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Old 10-24-2012, 07:04 PM   #39
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Re: Farming/Homesteading October Chat Thread

Originally Posted by raisingcropsandbabies View Post
Hi! Are turkies that much more different to raise than meat chickens? I want to try them next year (we made our meaties portable pen tall enough to house turkies). Any tips? And how do you like your dogs? Those are farm dog breed, yes? We have border collies, but someday would like to try another breed. We raise sheep and cattle, but the dogs are not trained as much as I'd like around the sheep. We also raise crops and have a milk cow, meat chickens (just butchered last week... hallelujah!), and layers.

Oh, I love OTs! My son has been seeing them since he was 3 weeks old. Now he is doing an intense therapy program and he sees one everyday! haha. I have the utmost respect for your profession and I thank you for all the hard work you do to change people's lives for the better.

How are you adjusting to the third baby? I have 4 kiddos, 5 and under and I feel like the third kiddo was my biggest adjustment... like I was busy, busy all the time! I remember wanting to garden more 2 years ago, but that third baby took all my energy. Last year he was like 1 and I was able to start gardening better (I was preggo with #4 so I just did small) and then this year was more "for real" haha. My motto is one new thing at a time! Baby included!
(first, let me apologize for this long, drawn out answer!!) We haven't raised meat chickens yet, it was on the list but for a few years we were stopping by our property 2x/day for feeding and then with building this past year, there just hasn't been time! (do you have any tips for butchering? we need to butcher some stewing hens, 2 ducks, and 3 turkeys soon!)
This is the 2nd year trying turkeys. Our first year, last year, we had 6 poults and 12 chicks and something (I think a combination of a raccoon and neighborhood dog) came by and got all of them. We decided we couldn't have any more babies out here until we were living here or had something to keep predators away. We looked at electric fencing, but we didn't have electricity, lol. We did/do have some solar panels that power the horses fence, but it's such a mess and I hated to pen them in (we free range) and I don't like having electric fences around with the kids. So I researched LGDs, our livestock guarding dogs, and came across Maremmas as they are similar to Great Pyr, but less "recreationally" bred in the US and are supposed to wander less/be better with kids/be less territorial. I contacted a breeder in the UP and we coordinated and now have 2 LGD, 2yo brother and 1.5yo sister from different breedings. It's been a work in progress, but we sure do depend on them alot. (we have 2 house dogs - one hunting breed, one herding...but they'd be on the "predator", not "protector" list with the chickens, lol). We haven't lost many poultry since getting them, we think maybe 1 poult and 2 chicks this year, and the dogs are penned up near the barn most of the time (they do wander sometimes if not being watched). Punzi, the younger girl, went through an adolescent "playing" spree with the chickens and we lost a few to her. It's fairly normal, and with some time and trial and error training she is out of that phase now. They do bark some at night, but I know they are keeping us and the farm safe! I would get LGD again, they are such a relief to have.
Sorry, I got totally off topic! We have 5 Bourbon Red turkeys, 2 toms and 3 hens. They are ok; I can't figure out if they are just super curious or stupid or both. My daughters have to carry sticks outside when they play because they get a little too close, and their gobble gobble peckpeck is a bit intimidating. They are memory makers; when we first moved out here they would peek in our windows in the morning or roost on our vehicles. Lately they've gotten a bit territorial against wild turkeys that come across our land - its hilarious to watch! I'm sure we aren't raising them to be the most efficient meat animals, I don't really have many tips on that as ours are 100% free range, but it's been fun and I can't wait for Thanksgiving!
Oh my goodness, I want a milk cow so bad! Maybe when ds is a little older. The transition from 2-3 was actually ok, he was such a good baby...(he still is, but I'd love for him to sleep through the night like his sisters did!) How did your garden go this year? I want to garden, but the only year I've done all right was the first year I tried! I got the Vegetable Gardeners Bible last year for Christmas and am reading it to prep for this year. I love that book!
I totally need to borrow your motto, if that's ok I tend to throw new things in with eachother and see what come out on top
Thanks for the kind words about OTs, I really enjoy it. I worked private peds therapy for while, and good for you for seeking out programs and outpatient for your son! Are you doing ok with the constraint induced? I bet it's hard to watch
Jesus lover wife to T . Mama to A (6) , K (4) , and J (1) , with another baby girl on the way (May) !
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