Friday, June 4, 2010

A farmer's lament

Warning, much whining ahead. I'm not really feeling the farm love lately.

I have 12 laying hens, 1 is sitting on a nest of eggs right now so she's excused. But the other 11 are only managing to lay an average of 4 eggs a day. I thought maybe they were hiding them so I kept them locked in the coop the last 2 days. I got 5 eggs one day, and only 1 yesterday! I'm going crazy trying to figure out what is going on. I have people that want eggs and not nearly enough eggs for them. All I can figure is their eating them?

Then I have my bratty milk goat, and bratty is putting it nicely! It takes me 5 minutes to drag her to the milk stand each morning. She then lets me milk her for about 3 minutes before she decides she's done. And when she's done, she isn't kidding. She kicks, stomps, sits down, dances, everything she can think of to make me stop. She spills the milk every 3 days or so. I'm starting to really dislike this goat. She's also a bully to the other goats. Her only saving grace is she's a good mom. I'm seriously considering giving up milking. It isn't worth the daily fight for 4 ounces of milk. I dread getting up in the morning because I know what is coming.

And if that wasn't enough, the guineas are making nests in the hardest to find places. I've found a few of them recently with many eggs in them. One had 16! I have no idea how old the eggs are so I just mark them and keep checking the nest to see if we get new ones. Not only do we not get new ones but over the next few days all the old ones disappear. This has happened a few times now. We haven't had a guinea egg in well over a month.

On top of all that, the goats have discovered that good stuff is growing in the garden and they are now getting out every day and eating the garden. I thought I had all the places they could get out sealed up, but apparently not. I've long suspected that they could escape whenever they want and just stay where I want them out of kindness. The lure of the garden is too much for them to resist right now. I'm trying to seal any spot I find.

And speaking of the garden, it has rained everyday for the last week. Which is great, except the weeds are now so big I can't find my plants! Of course, the goats can, they don't eat the weeds, just the stuff I want. It finally isn't raining today but it's in the 90s out there. I have no idea when weeding may occur.

And Mark wonders why I'm not in the mood to make dinner at night!


Bil said...

I so feel your pain! We've got about 15 chickens that should be laying but only are getting 6-7 eggs a day on average. Also, birds are getting in the coop and eating the eggs (thought it was the chickens until I caught a bird in there pecking away).

Then the rain! OY!

Good luck and keep on going! :)


Gail said...

You have discovered farming is not easy, you have to love it and take it all together. I, too, am having a difficult time just deciding I should have any animals at all.

Look on the bright side...aren't you glad the milk goat is not a mild cow? The solution, sell her and try another.

Hang in there, it will get better. On these days, tell hubby dinner is 3 ounces of goat's milk.

Gail said...

Oh, and the word verification is fighter!

This is your dream, fight for it.

Melodie said...

Yep, you got the farm girl blues! This life is very rewarding,but and that is a big BUT...some days I want to just throw in the towel! Then it always gets better...hang in there!

Linda said...


Gayle said...

It's okay, I'd whine, too. I agree with Gail...sell her and try another. Not every animal fits with a family. I recently found one of our dogs a new home as after two years she just wasn't fitting in. Sorry about the lack of eggs. Maybe they are molting an odd time of year? Are they old? Hope you figure it out soon.

Teresa said...

This is why farmers are the biggest risk-taking gamblers you can find on the planet. Just like all gambling streaks, you just have to hang in there and your luck will change.

Foothills Poultry said...

You may have a snake eating eggs. Also the stress that seeing a snake causes will through the ladies off lay. If not a snake it could be a different animal/predator.

The heat could also be throughing them off.


Christy said...

Thanks for the support. I know it will all turn around soon. Just a bit overwhelmed right now. I didn't milk the goat this morning, I let Callisto take care of it. A morning off was nice! I may sell her once Callisto is weaned. I'm not sure yet, she is a good mom so I may just keep her for that and not as a milk goat. I have a few others that I'll try to milk next year.

Peggy said...

I remember those days when I milked 7 goats twice a day. A couple of them made me want to give up milking all together. We got out of the goat farming for a year but I miss it. Now I have a mini Nubian and hope to get a couple more. My chickens don't lay much on raining days. Now that its stopped raining I am getting eggs from all the hens every evening. Love your blog!

linda m said...

Hang in there Christy. things will get better!
{{{{HUG}}}} Sounds like Io just isn't worth trying to milk. Don't stress out over trying to milk her. Try again next year with a different one.

polly's path said...

It must be the weather, because our 9 laying hens give me between 4 and 5 eggs per day when they used to give a solid one egg per chicken daily just a couple of months ago.
My milking goat China was doing well as far as her bahavior, but i finally decided to stop milking because she went down in her production as she has been weaning her baby, and it just wasn't worth it getting my equipment dirty for barely a cup of milk.
Chin up, tomorrow will be a better day.

Andrea said...

I have no advice, just wanted to say that I admire what you are doing and am sending good egg laying vibes your way. I have 8 new chicks who have a way to go before laying, but it is good to know what may be down the road for us! Lovely post.

CeeCee said...

Christy, I'm late to this party, but you could be having a pest (rat snake or a rat) taking your eggs.
My egg production went way down and I wondered what was up with my girls. One day I caught the snake in the nest box with two eggs in its belly.
You'd know if your girls were eating the eggs---they make a terrible mess with egg yolk on their breast feathers and often on their heads as well.

Good luck!

Christy said...

CeeCee, thanks for the info on how to tell if the chickens are eating the eggs. I wasn't sure how to know.

Carol............. said...

Oh, oh....sounds like a not a great "hay day" at the farm..LOL

Wasn't happy to read about the guineas...I just bought 6 babies two weeks ago! Yikes, what do I have to look forward to?