Overwhelmed

Genipher

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Well, I ended up selling the pigs to a really nice family that have the acreage for them. This new family has invited us to their farm, they homeschool like we do, and the mother seemed excited for our kids to have play dates so...found some potential new friends! Gave them our ducks, too.

So now I just have 7 chickens (had 8 but lost one...no idea where she got off to and no sign of "foul play" so I think she just ran away), 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 dwarf goats.

And the load feels sooo much lighter!

Still need to get fencing up (between a recent camping trip and now, a cold bug, we haven't tackled the fencing yet) but things are much less overwhelming.
 

Alaskan

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Well, I ended up selling the pigs to a really nice family that have the acreage for them. This new family has invited us to their farm, they homeschool like we do, and the mother seemed excited for our kids to have play dates so...found some potential new friends! Gave them our ducks, too.

So now I just have 7 chickens (had 8 but lost one...no idea where she got off to and no sign of "foul play" so I think she just ran away), 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 dwarf goats.

And the load feels sooo much lighter!

Still need to get fencing up (between a recent camping trip and now, a cold bug, we haven't tackled the fencing yet) but things are much less overwhelming.
Sounds good!

:clap
 

heidil

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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?
It's very common to get frustrated and overwhelmed with this lifestyle. I'm going to encourage you, however, to not focus on the totality of it but, just as you've outlined each problem so well, tackle each thing one at a time.
  • Run water & mount spigots in strategic locations (this alone sounds like it would simplify lots of things for you, so I would probably set this as the highest priority goal).
  • Do you leave an exterior light on at night for the back porch? If so, that's why the chickens want to perch there for the night. I would probably keep them cooped up for a few days again. Then, when you free range, make sure you turn off exterior lights around the home before dusk. The chickens should seek out the safety of their coop.
  • Buy an incubator for the duck eggs. We tried to let a duck hatch out a clutch of eggs and it was an utter failure as well. So, I don't know - maybe ducks aren't as good at it as hens? Anyway, an incubator could be your saving grace. They come at all sorts of price points but they don't all work equally as well. Read reviews. Maybe you could even pick up a used one to save a little money.
  • Keep searching for someone who does 'custom butchering' for the pigs. I found one and it was the best discovery ever. The well known butcher in town is super booked up, but this butcher is a little off the beaten path (but still only 20 minutes away). I drop a live pig off and pick up vacuum sealed cuts. Awesome!
  • I hope you can find advice from others on the goats. I resolved to never have to milk anything until after I retire. LOL So, I wouldn't be the best source of advice there.
  • Fencing. Even if you do one area at a time.
Anyway, hang in there and just tackle ONE thing at a time. Eventually, the benefits start accumulating and things get much easier!
 
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