penny-kids-2-22-19

150 Animals, Winter Chores in Under 30 Minutes

When talking about the animals we raise, I often hear, “How do you do it all?”  I’m startled at that question, because the reality is there isn’t much to do, so I thought maybe it would help to take you on a walk through my daily chores.  As much as possible, I try to automate systems.  Like most of us, I have a lot going on with homeschooling, house-wifing and small farming, so anything I can be hands off with is a help.

These photos were taken today.  The average time to feed and care for all the animals on the property is under 30 minutes, with bursts of activity once per week for feeding hay.  High capacity feeders are the key to sanity.

Even with the time spent moving hay once per week, we still average under 30 minutes per day.  Here’s how.

Continue reading “150 Animals, Winter Chores in Under 30 Minutes”

penny-kids-2-22-19

Creating a Feeding Station for Livestock Guardian Dogs

Before we got pigs, we just had a bowl of food out for the dogs free choice.  Those days were so innocent, so pure, so carefree.  Then came the pigs. <cue ominous music>

Now, I’ve had all kinds of livestock for most of my life, but nothing prepared me for life with pigs.  They are an entirely different animal altogether.  I remember the first time we were moving two of our little sweet adorable piglets out of one pen and into another.  Everything was going great, they were following a bucket of grain and we were thrilled with our success.  Then they quit coming.  I looked back to see those two sweet little angels ravenously devouring a whole chicken we’d fed the dogs, bones crunching in their mouths as they contentedly snorted and chewed.  Whoa. Continue reading “Creating a Feeding Station for Livestock Guardian Dogs”

penny-kids-2-22-19

Fencing for the Livestock Guardian Dog

My heart jolted out of my body for probably the 4,000th time in a month to the sound of a honking horn. In the weeks since moving to our new farm, situated right next to a paved road, it had seemed like one catastrophe after another and the honking horn was a sure clue that yet another disaster was unfolding right outside.

Blaze, our benevolent Great Pyrenees, had once again escaped the pasture where she lived and was out on the road stopping cars. This is a 50 MPH road, so you can imagine the chaos that ensued. She would refuse to move, barking at these evident trespassers and nothing we could do short of dragging her back off the road would make her stop. This was happening at the same time as the neighbor issue and I was over capacity for dog related stress. Continue reading “Fencing for the Livestock Guardian Dog”

penny-kids-2-22-19

When Your Neighbor Hates Your Livestock Guardian Dogs

Nearly two years ago, we packed up everything we owned, including 17 goats and their 2 livestock guardian dogs, and moved to our new home, a beautiful paradise you see in all the photos on this website.  It’s the place of dreams, a place I wake up every day and thank God for allowing us to buy.  Here, at last, we could fulfill our dream of becoming a sustainable farm, able to withstand life’s financial and social storms.  We were so eager to begin that we worked until midnight the day of closing to get our beds moved and sleep in our new home.

We’d lived in the house we moved from for our entire marriage and our entire goat owning career.  Nothing prepared me for the enormity of a move that involved both livestock and small children.  I’d say it took almost a full year to finally begin to feel settled in.  We were very blessed to have a fully fenced and cross fenced property to move to, but miniature goats and determined livestock guardian dogs will find ways to get out. Continue reading “When Your Neighbor Hates Your Livestock Guardian Dogs”

penny-kids-2-22-19

Cost of Making Homemade Dog Food

We’re still in the early stages of being 100% kibble free and making our own dog food, so I’ll continue to update this post as the details become clearer.

Prior to making the switch, we were spending $4.55 per day for dog food, which gives us quite a bit of cost to work with.  If we pay the same amount but feed them homemade food instead, I’d count it a win for the health benefits.

How Much To Feed Per Day?

Juliette de Bairacli Levy says a healthy collie adult should eat 2 pounds per day with this method.  Collies average 60 pounds full grown.  Our four dogs average 66 pounds, but LGDs eat less for their weight than other dogs their size.  We’ve been averaging about 6 pounds of kibble per day (fed free choice) before switching so I’m basing our current rations on that and will adjust both the ration and this article if things change considerably.  Levy also mentions dogs eat less on this diet than on an “unnatural diet.”
Continue reading “Cost of Making Homemade Dog Food”

penny-kids-2-22-19

Our Journey Begins: Ditching Dog Food

For years now I have wanted to get away from kibble in my dogs’ diets.  It is unnatural, laden with chemicals and filled with things we wouldn’t necessarily choose to feed ourselves.  I have a six year old German Shepherd who, after having mandatory vaccines to be boarded one year, has suffered off and on with skin conditions and nervous issues.  He is sensitive to foods and has never seemed to regain full health after his ordeal.  It is mainly for him that we are finally jumping into feeding dogs naturally, with no kibble.

The thing that has held me back from making this move is the many conflicting recommendations on how best to feed dogs homemade food.  On one end of the spectrum you have the raw camp saying that dogs must only eat raw meats, bones and offal and nothing else.  On the other end is a personal hero, Paul Gautschi of Back to Eden fame, who is feeding his dogs only fruits, vegetables and eggs all grown on his property.  His dogs are sleek, healthy and vibrant, a sure testament to the fact that dogs do not need meat to thrive.  With so many opinions, it’s easy to get caught up in indecision.
Continue reading “Our Journey Begins: Ditching Dog Food”