Sometimes you just need to vent all your farm frustrations to your mother. Okay, so not everyone has a farm to vent about. Once in awhile I need an outside perspective that has close ties to everyone on the farm. While it is helpful to have recommendations and advice pouring in over the internet, it doesn’t seem quite as personal as getting thoughts and ideas from someone who knows all the rabbits, has pet all the goats (and even transported some for me), has fed the chickens and watched them grow from chicks, and has tasted all that sticky honey first hand. I did, however, tell her about all the recommendations you sent in.

After an hour on the phone with my mother, I had a mental list of what to do next with all the creatures and dirt out here. So today I am taking my Mom Advice and a couple books and getting the wheels in motion for some projects that can be done now, for free, and may even be easier with very little garden to manage in the upcoming winter months.

Mom said:
1) “Don’t worry about the rabbits. It has always been frustrating breeding them. Don’t bother trying to find a new breed to work with, what you have now is exactly what you wanted. And maybe this is why there are so few French Angora breeders out there… they aren’t incredibly easy to raise. Instead, keep breeding everyone until you get what you need. Eventually it will work out.”

2) “Just eat all the chickens and start over. Or sell them and start over. You have to remember that you raised them in Sonora, then moved 52 miles away, and expected them to keep laying like they had before. Maybe they aren’t cut out to live in Mountain Ranch wind and heat and freezing temperatures. They were raised in a whole other environment. Stick them all in the freezer and research hardy breeds to get started next.”
Mom really liked the “Viking” Swedish Hens idea, but I worry about how they would do in the summer heat. Mom gave a thumbs down to the Jersey Giants because they are not mega-egg-producers. Personally, I think she rejected the idea because they are oddly large and she hates weird looking chickens; case and point: my Naked Neck Turkens.

3) “I liked the Carnelian honey bees you had. Get more of those, keep two hives at my house, and keep two hives at yours. The bees always did real well here in Sonora. And it’s not like Trevor has to groom them every day or anything. When he is in Sonora visiting, he can check in on the Sonora hives and then he can harvest honey once a year like he always does. That way, if the Mountain Ranch hives fail again, you won’t have to start all over because the Sonora hives will be here.”
To give mom credit, we were thinking about ordering some Carnelian bees next month to start in the spring. We had one, full Carnelian hive a few years ago, but when the queen died, we had to re-queen the hive with what we had in the second hive: Italians. The Italians never produced quite as much honey and they obviously weren’t nearly as adaptive.

4) “I’d get Freyja bred as soon as possible. It sounds like she may be in heat now. Ask around and see if anyone will breed her for you to one of their Boer goats. That way she will only need to be transported down the road a bit and you won’t have to wait a whole year to get her bred. Use the milk, sell the babies.

5) “Dig holes now for any trees you want to plant in the spring. And then dig holes so we can get some anchor points for goat tethers set up in the field. You won’t need an expensive fence out there right away and the goats can still benefit from the forage.”

6) “Turkeys were a good idea. Keep raising turkeys. Don’t even bother with meat chickens. The turkeys are doing really well out there even in the freezing cold and heat.”

11 thoughts on “Mothers

  1. Tell your mother that my oddly large Jersey was dropped by a hawk because he couldn’t handle her size. (Which saved her life) And her oddly large body produces an enormous egg at minimum every other day if not every day. 😉 i understand the idea of wanting a mega producer, however, spring thru fall and every other to every two days in winter depending on their heat and sunshine is how often my sweet girls lay. I wouldn’t knock em til you try em!! It costs a couple bucks to for a chick… You should get several different breeds. Watch their temperaments, keep track of their production, note their hardiness both to weather and illness. I’ve had Marans, Easter eggers, leghorns, RRI, Muscovy ducks… Of all the eggs available to me… Hands down. Jerseys are my favorite to crack open when I’m cooking. Oh and too… My girls don’t get anything but scratch in the summer… They free range completely spring to early winter. They’re not expensive to feed at all! And they’re far from ugly! Naked necks, well they’re another story! Lol

  2. Moms knows best. I wish I still had one I could call and for her to pick up the phone.Moms love you unconditionally. They always know what to say.

    Check out your local area chicken raisers. What birds are they getting? Your birds are just going on to the next cycle of their lives…your belly as mine did this summer. I’ll start again fresh in the Spring.

    Your bunnies are your bunnies. I also have BEW French Angoras. They are not easy, but they are just so darn loveable. You just finished tracking some of their genetics are can almost predict from each mating pair. It would be a shame to lose that info. By Spring, they will have settled down to think of this property as home. Imagine if you were plopped down in a different country. Everything you once knew was gone or changed. You would need time to acclimate.

    Take it easy. Everything does not have to be done now.

  3. You are missing the fowl thing! We raise/have runner ducks and they lay more great eggs than chickens for sure! Yes, they will survive in mtn ranch, they do in angels!

  4. Hi Sara,

    We’re “micro” farming in the Yukon, Canada. Our average evening temperatures in June are about 8 degrees Celsius (about 46 degrees F.)

    But I thought your moms advice was practical and helpful even for us! We need to extend our ‘daylight’ by a couple of hours each day to keep our chickens laying in the winter as it’s mountainous plus we only have 5ish hours of sunlight from November to March.

    I want to start bee hives this coming year so the idea of splitting the locations was awesome.


  5. Mums give the best advice. By the way, for me hardy bees are dark bees. The yellow bees that some people import from Italy never seem to overwinter as well, even in the relatively mild winters of the UK.

  6. I envy you your advising Mom. My mum tends more along the lines of me having a rough day with the kids means I should “bung them in school for the teachers to worry about” and I can imagine her advice about the little farm we have would be to sell up and move back to the city and get a job. You’re lucky to have a mom that cares about you and believes in what you’re doing.

    A chook that handles the cold and hot climate is the Dorking hen and they are supposed to be a dual purpose too but I’ve found them disappointing. We have Light Sussex too and they do well. My silkies are there for entertainment value (they look like micro punks in the wet) and we are currently raising some Isa Brown (bestest ever egg layers but only for 2 years) cross Barred Plymouth Rock. The BPR’s are supposed to be a good egg chook and I can attest to their size and taste on the table. I’ve culled them myself and although the feathers are a little different and more plentiful, I reckon it was also one of the easiest birds I ever had to pluck. The rooster my friend had turned aggressive though but I’d try them again raising a roo from chick I think. 🙂

    Best of luck sorting through breeds and where to go from now and I agree with your Mom. You’ve moved. Time to cut yourself a little slack by cutting your animals some slack too. Things will come together. 🙂 And don’t forget those awesome hugels over the summer. 😀

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