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!

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

 

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.

Meet Lola

Lola (Nigerian/ Lamancha ): She and Penelope are sisters, also 5 months old when we get her (DOB April 2015) She is friendly, but more stand offish and is not “food centric” like the other goats. Weird thing is she doesn’t really care for sweet feed, at most she takes a mouth full. Her and our eldest female Nadine tend to butt heads more then any others( she Lola has no fear of Nadeen). Unfortunately for Lola Nadine has horns, is larger and 5 years old…. 

Lola hanging at the fence

Lola hanging at the fence

Meet Penelope

Penelope (Nigerian/ Lamancha ): She was 5 months old when we got her (DOB April 2015) and very friendly with all the other goats as well as us. Which of course means the other goats are rude towards her and is the being picked on. Meaning she tends to get the most head-butts, and doesn’t get to eat with te others, but really she doesn’t seem to care.

Penelope hanging at the fence

Penelope hanging at the fence

Our lil Porkers

We are pleased to introduce you to “Bacon’ator” and “Porky’Pickins” Ben and Jerry (left to right)… We did have a 3rd little piggy; but we made an amateur pig raising mistake and did not provide secure fencing in one section and lost one to our naturally inclined hunt/kill dog Harley. So we are down to two…

img_2126.jpg

How we acquired the pigs:  plus their pedigree

I did some Craig’s’listing and found a local’ish guy (40min drive) selling off his pigs (females and cut males) for what seem to be the area norm ($50-60 a pig) we talked a bit and I learned what feed he uses  (which he was kind enough to give me a barrel of) also a little more about them and why he was selling them. He was raising the to butcher and to sell what they didn’t need. The main reason that he is no longer raising pigs due to health reasons .  Their feed was a 5 grain mix with sweet feed (none pellet, very “rough” stuff) that he buys in bulk and uses the same feed for his beef cattle. I also asked about their parents/pedigree which is Landrace and Hampshire, their mix I was told will reach about 300pounds at 6 months and max out around 800pounds.

The Plan: why and what to do with them

We I wanted pigs for a while now, so while on NY Christmas trip I vocally committed us to actually doing so by sharing with friends and family to expect a pig roast sometime in the summer… X-mas passed, New years passed and then I realized in order to make the August deadline with a hog large enough for 15+ people I would need to get them soon, so I craigs’listed and surprised Jamie with 3 little piggy’s one Friday afternoon…

The plan for 3 pigs was for a reason, 1 to roast, 1 to butcher for the non-existent freezer and the last to sell to cover costs of the pigs and feed… However due to lack of readiness the pigs got out into the backyard, which is our dog territory. This means my animal hunter/killer got to them “Harley” whom has a history of getting/trying to get animals on our hikes, deer, turkeys, birds and porcupines (which he got a mouthful of quills from that I had to pick out of his tongue and upper mouth by hand because he was to in shock from the pain to walk,  we where over a mile from the nearest road and 2 from the house) . One of the pigs got killed, one injured and saved, the other untouched.

The Work: Building a fence and hut

I used the Alaskan chain-saw mill and a circular saw rig to make the timber used for the pig pen hutch which is 8ft long, 5ft deep 5ft high front to 4ft slanted roof enclosure. I made 12 2x4s at 9ft long, and to date 14 9ft long 1/2 thick boards for the exterior of the pig pen frame and roof. We went to a local habitat for humanity re-sale store for roofing shingles ($6 a pack, though vent cap shingles) and some drainage ditch piping ($6 for 12ft with connectors). We grabbed 50ft x 3ft high welded fence from Lowes for about $30. Then after the pigs got out, we used the excess goat electric fencing and posts to run a low-line around the pig pen interior (about 1ft off the ground) and we where able to tie into the existing eclectic fence.

We still are not yet done with the pig pen. I need about another 3 boards for the roof and 3 for the front and 4-6 for the one side… but I am waiting on a new tool to complete the timber for that (much quicker then 10mins a board, less gas and less waste)

To date I have spent about 10hrs building the enclosure for the pigs, between planning, milling, and building. Most of this time was spent milling the lumber. For the feed dishes since we have young pigs we are able to use basic food dishes from tractor supply for water and galvanized for feed. I did get an auto-watering unit, but haven’t hooked it up as we have had 10-20degree nights since getting the pigs. I will hook that up once the weather gets better and I finish up the brew room (That’s another story).

Feeding: what we do

As mentioned above, we got lucky and received a free barrel of feed from the guy that sold me the pigs (though I did “pay” for it by having  a 55 gallon drum of food covered in mud and pig smell in my front seat of the jeep while having 3 pigs stinking up the trunk), so it cost us about 2 weeks of stink. haha. I had before going out to get the pigs bought two bags of hog/pig feed from tractor supply, we also had a bag of really unused whole corn for the goats sitting around.

Do not use these dishes for water, they rust with-in a month

Feed dishes – $4.80: going to build a trough soon

water dish

watering dishes, 3 gal $9

On day one I just gave a scoop of the new pig food which went untouched. I then started feeding them from the barrel of food (they ate that of course). Once there was enough free room in the barrel I added in one bag of the pig feed I had bought, after more time I added a bag of whole corn and mixed of course. So they are now getting a 1/3 mix of pre-us food, corn and bag pig feed. The goal is to mix out their normal feed with the mix we can sustain and buy.

Volume/Frequency of feeding was a topic I search for and searched for and the best I got was “whatever they want volume wise, but at least 2x a day”. So we do a scoop of pig feed for each one, 3x a day. We use a plastic 3quart feed scoop from tractor supply

scoops

3 quart, $3

MISC Feeding: Who doesn’t have food scraps

So on-top of the normal pig feed mix, we have extras we like to give. We found that after researching with the almighty giving google the general rule of pig feeding is: no meat by-products (oils included), and no large amount’s of raw potato’s; Otherwise you are free to “do it up.” We keep a fancy’ish bucket by the kitchen door for scraps to bring down whenever we go down to feed them.

basket

scrap feed basket

Chicken Coup Revamp 3.0 update (to version 3.2)

We finally got our chicken coup updated to version 3.2. Which means no more chick stench in our house!!!! I am so excited for this to have taken place. If you only have 6-12 chicks, life isn’t terrible. But if you have the 36-40 we have, your whole house stinks and you wish you had a hardwire powered chicken coup that’s FAR-AWAY from your house. But we have lived and learned. We wont do chicks again in the house.

In order for this move to happen we needed to fix our solar power setup in the coup

chicken power

Solar powered chicken coup

Then we needed to install the door to the chick growing area for the coup, nothing fancy, just a board on hinges and a latch lock.

looking for chicks here

Chicks live here

Behind that un-painted door lives our chicks, a mix of meat and egg layers. Since we can only run the one light overnight without spending a few hundred on new battieries. We hope that t will be ok to let them all huddle together over the still cold nights (got down to at least 45 last night) under the 100watt bulb. When they reach teenage weeks we will separate the meats from the eggers.

Our 2016 Chicks

Spring Chicks

So have the lower sides of their area’s are enclosed to keep drafts out. They have two feeders and a 1 gallon waterier hung from their roof for feed and water.

That’s kind of it. They all survived the first night. So hopefully they all live through the next few weeks. I will say that we did close up the coup more so then normal. We closed the human doors, the window we installed and the two suicide doors as well overnight. The idea being that we keep as much heat as possible inside the coup as we can.

 

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