FREE $50 Bonus
Spread the Joy
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
http://redbarnblueskies.com/tag/livestock/
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
INSTAGRAM
Handmade Soap - Kids Soap, Glycerine Soap with Essential Oils
Follow Us


Follow

Posts Tagged ‘livestock’

postheadericon Small Livestock for Small Spaces

Urban and small space homesteaders are learning they don’t have to limit themselves to plants in their endeavors to be self-sufficient. With the rising popularity of small livestock who are thriftier and multi-purposed, it is becoming more common to find chickens or even goats in backyards as well as barnyards.

 

Finding the right small livestock for small spaces doesn’t have to be hard. Match your needs and goals with the right animals and everyone wins.

Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Small Livestock

If you’re considering adding animals to your homesteading project or you just want some smaller livestock to work with, here are some suggestions that may suit your needs.

Chickens

Chickens are the obvious first choice when it comes to livestock that can be kept in a smaller area. They’re the most popular and the easiest animal to get started with. And as we’ve discussed before, they are the gateway livestock for new farmers.

 

Before you even go look at the chicks at the feed store, determine what you want them for. Are you after daily eggs and a chicken in the pot for every Sunday dinner? Then you’ll want a breed like the Plymouth Barred Rock. They’re multi-purpose birds bred for heavy egg production combined with a tasty, meaty carcass.

Plymouth Barred Rock Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces

If you’re wanting to fill your freezer fast with great tasting chicken, raise a bunch of Cornish cross meat chickens. They’re bred to bulk up fast and provide a meaty 4-pound broiler carcass in only 7-8 weeks.

 

If you’re wanting a fluffy piece of yard art that wanders around your garden for comic relief, you might look at some of the exotic breeds such as a Cochin or Polish hen. Figuring out why you want chickens can help you choose the right breed or breeds for you.

 

Although the breeds are all different, the basic care is the same. They need food, water, shelter, and a place to lay their eggs. While the food and water stay the same, you can be as simple or elaborate as you like with the shelter and nest box areas. As long as the chickens have a safe, dry, draft-free area to roost at night, they’ll be content.

Goat Trio at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

 

Goats

Goats are available in many breeds and come in full sizes and miniatures. Which breed or size you choose should depend on many factors. These include but aren’t limited to:

 

     ~ Available space – As with everything else, smaller animals require less space (and feed). If you are very limited in the area you can allot to goats, you may consider some of the minis. Several of the breeds are heavy milk producers in spite of their petite size.

     ~ Purpose – Goats have been used for multiple purposes over the centuries. Milk, meat, fiber, and hide are the physical resources they provide. The different breeds have been designed to excel in one or more of these aspects. Goats are also tasked with pulling carts, carrying packs, and being used for weed abatement and control. They are a multi-purpose creature that can definitely pay their own way.

     ~ Containment – Goats are notorious escape artists. Until you are prepared with a securely fenced area to house them, you might want to reconsider goats – large or small. They will get out and wander the neighborhood, leaving destruction in their path. Your neighbors won’t appreciate your goats eating their rosebushes and patio chairs.

     ~ Time – With their extremely high intelligence level, goats need attention and stimulation. They love company and get bored easily. Plan on spending quality time with your goats. It is well worth it as they are very affectionate and entertaining animals.

Quail at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Quail

Aside from their beauty and compact size, quail are another type of poultry that can be a delight to have. They are industrious little birds that lay eggs on a regular, daily basis – more routinely than chickens. Of course, their eggs are on the small size, but they make up for that in quantity. Pickled quail eggs are a true delight that everyone should try at least once.

 

Quail are easy to care for and have very basic needs. Compared to chickens which need 3-4 square feet each, quail only require one. They can be kept in hutches up off the ground, similar to those of rabbits. They can also be kept in pens or coops, but not in with the chickens. Chickens carry diseases that can be deadly to quail. As long as they are in pens that are separated by at least several feet, they will be fine.

 

 

One thing that most beginning quail keepers aren’t ready for is how violent quail can be toward each other. The males can over breed and scalp the females if there isn’t a large enough girl to boy ratio or a large enough space to provide escape routes. The males become quite aggressive and can kill or seriously wound the other birds if not monitored and allowed room to roam. Provide lots of hiding places, overturned flower pots are ideal.

 

Because the quail are so fertile and prolific, they are an economical and even profitable source of meat and eggs. Selling quail eggs and meat to fancy restaurants is something to consider if you are looking into raising them on a larger scale.

Rabbit at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Rabbits

Rabbits have always been a popular choice for those with limited space, in the city or the country. They can be kept in hutches, pens, and even in your backyard running around on the lawn. It is easy to keep their pens clean. Their droppings (pellets) are great for fertilizing your garden as they’re not “hot” like chicken manure. Their diet is simple with a heavy emphasis on greens. Which rabbits you decide to raise will depend on what your goal is – breeding, fur, or meat.

 

Most rabbit breeds are known for having large litters so they tend to be a good investment that multiplies quickly. You must keep a close eye on the mothers/does, especially if it is their first litter, as rabbits can be cannibalistic and eat their young. Keeping them as stress-free as possible will help deter this, but it can be an issue with some breeds or individual rabbits.

 

Because rabbits are a great project for beginners, they are a top choice for 4-H and FFA members just getting started. They are an easy to handle type of small livestock and non-threatening for young children. They’re an easy animal to get into financially as there are not a lot of large expenses initially and the returns can be considerable in a short amount of time.

 

So do you have small livestock? What kind of animals do you prefer?

Stock up for the New Year at Tractor Supply! Apparel, Feed, Fencing, and more. Shop Now!

postheadericon Greta Does Goat Parkour Like a Jedi

It is never a good sign when you find one of your animals in an unexpected or unwanted place. It is even worse when you can’t figure out how they’ve done it.

 

Goat parkour with Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Two days ago I finally learned just how Greta the (baby) goat was getting out – she is a master of goat parkour at only 5 weeks old! Or she’s a Jedi – I can’t decide exactly how she rolls, jumps or flies. Whichever way it is, the Force is obviously strong in this little one. Fortunately, just like her mama Nibbles, Greta can be bribed with goat treats and head scratches.

 

Goat Parkour with Greta at redbarnblueskies.com

 

You met Greta and the rest of the goats a few weeks ago. Well, despite everything we “thought” we could do to keep them contained, we failed. We knew we’d have to eventually relocate the bantam chicken coops to the other side of the runs/pens, but Greta forced us to do it a little sooner than planned.

 

Greta started bouncing off one of the chicken wire covered panels with all four feet when she was about two weeks old. We didn’t think anything of it except that it was cute and very acrobatic. That is until she figured out how to use the rebound from the panel to throw herself against the side of the coop and right up on top of it! She obviously saw someone doing the sport of parkour in another life and decided to turn it into to her own brand of goat parkour.

 

Greta the Goat demonstrates goat parkour at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

What Is It?

(People) parkour has its roots in military training exercises. The aim of parkour is to get from one point to another in the quickest and most efficient manner using only your body and elements in the environment such as walls, rocks, rails, etc.  Jumping, rolling, crawling, bouncing, swinging or just about any other movement that can propel you is used in parkour. It is most often seen in more urban settings, but parkour can be practiced anywhere.

 

Goat Parkour

Greta’s goat parkour is definitely not being performed in an urban environment and hopefully isn’t militant in nature. When not being performed with the intent of escape, I think it may be more reminiscent of Stuart from MADtv when he exclaims “Look what I can do!” right before doing something goofy.

 

Goat Parkour post with Stuart from MadTV

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Greta practices her moves daily in our temporary goat pen using the fence, the coops, her mother, and anything she can bounce a hoof off of. She tries to coerce her twin brother, Groot into joining her, but he’s much more mellow than she is. (It may have to do a bit with a small procedure he underwent recently. More on that later.)

 

Once we determined exactly how she put her moves to use to get OUT of the pen, we decided to do some redecorating. The photos below show Greta and Groot supervising the hubby as he removes the two bantam chicken coops from the area. Hopefully, having one less level to rebound off of and on to will keep Greta’s four little feet mostly on the ground.

 

Groot and Greta Goat supervising coop removal at Red Barn Blue Skies for goat parkour

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t crawl into the coop and do chicken impressions.

 

Goat parkour in the Chicken Coop with Groot and Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

“Bawk, Bawk”

 

postheadericon Protecting Your Farm with Good Bio-Security Practices

Bio-security is something every farmer or rancher should be aware of. It doesn’t matter if you have 6 pet chickens or 60 breeding birds, 5 head of cattle and 3 pigs. Protecting all of these animals is a priority. The key to keeping them safe is to use common sense and follow good bio-security practices.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Goat Kids Playing Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Ways in Which Disease is Spread

By knowing how diseases are transmitted, you can lessen the chances that your animals will contract any of them.

  • Just like people, healthy animals can become ill from sick ones. The usual methods are contaminated feed or water and actual physical contact. Dead or dying animals need to be removed immediately from common areas.
  • People can be carriers and bring disease home with them. They then spread the germs around unknowingly. It is easy to become contaminated on your person, clothing and shoes, feedbags and even your vehicle.

 

Photo of Julie's green muck boots at redbarnblueskies.com

 

Prevention is Key

Apply basic bio-security measures to every type of animal – whether domestic pet or livestock. It is less expensive and much easier to stop the spread of disease to begin with, than it is to fight it once it’s taken hold. After your animals have been exposed, it is already much harder to play catch up and you may still lose some of your livestock.

  • Good bio-security practices should become a part of your everyday routine. Any employees or visitors to your farm should be made aware of and asked to follow your rules. If at all possible, refrain from outsiders interacting with your livestock. For those deemed necessary visits, disposable clothing and footwear is a simple and useful precaution.
  • Overcrowding is something many people overlook. When you have too many animals in too small of an area, your risk for disease and illness skyrockets. Stressed animals are weakened and more susceptible to anything floating around.
  • Stay aware of local issues. Be sure you know what is happening in areas your animals may travel. This will include your dogs as well as the bull you’re loaning out for breeding. If you are told of any illness or issues, keep them home until it is resolved.

 

Red Barn Blue Skies Pig behind Fence

 

  • A simple precaution that is invaluable is to quarantine new animals. This is also good practice for any of your current animals who may be acting a little off or showing some signs of sickness. Any animals returning home from elsewhere such as a show or that prized bull who went visiting the neighbors should also do a little time in isolation. By keeping them from immediately contacting your healthy livestock, you can stop any disease from spreading if they have become carriers. A thirty-day quarantine is the widely accepted standard for this preventative measure for most animals.
  • Feed contamination can be easily prevented by keeping your feed covered, dry and free of mold. Rodents can’t ruin what they can’t reach.
  • Many other domestic animals and wildlife can be carriers of disease without showing visible symptoms. Keep contact to a minimum. This includes wild birds interacting with your poultry.

 

redbarnblueskies.com hand sanitizer bio-security

 

The Power of Clean

The number one weapon in the bio-security battle is cleanliness. Regular disinfection and having everything neat and orderly is a huge step towards fighting disease and illness on your farm.

  • All equipment needs to be cleaned regularly and disinfected when possible.
  • Regular cleaning is a necessity with ongoing manure and waste removal.
  • Always wash well before and after any contact with all animals. You must avoid the cross-contamination between healthy and sick livestock. Work with any ill or quarantined animals last in order to not carry germs or disease to the healthy ones.
  • Have your own special clothing and shoes to use when working with your animals at home. Don’t wear these clothes away from home and don’t wear your “town clothes” to the barn.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Pair of Oxen for bio-security article

 

Good Bio-Security Practices Should Become a Way of Life

The better educated you become regarding good bio-security habits, the better armed you will be in fighting the onset of disease. Stay on top of learning what illnesses are common or currently making the rounds for your particular livestock and the area where you live.

By taking precautions to keep your animals healthy, you are ultimately protecting the health and safety of you, your family and possibly your livelihood.

postheadericon Horses of Course

Today’s topic: Horses of course.

 

Many of you have asked how Wedgie (aka the Wedge, Phantom, and butthead) has been doing.  Well, he turned 4 months old on September 22nd and he’s quite the big boy.  Dad is talking about weaning him early as he doesn’t nurse near as much as he pigs out on his mama’s grain and hay.

 

As usual, I had a hard time getting photos of him.  He either wanted to run and play with me or he wouldn’t get his head out of the feeder.  So I only have the two pictures today, but I’ll get some more in the next week or so just to show you what a little pill he is.

 

In other horse news, Mr. MoonCat has a new horse.  His buddy Whiskey just wasn’t cutting it when it comes to working cattle.  Whiskey would much rather cruise along the trails and go for long scenic rides than participate in the cow events.  So he’ll be going to a new home with someone who enjoys just trail riding.  He’s been a great first horse for the hubby while he’s been learning about riding and life in general with the equine bunch.

Whiskey

 

This is the only photo I managed to snap this morning. We were in a hurry, so hopefully, I’ll get some updated shots later in the week with Mr. MoonCat doing his thing. “Swifty” is the name my Dad bestowed upon the new guy.  In case you’re wondering, it’s actually an oxymoron. The horse is a bit on the lazy side.

But as usual, if the naming is left to Pops, he’ll name him according to where he came from.  The previous owner was named Swift so there ya have it.  (I warned hubby…)

 

Swifty

 

I know he looks similar to Whiskey in coloring, but Swifty is actually a registered Paint Horse whereas Whiskey is a Quarter Horse.  Swifty is a real sweetie, very gentle and able to teach Mr. MoonCat a whole lot more than Whiskey could.  The hubby is excited because this new horse LIKES to work cattle!

 

So that’s the happenings for now.  In closing I’ll leave you with a shot of Adolph (Dad’s dog that he got from his neighbor, yup – named Adolph) sharing his doggy bag from breakfast with the chickens.

 

Yummm..biscuits and gravy