Summer is over, not officially, but the kids are back in school, so it’s definitely coming to an end. Two weeks ago, I said, “I haven’t sweat enough, I’m not ready for the cool down”. I am, however, ready for the slow down. I’m ready to cozy up by the fireplace in my cozy pj’s and have family movie nights again. This also means I’ll have more time to blog, something I do enjoy! Let me tell you, I expected a busy Summer, but nothing like we experienced.
About a month or so ago I sent out a newsletter and gave you all a quick glimpse of what was happening on the farm. So much happened with the supply chain this past year, that we were unable to find the feeder animals we banked on getting and growing for food. We had put in our order for feeder pigs in February and planned to take possession of them in April. By early May we learned the pigs were gone. So, we tried to get more, but struggled to find anything. We even started
searching in different states, nothing, unless we wanted to breed. We had to really think about our next move, do we want to become pig breeders? Not really. Do we want to have pork? Um, yes! Because bacon. And prosciutto. And lard.
By now the markets had started, and our customers were raving about the pork we had raised. By the second week of the markets, we had sold out of bacon, then ribs and by July we were sold out of all our pork. So that was it, we decided to become pig farmers. We found some Mangalista pigs relatively close by and off we went. I was hesitant to purchase Mangalista’s as they take over a year to grow out and are known as the lard pig. Chef’s LOVE them. My hesitation came from the length of time to grow them out, I preferred the Red Waddles we had last year. They’re both heritage breeds, but the time difference in raising them is a good year. We had requests coming in each week for more pork, and I was anxious to let people know when we would have more. But we needed pigs, and I couldn’t be picky.
While at the farm to purchase our new breeding Mangalista pigs, we got to see their
This is not a Dexter, just one of the beautiful Highland cows we got to see on the farm at Two Men and A Hen.
beautiful cows. We learned the difference between certain types of cows for meat and milk, and since I don’t want to milk, the guys told me Dexter cows are perfect for a small farm, but also for someone like me who doesn’t want to milk but can, if I change my mind. Something to think about. We brought our new pig’s home, and after our disaster of a first day with pigs last year, we were set up and ready for our second attempt at having pigs. All went well this time. Even in our excitement, we knew we needed more, and we needed them to grow faster. Plus, I really like the Red Waddle’s. So, our search continued.
We found more feeder pigs to get us through this year, and then we secured our Red
Waddle breeders. At this new farm, there was a little calf that needed a home. His name is Tank and he’s a doll. I had been begging Chris for a cow, the answer continued to be no. But when he met Tank, he was sold. Two weeks later we added our first cow to the farm. Every time he moo’s we smile.
Tank is a doll, he’s a giant dog. He loves to rub his head on my butt and give kisses, he also loves to have his cheeks scratched. We love Tank. We really hope he turns into a jerk. Our fix to this problem? More cows. Remember those Dexter’s I had mentioned? We found more. And I will be doing another blog on them because they’re interesting. So, we went cow shopping, and decided a good round number of 9 cows were much better than the 5 I had planned on. We can all go ahead and blame Chris for the additional cows, well, him and his dad. I finally got my cows. We take possession of them in October or November, and we gave the deposit, so unless God intervenes, they will be coming to the farm.
Now that we have secured our pork and our beef, we need to discuss chicken. This shortage had me so stressed out, I decided it was a good idea to hatch my own ducks and added a couple of turkey’s the farm. It literally makes no sense, but chickens were hard to find. Spring had started off with me asking our local farm store to order 40 meat birds for us every 8 weeks.
We got our first 40, then our second 40, and then I realized we hadn’t gotten a call. In addition to that, we were having a fox problem and losing our layer hens daily. So, I went to the farm store to find more layers and to see what was going on with the meat bird order. They had nothing, only turkeys, and a few layers that laid brown eggs, but we weren’t interested in more brown eggs. One of the women who is familiar with us told me they would be unable to fulfill our 40-meat bird order because their supplier couldn’t fill the order. They would be receiving 35 birds each week, they didn’t know which day of the week, and I would have to be at the store each morning at 8am to see if anything had arrived. Stress, immediate stress overcame me. I went to another farm store, same story, and other, same story. I thought to myself “If we started the farm because I couldn’t find good food during the pandemic, we would really need to stop relying on all sources to take care of us if we’re going to survive”. I decided we would need to raise our own meat birds, but you can’t just breed Cornish crosses, so a friend of ours told us about her Bresse Chickens. They’re a popular meat bird in France because they offer a much better flavor and they have marbled meat. So, we got some Bresse Chickens from her, and we’re in the process of raising those. In the meantime, I grabbed turkeys from the farm store, because they were there, and I had hopped we could potentially breed those as well. Turns out they’re meat birds, and I think they’re both males. At first, they kind of scared me, because I’m mentally scarred from our experience with roosters, but I genuinely love these turkey’s. Then I found a lady who sold fertilized eggs nearby, I grabbed duck eggs from her and bought an incubator, then chicken eggs for our broody hen to hatch and raise. Because of our fox problem, I was panic shopping and every time I saw chicks available, I bought them. We now need to expand the coop.
We think our fox problem has been fixed or has at least slowed down. Between Sadie and Riley, we believe it has been chased off. But the last fox sighting was Jacob, our oldest, who saw the fox try and grab the mother hen and her six chicks. He grabbed a paddle from a kayak and chased the fox and threw the paddle at it.
Jacob saved all seven of them. We did end up losing three of the chicks, two to hawks, and one in a bucket of water. The three remaining chicks are doing great, and as scared as I am to have roosters, I really hope at least one of them is a rooster so we can raise our own layers. I know at least one of the Bresse chickens is a rooster, so we can raise our own meat birds now.
As Summer comes to an end, and we just found out our pure Red Waddle breeders are actually Heritage Mutts, that pretty much sums up our Summer. But as we take a real look back, Fluffy Butt Farms LLC had a big summer! We sponsored our towns very first movies in the park, Riley attended her first herding class, we're now breeding o
ur own, chicken meat, pork, beef and goat. Chris is finishing his last two Goats On The Go!® jobs, and I have started a coffee subscription and a new loyalty program on our website! It's been busy, but I feel as though we're heading in a great direction!