Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Livestock update

Just a quick update on the livestock. The pigs are now 16 weeks old and are growing well. They are smashing - quiet, friendly, fun and just good to have around. Not sure if it is the breed or just these four. The boars will need to be moved soon and so we must get on with fencing the second growers pen, which will be their temporary accommodation. We have been lucky enough to have been given a second hand pig ark. It does need a little restoration but will be ideal for now and in the future.We also need to stock up on hay and straw as the feed/store shed is completely empty.

Fred, the bottle lamb, is finally beginning to improve. He lost so much condition, it has really set him back. At one stage it seemed feasible to hang on to Annie's lamb for a few extra weeks whilst Fred caught up and we could send them off together.We will now have Fred's company well into the New Year, I think.
The rest of the sheep are fine. With all this wet weather the grass is growing again, so plenty for them to eat. I have to confess to spoiling them during the wet weather, bedding up the stable and filling the hay rack for them.

The geese just carry on as usual. Although poor old Henry is feeling his age. We are his fourth owners and from what we understand he must be at least 25 years plus. This years breeding season, although he mated the geese fine he had lost his usual aggressive attitude towards us and now he just seems tired. I will be surprised if he sees the winter out.

The growers that we moved to the yard at the weekend are thoroughly enjoying their new space and now look like small chickens rather than big chicks. Last night four of the nine even managed to put themselves to bed in the hen house ! All the other hens and chicks are well.

I'm not happy with the turkeys being indoors, I do like to see all livestock outside in the fresh air. We are weaning them off the heat but it will be another 2 weeks before they have none at all and then another three weeks before we can safely let them run outside at the yard.

As for the bees- well - a long story that I will post separately. Suffice to say with an unbelievable amount of bad luck we are now down to two, possibly only one hive and are awaiting the arrival of a new queen bee in the post any day now !


Anonymous said...

do you intend to keep any of the pigs for breeding or are they all destined for the freezer?

Sandra said...

Tempting - but freezer I'm afraid, hence the need to seperate them soon.Although one of the sows is unrelated so it would be possible, however they aren't birth notified and we really don't have the time or space as things are now.

The two boars will go first, in a couple of months time for pork, the two gilts we will run on to bacon weight.

Anonymous said...

oh right - interesting. is there a time limit you need to aim for to avoid boar taint - or is tht not a worry?

how old do pigs need to be to be considered bacon weight?

Sandra said...

It's been many years since I had any boars.We are aiming to finish them around 6 months..hopefully just before maturity to avoid any chance of taint.Many people say it's rare, others say it's if they have 'worked', others more to do with the stress of handling etc....I don't know - if we avoid all three we will hopefully be OK.

Bacon weight we tend to go by eye.