Welcome to Mennagerie Farm! The first post is always the hardest it seems, so I thought I would make things easy on myself and introduce y'all to our "farm hands"....
First stop would be our Wascally Wabbit, whom has been dubbed 'Coinin'. This big fella' is a 4 month old, purebred Champagne D' Argent and will be our herd sire for our rabbit breeding program once he reaches breeding age. Our goal for the rabbit world? We are working towards a strain that will grow well on pasture forage, using Joel Salatin's "Hare Pen" technique. I'm still hunting around for some good does for our herd; I would love to either have some blue American rabbits, or maybe some Beverens; but we'll see what happens....
Rabbits have got to be the hardest thing to get a good picture of....
Next stop, the egg producers....
These ladies are only about 2 weeks old, so it will be awhile before we begin getting eggs from them! This year, we decided to try raising Delawares, which are a rare, heritage breed, rather than sticking with the more popular breeds such a Rhode Islands, or Plymouth Rocks. In the past, we have always raised our chicks in the spring, but when they reached laying age, it was almost winter time; so they never seemed to lay very well. This time we are experimenting a little and we are raising them in the fall, so when they are of laying age, it will be spring time, which is when birds do best when laying eggs anyway!
Other reasons for choosing Delaware hens, is that they are good producers in extreme temperatures (both heat and cold), they're excellent foragers, which is a huge deal for us since their diet will be mostly forage to heighten the nutritional value of the eggs. They are good, old fashioned, broody hens! We will be using a New Hampshire Red rooster to breed these gals with, and the resulting chicks will be sex-linked. Meaning all the male chicks will be white and female chicks will be red. So these little chickies will be hatched out from the hen and raised by the hen; no more brooder boxes!! Whoohoo! ;)
Here we have rodent control. Best mouser we have ever had; in fact, he's a little too good. Rodent population is practically nil, so we actually have to give this guy cat food!
Ahem, now we come to Quality Control (QC team)
These ladies are very proud of their official title and never lose a chance to check out chicken feed, cat food, garden produce.... Gotta' make sure it passes the standard. They take it upon themselves to eat whatever does not pass. Very little passes their standard. They want to eat it all. ;)
At the moment, we only have two goats, but they keep us in good supply!
This is Ivy, our 2 yo. Nubian doe. She is a sweetheart; whenever a kid on the shyer side wants to pet a goat, I bring Ivy over; she knows to be gentle. She is lovely to milk, very patient, and at her lactational peak (around spring time) she was giving 3/4 gallon a day, which isn't bad at all for a goat so young.
At the other extreme is Capri.
Half Oberhasli, half Nubian, weighing in at 175 lbs. This girl is a goof ball.
She too is gentle, but perhaps not quite as much as Ivy. I often think we should hang a sign around her neck that says: "Warning! I might lick you to death!" She loves to give kisses, and is enamored with small children. Capri is our top milker right now; when we first got her, she was half dried up and giving 3/4 gallon a day. Her mother is giving 3 gallons a day on grass alone. We are praying that Capri has inherited her mother's milking ability!!
Last, but NOT least is our newest lady here on the farm...
Mennagerie's Poppy Patch. But we just call her Poppy.
Cows don't get any sweeter than this!!
What a total love. This wee lassie could melt a heart of stone.
She is a purebred Jersey, and with luck, by spring of 2012, we will begin getting milk from her!
So along with offering goat milk to customers, we will also be able to offer raw cow milk!
Congratulations for managing to read this whole post! I will admit that is was very long... ;)