During these couple of cold months while the new year is here, but not the new season, not yet, I get to pare down chores to the basics. I bring warm water to the ducks in the hoophouse, to the goats, to the chickens and the cat and dogs. Twice a day, sometimes more. The last few nights hve gone to -25 degrees, and i am happy to report the gals are doing well.
The Ist batch of 50 ducklings, now 2 months old, came home from my friends’ farm 2 weeks ago. I was nervous how these newbies would make the transition from warm building to cold hoophouse. With a bit of guidance from the seasoned pros out there already, they are thriving. When I fill their bath tub, they all hop in and have a pool party, regardless of the temperature outside. Sometimes they get way to wet, having to preen icicles out of their feathers post-bath. I never give them alot of water at night, since I don’t want them to get bathing and then chilled overnight. The lady ducks are so robust and hardy, one more wonderful feature to this heritage breed.
My goats are cold. They don’t like it at all, but they huddle together in the barn in their deep, cozy bedding. Their critical mass helps warm them, as do their fantastic 4- chambered stomachs. Each chamber holds their food in various stages of fermentation, and this fermetation keeps them warm from the inside out. Their food warms them twice; being digested and from the nutrients being absorbed. Amazing animals. All the does look pregnant, which is very exciting! There are seven girls: Metallika, Schatzi, Desti, Catalpa, Rudi, Vanessa and May. My buck, Cedar, came home today too- he was out galavanting with some other does at another farm. His services will be paid for with his sons coming here after weaning. They will contribute to my farm as harvested meat animals.
I love these cold, crispy days of winter. The air is still and clean and fresh like no other time of year. Chores are simple, the tasks at hand are manageable in the cold. I enjoy having more time to dream how this next season will go, choreograph all my activities in the mayhem to come! I plan to be milking 5 goats twice a day, gathering eggs from over 150 ducks, raising ducklings and turkeys for harvesting, as well as setting up new pasture in my front yard for a bred sow (a momma pig due to have babies!) Add making soap, distributing eggs, etc to the Twin Cities, and working a job 32 hours a week off the farm too. Yikes. Glad I have this time to build up my reserves. Happy New Year!
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In a nutshell…We are two impassioned young farmers and compassionate carnivores working toward the goal of sustainable small-scale permaculture farming on our 39 acres in western Wisconsin.
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