First Farm Babies
2014 marks the first year of babies born on Conley Farm. Our first babies came in the beginning of March. We found an old egg incubator in the basement and cleaned it up. The egg turner was broken and it was hard to regulate the heat, but we figured we would give it a shot. We collected a dozen eggs and put them in there, turning them three times a day by hand. We really didn’t think anything was going to hatch, so much to our surprise, one Sunday, six little chicks joined our family. We thought 50 percent wasn’t too bad. The boys got to see them hatch through the little window, and my youngest son wanted to name them all Marvin.
So as exciting as baby chicks are, we have also been expecting a baby goat. We bred Ginger in the fall but we really didn’t know when she was going to give birth since we didn’t witness the event. We have been watching her for the last month but this was the first time having a pregnant goat. I raised sheep as a child in 4-H but that was so many years ago. During spring break, when the boys had off from school, we decided to meet up with some friends at the park. Ginger didn’t eat that well in the morning but I had been waiting for the last month so didn’t expect her to go in the next two hours. Well, I was wrong.
We got home from the park and I walked out to check on her. I could see her huddled against the wall in the shed. I was wondering what she was doing so I rushed over and standing there was a pure white baby goat. I was kind of in shock, holy cow, look what she did all by herself. The first thing I did was pick it up to see what it was, a little billy goat. I immediately thought to call it Billy. My sweet little Ginger is now a momma. I started yelling for my kids to come help me. I wanted to get the little baby to the stall in the barn. Ginger did not want to follow me; she stood there almost in shock or something. I called her to follow me but she wouldn’t. I put the baby in the barn under a heat lamp and wiped him off a little but he was already pretty clean and dry. She did a great job. I had to go back out to the pen with a leash and get Ginger. She did not want to come with me. I had to pull her with all my might. I think she still thought her baby was in the shed. She calmed down once she saw him in the barn stall.
It was so exhilarating. I was glad in a way that I missed the birth because I would have been a nervous wreck. Ginger did all the work, and now we get all the reward of this adorable baby. OK, so a boy was not my first choice. He is going to be castrated so he will not be stinky. He is our first born so we can’t get rid of him either. We are still re-thinking the name since he won’t be a real billy goat. For more pictures of our baby animals visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/conleyfarm.
The Trick to Peeling Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs
If you have chickens or buy fresh eggs from your local farmer, you know how tricky it can be to peel hard boiled eggs that are fresh. I learned a trick that works every time just in time for Easter.
Orange Cranberry Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
This delicious bread is a variation on a basic zucchini bread recipe.
Butchering Homegrown Chickens
Our family takes a weekend to butcher our grassfed chickens and put food into our freezer.