With support from Scott, we built an 8' x 8' chick brooder for our delivery of 100 chicks coming May 5th. It has a 4' x 8' hinged door on top, and hardware cloth on the other half of the top. It stands 2' tall, with a wrap of hot wire around the bottom to keep predators from digging under the walls.
After long years of anticipation, Feliz ushered in a new era for our family - dairy self-sufficiency. After her colostrum was done, she shocked us with over 3 gallons in the morning. By April 15th, she gave 4 gallons in one milking, and May 9th, she gave over 9.25 gallons! We thought she would give between 6 and 7 max. Ela went up over 6 in a day - we are awash in the precious white liquor of life. We started separating it immediately to reduce the demand on the fridge, and Kyra figured out several skim milk cheeses. The cream goes primarily to butter, with some sour cream and ice cream too.
We are trying to get 500lbs of cheese and 500 of butter in the 6' dairy freezer by the time the grass is done.
Three firsts: first heifer born on property (Gabe and Adam were other two), first birth we have watched on the property, and first cow separated from calf to enable milking without nursing.
In a marvelous unassisted birth, Feliz opted to calve in the pen we had prepped with clean bedding and a gate to enable us to separate them. She spent the first minutes licking little Hannah before we coaxed her out (heartless, but necessary for dairy cows). We carried Hannah out of the pen while Kyra/Isaiah played defense, and we put her in the feed trough in front of the milking stanchion to lure Feliz in. After head-catching Feliz, we moved Hannah back into the birthing pen and milked Feliz for the first time getting over a gallon of colostrum!
Hannah drank from a bottle with a few minutes of coaching to our relief and the kids' jubilation!
After numerous gentle requests from Kyra for a door on the utility room, Scott asked, "do you need any help on some projects?" Reluctantly, I borrowed motivation and skill to get the installation completed for the 2nd time - the first time was not square, level, plumb or able to close.
Thank you Scott!
Josh: Founder, father