We have two full toggenburg bucks available. $200 each. They are intact and have their horns. Dad is registered, mom could be but we haven’t yet, and bucks could be registered for an additional fee. Mom and dad are on site. They will be available May 10th. Available anytime to view them, use the Contact Us page. We are located in Greencastle IN
Sr. Farm Boss has been commenting on rabbits and kept asking for pictures and examples to share to the group (Women in Ag so, I am not a member). I thought it may be a good post to show the evolution of our rabbit keeping, why we chose the methods, why we abandoned them, pictures and videos.
We started out as most do, with raised cages. when doing our research this seemed like what most people do. Keeps from having to regularly clean cages, away from predators, and easy to harvest manure for gardens.
We live in central Indiana and have freezing temps in winter. Having several rabbit cages and having to deal with freezing water bottles daily, frozen crocks, or broken water dishes due to ice was a pain. Jr. Farm Boss had a difficult time reaching dishes at 4/5 yo and putting cages lower made it difficult for adults to reach in. Here is a writeup of a solution with materials, to the freezing water issue I came up with. This is when we lived in suburban Indianapolis. We toyed with tractors at this point but it was more get them out during the day, in a small enclosure on the ground. Not a permanent solution, just fresh grass.
This solution was nice when it worked. If your power went out, the lines froze and it it was difficult to thaw the lines. If your water level got too low no water would circulate and lines freeze. If a rabbit could get to the tubing it would eat holes. All of these could have been managed, but also meant in any of these situations, none of the rabbits got water. When we moved we didn’t have power at the new rabbit home, so circulating water and heat was not an option.
Rabbit feed was another issue so we tried the rabbits on tractor system. I wanted two goals met. No mowing, and no feed for rabbits. The tractor met this goal, but had a negative of we kept losing rabbits despite having ample cover almost every time we have a med-heavy rain. another Negative is Jr. Farm Boss couldn’t move the tractors as they were too heavy. A solution could have been wheels but I wasn’t really happy with the tractor after a year of use.
Once we moved, and the number of rabbits increased we found that it was taking way too much time to manage all the rabbits. Especially if using tractors. Too many cages, too many waterers, feeders, and over 1/2 of chore time (we have over 200 animals) was spent on rabbits. Plus it took 2 people (Jr farm boss did water/food and I did moving them) or one adult. One of our end goals is her to be able to manage and take care of ALL the animals without us. We needed a new solution.We looked into central watering, wheels on tractor, but then still feed, freezing temps, and moving them was an issue. After some researching I found a woman’s setup I liked in the form of a colony. It solved most if not all of our problems.
Link to her video. Credit where credit is due.
We didn’t quite have the same available space/materials in our situation, but I took her idea and adapted to our own.
Here is our version 2.0 of colony. We have since moved to V 3.1.
V 1.0 just had the “home” area and they ate that in no time. I was having to bring in brush, yard clippings, more often than I liked. But it was fencing we had on hand and didn’t cost much at all to make. Most of our solutions take cost into consideration, or what materials do we have on hand that can be repurposed.
V 2.0 added the running tubes and roundabout with portable dog fencing to get more exposure to fresh grass. Again, my goal of never having to mow, and not buy rabbit food. The video was in the middle of winter. Our feed purchased went from one 40lb bag every two weeks to one bag every two months. We give pellets as a reserve or backup (rainy days, lazy rabbits, mamas) . They also get hay which we get for free. The don’t dig much and any deep holes we fill. We believe because we give them hiding spots using the drain pipes, and existing nesting boxes their needs are being met and no need to dig. With one tub for water, it is easier to fill, or change.
V 3.0 expanded the home area to the width of this particular grass area available. 100x what they had in V 2.0. We broke down and bought specific fencing for this project. We did use locust poles for fence posts as they were free and we harvested them. We also moved the water tub under the roofline so it is filled and flushed with each rain. We started getting babies once the temps warmed up. This led to another issue. Our barn cats who keep mice population down, now were able to get into and eat/kill new babies. Hence V3.1. Once a mama kids we take mama and her litter in the box to a contained and protected area.
Here is a video of V 3.1
With V3.1 we have had no losses due to rain. We have had no losses to to predator cats. We do have 3 livestock guardian dogs that keep other predators out. It is open top, and we have not lost any to birds of prey. Our feed is down to about one 40 lb bag every 4 months for 20ish rabbits. We do not have to mow any of this hillside. We supplement with weeds, cuttings from the garden, and around orchards. We went from 30+ minutes of rabbit management, to 1 min (checking on grass, food, water) to maybe 10 at most (move mobile area, clean/fill water, tend to mamas in protected area, move new mamas). Jr. Farm Boss (now 6yo) can do all of this on her own without assistance. The rabbits seem to be healthier and happier.
We have plans to evolve again to V 3.2 where the internal area in the shop/barn is larger, has climbing/jumping area, large door for easier cleaning, and floor to ceiling wire protection.
It has been a while since we posted on the website. We have been super busy and don’t get time to sit down at the computer. So rather than spend a bunch of time writing it all up, here are some pictures and video of what has been going on. We post more regularly on Facebook since it is easier to do out in the field.
This is One of our newest additions Nelly the Nubian. She doesn’t think she is a goat. More like a dog that follows Wee everywhere, even in the house.
Wee got chickens aka The Chickadees that will help keep parasites down in the pasture, spread manure, and give us eggs. She has taken care of them ALL BY HERSELF since they came to the farm.
She also digs worms for and with them.
It must be the WAY you say it. Apparently I don’t say it the right way. Calling in the ewes and lambs.
We were sent this picture of Jack from when he was a puppy.
Getting people food.
We sheared the sheep (1st time for either of us) 23 total
This was a ram I did all alone. I was very proud how it turned out for no training, and 1st season doing it.
We have had 6 baby goats thus far and 2 lambs to date
4 more goats left to kid, and 14 ewes left to lamb.
Lisa surprised us and gave birth in the group stall. We usually like to pull mommies out and have individual areas for them to give birth.
In addition to literally miles of fencing installed we have also been working on earthworks and structure by putting in swales.
Piggies have been busy clearing overgrown pasture and getting it ready for us.
Gytha had spa day where she got hair and nails done.
Now that spring is here we are busy splitting and planting herbs and plants.
Clearing wooded area to make new pastures and collecting locust fence posts and poles for new barns.
All this hard work sometimes wears you you as Jr Farm Boss
We are proud to say we are now part of the Indiana Grown community. If you are not sure what Indiana Grown is and is about check out their website. In a nutshell farms and businesses that display the Indiana Grown logo either grow, or produce the majority of products sold here in Indiana. They also have a facebook page.
Yes, yes, ye. It has been a while since we have done an update. We have been very busy since buying a farm. I would say I will go into more deation on some of these topics and builds, but, who has the time!
We are now at 115ish animals on the farm. Yes, that is roughly 100 new animals since March 2016. We may be around 150+ by spring 2017. We have had our first births on the farm. Seven American Guinea Hogs and two goats (only one lived). The AGH piglets are for sale if you are interested in your own grass fed pork, and we can partner with a family member who also has AGH if you are interested in an unrelated breeding pair.
We have planted hundreds of trees and bushes.
We have literally put in miles of fencing, and hand hammered hundreds of fence posts.
8,615 ft of woven, chain link, & welded wire fence
10,575 ft of electric fence
630 hand hammeredsix-ft T posts
3.6 MILES of hand installed fencing.
And this is only enclosing 8.75 acres of the 32 acre property. We still have a bunch to do.
We have two new livestock guardian dogs (LGD). Freyja and Sigyn. They will be training with Jack. Total dogs 5
7 new piglets
1 new goat kid “Bucky”. He will be a breeder.
1 new breeding male goat The Todd
4 new barn cats to keep mice away
“Boots” refused to have his picture taken for posting.
8 new sheep, although some are just visiting.
We have added on a sunroom/greenhouse to protect some plants, start plants and seeds early this spring, and house any bottle babies that may need some help when it is cold outside.
400+ bales of hay put up, and still more to come
Still to come or works in progress
10,000 gallon creek/pond through the orchard with koi, waterfalls, and bridge
Sugar shack for maple, black walnut, and sassafras syrups
Campground with a variety of style cabins and primitive campsites
Major barn addition with blacksmithing area
Hoop house over garden
Whispering Woods Haunted Halloween Hike Fall 2017 along with hog roast, and party. 2nd weekend in October.
Aquafest is upon us again. We will be back again this year and bringing some of our farm animals. Pixie our Finn ewe and Blue our Oberhasli milking doe. You can learn more about our animals (and videos) on our animals page. We will be talking about homesteading with sheep and goats, plus all our other animals, and some generals about what we have learned along the way and how you can get started too. We will be on site with the animals so stop on by and ask questions and chat with us. Aquafest is hosted by Aquatic Designs and Supply. Free, kids and family welcome, don’t forget to bring some quarters to feed the koi, they sure do love Aquafest, they eat VERY well during the event.
It has been two whole weeks since we added any new animals, and we just had to break the streak. This last weekend we got 4 new goats. They are all in the goat palace quarantine area for at least 30 days. We picked up four milking does; two were reported to be pregnant. If the girls were pregnant we will start milking them later this summer.
Our trial period is over for Jack. Jack came to freedom from the communist state next door. He roamed and protected his animals and was loved. His family is downsizing and moving to the city. He is not a city dog. We were on a trial basis until he decided he liked it here. We think he does, and now a new member to the farm. Notice we didn’t say previous family? That is because he came from one of the Aunties and they come and visit. If you don’t follow Rick on Facebook the Aunties are a group of women we have adopted as part of our family. Some near to us geographically, some across the country.
Lastly, I will be picking up some guinea keets this week. They will be truly free range and patrol the property for ticks. We may have some losses due to predators, but maybe not. We haven’t seen too many predator birds or other animals. With 2 farms dogs, kids, and us on the property we wanted an organic way to control ticks. This will be our first year ever having them. Before we start tours, we would like the tick population reduced.
Check out our “Our Animals” page for more information on all of our animals on the farm.
If you have been following us lately we have been adding numerous animals to our farm. Here is what we have to date. Most we want on pasture eating grass. But we do give them salt blocks and the treats to give additional nutrients not found in grass alone. This treats is a feed mix we make ourselves, but the same basic mix is put together and everyone can eat it. This is our first year doing this, so it is an experiment. After three months everyone seems to be doing well on it. We plan on experimenting with different mixes and combinations and as we learn more and refine the mix we will update everyone.
Why one mix? It lowers costs if animals cannot get out to pasture, or as a supplement to grass. If we didn’t give them the treats, they would me much harder to manage. We make sure, we show them the feed can, and shake it. We can get the llamas to come in from across the pasture, with just the can shaking. This is in no way the bulk of their diets. A coffee can 1/2 full to full for each species once a day if they get out on pasture, and twice a day if they are unable to forage.
It also reduces the risk of someone getting sick because they got the wrong feed mix. Since our youngest feeds animals regularly (5), and we have guests, and family help if they want to there are no accidents of giving an animal the wrong feed. Everyone can eat the base mix, and no additions can hurt anyone. Some species cannot tolerate certain feeds/supplements as easily as others.
What is in our feed mix?
Rather than give you all the nutritional details, I will like to a site which has them all for each component. Feedipedia is a AWESOME site.
Basewhich is given to turkeys, ducks, chickens for meat, geese, and chickens for eggs. It can also be given to the other animals as is, but they like a little extra in the mix. We purposely left soy out of the mix for now. Yes it is a big source of protein if growing animals for meat, we know. The base also is easily spread using a hand broadcast seeder. This allows the birds space to eat, increases foraging skills, and there is no fighting over the feed bucket/pile.
We recently added American Guinea Hogs to our list of animals. Until we can build them an enclosure in one of the pastures, they are happy hanging out in one of the barn stalls. They love grass. Because of their diet there is almost no smell to them. Not what you typically experience with confined pigs. They drop, almost nuggets like horses, cows, and the goats. Not the soupy mess I have experienced from other operations. They talk to us each time we are around, and for the most part very easy going. Back to my point, about lawns. We have a push mower, and bagger. 1-2 strips on the lawn is enough for morning feeding, about 1/2 bag-3/4 loosely packed. Do it again in the evening, and they are good to go. But, but, but my lawn will be uneven….Um, who cares? By the time you NEED to mow again you will be back to your original spot. It is FREE food for pigs, who love it. Granted, not all areas allow pigs. But a 14’x30′ space in the barn is perfect if you don’t have room outside. They get treats, in the form of our universal feed mix, but really prefer the grass to anything else.
Well, it looks like we have another new addition in as many days. This time it is turkeys and Freedom Ranger meat birds. Last night while going to the farm supply store (Rural King) to get fencing, so we could put the pigs on pasture, they had new birds. And well, since we were already there, added Bourbon Turkey (breeding and or meat), seven more Khaki Campbells (for eggs), and eighteen Freedom Rangers (for meat). Then another three hundred pounds of feed to make our One Feed to Feed them All (this is for treats in the morning and at night). Finally almost 1,000 feet of fencing and posts. It was a busy night.
To see a complete list of our animals we have on site, check out our “Our Animals” page.