News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 2/22/2015 8:19am by Alan & Amy McKamey.

I spent a good part of the day yesterday moving furniture and cleaning.  We are blessed by many things at our farm, but a large fancy house is not one of them.  We have very little space to work with here and finding room for just one more thing in our house can be a challenge.  

We have big plans this spring with a lot of hatching going on of ducks, chickens, and turkeys.  We had one large incubator that you can see on the right that holds 180 eggs and an additional small incubator that holds around 40.  Last year we used the small one as our hatcher so we could keep the large one going with new eggs.  Our small incubator will be used for turkeys this year so we had to try and find another hatcher.  Incubators and hatchers are not an inexpensive purchase so we have been looking for a while to try and find one used.  We were thrilled to come across someone local who not only was selling a hatcher, but also a brooder and many feeders etc.  and for an awesome price!

Now the next issue...  Incubators have to be run in an area of steady temperature and humidity.  For us that means in the house.  Now remember we have a small house!  So that meant reorganizing not one but two rooms to make room for it.  It was quite a job, however we were able to make one corner of our living room not only hatching central, but also to include all of our egg cartons, boards, and bags for the farm.  

So for any of you who ever decide to pay us a visit, you not only have to deal with dog hair on the furniture, the smell of manure on our boots, produce and canning supplies galore, trays of homemade soap drying, but also a hatching operation!  

Posted 2/11/2015 1:50pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

We are excited to see most of our girls laying very well already this year.  Our egg production has jumped significantly this month.  The majority of our girls are very good at laying in the barn in the next boxes that we provide for them.  However not all of them follow the rules.  This is one of our New Hampshire hens that we purchase for showing.  She has decided that she prefers to lay in the sheep barn in their hay feeder.  There always has to be at least one right?

Posted 2/8/2015 11:28am by Alan & Amy McKamey.

We have discovered the hard way that having working livestock guardians is not as easy as it sounds.  We have had our share of issues with these guys but just like with all other problems related to animal training the problems are usually the fault of the handler not the animal.  When it comes to Anatolians or any other breed of livestock guardians you pretty much have to forget everything that you know about dogs.  It doesn't matter how much dog experience you may have having these guys I guarantee you is nothing like any other type of dog.

We decided to contact an expert and discuss some of our little problems.  The good news is that for the most part we have great dogs!  We just need to brush up on a few areas and retrain a few things that we messed up on.  This is Mosby having a training episode with the sheep.  As you can tell he really isn't too interested in them and is more interested in watching the pigs in the next pasture over.

Mosby is planning on taking a trip to the vet soon to get neutered and then we will be working at introducing him and Josie together to be in the sheep lot.  There will at times also be birds in with them too.  We have learned that some of Josie's play will be handled if she has an actual playmate to entertain her instead of playing with the sheep.

Hopefully we will get things handled and every body out working the livestock together very soon.  Wish us luck!

Posted 2/1/2015 7:50am by Alan & Amy McKamey.

Yesterday was an extremely busy day here at the farm.  We started the day off with a great breakfast of french toast made with our homemade bread and eggs from our birds.  We also had some of our large black bacon that was just put in the freezer.  After a great breakfast we got a bit of household chores done.  We then set off to pick up a new ram lamb for our breeding flock of Katahdins.  He will be a great new addition to our breeding program as he matures.  I ran out of time to get photos of him, but we will soon.  After getting home we had a quick lunch and then prepared to head to the barn.

We started off by cleaning nesting boxes and laying a new layer of straw in the poultry barn.  We are attempting to use the deep composting layer in the poultry coop this year and are undecided if we will do it again next year.  The next project was to start our first groups of breeding pens for the ducks.  This was a huge project as all of our birds run together.  We had three breeds to sort.  It took the rest of the afternoon as we had to choose the best, reband, weigh, photo, and record each bird as we separated them.  I knew this would be a tough project especially with the Ancona as we have many nice birds and it is hard to choose so few to breed.  This project took us right up to feeding time.

We rushed through feeding as fast as we could as we had a large black hog board meeting to attend at 7.  We managed to get dinner made, showers and Morgan's hair cut before the meeting started.  We were still washing eggs as the meeting started.  Morgan started a movie and we ate dinner while we sat through the first parts of the meeting.  It was a long but good day.

Today Alan is off to work and I plan on processing the fat into lard from our last hogs that went in.  Not to mention a long list of paper work, house cleaning, Morgan's homework, and many other things.  I hope to get through at least half of my list.

I hope everyone has a wonderful sunday!

Posted 1/24/2015 2:05pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

Well our turkey adventure officially started today.  We went and picked up a breeding trio of royal palm turkeys.  Our primary breed of choice is Narragansett.  We will be getting hatching eggs from a guy on the east coast in a few months.  The Narragansett is a very large turkey.  So we decided that we would also get a second breed which is a bit smaller.  Purchasing turkey's isn't cheap so we made the choice to get a breeding trio and hatch them out ourselves.  We prefer to raise all of our stock from start to finish instead of doing just a feed lot type operation.  

They are in the training pen right now in Tuff's area.  They won't stay in this area and will probably move to one of the lots further back behind the barn.  These birds can fly quite well and we prefer to keep them as far from Rambo as possible as he tends to destroy anything that is in his yard.  Including my shipment of felting supplies that came yesterday from Ups.  It doesn't seem to matter that we have a sign stating working dogs on duty do not place anything inside the fence, do not enter without permission etc. etc.  The UPS guy comes right on in anyway.  .  We will be training Mosby and Josie primarily with the turkeys however it is best Tuff is accustomed to them as well as they will at some point fly the fences I am sure.

We are excited about this new adventure and hope that everyone is looking forward to some wonderful pasture raised heritage turkeys for thanksgiving this next year.

Posted 1/19/2015 11:12am by Alan & Amy McKamey.

Most people don't take vacation days to work.  But, around here thats usually the case.  I took the day off work today to get some much needed farm work done.  The day started off by making a big pot of dog food which included eggs. lamb liver and vegetables from the garden.  I have a loaf of bread baking as we speak.  I made a batch of homemade blueberry lard soap and then proceeded to make a batch of dishwasher pods.  I have been working to get a stock pile of soap products ready for the farmers market this summer.

Alan made a run to town to get some supplies to redo a hog pen in the barn and repair some wheelbarrows.  

We then need to get some cleaning done in the poultry side of the barn and hopefully get some farm paper work done this afternoon.  The work on a farm never ends even in the middle of winter.

Posted 1/11/2015 3:05pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

Normally Josie is moving so much it is hard to get a good photo of her with her sheep.  SO I couldn't resist the opportunity to snap this photo of her watching over her flock.  We are starting to watch the ewes a bit closer as some of the mommas bellies are starting to grow and we are looking forward to adding a few more lambs to the flock.  Hopefully someone gives us some pretty ewe lambs as we are still wanting to grow the size of the flock.

Posted 1/5/2015 6:52pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

We had a late night birth on saturday.  Unfortunately she only had one piglet and he was very weak.  With the cold temperatures and his weakness we made the call to bring him in.  It is never our first choice to pull a baby from its momma but this little guy would have never made it through the night.  This little guy is becoming Morgan's project and if he continues to improve he may just find himself at our local county fair this summer.

Posted 1/2/2015 6:02pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

I made my first felted lard soaps this weekend.  They turned out great!  We have started making our own soap out of our large black hog lard.  So far they have been turning out great!  To make them even more useful I am felting some of them.  This basically puts a washcloth on the outside of them to wash with.  We will be offering these soaps this summer at the farmers market.  They are so much fun to make!  I hope everyone has as much fun using them as I did making them.

Posted 12/27/2014 2:19pm by Alan & Amy McKamey.

We have had two very nice ram lambs born this month.  They came out of two new mommas that are actually twins.  They both did excellent and seem to be very good mommas their first time around.  More babies to come and hoping for some girls the next go around!  HOwever we can't complain easy births, good mommas and healthy babies!