Our Livestock Trailer Before and After

A week ago we got our livestock trailer finished and brought it home. We got the trailer for the low price of only 500 dollars. We knew it would need some work but it would turn out better than some of the over priced trailers now days. Our friend Michael helped us refurbish the trailer. He made sure it was okay to drive, rewired it , painted parts of it black and sanded it. We still aren’t completely done with the painting as it stills has some spots we need to paint. But overall it is ready to be used.

When We Bought The Trailer: We got a really good deal on this trailer. All we needed to buy to refurbish it was paint and paint tools. Our friend already had extra wiring to use for it. In the end probably only costed around 600 dollars.

In Progress: Here are some in progress photos of the sanding and painting.

Here is a before and after comparison of when we got the trailer and when we finished it. It looks amazing now due to friends helping us clean it up. I can’t wait to use it for the first time.

 

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Staying Clean The Old Fashioned Way

Before the commercial use of  plant and seed oils, people used animal fats for almost everything.

Animal fats have been used for thousands of years, but only in the past hundred years have people stopped using them in place of plant oils. They used them in cooking, baking, personal care products, and more. Sadly, nowadays using animal fats is seen as disgusting and bad for you. In my research I have found some funny articles dissing animal products. This one for example obviously doesn’t know that fat is rendered down and Lanolin and tallow aren’t straight off the animal’s back. Link

The Ancient Romans used animal fats for bathing, cooking and cleaning. The Ancient Egyptians used the fat to keep their skin and hair safe from the sun. The recipe for soap was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.

I wrote a blog post about Lard in cooking and baking here. Link.

Animals products have always played a large part in personal care products like soap, hair gel, shaving cream, lip balm and skin care. Things like emu oil, tallow (cow fatback), lanolin, whale blubber and lard were used.

It seems as though people think plant oils are superior to animal fats by being cleaner and better for the environment. Sometimes, it is the opposite. For example, to get palm oil, huge forests are cut down, killing wildlife and destroying their homes. Instead, you can raise a couple pigs on your small homestead and use all the parts of the pig. Or find a small farmer in your area to buy lard from.  I think it is cool how My Mom and I are using the whole animal for cool purposes. We are like hippies.

My Mom and I are starting a Bath and Body line called Oink. All of our products will be created with Lard from our pigs. We are going to start out with just lip balm and soaps. In the future we may do more cool things. I will tell you more about it soon.

 

Easy Pig Shelters

Hello, today I am going to explain why having a shady, safe shelter for your pigs is so important, and some cheap, easy ones to build.

One of the most important parts of having livestock is that they need a nice, cool area to go in during the summer, and a warm, safe area in the cold. Shelters also provide a very nice relaxing area if there is no brush or trees around.

Build a shelter that fits the size of your animals and have good ventilation . Make sure the area stays dry and clean and has proper bedding, like hay. A pig that has no shelter during high temperatures can have heat stroke, because pigs don’t sweat to cool off.

  • Distress
  • Trembling
  • Red skin
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A rise in temperatures
  • And even death

All things youo don’t want an animal to have.

At Corva Bella we have some shelters that are both cheap and easy to build.

We have our cattle panel shelter. Here’s what you need:

  1. six pallets (all same size, you can find pallets free at a lot of places)
  2. sixteen t-posts (5-6 foot, they are about $5 each)
  3. some zip ties (a bag of 100 is about $6)
  4. a tarp (8×10, medium weight is about $9)
  5. two cattle panels (From Tractor Supply, $23 each)

First put the pallets into a square shape with the t-posts holding them in.Next add the cattle panels inside in a U formation and a few more t posts to keep the shape. Then just add the tarp on top of them with zip ties. This shelter took under thirty minutes to make and was very easy. We added the seventh pallet for a wind break. (Final Cost $146)

Now here is our second shelter, this one we decided to use wood and surprisingly it is cheaper than the other one. Here’s what you need:

  • 4 Pallets (Same as above)
  • 2 fence posts ( $8 each)
  • 4 2x4s ( $2.50 each)
  • Wood fencing slats ( We got them for $1.50 each at Lowes) (we used 15 you may need more or less)
  • Two sheets of corrugated plastic roofing ( $13 a sheet)
  • Wood screws (8×2)
  • Roofing nails

First lay down the pallets in a square. Next connect the pallets together with the fencing slats. Then add the 2x4s on top with the wood screws and nail the plastic roofing on top. Dig two post holes 20 inches deep and add the posts in attaching them to the pallet with two slats. After that cut the boards to size and cover the opening all around leaving some area for ventilation ( we cut the slats in half on the sides so there could be some ventilation. (Final Cost $74.5) ( Also make sure that it is facing away from the sun so it stays cooler.)

 

Maybe in the future we will have a barn. But for now these shelters work just fine, The pigs really like to hang out in them.

Farm Extravaganza

The past week at Corva Bella has been a hectic one. We got a huge amount of work done and it feels awesome. Chicks hatched, electric fencing was completed, Vladimir arrived, and some pullets started laying their first eggs. After around twenty hours of work the last few pastures got hot wired completely finishing the circuit. It is doing its job very well keeping Vlad and the pigs off the fence after a couple painful shocks.

Speaking of Vlad, we got him this week. He was delivered on an animal delivery truck. When they first got him out, I was amazed at how huge his paws were. He is the fluffiest and most funny dog I have ever met. He is doing a better job than we could have ever imagined, already getting used to his animals, being defensive of his property against unknown things and knowing to not mess with the chickens the pigs, or our house dogs. In about six months time we will get him a partner.

During the weekend we had a bunch of amazing people come out to help us put together garden beds, a greenhouse and spread hay and rake up some mulch. We all worked very hard and all got red as a lobster from the sun. Thank you Michael Shirley for letting us into the group- its amazing to be apart of it.

Twenty Two days ago we put thirty two eggs in the incubator to hatch. Two days ago the baby chicks started to pip at the egg shell (Baby chicks have a special thing on their beak that lets them break the egg shell. At the end of the time they are in the egg they will break the egg by pushing on it to break it) Seventeen are alive, ten haven’t done anything and four were presumed dead when my Mom candled them. We got ten lavenders, four blacks, two blue and one splash. We set up brooders and heat lamps and the chickens are growing up in them. This week our Easter Eggers and Barred Plymouth Rocks started laying very small eggs.

Next week, we are going to rake up the rest of the mulch and seed our pastures to get them all nice and green for the pigs.

Meet Vladimir, Ruler Of Peace!

The Karakachan is a high energy, independent, working guard dog. It is one of Europe’s oldest dog breeds. It originated from Bulgaria as a livestock guardian dog and as an army watchdog. The breed is very rare in the United States since it came here not long ago. They can also be called a Bulgarian Shepherd or a Thracian Mollos. Their life span averages 12-14 years. Full grown Males can get up to 90-120 pounds and Females can get 60-90 pounds.

Livestock Guardian dogs are a very important part of a homestead. They protect your animals from predators as well as your property. The Karakachan is very loyal towards it’s owners and they will not even hesitate to fight wolves or bears. They are very docile and social  with people they know. However, they will start acting aggressively by growling and barking if a stranger or predator gets near their herd and will attack them if they get too close.

In 3 Months we are going to get 2 litters of piglets so it is very important to get Vlad since piglets can be carried away by hawks. He is going to be very busy.

Vlad is being delivered in a month. We are getting him from Chaos Acre Farms, who breed Karakachans. I am glad that we will have something that will be able to protect our pigs and chickens. A kunekune breeder who granted me my sows through 4-H recommended this breed to us, because she uses them with great success. For the wildlife that live around our homestead, such as Coyotes, stray dogs, bears and smaller pests like raccoons, possums and foxes- the Karakachan is the best choice. We named Vlad after Vladimir Putin since he owns a Karakachan named Buffy. Vladimir also means “Ruler Of Peace” and since he will be keeping peace on the farm it seems fitting.

Here are Vlad’s parents.

Our Farm Goals: January 2016

Just recently Corva Bella got internet, so I am going to catch you up on our progress. Next week we going to getting our two car ports to turn into a pallet barn. With the space we are going to make in and out and farrowing stalls for the pigs. Originally we were just going to have Easter Eggers and Plymouth Rock Chickens in the coops we made. But just recently we bought a special breed called Ameraucanas that lay blue eggs and come in Lavender, Black and Splash a mix of black and white. These birds will get the coops we put together and we are making two coops made from dog kennels for the other chickens. This weekend we are going to get our pasture fencing put up and hopefully move our animals to our land soon.

Here are the goals I made for Corva Bella a couple months back.

Pigs-Goals

6 months

  • Shelter
  • Fence
  • Rotational grazing
  • Frodo DNA Test
  • 2 Sows bred and on homestead

12 months

  • Piglets March/April
  • Sell higher quality piglets keep lower quality for meat
  • Keep some maybe for breeding stock

18 months

  • Doing another breeding
  • 2 years
  • Bacon

Chickens-Goals

6 months

  • Chicken coops assembled
  • Safe chicken area
  • Getting eggs by spring
  • Getting more chicks (for meat)

12 months

  • Eggs to sell
  • Maybe selling chicks

18 months

  • Another round of chicks
  • Begin processing chickens for meat

2 years

  • Selling baby chicks
  • Getting meat and eggs from chickens

Garden goals

6 months

  • Garden beds in works
  • Growing herbs,greens, vegetables and fruit
  • Planting berry bushes

12 months

  • Greenhouse
  • Fruit trees
  • Winter crops in greenhouse

2 years

  • Selling produce