Overwhelmed

Genipher

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For years I've dreamed of having livestock. We have that, now. Sorta. But now that we have them, I'm feeling burned out or something. Tired. A bit annoyed, too, I guess. We just moved to a new house and part of my aggravation is that we don't have areas set up for the different critters (yet). Part of it is our new place doesn't have an outside spigot so I'm hauling water via bucket and I'm not used to doing it that way. And then there's the animals:

Got Muscovy ducks about a year and a half ago. All of them died except one female and our male. The female has laid 3 clutches. Only her first clutch was successfully hatched out and even then, most of the ducklings died. Ended up with 3 babies, which I eventually sold because I figured she'd hatch out more and I wasn't prepared to send them to freezer camp. Well, the last two attempts in hatching out eggs resulted in duds, a dead duckling, and disappearing eggs.
Now we're at our new house and since we're still working on fencing and whatnot, they have the new yard to free-range. But where do they want to hang out? On the back porch. So I have all these lovely "gifts" in the morning to spray off. Which means dragging the hose from the front yard because, again, no backyard spigot.

Got chickens but even after leaving them cooped for days so they'd know where to sleep and lay eggs, they refuse to go where they're supposed to. Instead, just like the ducks, they're trying to sleep on the porch. As for the eggs? I have no idea where they're laying them! Fencing an area for them would help, I know. But it's slow going. And, apparently, my husband and I have ZERO idea how to make a stupid gate so...

The Kunes are just starting to get interested in breeding but it hit me the other day...how will we slaughter their babies when they're old enough to eat? We're in-town so we can't shoot them. We had the WORST time moving them to our new house so I can't imagine trying to load them up and "off" them somewhere out of town. And I discovered we have one (new) butcher in our area and he's full up for who knows how long so that option doesn't work, either. In the meantime, while I love my big 'ole lawn turds, they eat sooooo much! I'm starting to wonder if they're (financially) worth it.

Then there's the 2 Nigerian Dwarf does I bought a couple of months ago. They'd been kept with a buck and were supposed to be pregnant. Except, they don't appear to be at all. Unless the timing was off. Guess we'll know for sure by the end of November. But I'm looking at them and highly doubting it...

So I've got ducks that can't seem to hatch out ducklings (meat source), chickens who are laying eggs heaven knows where, pigs that I'm not sure we'll be able to slaughter, and goats that were supposed to have kids and produce milk but, odds are, aren't pregnant.

I feel like I'm feeding animals and they're not giving anything back. Well, except poop.

Does anyone else ever feel overwhelmed and tired when it comes to raising animals?
This is my dream but I'm starting to feel like giving up. Or cutting back.
Feeling this way makes me feel guilty. Especially since my husband has done soooo much to accommodate this dream of mine. Even to the point of moving us to a place with more property. I also worry that as soon as I sell, say, the pigs then food prices are going to skyrocket and I'll regret getting rid of them.

Thoughts? Encouragement?
 

HomesteaderWife

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It is very easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out, especially when things seem to just darn not go as planned. And having this move with not everything ready for so many animals, it is alot. Don't get frustrated with them, as especially if they haved moved from where they were raised or used to, animals do get stressed and worried too. Maybe try making their return to the coop or their time in the yard positive - give them some enrichment away from the house. Try clicker training with treats to help the chickens go to bed. I'm not sure with the pigs, but maybe someone could pitch in - there's got to be a way to supplement their diet with maybe some thrown out produce from a local place, or talk to a farmer about some scraps that don't make it to the market. Is it possible a local distillery has some mashed grains, would this be a suitable option? Maybe they just toss it afterwards. I don't know if this is safe, again, so do your homework. All in all, find a happy place. Be patient with the animals, and work to have positive moments with them. You got this!
 

Baymule

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Moving is hard, moving animals is harder work, trying to build infrastructure is double hard work. I get it.

We moved to our 8 acres with horses, dogs and chickens. I had a water spigot in front and back. Had to connect several hoses and drag them out, then roll them back up. That got real old.

Build a run on the chicken coop and keep them in it. Do likewise with the ducks. I tried Muscovy ducks, total failure. Plus the extra work of water, more mess, water, did I mention poop festival? When they finally hatched out a very few ducklings, I was estatic—-until rats killed them all. Then my male Great Pyrenees decided they were on the menu. He killed and ate several, lunging at me to defend his kill. I darn near beat him to death with a pine branch. Verdict: I’m not a duck farmer. If I had a pond and didn’t have to provide a pool and clean it, maybe. But I’ll never again have messy ducks I have to pile all that extra work on myself in order to have them.

On the pigs, I don’t know how you loaded them, but it sounds like it didn’t work out too well. I raise feeder pigs every year. I never have a problem loading then to go to slaughter. First, have your slaughter pugs in a separate pen from the breeding stock. Yes, you can load one or two up, take them for a ride. Shoot in the head, drive home. Drag out, hand, gut and process. Here’s how I load with no stress and no problems. I don’t feed them the day before. My husband backs the trailer up, we open the back gate and I squeeze a couple of hard boiled eggs and drop them. Hungry hogs have to get in the trailer to eat them. I drop a couple more halfway in the trailer and the rest in the front of the trailer. We loaded up 3 big hogs a few weeks ago, biggest close to 400 pounds. Boiled eggs are my secret weapon.

Since you have kune kune you may need to build a smaller holding pen inside their pen. Feed them in it so they are comfortable. Build a short loading ramp, object is to raise them up enough to walk into the trailer so they can’t walk under it and give you a wild pig round up. You will need a gate for the small holding pen so they can’t escape. Once in the loading chute, you will need a gate so they can’t back out.

Move slow, be patient and lure them with boiled eggs and an empty belly. I even loaded a 820 pound boar with boiled eggs.

Do you know someone in the county that would be ok with you pulling up in their driveway to shoot your pigs? Randomly shooting on the side of the road will get you a visit from a sheriffs deputy. It’s illegal to shoot a firearm on the road.

What you are feeling is completely normal. We all get overwhelmed at times.

Water. Measure out where you want water spigots. Buy all the pvc pipe and fittings. Be sure and get a cut off valve for EVERY spigot. Rent a trencher and in a weekend, you should get most of it done. Be sure to check for underground electrical, phone, gas, sewer, etc lines before digging
 

animalmom

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Oh my stars, we all get how you are feeling, overwhelmed, under appreciated and just plain exhausted. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Hang in there, keep telling yourself (even if you have to lie at this point) that one by one things are getting better. Honest they will get better. Big hug!

On the Muscovys... are you adding brewers yeast to their feed? That may account for the poor showing in hatching. My girls collectively hatched and raised 28 this past spring. Yeah they are messy, but they are quiet!

Remember we understand. Feel free to share your frustrations with us since they won't do you any good. We are safe.
 

Mini Horses

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They're right -- we've all BTDT! Who hasn't brought it home without being prepared??

So....spend enough for some fence and water lines. Even if only ONE line and hose from there! Less expensive fence works for temp, daytime...for birds. Pen at night.
Find free pallets for fence. Throw some wire over or clip wings for flyouts. They'll grow back after molt. Pigs same! Containment is your friend right now.

Then you can breathe deep and work on correcting......

Goats? May be bred 🙂. If not. Find a buck to let them visit him..then spring kids.

Have a glass of wine, relax, cry if you need, then reorganize. :hugs🤗:old


ETA. Let us know how it's going in a day or two.
 

Genipher

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I didn't mean to post and run. Thank y'all for all the encouragement.

I put the ducks on craigslist but, no biters yet. I'll add Brewers yeast to their food just in case nobody wants them and we end up keeping them.

Hoping we'll be able to get more fencing up this weekend. Also need a pig shelter as the weather is starting to change. I felt bad this morning when I saw it had rained last night and the pigs had to huddle together under the tree. ☹️

Goats keep sneaking out of the yard (in the one, small gap in the road-side fence) every time I move our so-called "gate" (it's just a tall, heavy board that I struggle with every blankety-blank morning and evening!) to feed the pigs. Thankfully, Lily follows her sister Poppy and Poppy generally just walks over to me when I find her in the front yard but it's still aggravating.

Got the chickens (most of them...2 wiley gals are still loose) locked back up in their coop/run. We bought the coop/run from our local feed store. First and last time I'll ever buy one of those kits as they're shoddy and kinda weak. Assumed it would be a better option since wood is so expensive. sigh.
Anyway, got the biggest one they had but it's still too small for my 8 chickens. Not to mention my sister is moving out of state soon and said I could have her 5 hens. It's just not going to be big enough. Feel like I wasted our money on the coop though I guess I could use it for the ducks, if push comes to shove?

Clipping wings on the chickens! I need to do that. I have one hen who CLIMBS the wire fence so she can get to the pig side. :oops: Never seen that before. She definitely needs to be put in her place!

And now, off to get kids going with their lessons while the baby screams at us. :hit
 

Alaskan

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Nothing wrong with reassessing, and deciding to get rid of some, or even all...

Build infrastructure, and then start over.

Decide what gives you joy, keep that, and get rid of what gives you too much stress.

I have to say... if the kune kunes aren't giving you joy.... I would get rid of them first. But then, I am soured on kune kunes. We tried them last year, fed them over the winter, SLOW growing pigs! We butchered them this summer, and they were NOT very big, but they were VERY fat. The sausage off of them (and I love pork sausage) is almost oily/greasy. Just, way too fatty, all through the meat too, so no way to really make the sausage less fatty.

They were very laid back and easy to handle, so didn't need the high quality fence a "regular" pig would.
But, uh... yeah... disappointed.

A couple of years back we raised a "regular" pig. And that sucker grew fast and huge, great meat. Not as easy to handle though... definitely don't want to toss the kids in the pig pen with a "regular" pig....

Goats... I had goats for years.. I never did manage to fence them... but then I refused to spend money on fence. (I live out in the country and I did manage to train them to not wander too far. I did lock them in the barn at night).

So, for goats, I would recommend buying quality fence.

Chickens and ducks are easier to fence, and can be fenced with fish net tacked between trees... or anything really.

For supplies I would check at all dumps and see if they have construction trash you can root through. Also stop at all construction sites and ask if you can look at their trash. Stop at any business that generates pallets and ask if you can have them (i got a bunch from an internet place that gets their internet dishes on pallets), ask at window replacement businesses for the old fogged windows that they remove from houses. Also, I found a bunch of stuff on Facebook free pages, and some from Craigslist free pages.

Collect a bunch of great junk, bring it home, sort through it, and build stuff.

For the coops I built out of scrounged junk... I laid everything out on the lawn and parking area. I kept rearranging stuff until I saw how it would fit together, then screwed it together.

As to hauling water? You have kids? Make the kids haul the water. I found my kids learned way better, and were way more obedient when they were physically tired. Hauling water and hauling wood every morning was an excellent start to the day.
 

claire1

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For years I've dreamed of having livestock. We have that, now. Sorta. But now that we have them, I'm feeling burned out or something. Tired. A bit annoyed, too, I guess. We just moved to a new house and part of my aggravation is that we don't have areas set up for the different critters (yet). Part of it is our new place doesn't have an outside spigot so I'm hauling water via bucket and I'm not used to doing it that way. And then there's the animals:

Got Muscovy ducks about a year and a half ago. All of them died except one female and our male. The female has laid 3 clutches. Only her first clutch was successfully hatched out and even then, most of the ducklings died. Ended up with 3 babies, which I eventually sold because I figured she'd hatch out more and I wasn't prepared to send them to freezer camp. Well, the last two attempts in hatching out eggs resulted in duds, a dead duckling, and disappearing eggs.
Now we're at our new house and since we're still working on fencing and whatnot, they have the new yard to free-range. But where do they want to hang out? On the back porch. So I have all these lovely "gifts" in the morning to spray off. Which means dragging the hose from the front yard because, again, no backyard spigot.

Got chickens but even after leaving them cooped for days so they'd know where to sleep and lay eggs, they refuse to go where they're supposed to. Instead, just like the ducks, they're trying to sleep on the porch. As for the eggs? I have no idea where they're laying them! Fencing an area for them would help, I know. But it's slow going. And, apparently, my husband and I have ZERO idea how to make a stupid gate so...

The Kunes are just starting to get interested in breeding but it hit me the other day...how will we slaughter their babies when they're old enough to eat? We're in-town so we can't shoot them. We had the WORST time moving them to our new house so I can't imagine trying to load them up and "off" them somewhere out of town. And I discovered we have one (new) butcher in our area and he's full up for who knows how long so that option doesn't work, either. In the meantime, while I love my big 'ole lawn turds, they eat sooooo much! I'm starting to wonder if they're (financially) worth it.

Then there's the 2 Nigerian Dwarf does I bought a couple of months ago. They'd been kept with a buck and were supposed to be pregnant. Except, they don't appear to be at all. Unless the timing was off. Guess we'll know for sure by the end of November. But I'm looking at them and highly doubting it...

So I've got ducks that can't seem to hatch out ducklings (meat source), chickens who are laying eggs heaven knows where, pigs that I'm not sure we'll be able to slaughter, and goats that were supposed to have kids and produce milk but, odds are, aren't pregnant.

I feel like I'm feeding animals and they're not giving anything back. Well, except poop.

Does anyone else ever feel overwhelmed and tired when it comes to raising animals?
This is my dream but I'm starting to feel like giving up. Or cutting back.
Feeling this way makes me feel guilty. Especially since my husband has done soooo much to accommodate this dream of mine. Even to the point of moving us to a place with more property. I also worry that as soon as I sell, say, the pigs then food prices are going to skyrocket and I'll regret getting rid of them.

Thoughts? Encouragement?
Hi - we are new also. Actually the neighbors. We share chores and land though. They/we have 16 sheep, 3 goats, 2 pregnant, 8 chickens, 2 ducks, 2 horses.

For the chickens: they have a coop and a run. If you want to free range them, you need to fence off a portion for them to run (I've done this when I had a baker's dozen of Rhode Island reds) and provide a way into the coop at night.

The chickens will eat the eggs if given half a chance. We do the feeding watering and coop cleaning. My hubby cleans the coop out and lays down clean hay every other day. They will be very happy with clean spots to lay eggs. We do not allow the young chicks to be with the older ones til they are big enough to fight off the pecking to death thing. Your chickens also be hiding the eggs because they don't have a coop and the porch, they feel safer there.

ALSO we feed them: dry and wet cat food -- fish. Chicken pellets mixed with cracked corn. All of this makes for chicken not fighting. We stopped the neighbors from feeding them scraps. They fought over it and they were simply not getting enough food and could not lay eggs. Worming helps. Use something like Ivermectin or that base, you can find at a grange or even amazon, though I recommend only through the grange and ask questions.

Are you keeping the chicks warm at night in a box that they can't get out? They do best with about 120 degrees to live. There are warmers or lights you can get.

All of your animals need to be fed and their bedding changed routinely to want to reproduce.

You probably already know about the worming and the vet costs etc, but if not, get a vet to evaluate their health and examine poop and for anemia.

Having animmals/ranch has been my dream too but I'm 64 now, so it's awesome the neighbors have the ultimate responsibility and we get to watch all the YouTubes and magazines on raising them. They want cows. And a bull. Yikes.

Butchering - got nuthin yet. I can ask the neighbors, they have done it with the goats for meat.
 

claire1

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It is very easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out, especially when things seem to just darn not go as planned. And having this move with not everything ready for so many animals, it is alot. Don't get frustrated with them, as especially if they haved moved from where they were raised or used to, animals do get stressed and worried too. Maybe try making their return to the coop or their time in the yard positive - give them some enrichment away from the house. Try clicker training with treats to help the chickens go to bed. I'm not sure with the pigs, but maybe someone could pitch in - there's got to be a way to supplement their diet with maybe some thrown out produce from a local place, or talk to a farmer about some scraps that don't make it to the market. Is it possible a local distillery has some mashed grains, would this be a suitable option? Maybe they just toss it afterwards. I don't know if this is safe, again, so do your homework. All in all, find a happy place. Be patient with the animals, and work to have positive moments with them. You got this!
OH and we now get eggs enough to feed 3 families routinely. Plus give 2 dozen away for a friend who visits me a few times a year.
 

caprines.n.me

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Are you keeping the chicks warm at night in a box that they can't get out? They do best with about 120 degrees to live.
This must be a typo. Optimal temperature for chicks is 90 - 95 degrees.

 

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