Monday, October 7, 2013

Homestead Happenings

 We got two new kitties this week. With several warm winters in a row, the rodent population has gotten out of control, so we decided we needed a few more mousers. These kitties are from a long line of great mousers. We are keeping them in the house for a while so they can get used to us and grow a little. I think we've decided on Neville for the boy(cream and white) and Guinevere for the girl (grey with white and cream). They've been barn cats their whole life, all 8 weeks of it, so we're working on taming them up a bit. Aren't they adorable?
 We also got 3 geese and 11 ducks this week. Some friends of ours raised them, but decided that they didn't need so many boy ducks. They also thought the geese were getting a little too big to feed and have wandering around their yard. Our friends didn't have the heart to butcher them, so they offered them to us. Two of the ducks escaped overnight and have joined the 7 ducks already on our pond, but the others are now in our freezer. With the house access issues still up in the air and Owen starting the ketogenic diet this summer, we decided not to raise any meat birds of our own. It was nice to be able to put a few birds in the freezer!
 We processed the 9 ducks that were catchable, but we decided to hold off on the geese for a while. They are sharing a pen with our goats at the moment. If they stay as nice as they are right now we may just keep them and use them as breeders for next year.

 The first time we processed birds, we tried to keep the kids away until the killing part was over, but they were too interested and ended up watching the whole thing. Now we just let them help in whatever way they feel comfortable with. Owen helped fill the soaking and dunking tanks. Cameron and Duncan were at my nephew's house, so Connor ended up with little kid duty. Devon did various chores like running to the store for ice.
Killing station
Scalding station
Rinsing and cooling station


 Morgan was our biggest helper this time. She is probably the biggest animal lover in the family besides me, but she has no trouble at all making meat. She knows that we have some animals as pets and others as food and it doesn't bother her at all to help turn the food animals into meat.I, myself, have problems with the actual killing portion. Once they're actually dead, I'm fine. My main job is plucker. We've done chickens several times, but this was our first time processing ducks. They are a lot harder to pluck than chickens. I think they have three times as many feathers!
 Morgan was absolutely fascinated with the hearts. Being typical homeschoolers, we couldn't let a butchering day go by without turning it into an anatomy lesson! We had to talk about what all the internal organs were and what purpose they served and then dissect a few of them(like the heart).
 At the end of the day, I had this to put in my freezer! One of them will be going back to the family who gave us the ducks in the first place as they wanted to try one too. Now I just need to come up with some great duck recipes.


  1. We did ten turkeys this year. It was our first (and probably last) year with the white broad breasted (the bronze hide the blood better). We usually hang them for awhile before we bleed them and then keep a large garbage can over the bird while they flap. This year, a big tom broke right through the side of the garbage can! Daniel watched in horror as he saw me, his precious pregnant mom, get covered in blood while the turkey thrashed. He thought the turkey was killing me! I'm sure it will be one of his first memories.

    1. Oh, Poor Daniel!
      We had planned to do turkeys this year, but with the house issues we decided to wait. I'll keep that in mind about the bronze breasted over white. I'm still not sure what we're going to do with the geese.

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