Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Piglet Surpise

Piggly Wiggly (our 50% large black gilt) lived with our large black boar for about 3 months earlier this year (Janurary through March).  Since they were living together, we weren't exactly sure when she was bred and couldn't use the 3 month, 3 weeks, 3 days method of figuring out when she was due.  We knew she was getting close because she was getting HUGE.  Last week her teats starting sticking out more and her utter-area was a bit bulkier.  I told Matt Friday I thought she would have piglets over the weekend, he told me he thought she was still a couple of weeks away.  Turns out we were both wrong.  I went out for morning chores and found seven tiny piglets hanging out in the pasture.

Well, it's been HOT, so Matt jumped into emergency mode.  He rushed off to pick up some palates from a construction site in town.  While he was gone, the piglets took matters into their own hands.

Building the shelter turned into a family affair.  Isaac helped hold wood as Matt connected 4 palates (2 for the back and one on each side) by screwing them onto two 2x4's then screwing a 4x8 sheet of plywood on top and a 2x8 sheet of plywood onto the back.  Some hay was added to the bottom and, viola, instant piglet shelter.

The piglets seem to be enjoying their new area.  We sure enjoy watching them.  The piglets are 75% Large Black and 25% Yorkshire.  Six of them appear to be all black and one is white with black spots like their mom.  And they are all cute!  The pictures do not do them justice in the least.  However, if you'd like to see more pictures, check them out by looking up ICAcres (local business) on Facebook.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Computer is FIXED!!! Quick Update.

Blog, oh how I have missed thee!  Although, truth be known, I just missed having the computer, period.  It is hard to get much accomplished when certain letters on the keyboard are not working.  Maybe if it were "X" and "Z" I could have worked around it, but we were missing R, T, F, G, V, B...pretty important letters, especially when you need "R" to log into accounts!  Now I have to catch up on the blog, email, the website, and a variety of other odds and ends.

So much has happened in the past month, where should I start?  We had SIX litters of rabbits!!!  Ranging from litters of 1 to 8, we will have plenty to sell for both meat and breeding stock in just a few weeks.  The influx of rabbits led to Matt building another 4 large cages.  We have had a problem with does having litters outside of their nest boxes.  I let one doe just raise her litter without the box and they all survived, but the others I put in the boxes with good luck.  This is my theory on the nest boxes.  The first boxes we had weren't quite big enough, so Matt built plain wood boxes they originally liked.  I think the wood absorbs too many scents and the does do not like giving birth in nests that smell like other rabbits.  We have talked about designing an all metal box, out of small 1/2-inch wire with some type of rubber or plastic lining the top edges so the rabbits don't get cut hopping in and out.  The wire would be more easily cleaned and it would be comparable to the litter that was raised on the floor of the wire cage.  (Only I wouldn't have to check on them several times a day to make sure they have enough hay and are not crawling out of the cage.)  

Chicks have also been hatching like crazy...and Chesney has learned to open the brooder.  She just loves the baby chickens and wants to take them out and play with them when no one is looking, so we had to start locking the brooder.

Speaking of poultry, our turkeys are still not producing young because they do not like each other.  Our hen has, however, fallen in love with her reflection...but only when seen from the bumper of the truck.  Hmm, maybe it's really the truck she is in love with.  (If only we could hatch little F-150's!!!) 

I won't try to catch up on the entire month all at once, so one last bit of news: we finally got some farm help!

Wait, that's not him!  We hired a local high school student to help with evening chores during the week and to take care of the farm when we need to be out of town.  Or just want to be out of town.  I am dreaming of vacation spots already!