Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Rambling

I made a map of our place and I thought I'd share it with you. I also thought I'd share some of my inner thoughts with you. Nothing deep like, "I wonder if there ever really be world peace.?" But more like, "Can I afford to raise pigs?" Stuff like that.

First, I'll explain the map. The blue line shows our approximate property line. The green blobs are the gardens. The orange line shows the sheep/goat fence. The yellow square is the chicken coop, and the pink square is the sheep/goat shelter. The red outlines are proposed pen areas. The small one would be where the rabbits go, and the larger would be where the pigs go.

Ok, now for the rambling part. Let's start with the turkeys. I am getting in an order of 20 turkeys the last week of April. I need to figure out where I'm going to keep them. I'd like to be able to have them free range in the pasture with the chickens. I need to build them a small coop though so I can lock them up at night. I'm not sure where to put the coop. Maybe I should put it on the south side of the chicken coop. Or maybe on the south side of the sheep shelter so they're not so close to the chickens? I'd also thought about making a pen on the back side of the garage, but then they'd have to free range in the yard and not in the pasture. Hmm. Decisions, decisions!

Ok, now on to the rabbits. I've been wanting to raise meat rabbits for a while. They're small, easy to raise, and provide lots of meat for a family. I need to find a breeding pair (working on that) and build cages. I'm pretty sure the cages will be fairly simple to build, and hopefully inexpensive. They can eat garden scraps and I'd love to build a pen for them to be on grass too. I just hope it's worth raising and processing them. I'm sure it will be. Won't it? Anyone?

Now let's talk pigs. I've been dying to raise pigs for several years now. Well, not dying, but perhaps yearning. Or striving. Or hoping. I just think that pigs would make good use of extra veggies, eggs, and milk. They'd get to market weight fairly quickly, and then we could keep one for ourselves and sell the other one. I'm just not quite sure about them. I've worked with pigs before and they were on the farm where I worked in college. I'm just wondering if it's worth putting the time and money into them or if it'd be better to find someone else who raises pigs and just buy from them.

I also don't know how much more I can pile on my plate without losing my mind, ya know? I mean, it's fairly easy to do chores in the morning before work. I can feed the baby goats, milk June, and feed everyone else in about 20 minutes if I hustle. Soon the kids will be weaned, but then I'll have turkeys to feed. I could probably feed the pigs and rabbits in the afternoons only and save some time on morning chores....but what if I need to feed them twice a day?

I tend to over think things, but then I tell myself I better think about it some more so I'm not blindsided because I didn't think about things enough! See, this is exactly why I need to be able to stay at home. My pesky job gets in the way of all my house work/hobbies! Too bad we need the money and benefits.

So any opinions? If anyone has anything to add for me to ponder, I'd love to hear it!


Becky said...

I love that map! How cool! :)

So much to ponder.... What if you added rabbits this year and thought about pigs for one more year. That way you're not adding more to your plate then you can handle. I would certainly buy that extra pig from you though (or split it with mom ;) )
I'm not much help with advice of the barnyard nature since you have more experience with it then I do. Just know that you don't have to do everything right at this very moment. Don't get bogged down feeling like you have to a million things by yesterday. You felt like this last year when you were getting ready to get married and trying to plant the garden at the same time. :)

Jennifer said...

I no help... I would love it all too. I'm sure you will work something out :)

Susan said...

Hi Katie,
You sound like my daughter and me (we are currently contemplating sheep...may have to seek your advice!))
We novice farmers raised 2 pigs and 9 turkeys last year (plus 3 cows and 230 chickens). For what it's worth, a few notes from our experience:
-The pigs and turkeys were more profitable than the free-range heritage chickens, But we did got free waste milk (about 5 gal /day) from our dairy farmer neighbor for the pigs, cutting feed costs a lot.
-Pigs and turkeys grow very fast and eat a LOT. We fed the pigs 2x a day --and the turkeys almost constantly as they got bigger.
- Pigs are unavoidably smelly. Sometimes if the wind was the wrong direction, it was not fun to sit on the patio. (You probably know what to expect if you worked with them, tho.)
- When your children are old enough to take on some of the responsibility, it will be so much easier!!
-We LOVED the turkeys. They followed us everywhere and were sometimes pesky, in a lovable way. So hard to harvest them. Extraordinarily delicious, tho.

katiegirl said...

Becky, you're right. I always want to do everything right now!

Jennifer, thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

Susan, thanks for the information! I'm a big sheep fan, so I definitely think you should get some! And thanks for the info on the pigs and turkeys. Hopefully my turkeys will thrive this year. I can't wait until they come in! And it's good to see you again!

Kelly or Alex said...

Hi, I have always thought that I could get alot more done if I didn't have to go to work. Then again, we wouldn't have the farm. NOT FAIR!

Dad said...

Hey sweetie, I'm jumping in here a little late. I agree with not jumping into everything right away. When the heat gets here you'll regret always being so busy. Leave some time to sit on your porch and admire all of your hard work. You could always fence in your garden and put the rabbits there, then you wouldn't have to feed them!!

Deb said...

I think you've bitten off a lot this year alone. What if you waited a year before deciding on pigs and see how you feel next year. If you get in over your head, you will come to resent it. It's so easy to get over busy and forget to smell the roses; I know that! Also, if you get too much too soon, then it's hard to have things the way you want since you are always playing catch up. I know you want your place to look nice and be productive. I really don't think you have room for pigs where you won't smell them. But, I know you'll find your way. Love you, Momma

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