Our homestead has been growing like crazy this past year.
Last spring, we added a bee hive. We haven't harvested honey yet because we wanted to give our new hive the best chance of overwintering- surviving over the winter- as we could. We did just add a new honey super, so when the nectar flows this spring and they fill it up, I am hopeful we will be able to harvest this spring.
The hive right after we installed the nuc. A nuc is a small already established colony of a queen and 5 frames of brood, bees, and honey.
A corner of a frame, can you spot the queen?
The next time we open the hive to inspect, I will record it and post on our Facebook page Hindrichs' Happy Homestead!
Another change we have made is adding a Livestock Guardian Dog, a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian mix named Sylvie. She is now 6 months old and roughly 80-100 pounds.
Last summer, we also tried our hands at raising ducks. The bad news was, out of 4 ducklings, we ended up with 3 drakes. Since you can't house male ducks with hens when they don't have their own wife, we had to rehome 2 of the drakes. The third was the mate to our only female duck. Unfortunately, our hen died of an unknown cause, so we butchered the male. Now that we have moved and have a creek in our back yard, we may venture into ducks again because the kids loved the duck eggs. We will see.
We now also have quail! We currently have 38 quail chicks in the brooder. Our plans are to hatch our own, then butcher them for food. Once we get enough production going, we plan to sell the eggs, the chicks, and processed quail locally! If you are local and interested in eggs or meat, we will be offering them in the next 3 months.
15 of the quail chicks on the way home
I am working on a post about the quail, how we house and feed them, and eventually how we butcher them.
The last thing, is our chickens. Our oldest, Landon, has started his own flock of Polish chickens, he plans to hatch the chicks and sell them. Our mature flock has changed considerably when we moved, we had 30, now we are down to 11 hens and a rooster, Micheal. We severely underestimated the predator problem here in the woods. For several days, we lost a chicken a night. This is the big reason we got Sylvie, since we have had her, we have had no chicken losses except 2 that she killed being a puppy.
In the brooder, Landon has his 8 chicks, and as I type, we have silkie chicks hatching in the incubator! Plus, a mama chicken is sitting on 3 eggs in the coop outside, but time will tell if she is successful. I will have a post all about the silkies after they hatch and I get them out of the incubator for pictures.
So what's in the future for us? We want to plant a small orchard. We are also planning our garden and have 50 tomato plants growing from seeds almost ready for the ground. We are planning to sell quail, chickens, honey, eggs, and possibly other goods from our home and at the farmer's markets around the area. If you are local and interested in any of our products, send me a message on our Facebook page or leave a comment!