Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Livestock Updates

Well, the 90 chicks we ordered about a month and a half ago are doing well. The brooder box we had them in isn't really built to handle that capacity to full size so we moved them out to the big chicken yard as soon as they were fully feathered. Then immediately the weather turned off cold and rainy and we lost some. I put a heat lamp out there and that seems to have helped. This batch also seems pretty hardy. Even in better weather we've lost about this many, so I'm pretty hopeful. A 10% survival rate seems to be about the best you can ever hope for from the big commercial hatcheries. I think shipping them at such an early age stresses them out too much. This is also very late in the year to be dealing with them.

That gives us about 80 chicks or so plus the 19 adult hens. Barring any big disasters when we move, that should have our egg needs fully covered when we get down to Texas.

The sheep aren't going with us. I've found a home for them that'll serve quite well. We were thinking of eating them all but that just isn't practical. I don't have the freezer space now and certainly not later. When we get to our new home we'll put up fences and acquire new livestock down there ... probably breeds that are more desert hardy. Something tells me that Lincoln longwools won't thrive in the heat of a Texas summer. As it is, whenever the temperature soars here in Illinois up to about 90 degrees then they're all laying up against the barn panting. Even after a very thorough shearing they don't seem very heat hardy. I can recommend the breed highly though for those who live in colder climes. They thrived on a minimum of hay through all last winter and would dig down through the snow to find their own food. Weight loss was minimal even though they were pregnant and nursing. Ease of lambing was about half and half. I didn't have enough females to give a better result than that and this was all their first year so everything is speculative.

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