We have lots of plans for our farm. Big green house. Pump on the well. Tall high volume water tower. Then a sprinkler system out to the fields with the critters so that we can irrigate. But once all that is done we want to surround the fence line with various fruit and nut trees. Partially so that we can have these wonderful things in our diet and to sell at the farmers market. But also so that the dropping can feed the critters that graze under the trees. Watching youtube and then searching about for texas information and apples I found this great post. Figured I would keep it here for later.
We have 20 red wattle feeders at a reduced rate ($150) that are available to head over to your property today. They are 3 months old. These guys are easy to raise and depending on how you feed them convert well. If you are following a traditional feeding regimen you can expect a 3:1 feed conversion. We have found that feeding them out on pasture as their primary feed source means a much slower conversion (longer growth time).
As some of you may already know I recently started a kickstarter campaign
and was successfully funded (read more about the campaign
)! My campaign was to raise money for a research project I needed to have someone a scientific lab do as part of the Fodder book I am writing
. Once the campaign was funded and the money was collected I immediately ordered a bunch of different seeds
. Some of the common seeds. And some not so common. The whole point of my research is to build up a nutrition profile for each seed type so that we can formulate a proper diet based mostly on fodder by mixing and matching seeds for a given type of animal. Well the seeds showed up so I built the counter top fodder system and started the sprouting process!
I am very happy to report that the seeds for the research in my fodder book
have been ordered. I ordered a large variety of various seeds. I of course got the regular common seeds. And I got a few other interesting seeds. With any luck these will get here soon and I can start growing the samples straight away in the small home system I have planned for the book (a kitchen sink style system).
You are probably first wondering what kickstarter is. And secondly, why would I do it again, whatever it is. Kickstarter is there to help all sorts of people with great ideas share their passions with the masses in the hopes that you can crowd fund what it is you are trying to do. In our case, I decided to write a book about fodder. How to build a system for growing fodder. The metrics involved in growing fodder. The different types of fodder to be grown. How to maintain the system. How to scale the system as you take on more animals. And most importantly how to formulate the proper diet for your animals with fodder. In my case, I am doing the research for my farm. So it made sense to put those findings into book form and share it with the world. But as it pertains to the hard science on this topic - I was curious if others would share in the cost to determine the nutritional breakdown of the various components to fodder. A task I planned to outsource to the local college Texas A&M. I received 31 backers and $1,150 in 30 days.
While we have not yet taken on the challenge of maintaining a dairy animal on our farm just yet, we did have a chance to help a neighboring farmer build a stanchion this weekend. A stanchion is basically a clean and safe place to milk your animal. It keeps the animal in a controlled environment where they won’t feel terribly stressed (which impacts the milk that is delivered). It is semi confined to keep the animal from moving about too much. And it takes them up off the dirty ground which helps control the quality of the milk that is collected in that it helps keep dust from being kicked up during the milking process.
Not too long ago we built a fodder system for one of our neighbors. We built it in the same manner that we built our first MVP fodder system. But it was built as any version two product is - based on the learning's from the first system. Since then the system has had some further improvements applied to it. Specifically it was ported from a sump based system to a fresh water system. It is now fully automated short of filling the trays with seeds.
We recently had the opportunity to be a part of processing the first pig from our farm. This in and of itself was exciting. But getting the opportunity to taste some Red Wattle was what we were really looking forward too. Up to this point we have had faith that the meat will taste better than corporate pork. We did lots of research prior to buying into this breed. And Red Wattle shows up at the top of every list put out by top chefs all over. But now we can answer the question “what does it taste like” with confidence. It is awesome!
We have had one freeze after another here in Texas. As well as a series of rains. This has forced us to keep our fairly new born piglets up at the barn to do everything in our power to keep them alive through the nasty weather of late. Unfortunately this is bad for a couple of reasons. 1) There is nothing friendly about keeping critters in the barn and not on pasture. 2) The barn is now destroyed with mud soup all over the place. Time to haul the mamas and their babies out to the paddocks.
If you have been following us in our journey as fledgling pig farmers you would know that we started by reaching out to our friends for investments to purchase our first breeding pigs. With that money and our own we purchased a boar and two sows. We then also inherited a friends boar and three more sows. This quickly brought our sounder up to 7 breeding animals. As soon as the pigs were of age they got right too it and started breeding like rabbits (oddly enough none of our rabbits have made babies yet!!!). Out of the first batch of piglets, each of our investors was too receive a full size pig (2-300lbs) that they could take to a butcher to be processed as payment for their initial funding. We also had some friends purchase a baby to be raised out on their property. This pig great much faster than our other piglets. And so…it went to processing first!
A neighbor of ours has sold his house. He is basically done with the life of having property. Well, the work of having property. He decided to leave Texas and head back to Florida for walks on the beach. As he no longer needed his stuff he decided to have an everything must go sale. A buddy and I went in on a convertible trailer. Part flat bed. Part stock trailer. Perfect for small time ranchers like us who need a flat bed near daily and a stock trailer now and then.
That special thing happened that as a fish tank owner you never want to have happen. Especially if your fish tank is in the house. The bottom of the tank developed a small crack over time. And a persistent drip drip drip leak started to puddle all over our floor. Let’s fix that real quick shall we?
I recently posted
about the new fodder system I built for my buddy. But as that system was literally just built I had no fodder pictures to show you. It has now been a full week since that new system has been in use. And we now have some updates to share. On the first yield we got 6 pounds of feed from 1 pound of seed. AWESOME!
Last year, towards the holiday season, we had advertised that we would be processing chickens. Somewhere along the line we met an FFA dad that had some turkeys that would be ready for processing soon. I was willing to get them done prior to the holidays but they were not quite the right size just yet. So we agreed that I would process them at a later date and that he would call me when they were ready. He called!
A buddy of mine finally decided to take a look at fodder as a way of minimizing his feed costs for his cattle operation. He picked up a how to build a fodder system manual for $30. We got to talking. And I convinced him into letting me build him a system with near double yield at almost half the cost. This post will outline the initial build.