New Tools for Livestock Health and Checkups

New digital microscope, slides, clover slips, and fecal tubes came in yesterday. I had the whole thing set up and read my first fecal in under 20 minutes. I found a fecal recipe pretty easy online. Salt, sugar, water.

The Microscope: Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 250x Magnification)

The Slides: AmScope BS-50P-100S-22 Pre-Cleaned Blank Ground Edge Glass Microscope Slides and 100pc Pre-Cleaned Square Glass Cover Slips Coverslips

The Fecal Tubes: SEOH 16 X 125mm Plastic Test Tubes with Caps, 25 Pack

 

Fecal Recipe:

1. Saturated salt solution

Specific gravity: 1.18 – 1.20

General purpose solution.

Sodium chloride: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml

  • Stir thoroughly before use.
  • May distort eggs.

2. Salt/sugar solution

Specific gravity: 1.28

General purpose solution.

Sodium chloride: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml
Sugar: 500 grams

Dissolve the salt in water to make a saturated solution.

Add the sugar to the saturated salt solution.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Sodium nitrate

Specific gravity: 1.18

This solution is sometimes used for strongyle eggs.

Sodium nitrate: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml

Add sodium nitrate to water while stirring.

  • May form crystals and distort eggs if left longer than 20 minutes.

 

fecal recipe source: Flotation Fluids 

Another Kid in school – Penelope’s first born

With a solid night of rain, Penelope figured it was time to join Lola in motherhood. I walked down to the stalls this morning and thought, weird wonder why Lola is out with only one of her Kids, then I realized, nope. It was Penolope and her first born. We arent sure sex of the kid yet since we where running behind our normal schedule and I only had enough time for feeding the hogs, milking, feeding all the goats, cleaning out the stalls (after birth mess and all) and then getting Penelope set in her stall (we keep the mothers and kids in stall lock-up for the first 3 days. To promote bonding and good milking (at least I think that’s why we do it, Jamie knows all the whys).

Penelope and kid

 

Penelope's 1st kid

New Cameras – Foscam FI9803P

So far I am loving the new camera. I went with a more name-brand one, spent more then the cheap stationary cameras, but I can definitely tell the difference between this and the el-cheapo.

Foscam FI9803P

For starters, it performs like the $300+ cameras I use to install for business (Axis, great cameras) but at a fraction of the cost. I got these between $40-75 with shipping. Since we already have three PTZ cameras we figured why waste the money, and got a few stationary cameras to cover the rest of the spots we want to monitor.

Foscam FI9803 Snapshot

Above is part of the recording screen.The camera isn’t where it will stay. I have learned from replacing 4 crappy camera. And  put it up to test and confirm that the cameras will actually work before climbing up the ladder.

I will end noting that these things are impressive for the money. Incredibly smooth playback, great quality image, very nice color correction and still has a nice nighttime shot. They connected without any issue to my Blue Iris setup, as well as my phone and computer browser.

 

That’s it for now. Till later, Cheers.

More Butchery

Another round of butchery occurred at lunch today. Our young rooster was becoming a menis to the younger egg layers, “John Snow” our other rooster and the preteens, so the decision was made to end its reign of terror.  I did things a little differently this time around:

First was to cage him (only time our birds are ever caged) for a day and half with only water  (this way he got cleaned out and stayed hydrated)

Caged bird for only a Day

Caged bird for only a Day

I also spent $35 (discounted Amazon price, think it was originally $100) on an entry level field dress set. Which comes w diff cutlery, kitchen sheers and a cutting board. I also purchased a set of gloves for the sole purpose of butchery. They are Kevlar and rubber.

Knives, gloves and cutting board

Knives, gloves and cutting board

The third thing I did differently was stabbing the brain (read this in a butchering book, suppose to lossen feathers) threw the beak after the slicing the neck to drain the blood (I’m still working out a good kill cone stand).

Drain das blood and puncture the brains

Drain das blood and puncture the brains

The last change made was to boil the water to a higher temp 180. I then brought the pot downstairs and outside on the table. I assume it probably cooled down to 160-170. But from that point I submerged the rooster in water 3x and shook. The feathers came right out, I was finished in under 10mins.

easiest plunking to date

easiest plunking to date

When I started to butcher, the bird starting honking so of course being a classy fella and all I had to catch it on video…

That’s it for now. I am working on a few things around the yard (rustic tree benches, retaining walls and general landscaping to name  a few) I will post once those projects get finished up.

 

That’s it for now, cheers!

The Fowl Tower: High-rise failure

Way back when (last fall) I surprised Jamie with the Guinea fowl. Their sole purpose was to protecting the flock from snakes, as they were becoming a growing problem (stealing eggs). Shortly after they arrived, it became apparent that they may need their own space. So came the idea of the Fowl Tower. The idea was to have an outdoor nesting area like a tree because Guineas love to sleep/nest in trees.

our chicken/fowl high-rise

our chicken/fowl high-rise

We dug a hole, put in a 4×4 pressure treated board and some concrete. Once that dried we attached the top of a pine tree I had cut down earlier that year. Then finally we plopped on the top which has two covered areas for nesting. We thought that with the branches, the chickens/guineas would love jumping flying up and use. However, to date I think the only living thing that has climbed up and peaked inside has been me. At the end of the day it didn’t cost a whole lot and who knows maybe the new round of chicks will utilize it. If they do,  then I will put up a ladder going up the 4×4 so we can easily clean and inspect for eggs.

That’s it for now though, cheers.

Garden Re-Vamp is finally underway

After this week last frost should be behind us, so we are getting the garden ready to transplant the seedlings from the crafts room to the outside world.

Seedlings

Last year we tried straw-bail planting. It was semi-successful. But at $4 a bail, limited planting space based on the structure, and then of course the fact the decompose into mush. We decided to do raised beds (soil is terrible down here).

Step one was to start cleaning up the mashed up bails.

clear

There where cardboard boxes under the bails but they apparently decomposed after less then a year. Only problem w cardboard boxes is that if you don’t think of it and remove the tape, your left with tape after everything is decomposed. So as I see it, I pick it out.

Soil and Straw

 

Next step is to start putting together the raised beds.

 view one

view two

We are making 14″ x2’x18′ (height, width, length) boxes. I took all my practice boards from the sawmill threw on some Thompson waterseal the day before then started building. After the structure was completed and placement done, I took scrap plastic from other projects and lined the inside of the box to help with dirt control and help prevent rot.

wp-1459690952437.jpg

wp-1459690962346.jpg

Once that was completed I confirmed a second time that placement was OK w the Queen (It is all for her, so I really want to make sure she is happy before committing to a location) and then pitch-forked in the old straw bails. When she is ready to plant we will top it off with compost from last year and soil from bags as needed.

wp-1459857835321.jpg

Now its time to start on the next box

wp-1459857941472.jpg

This one is going to 18′ (L) x 4′ (w) x 14″ (h).  I still need to put in middle supports across the bottom , another row of boards. I think all boxes I make will need at least one upper support to keep the sides together. If I wasn’t using first cut/learning boards ID have used 3/4″ boards instead of the 1/2″ I have here.

 You may have noticed our messy bags and failed rain barrel. We will share that experience when we upgrade that to version 2.0…  

That’s it for now. Cheers

 

Freakin piggies

Sure enough after talking about something the universe decides to kick it up in high-gear. During lunch while working on getting the garden ready for the raised beds I noticed some foraged earth in the chicken area (much more then they could do). After closer inspection I could see that the pigs had gotten under the fence between them and the chickens. I threw the logs back on the fence line and went on with my work. Just as I was getting one corner of the garden clean up finished I hear a noise and turned around…

Pigs exploring the chicken area

Pigs exploring the chicken area

they simply bypassed the fence and log, and went on to explore and eat some more

pigs exploring some more

pigs exploring some more

I was easily able to get them back over to their side after getting some cracked corn and yelling “I smell bacon” while lifting the fence. The came running from under the coup to under the fence and started going to town on the corn. With the pigs back where they belonged I went and grabbed the stapler, then went around stapling the fence to the logs to hopefully keep the pigs from going under.

wp-1459539065626.jpg

luckily no issues with the pigs and the chickens.

I really hope that this has been happening for a few days and that we simply hadn’t noticed. Because it would explain why they haven’t torn-up the in ground veggie garden area as well as we had hoped.

Hopefully that’s the only animal drama for the day. till later, Cheers.

What the pork?!

Its been a while since we talked about the little porkers, which have been renamed Jerry (because he not nice like our neighbor Jerry) and Ben (because it matches and he really is sweet, always runs over to get pet)  . I am still in the process of finishing up their pen setup,  partly because it isn’t in its final spot yet and I need to process more timber.

First you must enter via the wood door made from scraps from their pen housing

gateway to the world of pork

gateway to the world of pork

We had bought a corner sink for the basement bathroom, got home and realized we needed the old faucet hardware, which was $100+ from the net/big box stores. So we use it to feed the pigs table scraps. We just holler “I smell bacon” and they come running.

The still unfinished pen's backside

The still unfinished pen’s backside

As you can see we ran out of the  shingles we bought from our local habitat for humanity and I had to use some that have been kicked around the chicken coup and shop since we moved in (from previous owners).  To date (other then the roof plastic, shingles and screws) all the lumber for the pen is from trees cut down behind the shop and processed with the Alaskan chain saw mill.

inside view of the pig pen

inside view of the pig pen

As you can see, I still need to finish processing lumber for the one side, and then put the finishing touches on. Pigs seem pretty happy, keeps the wind and rain off of them. I was in the process of putting in more straw for their bedding, as well as feeding them when I took this picture. They really are a playful bunch, loved knocking around the empty 5 gallon pale I kept their food in

pigs lovin the simplest of things

pigs lovin the simplest of things

Lastly their 2nd main purpose of life on our mini/micro farm. To root out all the grass, weeds and bugs from our in-ground garden area. They haven’t been that good at it, but they are rooting around eating up all the nasty’s that are bad for our garden. An added bonus is they poop like crazy, so they are fertilizing as they go. Once we are ready, I will till the whole area.

The pigs are grubbin

The pigs are grubbing

You may have noticed that we have electrified the base of the exterior fencing, areas we don’t when them to burrow under. So far it has been working and they are aware of the shock they get if they don’t mind the fence.

Well that’s it for now. Till later, Cheers.

Bandsaw Mill – Harborfreight

Logging/Milling: Band Saw

This takes 9minutes off a cut when compared to the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill. So we have processed 10 logs, all smaller. So we haven’t netted much usable timber fyet. But with the help of our neighbor we will bring up the last 10 logs we have down already (they are all to large for me to move alone) so I am expecting to get some good timber from the remaining seasoned logs.

Bandsaw Sawmill

Band saw Saw mill from Harbor Freight

The only issue so far has been that need to figure out is how to keep the band from flexing too much. The blade flex causes a slight wave in the boards.

Since the smaller logs have been used for learning I cant complain too much. These imperfect boards will be used for outside/livestock projects.