Results for category "rabbits"

the new year is upon us!

We all made it through another potential doomsday, and it’s nearly 2013! Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the days lengthening again, and that means spring is in the air, but it is very cold for now, and we have 2 more months of subzero temps to look forward to. Yikes! Love it or leave it… we enjoy the drastic temperature change. It makes spring seem even more miraculous. Thanks to our Kickstarters- we have frost free hydrants to water the animals now, which is SO saving our backs and wrists! Lugging water out of our bathtub in the previous winters was not fun at all….so many many thanks to you! The animals are all enjoying our organic hay, eating their “grass jerky” all winter long. This green, fragrant goodness keeps the ducks, rabbits and goats well nourished, providing entertainment and a cozy, snuggly bed. We are signing up CSA Shares for 2013, and we’d love to be your personal farmers! Get a big bushel box of our farm products once a month, delivered to a drop spot in the Twin Cities. Our Shares are full of beautiful products & nutritious foods that we grow and raise here, featuring seasonal organic veggies and fruits, our fabulous duck eggs and our handmade goatmilk soaps. $350 for 6months of goodness! It’s been a wonderful season and we are so full of gratitude! Some of the many highlights include: building our new duck barn and implementing a custom system for our lady ducks, expanding our garden, which showed the beautiful effect of our own compost, hosting Open Farm Days to show people our farm, raising organic Jumbo broiler chickens in our new day-range pasturing system, hatching out our own heritage ducklings, hosting a wonderful Market on the Farm day in September, raising meat rabbits on pasture and receiving excellent feedback about the flavor and texture difference, raising up our Turkeys over the summer and fall in their huge pasture, and having very nice weather for the Harvesting weekend before Thanksgiving, lots of sampling of our duck eggs at the co-ops, and our ducks continue to lay eggs much later into the year than ever before, which means we are doing it right! We also had our 1st Wedding Anniversary in July….2012 has been a blessing, and we look forward to the coming season with joy and glee in our hearts.

getting ready!

Mark your calendars for Sept 30th! Starting at 10am, we’re opening the doors to the farm! Bring a picnic blanket & some lunch and enjoy the a beautiful day in the country! This event is from 10am until 1pm. We’ll have some fun activities going on:

  • “Guess the Weight of the Ukranian Winter Squash” contest-win a Goodie Box of LTD Farmstead Foods!
  • “Acrobatic Puppy” performances by Belle
  • A Nature Walk
  • Ducklings to snuggle
  • lots of samples
  • Goats to hang out with
  • Hot beverages and a bonfire to warm up

Come pick up SUPER fresh Duck eggs, handmade goatmilk soaps, as well as delicious, fresh veggies and Andrew’s beautiful stone Mortar & Pestles. We’ll have a limited number of fresh rabbits available – Email to reserve your rabbits.

Andrew’s Mom makes this amazing doll furniture which she’ll have on display for you to check out, makes a GREAT GIFT for that little someone special! Check out her website here: http://arlettarueandco.com/

Our next door neighbors raise alpacas and we’re hoping to have some of their beautiful alpaca yarn, fleeces and roving here as well!

For directions out to the farm, email us:    Farmers (at) ltdfarm.com

Part of what we love about this region is the abundance of other awesome farmers, so we’ll be giving you a list of some great places near us to stop by on your way back home, a Wisconsin Food “Crawl”!  The Stillwater bridge is closed, so we’re directing everyone to come on 94 through Hudson, and drive home on Hwy 8 through Taylor’s Falls. All these great places are located right along Highway 8, heading back to the Cities:

  • Balsam Lake Brick Oven Breads -awesome organic breads!(http://www.balsamlakebreads.com/)
  • Tiny Planet Produce- organically grown pumpkins, winter squash, and more from Ben and Andrea (to be confirmed)
  • Maple Syrup at Glenna Farms (http://www.glennafarms.com/)
  • Apples at Deedon Lake Orchard http://www.deedonlake.com/) 715.986.2757 (to be confirmed)

We can’t wait to show you our farm and see you here!

Sign up for your Thanksgiving Turkey! $3/lb, $20 deposit required.

We had our first slight frost a couple nights ago, and so much of the summer garden is being cleared out now, tilled and cover-cropped to prevent erosion as well as adding organic material next spring. The basil is being dried, cabbages being krauted, peppers being sriracha-ed, eggplants waiting to go into the next CSA shares, and tomatoes being sauced (we have a whole new crop coming along in the frost-free hoophouse!)

As you can see, our fall crops are doing just fine with the cold, in fact, they thrive this time of year. October is the end of our CSA season, and the last boxes will be full of so much goodness…. baby pumpkins & winter squash, arugula, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, baby leeks, chard, spinach, cabbage, Napa cabbage, red & green meat winter radishes, daikon radish, carrots, scallions, beets/turnips, onions, garlic, & hopefully hoophouse cucumbers and peppers, as well as romanesco (it’s growing so slowly!)

Chicken/Rabbit Tractor Evolution

For the past couple of years, we have been experimenting with chicken and rabbit tractors. When we first arrived here, we had little experience with building these things, but now with some experience under our belts, it’s getting better. The amount of 2x4s put into these projects is enough to make us seriously consider buying a small sawmill, but luckily our friend Mark down the road is a expert sawyer and we will happily use his services when the time comes to fell our own timber. Meanwhile, the trips to the lumberyard are numerous.

Our first choice was PVC pipe, for ease of construction and durability. We used screws instead of glue, just in case we wanted to take it all apart. Well, so far we haven’t because there is so much else to do. It was about 10’x10′ using 10” lengths of 1 diameter pipe. We wrapped chicken wire around it and covered it with a tarp that collected water and sometimes lay in the middle of the chicken tractor like a big old slip and slide. We quickly decided that we didn’t like this type of tractor for a number of reasons, but it was cheap and did raise up two groups of 60 chickens.

This is it’s final resting place now…

After some more research, we thought the best thing would be to follow Salatin’s lead and make our chicken tractors out of wood, 2x4s ripped into 2x2s. This has been our method now, and we are continually making each tractor a little more easy to use.

The first one was a 2×2 frame that was 4’x8′ and 2′ high, with a middle 2×4 support, like an arch. This one was made into a rabbit tractor, so we surrounded it with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. One half of the top was OSB, and the other half was some old fencing. This was a pretty sturdy one, but it had no rabbits. Soon it was going to need some modifications…

This was then:

After having rabbits escape underneath the sides we added an inner ring of 2x2s. They still escaped out the ends so we added some board on the ends. Then, when we forgot to adjust these board after moving the tractor, which left a gap on the sides, they escaped out that way. Luckily we caught all but 2 of the escapees but this was no good, for a number of reasons. We finally gave in and added slats on the bottom, as in the Salatin model. Oh yeah, and since they were pretty dang heavy, why not add a 2×4 harness for us to pull or push. Works pretty good so far.

The rabbit tractors are almost good enough, but some small wheels would be helpful as that is a lot of rabbit weight on those slats. Also, they really only want the shade, so we will add a hinged wooden lid as well. Which brings us to the chicken tractors.

It seemed obvious that the chicken tractors didn’t need to be as sturdy as the rabbit tractors, so we did not add the middle bracing. This doesn’t makes a sturdy frame, but it has held up for 60 chickens so far.

yes those are turkeys in the chicken tractor

When you pull it around you just sort of pull it apart as well. All we did for the roof was a piece of steel siding and a 2×8, strapped down with 2 bungee cords. That is awkward. So chicken tractor 2.1 is this:

All grown up

The main new features are: used 2×2 bracing in the middle, full OSB roof with hinged door, reinforced bracing with osb triangles and 1x4s, and definitely the most important, a  2×4 harness attached to the bottom so that all the pressure of pulling or pushing doesn’t just rip the top off. Also the angle makes it easier to grab and pull, which is better because then you can watch and make sure you’re not crushing a chicken. The only downside is that it is quite heavy an requires 2 people to pull it.

We’re pleased with this design. 70 new chicks just went into this one, after brooding in hoophouse. And then it’s off to building more of these tractors. The next big question is: Should we make them bigger? Right now we like the compact size of 4’x8′, but does it make more sense to use less material to build a larger tractor? We shall see…

 

Rabbit Doings

We’re excited to welcome onto our farm four sisters, 6 week old Champagne d’Argent rabbits! They are one of the oldest breeds of rabbit, originating in France. They are born black and slowly grow to be more silver, and they are gentle and relaxed. We’re excited to bring an old breed into our rabbitry.

We’ve decided to add a few more does to the rabbitry, and introduce a heritage breed into the mix for vigor. These young does won’t be ready to breed until December, but keeping breeding livestock is a waiting game. Our goal is to provide our customers with fresh delicious rabbit every month, so we needed a few more momma rabbits to keep our cycle going throughout the year. Since we built the goats a whole new goat shed, the rabbit shed has room for more occupants, but we’re not going to get carried away. We have a working farmstead, and we only have enough labor and money to keep animals that help pay for themselves in some way. One thing we were not quite prepared for was how excellent rabbit poop was for fertilizer. It’s almost worth it to keep rabbits just for their poop.

Merry is getting ready to kindle, hopefully:

And Marshmallow had her second litter, 10 big beautiful kits! We saved two kits that she left on the floor and ground from freezing by dunking them in warm water up to their necks, and bundling them back with their kin. Now they are al about a week old and have a good coating of fur:

This morning it is cool and dewy, wonderful weather for rabbits and humans as well.