Monday, October 31, 2016

Fall Farm and Dairy Donkey updates

Yes... It's a warm one but Leaves are turning and it has cooled off enough for fall garden crops to take off and sheep breeding to begin!
This years late heat wave took a toll on my fall garden.. But God is good and we have lots of greens!
The silkie chickens have started laying eggs like crazy!! And I'm patiently waiting for more fall veggies and goose eggs again!  
I think all of my donkey Jennets have settled but 1 girl... Our jack may need to get a little taller to breed her!
I'm ok with waiting though! His coloring and temperament are something special!
So I'll give him more time..
I know this is an odd picture below...
 A donkey udder! 
Who takes a picture of that!
Someone who milks donkeys and that's me 😃
Rani is a 40 inch small standard donkey that has been a joy to milk. She is almost 6 months fresh now and still milking wonderfully this fall! 

I was told by a self appointed donkey milk expert 🤔 that a small donkey wouldn't give hardly any milk , be to hard to milk and not be worth my time. That the large standards and mammoths are the only donkey worth milking.
He obviously did not know what he was talking about , seeing as how he hasn't milked all the donkeys of the world and probably underestimated the fact that I've got a few years of managing dairy animals under my belt. 
Small donkeys can be wonderful milkers and fill your needs for a much smaller feed bill! Tiny Rani has certainly filled our needs here!

By the grace of God, Rani is an excellent donkey I was able to purchase to begin with!
Along with careful and creative management I'm happy to say that Rani has given us so much milk there's not a day that's went by I've not drank some this summer and I have several months of donkey milk frozen stored up too!
I've also had enough to do some experimenting like making donkey milk fudge , truffles and ice cream!
I manage her like a dairy animal with special needs!! It's complicated but not impossible.
A little donkey giving a whole quart a day is a big deal! That's only what the big donkeys give! Right?
So wrong...
And her udder is so easy to milk out too!

I'm not saying every little donkey will give this much... Maybe Rani is special . I mean, I've not milked all the donkeys of the world either And the donkey hasn't been trait bred in this country to be a dairy animal so who knows what will milk well and what won't. 
I'm just saying it's not wise to give advice on things you know nothing about. It's very misleading. 
I almost followed that ill given advice. I would have missed out on a fantastic milking donkey and 
Leaping into bigger donkeys than I needed would have been a disaster for me at the time I was beginning this journey. Bigger donkeys need bigger barns, bigger pastures And have a much larger feed bill. 
Even my small and standard donkeys are hay burners! Sure they can have a low quality cheaper hay..but they need ALOT of it!

I love my easy keeper donkeys ...,
Rani's perfect , easy milking udder... 
Future dairy donkeys grazing on the rough ' no founder' pasture!
Now that my husband has finished this 4 acres my feed bill has been less than half of what it was for the donkeys. Winter is coming so it's a short lived break though!
Hopefully next year I'll have another 6 acres to add to it. 
Fall brings most of our Meishan farrowings to a close. We've farrowed 6 litters of piglets this year. 
We've sold all but 1 boar piglet from those 6 farrowings! 
He is from a lost line of USDA boars we are keeping to make available as a future breeding pair with a gilt piglet from a December farrowing we are expecting.

We will not be breeding Iowa state to Iowa state any more. The outcrossing to Illinois and USDA lines are producing  faster growing piglets. Genetic diversity is critical in this rare breed if it's to survive with the qualities it had when it was imported.

Our Future Meishan herd sire!
This guy is out of Illinois/Iowa state lines..
Ears for days...and wrinkling up fast!
This piglet is a wonderful product of the 2 long isolated lines crossed..
Minghou is USDA line Meishan... 
Piglets are USDA/USDA lines. 
Since we have in our herd distinctly different and documented pedigrees of the USDA unrelated lines we don't have to worry about inbreeding depression by breeding USDA to USDA. 
I'm very excited about these piglets!!!
Fall and winter are for fiber arts!!!
And I'm very excited about a sheep called Karakul...
This is some karakul lambs wool from Letty Klien, long time karakul breeder in Michigan. 
A breed I've looked at for awhile now...
A breed I hope will be a perfect addition to our farm next year..,
More on that later! 😀
Seasons change and the farm chores may adjust somewhat but there's always plenty to do on a subsistence farm!

Many blessings! 

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