November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
So it's been a very busy couple of days here at Heriter Farms. Yesterday we moved the teenagers from the barn to pasture and got them staked out. Other day to day activities. Today the adult cows were moved to pasture (much less stress that moving the teenagers). Then we tagged the new calfs with ID and rfid tags (radio frequency identification display), stressful but not too bad. Then moved them to the pasture with the teenagers. Then moved Brutus from his area onto fresh pasture that we want fully chewed up for planting (very rich soil that will be great for squash and pumpkins for winter pig feed). Then moved the pigleys, and their house, onto pasture close to Brutus. Tomorrow Daisy and the Tammys get moved.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
That's gotta hurt! So the egg on the left is a store bought extra large egg, the brown egg is a just laid organic egg from my chickens. And they are all normal size chickens. So that one has to hurt lol!
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Another day, another calf, another rain storm. I am so sick of rain. Had about 4" of rain in the last couple of weeks so everything is soaked through and through, mud everywhere, water standing, running and eroding the land. Fields are soaked or actual pools/ ponds. So moving the cattle onto pasture will be delayed until they can dry out a bit so the cattle don't destroy the fields. On the bright side another calf, another female, was born this morning. Ester is her name, but smaller than the other girls, probably because her mom is a heifer, a younger cow and not as mature or large as the other moms. We might have to tie her to a post for feeding for the next couple of days to get her used to nursing as she's moving around too much for Ester to nurse properly. Yesterday I made a new feeder for the pigleys so they can all feed at once without the panic that was occurring with the smaller feed bowls. Plus they made me do a face plant (almost face plant) into the mud yesterday after they tripped me. So enough of that. Now I can stand outside their pen and pour their food in without being tripped and nipped and pestered. Sunday will be a drive back to Stayner to pick up the haybine (cuts the hay in he field). One of the many pieces of equipment a farmer needs to get hay, along with a baler, rake, manure spreader, tractors, trailers (flatbead for hauling equipment and hay, livestock trailer, dump trailer) backhoe, timber winch, chipper, wood mill. It seems to be never ending. Not to mention the building that will be occurring. But that's for another post
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Say hello to Erica! Born this morning to Astro she's almost identical in colour to Edward, And very hungry and already trying to run around. Wasn't working too well to start, coordination was not her strong suit initially but she's doing much better. So that's calf number 4, bringing the total Highland count to 38 here at Heriter Farms. I was a little late with the morning feeding after 16 hours on the road yesterday driving to Windsor to pick up a gooseneck trailer for equipment and hay, then to Stayner to get the new (used) baler (2013 model that only has 300 bales on it) then back to the farm. For a total of 1,370 kilometers and a tired back. Luckily Duke and Valencia took care of the feedings so I could crash when I got back. So it was great to be greeted with the new baby Highland this morning
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Who knew, chickens lay eggs at all times of the day. First 24 hours of bringing them home and they delivered 17 eggs in total. And 10 weren't supposed to be laying yet. I'm very impressed, looks like I made the right choice in chicken breeds.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
And we have eggs, 10 for 10! 10 birds are old enough to lay and 10 did, very surprising as they usually stop for a day or two because of stress (moving). Nice.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Picked up 20 Organic Rhode Island Reds, 2 age groups, first is already laying, 2nd group will be laying in a couple of weeks. Chose these birds as they are hardy, prolific egg layers and have pretty good disposition. No rooster yet as I want to learn about them without the distraction of a busy male around. According to Ontario's ridiculous laws, I'm limited to 100 layers and 300 meat birds, that is unless I want to spend $1.5M for quota. I can have any number of cattle or pigs but you are limited with poultry. Oh yes, I can raise 50 turkeys. So happy with the birds, they are important to the whole cattle/ pasture development process, plus I love eggs and chicken. They will spend the summer on pasture, fresh air, bugs, lots of ground scratching, some worms when it rains while spending nights inside movable chicken houses for protection from the fox's, coyote/wolves, raccoons and weasels.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Farmer lesson....Electric fence. As most of you know, I've jumped into full time farming with absolutely no experience in farming. If it wasn't for the internet, youtube especially, I would not have been able to do it at all. So, having no farming experience, I had no knowledge/experience with electric fencing. Remarkable stuff. Today's electric fence is relatively cheap, easy to work with, comes in many styles (single/multi strand, netting etc). One thing that hasn't changed is it delivers very high voltage but almost no amperage. Result, it hurts but doesn't damage. I've got zapped many times in the last 5 months since I got the Highlands, they all surprised me, a few even made me cuss a word or two (ok, almost always and sometimes three words). Well today was a WHOLE new experience. Turns out, even if you are wearing gloves (ok, thin gloves) you can get zapped. ESPECIALLY if you touch the wire and 1" away you touch a bare metal post that is buried in concrete (in other words, a PERFECT grounding rod). Well, let me tell you, that caused more than a few cuss words proceeded by a scream of pain that caused my helper to assume I'd been gored by one of he Highlands (I was in the feeding trough doling out the evening feed). From my kneeling position, it caused me to drop to my knees, I said I was ok but man did it hurt. Felt like the base of my thumb had been instantly cooked. So, another farmer lesson that I'm sure I won't forget.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Meet Edward! So I confirmed he is a boy, so he gets a royal name as the first male calf born at Heriter Farms. He's an unusual grey that I haven't seen before in any of the Highlands when I've visited other farms. Not sure if he will stay this shade or change but he's a good size calf and Pearl is being an attentive mom as all Highlands are noted to be.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
So new calf has arrived, first baby born at Heriter Farms in the afternoon. Born shortly before this photo was taken, momma Pearl is being pretty protective. Got close to the baby but not too close before she waggled her horns, snorted, and took a step forward. So, backed off. Can't tell if male or female so no name yet (to be chosen from the list everyone suggested), will try tomorrow.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Eve and Elsa (black and dunn respectively) are now sleeping out on the pasture where they belong. They sleep close to each other and are becoming best friends, as shown by their playing together. Lucy being a great mom, laying down and blocking her babies into their sleeping area so they stay warm under the heat lamp. Zennia doing her Highland cattle pose ("Yes, I'm big and beautiful") on a hill. This was just before she came down to within a foot of me to keep an eye on me as I was close to Eve. And finally, me milking a cow! Satin actually as Elsa was having difficulty latching on the first day so we milked her and bottle fed her. Happy to say she is now doing great by herslef.
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November 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Calfs playing, no more need be said! But I will anyway. Went out to do the evening feeding, checked on the calfs and moms now that they are on pasture and saw Eve and Elsa head butting each other and playing. Very cute. And great to see as it means they are healthy and happy. And yes, I watched for much longer than this video. Way too much time watching babies lately, both pigs and cows.
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October 25, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Today's Farming Lessons.... - its very difficult to get a 500 lbs pig to do anything she doesn't want to do - Highland cattle will do the G.I.Joe belly crawl on their knees underneath the bucket of your tractor to NOT go into the barn when they don't want to...even if they are 1,000 lbs and due in a week or two - calfs and mom's LOVE to get onto pasture after being cooped up for winter - you can loose an hour or two very easily just watching newborn calfs running around a pasture - if a sow won't do something that you would expect her to do, based on her personality and history, then you need to figure out what you haven't done right (Hint: put hay in the nursing area for Lucy to lay on to nurse her new babies, not just wood shavings!) - that I would feel real sorrow for still-born piglet and not even think about the lost money he represented - that 6 new piglets can make a ton of noise even though they were only born an hour before That was my interesting day
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Double header last night, finally! Satin had the dark dunn coloured calf and Zennia had the black calf, Zennia's calf is def female and we believe so is Satin's (but so far she is being very protective. Glad to finally have some calfs as the "moms to be" have been separated from the main group for almost three weeks. So Heriter Farms has a fold (what Highland herds are called) of 36 so far, should be 50+ by the fall. Very exciting. So I'm looking for names for the calfs. Under the naming convention in Canada for Highlands, each year is designated by a different letter. 2016 were D's (hence Deuteronomy, Darwin, Dobbie, etc) for last years calfs, this year they are "E's"! So suggest away.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Trading in my official "Pig Weight Estimator Badge". So there is a formula to figure out a pigs weight, measure the heart girth (around the pig behind the front legs), square that number, then multiply that number by the length from the tail to the ears, then divide that number by 400 and you have the pigs weight. So, I thought Daisy was 300 lbs, she is. Thought Lucy was about 500, nope, she's6550. And Brutus, who I thought was about 500????? 1,050 POUNDS!!!!!!! That's a big pig. Thank God he's a sweetie who just likes head scratches and ear rubs. So I continue to learn this farming stuff, new things everyday. Couldn't do it without the internet and especially YouTube. But it was a beautiful day and got the babies moved out to the pig paddock where they had a blast doing what pigs were meant to do, root around, make a mess, make a wallow (mud pit with water), get muddy and be happy. Which they did and they were.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
The pigleys are more comfortable going outside but inside the electric wire to be separated from the cows. And we moved Brutus in the pig carrier to his outside pen for the spring and summer.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
I admire your heart Cornelius.....but! So yesterday Cornelius (or Corny as we call him) decided to take on "the old man", the head bull, Saskatoon. Now Saskatoon is 11 years old, and rather large as you can see, about 1800 pounds. Corny, not so much. Luckily for him, Saskatoon is pretty easy going and doesn't see Corny as any serious threat or competition. More like the bothersome younger brother you put up with. Cause if he wanted to, he could flip Corny across the barnyard, no problem. After the pic was taken, Corny gave up on the frontal attack and was jabbing Saskatoon in the hind leg with one of his mighty horns. Saskatoon just looked back and resignedly walked away. Nice bull!
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
The video really doesn't do it justice. Saskatoon was bellowing and challenging the new bull, Brad, for 3 hours, till he finally calmed down and stopped. Either that or he got laryngitis! Brad responded and the vocal battle was on. Saskatoon was pawing the ground like I have never seen while bellowing his heart out. Funny and scary at the same time. If they weren't separated by a gate and electric fence it would have been a battle royal
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
New Heriter Farms additions! Today I picked up Carolina (pregnant and due in the fall with the blond bangs and end of tail), Rosie (5 years old and due in about a month) and Bradley, 3 years old in a week ( a proven bull who is a great addition to the fold). The rest of the crew welcomed the newbies with open hearts! Except for Saskatoon! He was not as welcoming.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Two new additions to Heriter Farms! Picked them up last Sunday, two pure Tamworths. I've named them Lucy (the lighter one) and Brutus. Lucy is due April 20th and is 2.5 years old, Brutus is 2 years 2 months old and about 500 pounds! Lucky he's good natured, even though when he grunts (which he does a lot!), he sounds like he wants to take your arm off. So by October there will be about 20 pigs available for purchase, fed only organic feed and pasture raised, being happy pigs rooting around and getting big, like nature intended them to be raised.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Ultimate pig pile! Taken a couple of days ago, the pigley's piled up 3 high to help stay warm, kind of like a cheerleader pyramid, minus the skirts. Still growing like crazy, nosy as well, if I'm in the pen working, they are curious as all get out about me and what in doing.
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October 24, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
The pigleys are two weeks and one day old in this photo and are growing like weeds. Very active and curious and driving Daisy crazy. So she got some alone time today outside in the barnyard with the cows. And here are the big brave Highlands, 1,000 pound scary cats. Mind you, Daisy is formidable if she hears her babies crying and will easily charge any cow that gets too close to the door to the farrowing area
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October 16, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
So the male baby pigs were having "that" special operation today so Mom got to have some outdoor time. Which she loved! Till the squealing started. Thennnn, not so happy! After I stopped recording she kinda attacked the door on the right, almost tore it off the hinges before the four boys were done. She was very happy to get inside with her babies and I got to wash the blood off my hand from where the board smacked my hand after she tore it off the door. Life of a farmer! But she's a great mom and a great pig to have.
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September 30, 2017 • 0 comment(s)