The road to self-sufficiency.

– And a presentation of some of our animals!

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This year, the population at our farm has exploded.
Or actually, it started in the autumn of 2014 with a new horse and two Hollander rabbits, and just sort of escalated from there.

The horse was just here on vacation until this summer, but in August she came back here to stay. The rabbits were just here until the summer as well, but when one died I decided to get a rabbit of my own to keep it company. But when the brown one went back to its owner, my new Holland Lop Zoë would be alone, so I got another grey one and a white, fluffy angora mix so she wouldn’t be left alone.

_DSC8778The brown Hollander – Diva, who’s now back with her owner. She’s coming back next spring, and then she’ll be mine!

_DSC7262My beautiful little Zoë, who sadly got taken by a hawk this summer. I miss her deeply.

_DSC0421The newest grey one, whom I struggle to find a good name for. Any suggestions?

_DSC3646The weird white fluffball that looks more like a sheep than a rabbit. She’s an Angora mix, so I have to give her a haircut every now and then. I keep all the fur, with plans to make yarn of it when I have enough. 

Then I somehow got curious about guinea pigs, and after reading a lot about them, I found two girls who were given away for free – cage, feed and all. They are adorable, funny little hairballs, so I somehow ended up with no less than six of them. Four girls and two boys, and the plan is to breed the two youngest girls next year.

_DSC0438Lizzie, the oldest female.

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Lizzie’s sister Pippip. They’re both about 3 years old now.

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Leo the hairy one,

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and Odin the wandering toupée.

_DSC4408 _DSC4419These are the two youngest ones, whom I will breed with the boys this spring.

I’ve always had a dream about being somehow self-sufficient when it comes to vegetables, fruit and some meat and milk, so this year I had a go at growing my own vegetables.
Sadly, it turned out that it wasn’t the best year to start out, as most of my crop drowned due to heavy rain all spring.

But it was fun while it lasted, so I’ll have another go next spring. My tomatoes (which I never moved outside because of the cold weather) were kind of successful though, as I harvested the last one on December 23rd. It was as tiny as a pea, but delicious! The others weren’t big either, but they tasted great!

Same with the surviving carrots, they were too small to be useful but rich in taste as a snack.

2015-10-23 23.11
2015-11-08 18.12They were supposed to look like this: http://www.nelsongarden.no/shop/assets/prod_images/p90798n.png

Next step was eggs, so one day I brought home five hens. They are of some kind of small breed so they lay small eggs, but that doesn’t matter. A few weeks later I bought a couple of white mixed breed chickens, which turned out to be another small one and a normal sized one which lay normal eggs.

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I also (quite spontaneously) bought four young quails whereof three survived, and then hatched out five new ones from their eggs. Their eggs are small but delicious, and we plan to cook some of the birds too when we’ve achieved a bigger population.

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I spent about a month at the mountain farm down south this year (as always), and had what felt like a tiny zoo in my car when I drove home.. Two young guina pigs (the girls I plan to breed as the two first ones are too old), three rabbits and a rooster. None came from the farm itself, but were picked up on a roadtrip on one of my days off. The rooster came from a couple of friends/colleagues of mine.

The rabbits are French Lops, which are great for meat production. One of the females were for a friend of mine, and we share the male for breeding. So that’s another step towards self-sufficiency, on a small scale of course, as rabbits don’t produce much meat.

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Truls the Rooster, of a native Icelandic breed.

_DSC2175William, the French Lop male. He’s huge and squishy, very calm and loooves cuddles!

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Måne (means moon), the French Lop female.

_DSC0917Four of the five small hens.

_DSC0910 _DSC0907
The spotted fifth one.

_DSC0882Magda the brown one, she too was taken by a hawk just a couple of days before Zoë the rabbit. Now we’ve got just three of these hens left after a black one became poorly and died.

_DSC0916This chick turned into a huge, white hen with some darker spots, and lays normal eggs.

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This one is a bit smaller, and lays small eggs like the others.

My parents thought the chickens were a great addition to the farm, so not long after I got my lot my mum got a bunch of her own. Now our stable is filled up with rodents and birds, and we have no place to put the horses in. So a new chicken/rodent house is slowly taking form beside the stable. Things are happening!!

We also talked about getting a couple of piglets this spring, but then decided to postpone that until next year so that we could build them a proper place to be first. We did get a piglet in August though, but she won’t be dinner when she grows up. She’s a mini pig named Molly, who lives inside the house like a dog. She spends the days outside in her brand new pen, and after a couple of hours sleeping on the lap or in the sofa in the evenings, she sleeps the whole night through in her basket in the kitchen.

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Getting a pet pig is a huge decision as they can live at least 15 years if not longer, and they take a lot of work and time. They are very determined and can be quite moody, but they are also very intelligent and loving creatures.
They should not be kept in apartments or places with no outdoor space, as they need exercise and stimulation, and can cause great damage to the interior if bored and/or frustrated. Mini pigs are also often advertised as “teacup pigs”, but this can only count when they’re babies. A healthy, fully grown adult pig has a weight around 30-50 kilos. Some breeders advise you to keep them on a vegetable diet to “keep them small”, but then you get a malnourished, unhealthy and constantly starving (and therefore often aggressive) pig. They’re supposed to have a varied diet consisting of both vegetables AND meat just like us to grow and be healthy.

Sorry for my rant, this is an important matter that’s very close to my heart now after realising how many tiny, thin piggies who are suffering out there just because the owners have been misinformed by greedy breeders.

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2015-12-11 20.35Getting help to sort out the groceries..

The past couple of weeks we’ve welcomed both five new baby chickens and seven baby rabbits to the stable, both around two weeks old now. They thrive and grow like weeds, and I can’t wait to see how they will turn out. There are some interesting colours on both the chicks and the rabbit babies, so these are very exciting times!

2015-12-15 18.39_DSC3634A newly hatched Guineafowl baby, which was one of my mum’s projects this summer.

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One thought on “The road to self-sufficiency.

  1. Oh my goosh, that’s too many cute animals in one post, haha! 😀
    I love the idea of being self-sufficient! We actually had a go at growing some carrots, salads and beets ourself this summer, and they turned out great! Our greenhouse is veery small though, so because of that, the carrots where more like baby carrots, haha. 🙂
    However, I don’t think I could ever eat a rabbit I had cared for over a period of time (I get too attached, haha)! I mean, I get that meat is meat, but I can’t wrap my head around rabbits being something else other than just pets. 🙂 But, I applaud you for really going for it, and trying to expand your self-sufficiency and farm!

    And can we talk about the adorable little Guinea fowl baby?! That’s the cutest little tiger chick I’ve ever seen. 😀

    Like

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