Les Farms


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Meet Fancy & Molly – Our Sheep!

I may be a little off the ball on this post. We added two sheep to our farm over a month ago. Should have said something sooner. Must have slipped my mind. I don’t know how it could though.. they are baaing all the time.

Here is Molly. She can be identified by the poof of wool on her head. She’s also the ring leader and the more daring ewe.

and here is Fancy. Fancy is my girl. She’s more reserved, but enjoys a good scratch. She’ll lay her head on my lap and close her eyes during such times. It’s very endearing. Not that Molly won’t.

Susan loves our girls. Our girls love us.

We had contemplated whether or not we were going to do sheep or goats.. We have discussed goats with many goat owners, and have been told that they are invasive with gardens, They like to climb on top of cars (we have the turkeys for that!) and are just plain mischievous in comparison with sheep. We did want a goat for milk, but were informed that sheep can also be great in that department.

History
Sheep have been raised for milk for thousands of years and were milked before cows. The world’s commercial dairy sheep industry is concentrated in Europe and the countries on or near the Mediterranean Sea. The dairy sheep industry is in its infancy in the United States. There are approximately 100 dairy sheep farms in the U.S. They are found mostly in New England and the Upper Midwest. There are several large commercial sheep dairies in New York and California.

Highly nutritious
Sheep milk is highly nutritious, richer in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than cow’s milk. It contains a higher proportion of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which have recognized health benefits. For example, short-chain fatty acids have little effect on cholesterol levels in people. They make milk easier to digest.

According to a German researcher, sheep milk has more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than the milk from pigs, horses, goats, cattle, and humans. CLA is a cancer-fighting, fat-reducing fat. The fat globules in sheep milk are smaller than the fat globules in cow’s milk, making sheep milk more easily digested.

Sheep milk
Sheep milk can be frozen and stored until a sufficient quantity of milk is available to sell or make cheese. Freezing does not affect the cheese-making qualities of the milk.

Sheep milk has a higher solids content than goat or cow milk. As a result, more cheese can be produced from a gallon (or liter) of sheep milk than a gallon (or liter) of goat or cow milk. Sheep milk yields 18 to 25 percent cheese, whereas goat and cow milk only yield 9 to 10 percent.

While sheep usually produce less milk than goats and much less than cows, sheep milk sells for a significantly higher price per pound, almost four times the price of cow milk.

Though I still long for a dwarf goat, the sheep will do for now. They are wooly sheep, so will need to be sheared come spring. That’s something I’m not looking forward to.


as I already have this lamb chop to take care of in that regards. Not a minor feat!


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Happy New Year and Website!

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a cold one out there, and we had another foot of snow dumped on us yesterday. Smiley
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Well at least the ducks are smiling.

Thought I’d throw it out there that I’m working on a Farm Website. Take a look see. If anyone has any questions regarding chickens/ducks/geese/turkeys, please drop me a line and I’ll add it to the F.A.Q page.

Plenty of pictures of the birds for you to enjoy over there. Check out the “Our Farm” part. There is a slideshow I’ve put together.

UniversalScraps.com - New Year Smileys

Happy New Year!

 

 


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Walking in a Winter Wonderland


As promised, I am going to try to stay current with my blog entries. It won’t be every day, but I’ll aim for once a week at least. Even if it is just a few pictures or a little blurb of the going-ons at Les Farms.

It was a white Christmas this year. The world DID NOT end. Smiley

We’re under storm watch again today. Another 20 CM expected this afternoon and evening. It makes for a difficult time doing chores, but winter chores are typically a pain. With the birds refusing to come out, and my food freezing – it’s just happy joy joy all around. *sarcasm*


Our pathways are pure ice.. ice and poop.. and feathers.. and who knows what else, but it’s all frozen solid. Frozen and slippery. Thankfully we purchased shoe slip treads to facilitate walking and prevent falling.

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Like so. I highly recommend these if you slip and slide on your walk to the chicken coop. These babies are fabulous! Best $5.99 I ‘ve spent this year!


The slippery slopes are no match for hungry groupies. The birds don’t mind the ice.. even when they are doing the splits and giving us side pains from all the laughter. The Pennies still run out to greet me. Or mob me. Take your pick. They are most liable to mob me before bed, when it’s their second feeding time. As you can tell, they are not underfed Smiley


They sure make it hard to make my way to the barn without tripping over a chicken – which the shoe treads do not help against.


The barn has been winterized as much as it needs to be for the winter. No heat. No insulation. Their down is enough to keep them toasty warm this winter. I have Timothy hay hanging for the geese – as the majority of their diet during the spring, summer and fall is grass. The chickens enjoy swinging from their hay bale.


Have you guys met the bunnies? We have two that are free ranging… Can’t catch them.. They have a shelter under some pallets and a tarp. We feed them and they stick around. Here’s Frankle. He’s a little off. He has poor coordination. He’ll topple over when he’s walking slow. Maybe he has poor vision, or is just old.. I don’t know. He was given to us during the fall show.


Here is Frankle’s girlfriend Wanda. Who is spade. I am not keen on breeding rabbits. I don’t like confining them, and Frankle’s disability would not be a good idea to pass on. He’s happy though, and that’s all that matters.


Merry Christmas everyone!


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Happy Holidays!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.

No worries. I am still doing well, and my birds are thriving. I have started this new thing called Fermented Feed, and I am really loving the results. The birds are too of course. It’s a treat to them every feeding.

Want to learn more? Smiley

What the heck is fermented feed and why on earth would you want to give it to chickens?

Fermentation of foods has been done for hundreds of years by many cultures. If you have ever consumed cheese, yogurt, sourdough bread, wine, beer kimchi or sauerkraut (just to name a few) you have eaten a fermented food.

The fermentation process uses naturally occurring bacteria to partially break down the food, improving its enzyme content and increasing its levels of vitamins B, C and K. It also makes food more digestible, and boosts the “usable” protein level by about 12 percent.

The other benefits to using fermented feed:

  • Feed consumption and waste will drop by 1/2 to 3/4 (this will save you money)
  • Poultry on a diet of fermented feed are generally healthier and less likely to contract disease
  • There is almost zero waste as chickens don’t scratch through it, kicking it out of the feeder
  • Stools become more solid and many people report less smell in the coop and run!
  • Egg yolks of eggs laid by hens on fermented feed will become noticeably larger, and shells will be more solid.

info from http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.ca/ – Love this site!


Here is what my system looks like. Two five gallon buckets (one inside the other). The inside bucket has holes drilled up the sides and all over the bottom. It acts like a strainer/colander and only brings the amount of juices the feed needs up to saturate the ‘cooking’ feed.

It smells like sour dough bread, and can also smell a bit like wine once it’s been going for quite a while.


If you have a large flock – this is a real moneysaver. I have estimated a 100 pound savings a week by fermenting my feed.

That’s $30 a week. That’s $1560 a year in savings. Sure it takes more work, but the work is worth it. My birds are healthier, happier, my hatch rate has never been so high and my wallet is struggling less.


Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays from Les Farms.


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Busy Busy!

I have been busy, but that’s no excuse 😉 I just haven’t been motivated to write lately. We are doing well. We had our first attack from the sky and nearly lost George Jr. I was at work, and did not experience the awfulness, but he is alive – and that’s all that matters.


This weekend I am keeping my crested birds in. I can’t risk them not seeing an attack coming. It’s going to be cold anyway.. Time to think about covered runs for the silkies 😦


Who by the way, are looking very nice this fall.

Here’s Edna @ 24 weeks old. She is that one I hatched. late May.


Stevie – 24 weeks.


Agatha – 25 weeks


Again…


Phyllis – 27 weeks (23 in the picture)<3


Milton 24 weeks


Tom!


Penny.. and Penny.. and Penny……


The call drake.


His 2 girls.


Rosa – 26 weeks


Tilly 26 weeks


and finally WINSTON! Our gander! This guy travelled 30+ hours to get to us. I mean Tilly & Rosa.. 😛


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My Beauty Queen!

Does everyone remember Phyllis? Well she is really filling in well. I am very happy with her development thus far. She is 20 weeks old and a real beauty queen.


She will be attending her second show this year. Now she is ready. She has been practising her positioning this past week. Standing JUST right. Making her mother (me) weep for joy.


Someone give that girl a gold star.


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I’m Still Alive!

Sorry about the delay guys. I need to take the time and write out a proper entry, but until then.. enjoy this video of Betty picking on Gigi.

If anyone has fancy crested breeds, you’ll understand how this can restrict their vision and in turn make them crazy. Well Gigi was paranoid. Someone was ALWAYS following him, even when they were not. I had to help the guy out. He loves his new do, but Betty doesn’t.