No particular topic today, just thought I'd fill in with the latest happenings in our life. I thought this blog would be more of a day to day journal of the farm but it seems like every time I sit down to type I feel the need to find a specific topic. Well, not today.
I considered titling this post "The Downside of Farming" because things haven't been the greatest around here lately. Brian found 7 baby Holstein calves for sale last week and we bought them. They were cheap and we thought it would be nice to have some calves around again since we still don't have a place to bring our bigger cattle home to. Anyway, cheap isn't cheap when they all die on you. Brian's sister took 2 and we kept 5, but we only have 2 left. The other 3 basically died of scours which is a broad diagnosis in calves. I fought hard to save the last one, taking his temp and tube feeding him milk and electrolytes. Didn't work. I am pretty sure now that they probably never received any colostrum which gives them very low chances of survival. They remaining two are doing okay although the one acts like he may have pneumonia. I'm going to call our large animal vet tomorrow and try to get an antibiotic injection for him. I hate using antibiotics but don't much like watching them die either.
I have mentioned before (to Brian) that I would like to eventually start a small herd of cows and raise our own calves that way instead. It is hard to justify that when there is such a surplus of Holstein steers in our area. In any case, we both agreed not to be tempted to bring anymore calves home until we can find an honest, reputable farmer to deal with. It is too hard and too disappointing to lose them, and it isn't helping our financial situation much either!
Our 4 ewes have been doing well. They are full of energy. It is very heartwarming to watch them jump around like babies when it is time for dinner. However, there is bad news there too. One of the ewes we purchased at the MSU sale developed a few wart-like lesions on her face a couple weeks ago. I initially thought it was either a pyoderma (bacterial infection of the skin following mild trauma) or a papilloma virus (causing warts). I'm still not exactly sure what is going on but when I inquired about it to the previous owners they "mentioned" that she had a case of sore mouth as a lamb so it could possibly be that. Sore mouth is a very contagious sheep disease that can spread to humans and can be life threatening for lambs. This is obviously a big concern since all 4 ewes are (hopefully) due to lamb in the spring. I am still not convinced that she has, or every did have, sore mouth. The signs seem more consistent with a papilloma virus. I'll update here when I figure out more.
On a lighter note, the chickens are continuing to lay very well despite this cold weather. We get 5 or 6 eggs a day from 6 hens! I've been sharing the eggs with our friends and family since we have too many for us but not enough to sell.
It is always hard to post about the negative side of farming because A) I don't want people to think badly of us, and B)I don't ever want to come across like I'm asking for sympathy. However, I know that we all make mistakes and face hardships. It has really helped me to follow other farming blogs and see that even when you are uber prepared, animals still get sick and things happen. Check out my sidebar if you'd like to see the obstacles others are facing.
What started as a blog about the happenings here on our Centennial Farm has now evolved in to a little more personal account of things from my point of view as a new farm(er's) wife. Stick around for awhile and hopefully you'll learn a little about everything from industrial and sustainable farming to raising livestock to being green and maybe even catch a good recipe or two. Enjoy!
We're on our way out of debt and on to greener pastures...