Yankee Doodle Farms

  (New Boston, Illinois)
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It's A Girl!

November 26 marks the date of birth for our first baby calf.  It's a girl!  So, this is the beginning of my herd and I have reached my goal of 6 cows this year. 

My goal for next year is 10 adult heifers and an undetermined amount of calves.

I am a fan of Joel Salatin and have been thinking about how to give my animals a healthy, natural life while they are on this farm.  I have no choice but to get really good about fencing if I am to move livestock from pasture to pasture.  I can put in metal tposts and fasten cattle panels to them.  Electric fencing has me a bit stumped but I can no doubt learn, but welded wire is beyond my strength limitations.  Since I decided to farm at age 59 I have to be realistic about my abilities. 

So my goal with baby calf is to give her a good, natural, healthy life so she can produce lots of healthy babies in her lifetime.  My promise to her is comfort, good care, abundant time on green pastures, and gentle handling.  Welcome to the world baby. 






Where has the year gone...

Part of the year was spent helping mom recover from cancer.  She was diagnosed with lung cancer, scheduled for surgery to have part of her lung removed, had a heart attack, recovered, surgery rescheduled, had a successful surgery followed by radiation treatments.  She is 82 and fought her way through all of it.  Thank you, God, for a successful outcome and a little more time with her. 

So what went on here at Yankee Doodle Farms.  I added 5 cows to our farm, 4 belted galloways and 1 angus.  Had a couple of missteps along the way due to weak fences and determined cows but learned our lesson and still learning more everyday.  They are thriving and seem content.  It is November and Steve and I are rushing to expand their loafing area to include more grassy area. 

Learned that the cows and horses cannot share quarters because the horses are gluttons chase the cows from their food. 

Since 2 of the belted galloways will have calves during the winter, I set aside part of the shed for a calving area and bought alot of straw so I can keep clean bedding for the cow and calf. 

We also have to invest in a headgate and squeeze chute so we can take care of the shots and other treatments when necessary.  This will be a new experience but we'll call the vet to help us through the first time. 

I have 3 Nigerian Dwarf goats now, so we've learned to milk goats and handle the milk after.  Two are pregnant and due in January and March and the kids have a pretty good pedigree.  I am really looking forward to the kids and showing them this next year. 

In addition to the livestock, I'm studying edible landscaping and looking forward to making our yard beautiful and edible.  




My Venture Into Heritage Poultry

I just received small shipments of Bourbon Red Turkeys, Swedish Ducks, and Ameraucana Chicks.  Yes, I know it is very late in the season.  And, yes, winter chores protecting these babies won't be easy but I just wasn't ready during the summer and didn't want to lose the year.  This blog is about my learning experiences and, I hope, more successes than failures. 

Everyone is doing well under heat lamps and it has been fun watching and listening to their little voices.  Already, I've learned to recognize their contented sounds when the feeders and waterers are full, the temp is right, and the brooder is clean and dry; and their alarmed sounds when water has spilled out or the family dogs have stuck their nose too close. 

The arrival was an overall success.  I lost 1 chick and 1 duck upon arrival but through this first week all are thriving.  I'm using an all purpose food, not a medicated chick starter. 

Feeding, watering, keeping coops clean and deep bedding in good supply are not my worry right now.  My biggest worry is predators because I have multiple predators right here on my farm in the form of dogs.  Lots of dogs.

So, what is my plan to keep poultry and dogs at the same time?  Any advise from readers would be appreciated.  I am putting hardware cloth under and around the coops.  I am thinking of adding an electric wire or two around the perimeter as well. 

I can do some boundry training with the dogs but know from experience that when they are in a pack, training can go out the window.   When I'm home, I can maintain order.  I'm a really strong pack leader.  But when I'm at work or off the property, my husband and grandchildren aren't very dog aware and that is when bad things are likely to happen.  So how do I create coops that keep the most determined predators out? 

Security is the primary focus this next week.  I'll keep you posted.






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