Adding Mini Cows to our Homestead

While I’ve been away taking a break from life.

I’ve acquired two of the sweetest mini cows.

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Ferdinand & Clarabelle.

They arrived home on November 8th.  I used an Essential Oil concoction with Lavender Essential Oil to make their ride a little less overwhelming.  They were after all both being removed from their Mama’s for the first time.  I will say they were pretty calm and relaxed considering.

To be honest for the months leading up to their arrival there was a phase where I begged and pleaded with my husband to reconsider the arrival of these mini cows.

Fast forward almost a month later and I couldn’t be more in love.  In a few years when they breed we will be able to get our own fresh daily milk.  I am excited at the idea of providing ourselves with a little more sustainability.

After a lot of research we decided on the Mini Belted Galloway  breed known for their hardiness since we happen to live in the arctic some days.  They are feed efficient, and naturally polled.  For the inexperienced that just means in simple terms the bull does not have horns naturally.

I’ll be honest the bull is in fact the sweetest.  He’s like an enormous dog with a hoarse raspy moooooo that loves apples and carrots.

Both greet me each day with such enthusiasm and the sweetest cow faces.

Clarabelle is a little more reserved, but being an introvert myself I don’t fault her one bit.  In time she will come around.

Part of our homesteading journey was to get animals that would give back to us in some way.  Provide us with a service.  For now they eat hay (and not that much I might add) and they help eat the green waste around our homestead.

I love that they aren’t full size.  It makes handling them, feeding them, and space requirements much easier to handle.  Considering I barely know a thing about cow ownership it’s going pretty flawless.  Even with a mild escape a few weeks back.

I would most definitely recommend adding mini cows to your homestead if you are considering it.

There is something so sweet and gentle about a mini cow.

 

Farm life heartbreak

Today I had to experience first hand death of a farm animal.

What started as an ordinary day quickly went very wrong. One of our Nigerian dwarf goats was suffering from urinary calculi. It was immediate and sudden. He was suffering and in excruciating pain. As the day went on his suffering continued.

My husband works long hours leaving me to make big decisions alone sometimes.

Today was that day.

Anyone who knows me. Knows that I love animals probably too much. My heart can’t take much heartbreak.

But as the day went on sweet Gus began to suffer unbearable pain.

With no vet available and the prognosis so grim I had to mercy kill my sweet Gus.

I’ve never killed an animal.

I’ll be honest I was nervous. I prayed over sweet Gus before. His goat crying was to much for my heart to handle. And so I sent him on his way to heaven.

I like to imagine all animals happy in heaven. Eating all their favorite things.

Frolicking.

Today opened my eyes to the fact that I’m too sensitive for this farm life.

I can’t stand to watch anything suffer. I never want to play God and choose to end a life.

But today I was faced with no better choice.

It was quick and I hope painless.

Has anyone started their homesteading journey to realize they aren’t cut out for certain aspects.

I never would have thought that I’d have to mercy kill one of my sweet beloved animals. I adored that sweet animal and his silly gentle nature. He will be so missed.

Benefits of gardening with young children with sensory challenges

Gardening is a great way for children to get the sensory input their bodies crave.

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You can’t deny all of the input you receive from being outside, digging in the dirt, (barefoot if you are related to me and my children.)

I made sure to really understand and learn from the occupational therapists about the children’s different sensory needs.

Before Miss H and EBEs diagnosis’s I didn’t understand the term; sensory seeker, undersensitive, hypersensitive, avoider, just to name a few.

But I’ve made it a priority to learn, to take notes, to ask when something isn’t working.

Anyways I am a firm believer that we do need to go back to our roots sometimes.  No you don’t need to throw out your WiFi router, or toss your computer.  But, we’ve become a society obsessed with labels, obsessed with quick fixes, overly medicated, instead of making maybe a few life changes.

This is my first big garden.  Most of it was started from seed.  It was back breaking labor, but I love seeing our progress.  I love being able to teach the kids about the importance of diet (because in our home it truly does make a difference with behaviors).

I love knowing how things were raised, no pesticides, truly organic food.

I don’t have enough this year so of course I still buy from the grocery store.

It not only teaches the importance of working hard for what we eat.  Being grateful, and not being wasteful as well.

The kids absolutely love it.

Usually they are barefoot, which I wholeheartedly support.  If you haven’t researched grounding and barefoot walking you should.  It’s pretty interesting.

I have a sensory seeker, and a sensory avoider, one loves to be barefoot and one doesn’t.

EBE is the sensory avoider.  Somehow after we had spent 30 minutes digging for potatoes he barely had dirt on his fingers and asked for it to be immediately washed off.

Miss H and I had dirt in our hair, up to our elbows and were barefoot.

EBE is the avoider, and Miss H is a sensory seeker.

Both were so excited to be picking their own food and were tasting it along the way.

EBE has a lot of food aversions, but even he was so thrilled at our garden finds that he happily ate some freshly pulled carrots.

There is so much value in teaching your kids about healthy diet choices, teaching them to grow their own food.

I know for our house food really affects the behaviors we see.  I can always tell if we’ve been a bit to relaxed on diet and snacks.

Have you noticed a change in your child with autism or sensory processing disorder depending on their diet?

I find that whole foods and non processed foods are the best way to go for us.  I tried gluten free, but it didn’t make a difference for us I didn’t see a noticeable change in behaviors like I do with whole, natural foods, and lots of water.

Thank you for reading!

Danielle

 

The Fate of the Backyard Rooster

When our sweet hen Mabel turned out to be a beautiful Blue Orphington rooster we were a little hesitant to keep him but chose to anyways and he was gifted with the name King Mabel.  Here we are about 8 months into it and I’m leaning towards taking the backyard rooster out of the equation for a bit.

If you’re considering a backyard rooster or find yourself with a surprise rooster in the flock here is my personal experience as a rooster owner.  If you have a rooster let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Pros

Protect the hens from predators.

Less yelling between hens.  They do seem to get along better with the Rooster around.

Introducing new chickens to the flock is a much easier transition with a Rooster around.

They are beautiful!

They do have a fascinating dance they perform to impress the hens.

The chicken family dynamic is pretty interesting to watch.

Fertile eggs.

Cons

I remember only a month ago bragging about the sweetness of my Rooster who is now about 10 months old.  However suddenly he’s taken a more aggressive approach and has resorted to chasing Miss H and pecking her anytime she comes into the chicken pen.

He posts up and now chases me out or lunges when I come into collect eggs.

They are loud.  Sometimes obnoxiously so.  It seems he’s really gotten the hang of his morning alert and it can be a bit irritating for those who sleep lighter.

The mating process appears to be quite violent.  It’s not something I enjoy seeing  in my backyard.  I know it’s nature, but yikes.

So there are my personal pros and cons to owning a backyard rooster.

The fate of King Mabel has yet to be decided.  Stay tuned.