Have you wondered where we have gone?? I can FINALLY tell you all what is going on! We have been selling livestock and stuff for the purpose of pulling up stakes and heading West, and I had to keep it all a big secret. We have been in negotiations since last summer with a network to do a t.v. show about homesteading, and we received the initial contracts about a week ago. If we can come to agreeable terms, you just might see us doing what we do, on a weekly basis! Weird. Super weird. But hopefully a great adventure!!

Stay tuned for updates as we follow the Oregon Trail!

 
 
  Written by Grace
  
   The baby rabbits are just fantastic, and I have finally been able to get some pictures of them on my computer.  Holly is getting really annoyed when I put her up at night...  They all chase after her frantically trying to nurse, and she runs away and contemplates the idea of staying there for her babies.  Yeah, she contemplates for like 2 seconds and then runs off.  What a nice mama bunny.  I know they are being fed though,  because they haven't died.  It's an easy way of knowing.  

  Also, in case you are wondering, we are not going to be eating rabbit anytime soon.  No eating little fluffballs for me!  :)  Anyway, without further ado, here are the pictures.
Also, this post is a day late, so really, it is day 20 for these babies.  Just figured I would add that.  

Thanks for reading!  
 
 
The 6 rabbits are all doing fantastic!  They have kept themselves warm and comfy for the last 8 days and they are getting cuter everyday!  They are still in that sleep all day stage but will be hopping and fluffy in a week or two.  I did find out that I have a broken Chestnut Agouti instead of a broken Silver-tipped which I had guessed in the first place.  I think the pure black might turn into a Chestnut Agouti too but in the meanwhile he is still pretty dark.  Really hoping I have a white female in this litter, either that or the Broken Chinchilla will be a doe.  Those are the only ones I would consider keeping.  Well, I am using someone else's Wi-Fi at the moment and have company so that is all for now!  

Grace
 
 
Something killed my male duck, and the mama rabbit ate the runt of her litter that was born yesterday. 

I really didn't think the runt was going to make it to adulthood because he was so much smaller than the rest, but it still makes me sick.  Keeping rabbits is really not very high on my desired list of activities, because they are really fairly bad parents.

I'm feeling guilty about my duck, because I built the little coop he as in, and I put him in there; he was being too hard on one of my female ducks and I wanted to give her a break.  I'm guessing it as a raccoon, because of the way it was killed (which as particularly brutal), and because the attacker would have had to climb the fence to the bird yard and it was strong enough to bust out one of
the boards to get to this duck.  Kind of a crappy morning around
here.
 
 

This is the "birthing suite" within our French Lop rabbit enclosure in the barn.  My daughter and I got the front gate done about a week ago, and good thing we did!  This morning I could hear my four month old Anatolian barking and barking and barking, which she also did each time one of our sheep was giving birth.  I thought maybe one of the lambs was out or something, so I go out to the barn to see what was wrong.

I check the soon to be mama bunny, and she has pulled a TON of fur out and put it in her nesting box.  That means birth is imminent.  I didn't see any babies though, and Holly was at the front of her cage pulling more fur.  I go to feed the sheep and goats, and my 12 year old yells at me that Holly has gone to the next box and is having babies!  We actually got to see the babies be born.

So we have seven new little lives here on the farm.  My daughter says it's like Christmas.  :)

 
 
After almost three years of living this homesteading lifestyle, I have learned a valuable lesson;  start small, and dream big.

I have a very bad habit of aquiring animals that I think suit our purposes, before I have their buildings/stalls/fencing/enclosures finished.  I am now in the position of having to sell half of our stock, because I do not have the pastures available to them to forage.  That means that every bit of what they eat has to be purchased, which just isn't practical.  In addition, there does not seem to be much of a market in our area for sheep, which makes it nearly impossible to recoup any money spent feeding them through the year.

The main lessons?  Know your market, know your own strengths and weaknesses, and concentrate your efforts on one or two species.  I am grateful for this experience, and know now that I am simply not the kind of person who can keep a menagerie and still break even, let alone make a profit.  I know some who do, and I applaud them.  But for us, scaling back and rethinking our business plan is our plan of action.  And I will no longer bring any animal to the farm without having the space available for them.

Learning this lifestyle is certainly an ongoing project.  But it is absolutely one that is full of lessons worth learning.

 
 

Female French Lop doe for sale after Easter.  She is a pedigreed broken silver tip, born on February 7th. 

$45.00


 We don't sell bunnies prior to Easter, due to some people wanting them for nothing more than props.
 
 
Join us on our Facebook page, for more of a conversation, rather than the post of the day format.

You can find us here, https://www.facebook.com/BillyJoesFoodFarm.  Don't forget to "like" the page, and click "show in newsfeed" and/or "get notifications" so that you won't miss our Facebook posts.

 
 
Picture
baby French Lop bunny
Picture
Beady, our pregnant ewe, using her new hay feeder
Picture
little bitty Fench Lop bunny
Picture
Holly, the mama bunny, wanting to see why someone is in her enclosure
Picture
Kids in the yard with the sheep (you can see two goats on the left)
Picture
Building a feed shed with pallets (used old feed sacks under the pallets)
Picture
More pallets, good ones too, and a 250 gallon water tote that needs to be cleaned out.
Picture
Gracie checking the little lambs, and they moved!
 
 
Spring is a busy time here, and although the calendar tells us that spring is still several weeks away, we are taking advantage of our recent good weather.  We are finally making some progress on some of our many on-going projects.  For us, creating all the spaces, fences and feeders from scratch is a never ending process.

The little rabbits are growing and the bunny enclosure is doing it's job, keeping the rabbits in and the cats out.  Still some finish work (and clean up), to do, but we will wait until the kits are a little bigger so as not to disturb mama and babies.  The below photo shows the rabbit enclosure being built.  It's still not quite finished, but is enclosed.  This photo will give you an idea of how we are using pallets to finish the space.






Mr. Elliott built a new hay feeder to hang on the wall of one of the barn stalls, and will be building more for the rest of the stalls.  I am hopeful that we will be wasting less hay now, and the sheep won't have to bend down anymore to eat.  This feeder was built with scrap wood and a hog panel.





The broody house, next to the chicken coop, now has a fence made from pallets and is fully enclosed above with netting.  The net keeps our birds in as they grow, and keeps the hawks and cats out. 

We have chosen to build our bird coops out of metal, rather than wood.  I prefer the look of wood, but the metal seems to do a better job of keeping the predators out.

The first photo is of the pallets being set up for the fence, the second photo was taken tonight after we finished the netting and put the adolescent guineas in their new enclosure.






We are in the process of building a feed storage building out of pallets, and a moveable fence with pallets as well.  Then we have more hay feeders to build, and some table height gardens for me.  I am hopeful we will get most of our building projects finished before I have to consolidate my efforts into growing some food.  Homesteading is sometimes hectic, and often exhausting, but always changing, and never boring.


Now I need to revamp my chicken tractor before the new chicks hatch...tick tock, tick tock...