Summer 2023 - On the Homestead

# 861 4 - 6 mins. 3

It's been a while since I've made an update. Unfortunately, my parents had some medical issues this year that kept me from updating here, but a lot has changed!

To start off with, we had to get rid of our chickens and ducks. They aren't allowed in my zoning, and although I thought no one around me minded, it seems I was wrong. We got a letter from the township saying they needed to be removed and had to send many of our chickens to friends' houses, as my kids thought of them as pets. The ducks were processed for meat, and muscovies make some good meat. It has a very different flavor and texture from rabbit or chicken and tastes a lot like beef.

It was horrible to have to get rid of the birds after all of that set up though. I knew I wasn't allowed to have them and I knew someone reporting me was a possibility, but it's kind of ridiculous that they aren't allowed in Lebanon. We're surrounded by farms, especially our property. My house even came with a barn. Plus, there are many inner cities that allow chickens. So I plan to try and go through the process of getting the zoning rules changed in the future. If you live in South Lebanon township and would like to help, let me know!

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I was trying an experiment of putting rabbits in with the birds. And I did run the experiment long enough to reach a conclusion on that. It actually worked out surprisingly well. The ducks, who were the most territorial and aggressive, gave the rabbits a few hard pecks at first. It seemed this was more out of curiosity than aggression though. After the first few times, the rabbits wised up and stayed away from the ducks. The rabbits are a lot faster and could easily get away, so they coexisted perfectly fine.

The only issue I ran into was making a separate space for kindling. I made some tunnels out of half of an old water softener tank for the doe to use as nesting areas. I put strips of wood on the opening into the tunnels to make it so the rabbits could barely squeeze into them, but because they weren't secured to the ground, the ducks kept squeezing their way under the tunnels where the baby bunnies were and trampling them. This was fixed by including nest areas that had an attached bottom and a hole small enough only for rabbits.

Overall, the summer on the homestead went well. Our gardens, though they weren't kept up with as much as I would have hoped, grew tons of fresh veggies and greens for our family. We also put together a cattle panel vine tunnel that was a lot of fun. We had birdhouse gourds and pumpkins growing all over it.

Once our birds moved out, the rabbits that I had in the chicken coop stayed there and I started a new experiment: a rabbit colony. Colonies are where rabbits are kept together in a pen-type setup. Many people online warn of rampant disease, but I had mine going for about 6 months without any outbreaks of anything. It was surprisingly easy. Honestly, the reason I just stopped doing a colony is because I couldn't keep up with all of the bunnies being produced. Anytime I moved the kits out to tractors, the doe in the colony would pop out another litter. So if you have been wanting to try a colony but are worried about disease, I say go ahead and try it with just a single buck and a single doe. In a lot of ways, I found it easier than cages.

A more recent development is that we have gotten back into raising quail for meat and eggs. I had mentioned raising them in a previous post, but was having some trouble getting the settings on my incubator right. The first couple of hatches didn't go very well. But I finally got it right and now have a flock of quail hatched from Myshire Farms hatching eggs! They are just starting to produce eggs now, so if you're interested in hatching eggs or live birds, they'll be available soon in our shop.

Thanks for following along. Happy homesteading!


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