Monday, July 16, 2012


What's new on the farm?


We have eggs! 

The chickens turned 20 weeks old on Thursday. That is the magic age that they start laying. Or, more specifically, when they could start laying. We got our first egg on Friday and then another two on Saturday. Those golf balls did their job too. both chickens laid their eggs in the nesting box instead of us having to wonder around the yard looking for eggs.

Here is a picture of our very first egg. You can't really tell from the picture but it is a green egg. It's more olive green and still pretty small. The eggs will get bigger as the chickens get a bit older.

Here is a picture of the two eggs we got on Saturday. Once a chicken starts laying her eggs will always be the same color. So here is another green egg from the same chicken that gave us an egg on Friday and a brown egg from a different chicken. These chickens should lay 6 eggs a week, roughly one a day. But they lay every 26-28 hours or so. So, they lay later each day until they skip a day. With our 6 chickens that should be 3 dozen eggs a week. Or so I've read. Hopefully it will work out that way.

Please ignore my dirty hands, it's tree sap. More about that to come in a different post.

Also, Finley is old enough now that she can share the milk. We are taping Bella during the day to milk in the evenings. Then leaving her open so Finley can have milk in the evenings and at night (and since I'm not an early riser, in the mornings too). Basically she is taped from 9am until 6pm.

We have doubled our milk collection to about 4 cups a day. So far that is keeping up with what the family is using. Though, we don't really have extra for cooking or making cheese (or ice cream - I hear that goat milk ice cream is awesome). When we wean Finley in 3 weeks or so, we should get around 8 cups of milk a day, maybe more. I'm really looking forward to making my own chevre cheese.

Here is poor Bella on the first day I taped her. I have since picked up plain white bandage tape, but for a day she was sporting Spiderman and Star Wars bandaids. It was nice of my son to share his beloved bandaids.

Surprisingly Bella doesn't seem to mind the taping (or the tape removal).

I have made some changes to the way I process the milk. Not so much process it as handle it. We love the taste, but were finding that it wasn't as good a taste 36 hours after milking. Not that it went bad, it just ended up with a more of a goaty flavor (if you've had goat milk from the store you know the flavor). After talking with a few other goat people they said to put it in the freezer for an hour or so to chill it really fast. Now the milk is sweeter and stays that way. We don't know for how long because it's gone too soon. My kids have taking to asking specifically for goat milk instead of cow milk. The people I've talked with say it should stay sweet for a week if you chill it fast enough. I have been told that if I want that tangy chevre taste with my cheese I will need to let the milk age past the sweet stage or I won't get that unique chevre taste. I can't wait to try!

It is nice that our little farm is more than just work and is starting to produce now too. I feel like we have entered a new phase. That we are past the start-up phase and now just have to focus on keeping things running.

No comments:

Post a Comment