It's been an interesting year. I don't want to dredge up the negatives, but let's see if I can find out what we did accomplish in 2018 to help improve the farm.
We know about the grain accident, that had us lose 3 pregnant ewes, and several lambs a few months after. We know about the house fire. I won't reiterate the big negatives, but this year was a challenge.
Well, I also did NOT accomplish starting feed fermenting for my chickens, or a fodder set up, or my little herb garden for the turkeys.
With several flat tires and other projects getting in the way, we also never moved the truck chickens out of their winter run and around the pasture. Boo hiss!
We also never got new plastic put on the greenhouse, so the roll-up sides still need to be replaced.
Well, look at that, I have a good tick list for the things to accomplish in 2019!
So what did I manage to get done? And what fun stats do I have to share from 2018?
We raised and sold our last steer this year. While I will really miss all the beef, we know where we can purchase more. I won't miss the torn down fencing and the broken lamb legs. We had to replace most of our hay feeder, too. We are not set up for cattle, and not having to have so many repair projects year after year will be great.
We did replace some of the fencing the previous steers had damaged - the orchard, the chicken run and the turkey run. The greenhouse fencing still needs to be fixed. So we'll have to work on that.
We got Maia and Oreo this year, our new barn kitties, and they are fixed and rockin it outside, keeping the mouse population at bay.
We also found Orange Kitty, and she is on her way to getting vaccinated and spayed as well.
We figured out what was wrong with Loki, and straightened him right up (Immune-Mediated Poly-Arthritis). While he has had a relapse right now, the meds turned him around in a matter of days, so now we know how to manage his condition and know that we can sort it out quickly when symptoms arise.
We finally bought our sheep trim chute! I was hoping to keep our cash flow strong enough this year that our turkey sales would allow us to purchase our sheep trim chute! No more bending over to trim hooves! This will be a great addition to the farm and save us from future back issues. Actually, it will help us avoid a task that is difficult for us, and a struggle for the sheep. Hooray!
We had 37 lambs born on the farm. We also had 7 lambs come in from off the farm. We had a lot of unfortunate losses this year, which we are working to resolve. It's been a challenging year. I would say I am still considering bringing in feed lot lambs, just to give them a life of some sort. It's still on the table.
We currently have 25 ewes in our flock, although 3 are just babies and too young to be producing, and a 4th is almost 2 years old and has not produced lambs yet, so she might not get to stay. We are hoping to grow our production with the loss of 4 ewes this past year.
We processed 8 lambs for Eid Al-Adha this year, and it was quite a day, and quite a feast. We truly enjoy sharing this holiday with our Muslim community
The average age of our flock is 3.88 years, the youngest it has been for some time. They produce an average of 1.53 lambs at a time, and the average weighs 90 lbs when processed.
We raised only 400 meat birds this year, down from previous years, as we see more folks raise their own. We will likely continue on that path of reducing the birds we raise, to ensure we can sell all that we bring on.
We sold over 200 turkeys at Thanksgiving, and still have some in the freezer!
We hatched 75 chicks, at a fertility rate of 88% and a hatch rate of 91%
We hatched 40 ducklings, at a fertility rate of 78% and a hatch rate of 42% (ducks are so hard to hatch!)
We certainly faced some uphill challenges and know that the headwinds continue into 2019. Thanks for sticking with us!