We are getting bigger! This weekend we welcomed not one, but FIVE new animals to our small farm.
Our projected couple months of (relatively) “easy” chores was cut short :D!
Background: We always have wanted to raise some steers. Our long-term plan includes a whole herd of grass-fed beef on our (future) CSA farm. However, that is just not a possibility on our current farm. We only have 5 acres and with a house, barn, outbuildings, orchard, gardens, etc. there just isn’t enough land for a pasture big enough to sustain cattle.
That being said, my husband, Mike, has never given up on the dream of having at least one steer to call our own. He conspired (yes, conspired) with our brother-in-law and they came up with a plan. Mike pretty much told me “we are getting a steer this year, I don’t care what it takes”. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, my husband does not normally do anything behind my back, he just wanted to get his point across that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was going to figure out a way- and he did! I’m proud of his determination and drive!
Ben (brother-in-law) is just as excited to raise cattle and has always wanted to help us in any way. Mike and Ben decided to split the cost of raising the steer and then divide the meat evenly once he is slaughtered. They found an amazing deal on a great-looking steer and here we are!!
Meet: Moo (his temporary name). Eventually we will come up with a proper name for this big guy! “Moo” is a Holstein/Peidmontese cross and weighs around 400 lbs. We currently are keeping him in our pig pasture but once the weather warms up and we can acclimate him to the horses, he will be sharing the big pasture with them. Fingers crossed they get along!
That’s not all!
When Mike and Ben went to check out the cattle and potentially (we all knew they wouldn’t leave empty-handed) buy one, he was offered some heritage breed Red Wattle piglets. We have wanted to try raising a heritage breed but were not prepared for piglets! Our original plan was to purchase more piglets in April. The deal was too sweet though… again, we made it work. It would have been silly to pass them up- four for the price of one! Plus… who could resist those faces!
Aren’t they adorable?! We have one little runt in there but the rest are chunky little fellas! They are snug as a bug in our chicken brooder house. This is our first time raising piglets in cold weather but deep bedding and a (very well secured) heat lamp have kept them nice and cozy.
Pretty soon, in April, we will be adding bees (YES!!) and getting our first batch of meat chicks for the year. Expanding our homestead sure is fun and we are excited to learn more and more about different farming practices as we go.