Homestead Animals

7 articles in category Homestead Animals / Subscribe

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We got a family milk cow.

This is one of those things we’d discussed for years and then the Lord just made a way and suddenly we have a Brown Swiss cross and her brand new calf in our pasture. I know it wasn’t sudden but for some reason I keep things permanently in the “maybe someday” category long after someday arrives. So I’m still adjusting, you might say, but so is she. Two days before she was to be delivered to our pasture, she delivered her calf unexpectedly early. As you can imagine, we are all trying to get to know one another.

Our intention, if the Lord wills, is to begin milking Mabel in the near future and to keep Stan – a Brahma cross – for meat. Both the cow and the milk prospects have the children (and I) all in a tizzy.

So, meet Mabel and her calf Stanley! We are so grateful to have them both here.

I have probably said this a hundred times now: Almost nothing on the homestead happens as we thought it might. Take for instance the prospect of raising hogs. We’d been talking about it for years but of course always had higher priorities. Chickens and dairy animals and barns for those dairy animals all came at the top of the list.

And then there is always this question of what will you feed the animal? We always thought it seemed like a good idea to have an abundance of eggs and milk and garden scraps before getting hogs. GMO corn and other animal feeds were something we wanted to avoid and, besides, we had a barn to finish and more milk animals to get online and didn’t even have a pigpen ready so surely raising hogs was a ways off, right?


Well, actually no, no it wasn’t. A couple of weeks ago our friend let us know that there were some wild hogs being kept by a family up the road from us and they were looking to get rid of them. So Stewart contacted them and they said sure, come on over. He had planned to go pick them up and bring them home to butcher and maybe I would can some of it.


Well… they were practically babies, so out the window that went. So he brought them home and by mid-afternoon he had assembled a pen beneath the old camper and grabbed the first screaming hog and threw it into the pen. Within a couple of minutes she found a way out and took off so he doubled up the fencing and we tried again.

After that, the two hogs went in and haven’t come out since so now I guess we’re raising hogs… at least until we butcher them. And while I thought that first hog that got out was long gone, I was wrong about that too. A few days after the other two hogs got settled in, Stewart found her in the food forest while he was watering trees. Since he couldn’t catch her, we decided to go ahead and butcher her that evening and got our first taste of wild hog meat which is actually quite good, by the way.

And now, morning and evening, we feed them a collection of weeds, grass roots, cattails from our pond, whatever slop we have from the kitchen, and some non-GMO grain from a local grainary. I doubt we will repeat this endeavor once the jig is up for these hogs, but then again, we didn’t think we’d be getting hogs for quite sometime…

And here we are.