasture, this will likely be an ongoing project. We already have the plans but since there is no rush on this we will probably do it in pieces to spread out the material bill.