Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Livestock Plans

Getting a turn at the computer has become ridiculous over the holidays. It's one of the reasons you haven't heard as much from me.

But whoo hoo, today I have it all to myself and not only can I blog but I've those long lists to make for the New Year. Some call them resolutions but I don't really like that word. It is derived from the root word resolute, to stand firm in purpose and belief. A little two inflexible for me especially since time tables is one area people are so resolute on.  
I've determined that time tables are more for the city folks than the country folks. Living a more natural lifestyle means you may wake up and as the day progresses the weather, a sick animal, a newly tore up fence line from the livestock, equipment breaking down, and the like really determine what's going to get done that day.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't plan, for if you don't, you aren't heading in any one direction and you'll soon have a muddled mess. It just means that your plans might not get done in the  manner you wanted or when you wanted. 

For example, I was going to build a little chicken coop out of a heavy wood equipment box from Kirk's mine two years ago. Yeah, that didn't happen. The grand kids came and lived with us a year and ... and... and...  got in the way. I still wanted and needed that chicken coop though. And maybe the wait was good because we ended up with some some left over styrofoam insulation from the residing of our house so it is now insulated and a few two by four scraps we could use. 

With the grand kids back with their mom, the opportunity opened up to begin so I added some plywood, a few more two by fours and the project was finally off the ground. It took months to complete with all of life's interruptions but finally in September the coop was done. The grand kids thinking it was the bestest playhouse. Next, I purchased some metal fence panels for the run when we bought some panels to rebuild the goat's gates. 

Then I discovered we had used all the metal T-posts to build the yaks pen. Right after that, the truck broke down and due to unusual circumstances, it was broke down until last week. Yup, we did without it from October to now. Lots of plans didn't get accomplished because of not having a truck. The ground is now froze and T-posts aren't penetrating so it will be spring now before the small chicken coop project will be complete. A project that would only take a few days at most has take a few years. It seems to be the story of our life, so I've learned to just keep forging ahead, someday I'll get there.

Knowing you don't get ahead without a plan, I'm making up my To DO barn list today. The one that hubby and I will sit down and go over making goals for this year rearranging the list into priorities. Goals that might or might not be accomplished due to finances and life's interruptions. Yet, I'm not discouraged for any project done off this list is cause to celebrate. It's one more step forward.
This is my list.

1. Buy new hay feeders for the yak pen, doe goat pen, and the buck goat pen.

2. Build a shade shed for the yaks. (They don't need protection from the cold in the winter but they do need shade from the hot sun in the summer.) They borrowed my mares shed last summer making her do without.
3. Build a new chicken run on the largest coop. The old one has patched holes.

4. Replace tin on the back side of the small tin goat shed.

5. Replace five sheets of plywood on the goat milking shed.

6. Clean pens

7. Paint shed - I do this every year as they are so... old the paint peels off with the help of the goats rubbing on them.

8. Re-tin the end of the hay shed.

9. Re-fence the kid goat's pen, I tore the old fence down last summer.

10. Build chicken run for the newly completed, small chicken coop. 
11. Re-build the hay feeder in the beef pen.

12. Replace a few fence panels in the beef pen.

Will all of this get accomplished this summer, hardly. The large chicken coop run has been put off two years now and I have the materials to do the job so it moves up the list in priority. I have some tin so the small tin jobs will likely get done. As for the rest, we'll have to decided just what hits the top of the most needed.
But the list making doesn't stop there for the livestock, for if you don't have a plan for your stock, you aren't getting ahead. Here's my goals for my stock this year.

1. Purchase a doeling with a heavy milking line and a heritage for an awesome udder to complete our small herd. 
2. Have our goats linear appraised to help us assess our breeding goals. Linear appraisal is where your goals are scored against the what is considered the perfect goat. You can then see what areas your animals are strong in and where there needs to be improvement.

3. Put kid goats up for sell within a few weeks of their birth instead of waiting until they are several months old, getting a jump on the market.

3. Raise two pigs to put in the freezer come winter. One for us and the other divided amongst the family.
4. Breed Jasmine and Gracie, our yak heifers, to a selected yak bull from another ranch.

5. Buy a steer, or preferably, a yak to put in the freezer next winter.
6. Incubate one batch of chicks. 

Yup, I love this time of year for I'm organizing, finishing off indoor projects I haven't completed in past years, and looking forward with hope for a wonderful and productive new year. 

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