Sunday, January 8

Sun. Jan. 8th... Sickness Seems To Be The Daily Order of This House......

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I just got over some kind of crappy sickness last week and then Vick got it about three days ago. She is now suffering from a chest cold and I’m getting it again!
We have an appointment tomorrow morning to get some antibiotics from our doctor to start battling this croup or what ever it is that is making me miserable again. Vick takes it in stride as long as she doesn’t get nauseas...and if she feels like she may throw up...everything stops for fear of vomiting. She hates that and has only ever thrown up two or three times in her life. (Lucky girl)
Seriously....I understand her fear of throwing up. It’s never a pleasant thing and it makes your torso muscles ache for days, so I hope she gets over this quickly and it doesn’t turn into a stomach thing.
We still need to do what we need to do on the farm, so the other night when I put the animals in for the evening; I loaded the meat birds that I banded the evening before, into a wire cage and moved them to the big barn chicken coop. I set up a temporary wire fence against the wall, effectively dividing the coop into two sections so we can keep the meat birds confined for a week, in the barn. They need a week to break their preference for going home to the brooding house. The week will allow them to forget and become accustomed to the new barn as their home. I clipped their wings so they can’t fly over the four foot fencing and the regular chickens will not mix with these meat birds, so we don’t have to worry about them flying into the cage, because they know the meat birds will peck them. After a week, they will all become acquainted and used to each other and they will get along fine after being released. We decided to do this so they can continue to put weight on before processing them, giving us chickens as we need them, instead of just filling the freezers to the hilt. We decided to do the same with the turkeys and just last week, sold five live ones to a friend who wants to breed and hatch poults. Now we have a male and three hens left. We will finish raising them to maturity and then, incubate their eggs next spring for poults, which we will offer for sale. We will also raise our own for the fall holiday seasons by incubating poults in March.
Heritage birds grow slowly and will be about ready for harvest in early November, making them perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales.
We will continue to raise meat chickens all summer long in the same manner we are now....banding them to run free until needing to go to market. That way we will have a constant supply of birds for our customers and ourselves. We will sell chickens and turkeys in our farm store along with all the other farm products this coming summer when we finish the farm store.
We will look around for some period shelving or counters from some old local abandoned and dilapidated stores in the neighborhood, which are falling apart. It will aid us in making the farm store look as closely as we can to an old store from the forties or fifties as we planned to do. We simply need to stop and inquire about who owns those old stores and see if any old counter or display cases and shelves are inside and if they will sell them to us for our store.
All the alpacas are together with the sheep and are getting along just fine. How nice it is to deal with them. They are a pleasure to be around and I would love to have more, but shearing is a fortune and winter feeding can be costly. Our friend’s Phil and Shelly from Brooklyn Alpacas, has around 25 to 27 animals, with a lot of females...some of which will be having cria in the spring. That will be neat, but having females with males is not something we want to experience. Females are unruly and males tend to fight a lot when a female is present. Female alpacas are instantly in season when a male is around and can be pregnant immediately after giving birth, so you can be up to your eyeballs in alpacas quickly when you have males and females. I imagine Phil and Shelly will be giving some away sometime soon....even though they don’t know it yet. Just a guess and prediction based on the economy right now and to come in the near future.
We are seriously hoping the alpaca industry becomes more illustrious in the future and maybe then...we can market our fiber and come out even or make a few bucks.
We are thinking about advertising to agist alpacas here in the future. Right now we agist our friend’s alpaca named Rafiki, full time. If we do decide to open the farm to agisting alpacas full time, we would require that all alpacas be covered with insurance by their owner before making an agisting request though. Again...if we do offer agisting, we will offer both passive and active participation by owners.
We are also contemplating the use of the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool for our fiber this coming spring when we shear. We have last year’s fiber in storage and if we take this coming year’s fiber from six animals...we will have a real nice batch to send. We can get it back in produced alpaca merchandise we can put in the farm store to sell. This spring will unfold into an enjoyable year of new ventures. Building the farm store will be a fun project and the building of the tool shed/work shop/welding facility will likewise be a Godsend.
I am keeping my wood working shop in the basement. I will manufacture the yarn swifts, fiber combs, niddy noddies and drop spindles there in the evenings. I enjoy working down there in the evening after dark and I envision having a lot of orders for swifts and combs. Fun, fun, fun! Stay tuned and follow us.

045089 Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC

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