We are SO excited! These last two weeks have been a process of preparing, panicking and planning for our little farm. Actually, this is nothing new to me as I panic daily, and planning helps me panic less. (sometimes).
With having animals we need to think about winter preparations in early summer when the farmers are baling their hay. We need to find healthy forage and also arrange delivery of these round hay bales to the farm. My hay supplier last year is not doing any hay this year so this sent me in a spin to find local hay once more. I have to go look at these bales next week and see if they will be good enough for my cows.
I have also decided to incubate a batch of eggs! Since our 12 chicks only turned up 4 hens, we needed to get more laying hens. I really didn't want to bring in new birds for fear of disease so incubating was the obvious choice. I have a pure blue ameraucana rooster and a pure splash ameraucana bantam hen, 2 barred rock hens and an ameraucana cross hen.
Both of my pure ameraucanas luckily turned out to be very desirable, more rare colors. So I wanted more ameraucana hens to get an assortment of blue eggs, and selling any extra roosters would be easier since they are fancy colors. They are due to start hatching around July 29!
The cows – Lulubelle and Fiona are fondly called “the girls” around the farm and that has become the go-to term for them. So it is now time to have the cows bred to have their first calves next spring. I have been working on either getting a bull in to our farm or having Artificial Insemination done. For the last two months I have called vets, feedlots and neighbors to find either of these options nearby and all with no results. So finally as a last option I went to Facebook with an ad on cattle and animal groups asking for help finding either. And a wonderful lady about 25 kilometers away responded saying she specializes in small acreage cattle A.I. Perfect!
She explained all of what I needed to do, with what injections, and when to do it. She was a wealth of knowledge and willing to answer all my questions since this method was new to me. I had to give 2 different shots at specific days and times to the girls before she came out to breed them at a set day and time, and then give one more shot after the A.I procedure. She came out to do the A.I and it look less than 2 minutes per cow, and they didn't mind too much. They misbehaved more for the needles than the actual A.I procedure. Figures.
We bred them to a black Angus bull and depending on the genetics we are hoping to get a grey calf from Lulubelle and a black and white face calf from Fiona since Fiona's mom was a black cow with a white face. My son really wants a black calf with a white face for some reason but he will adore any calf he gets. Selling any calves may be a challenge, its hard to not get attached when you work so closely with the animals. We will know in about 21 days if they are pregnant so the wait begins and we will keep you posted on the cows!!!
Check in with me next week as we should have baby chicks!