Little do we have to complain about this winter...as we have transpired to the twelfth day of January...into the New Year with only one snowfall that lasted but two days. The weather has been such that our chickens are all messed up in their molt and we haven’t gotten regular egg production since September. It has been such an impact...as a matter of fact, that we are selling off the chickens and definitely moving toward a fiber producing farm. We have decided to keep a maximum of thirty or forty birds for ourselves, the ducks and guinea hens. We will continue to purchase and raise the meat birds and turkeys for sale in the farm store, but eggs will be few and far between. We will take what eggs we need to use from our chickens and sell the remainder, if any...to our friends and store customers.
The farm will then operate as a fiber farm with the seven alpacas, two sheep and the angora bunnies. We will decide in the near future whether to process all of the fiber here or send a bunch to the NEAFP, allowing it to accumulate there or seek its return in merchandise for the store.
We will also produce meat chickens and turkeys for the fall holiday seasons. I want to gather eggs from the three hens we now have and incubate poults in the spring so we can raise our own Heritage birds for the 2012 Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.
We will still sell our cheese products from the refrigerator and freezer this summer and will shelve honey, maple syrup and maple syrup candies in the store.
The fiber will be packaged in raw form, roving and yarn in the store, with an array of fiber spinning and processing tools made by me. We will offer drop spindles initially, with Vick showing people how to get started in spinning without a large expenditure. We will also offer yarn swifts or weasels, fiber combs and hand carders for sale. Later...with some success in sales, Vick plans to offer a line of spinning wheels for folks to purchase and she will keep a demonstration wheel in the store for showing people how it is done and a letting them try their hand at spinning.
We expected this weather to finally show up one day soon, so when we saw the weather report, we concentrated on a list of things to do to be ready for it to arrive last evening. We finished everything and were ready for once. We eve covered our scrap wood pile so the snow would not be all through the wood. We can now set it on fire and burn the scrape pile up while it snows. We need not worry about sparks with such beautiful snow cover.
Yesterday our neighbors from Hollowbrook Restaurant brought their nine ducks over for us to deck sit over the winter. They are in the brooding house and happy. We are also going to offer agisting for alpacas...fulltime or partial. In other words, you can buy an alpaca and keep it here full time without doing anything except paying the agisting fee. This is done by signing over their care to us, allowing us to feed, treat and care for them full time. Come shearing time, you show up and pay for your alpaca to be sheared and take the fiber...it’s yours! You can also do a partial agisting, where you come and clean, supply all feed and care of your alpaca. Either way, you can have an alpaca of your own and we house it for you.
There will be an agreement to sign when registering an alpaca, but it will be simple and easy. All vet care must be current and proven, on agisting animals before entry to our farm and they must be insured against loss by theft, escaping or death.
Today I am going to finish our bail lifter for the tractor. I need to finish this because soon, I will need to place another round bail in the barnyard for the alpacas. They go through a bale a month easily, but that’s not too bad considering there are seven alpacas and two sheep feeding off of it. We bought a lifter at a neighboring business, knowing it needed a little welding work. The stabilizer pins were broken off, so I knew I could weld new ones one in short order, which I did... however, when I attempted to place it on the tractor, I found it was pinned for a class two hitch! The pins for the three point hitch were too big! I had to grind and remove the solid bar pin through the square tube and replace the 1 inch pins with 7/8 inch pins. This morning, I weld the new pins into place and the unit will be ready to use. It was still a bargain at $100.00, when others are running $435.00 new. I had the rod for the stabilizers and the pins were only around $4 each, so for $108.00plus my grinding and welding time, we got a bail lifter.
045138 Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC