Karen Lee Mack

pollinator
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since Jun 05, 2022
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GenXer by the skin of my teeth building a homestead in the high desert of west Texas. Hoping to move closer to home on more land in south Georgia spring 2024. Hubby and I recently went carnivore and I find it fascinating how it is subtly reshaping our homestead plans.
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west Texas (Odessa/Midland)
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Recent posts by Karen Lee Mack

I'm not the OP but I just learned a lot about goats - thank you!

Agree that partnership is the way to go with intelligent dogs though mine are Shepherds.
When we land on our forever place, we place to build a perimeter "channel" of two fences that
they can run around the whole place but not with the animals as my female has a very
high prey instinct that I didn't want to train out of her.

We had a shepherd once that was raised alongside chickens and didn't bother them.

PS not saying shepherds over LGDs, it is simply we had them when we decided to
start homesteading in earnest so we are figuring out how to make it all work.
14 hours ago
I should mention that I sell breeder rabbits from my stock.
That means I am probably more concerned about the "getting along"
than someone who doesn't. It would be just my luck that the
best looking kit gets a chunk torn out of an ear! That is actually
what happened with the Blues, they would chew on ears.
It wasn't chunks torn out but they looked raggedly and
wouldn't have been good for selling.
1 day ago
Hi Larry! I've been raising meat rabbits for 4 years. I use bought cages that are 36"wide by 30"deep by 18"tall.
My breeders are 10-12lbs does and 8-9lbs bucks.

When I wean the kits, I sex them and put does in one pen and bucks in the other. My litters typically are 8-10 kits
so each cage will have anywhere from 3 to 8 kits. They can stay in them until they are not getting along or, if on
the higher end of that number, I will separate them in 3-4 weeks for more room.

I don't have any tractors or anything other than the cages so that is my system.

That is a lovely hutch. Your does will be thrilled. Are you getting a pair to start or a trio? If you are talking
about one litter at a time, that hutch should hold the weaned kits easily. Even if you do two litters at a time,
it will hold all of them at least for a while, possibly for the entire growout.

I have only had three different breeds that I have had more than one litter from. They differed in how
long the kits got along. It was why I didn't keep a trio of American Blue rabbits - I had to separate the kits
sooner than my Tamuk or Rex and they took longer to grow out. Just my experience.

Your bucks would be fine in half the space I think. That tall you could add shelves for the bucks or the kits.
I turn my nest boxes when the eyes open so the doe has a place to lay - at least for a few weeks.

I love to talk rabbits if I can be of any more help.
1 day ago
A water gun, what a great idea!

I've used the hose on my rooster when necessary to "cool his jets."

And it is the primary training device for our German Shepherds who love water but absolutely hate to have us wet them with the hose.

Never thought of using it on aggressive hens.

You are basically interupting a behavior. Like when our dogs bark at something they shouldn't.
Don't know if it would work on every dogs but they are smart enough to connect the dots.
Chickens are not that smart but interupting the behavior enough times could help
the integration along so that the new hens can find a place before they get killed.
3 days ago
It might be enough. Unfortunately it depends on the personalities of the chickens involved particularly the ability of the two younger birds to get to cover.

Another technique I have used, sometimes successfully, is to switch and put some of the older birds in the small pen when I let out the younger birds.
Especially helpful if you identify some of the higher ups on the pecking order.
If you possibly have another pen, I'd do both of these at the same time.
And if you have anything else that can act as cover - like something too short for
the older birds to get under easily, also use that. Even more things to go around can help.

Yet one more thing, I used to hang strips of bacon in the pen to cut down on pecking.
Anything that distracts your birds will help.


Wishing you every bit of luck with integrating your chickens.
3 days ago

Lynne Loglisci wrote:I have a three year old granddaughter and a one year old grandson my three-year-old granddaughter needs a pet just like her parents did when they were little all of my kids had pets and they were big dogs not small something that would love them and curl up with them and make them feel safe at night when they had hard time sleeping just like my granddaughter does they wake up and feel safe and it also was safe around my horses and chickens and all the other wild animals that came to visit his visit us including the deer I need to find that for my granddaughter and I don't know where to turn



You might have better response making this a new thread.
I gave it an apple to cal attention. My shephers are great with kids, not so much with animals.
And I don't have experience with the livestock guardian dogs.
4 days ago

Kelley Kennon wrote:I'm looking for critique and ideas - I'm new at this, and trying to picture how it will work and fit together.  

We bought a horse farm of 200+ acres woods/trails and hay.  There's no perimeter fence, but 3x 4-acre HILLY pastures we don't want to mow, 4 connected paddocks and 2 more separate paddocks - about 1.5 acres total, all with (currently broken) jug watering systems.  All fencing is white vinyl horse fencing that will have to be upgraded (long term plan is living fence).

We want to: rotationally graze a small flock of sheep and goats, protecting them with livestock guardian dogs.  

Sheep/goats for: mowing the hills, improve the soil, snuggle the animals.  Bonus if we can get milk or wool, but it would just be for homestead use - no huge production.  Zebus could be an option as well.

LGDs for: protecting the sheep/goats, and (separate) chickens, chasing deer from the garden.  Predator pressure isn't very high, but there are definitely black bears, foxes, coyotes, hawks in the area.

Big questions:
Do we get the animals first or the LGDs first?  What is the order of operations?  
Do the LGDs get fenced in with the rotating animals or do they free roam the whole farm?  How does this work, on a practical level?  If they're free-roaming, how do they bond with the animals that are fenced in?  If they're in the fence, how to they work the rest of the farm?



I do not have experience with either sheep or goats but I'm pretty sure that you don't keep them together in the same herd. Perhaps you mean sheep OR goats but I wanted to mention this since you are new. I think they have different nutritional needs (minerals) and I am not sure if the males of each would get along. I would check with people who know more than I do about it. I raise chickens, rabbits, cows and pigs.
4 days ago

Jamie Harris wrote:I just lost a doe as well, I’m sorry for your loss..
The worst part about loosing a rabbit for me is NOT knowing what happened! So I’m doing research on rabbit organs what a healthy organ looks like and what different bad organ look like and what it means. I’m basically teaching myself to do a necropsy so when I loose a rabbit I can immediately open her/him up and figure out why they died. It sounds like maybe that could be an option for you as well.



I know many are not on Facebook but I thought I would share a couple of groups that can be helpful.
Rabbits Inside Out
Posing Hard Culls

As to the original post, One consideration is that it is possible to pick up disease on forage materials especially in areas with wild rabbits.
I do forage and I am not saying that to put anyone off forage but, for example, a friend of mine here in west Texas had her rabbits get listeria
from consuming grass that was also available to wild rabbits. She actually took a rabbit to the vet for a diagnosis.

I have lost a couple does to unknown reasons. One had a small discharge of blood from her nose. I thought it was probably
some kind of seizure or aneurysm or heart thing. Domestic meat rabbits are designed superbly for their function but
they are not terribly robust as others have pointed out.

Jamie Harris wrote:I just lost a doe as well, I’m sorry for your loss..
The worst part about loosing a rabbit for me is NOT knowing what happened! So I’m doing research on rabbit organs what a healthy organ looks like and what different bad organ look like and what it means. I’m basically teaching myself to do a necropsy so when I loose a rabbit I can immediately open her/him up and figure out why they died. It sounds like maybe that could be an option for you as well.

6 days ago
Sounds lovely!! We are heading east rather than north. I wish you much success!

1 week ago

Roger Korthase wrote:I see this is an old thread (from 2017 or so).

Looking to find a high yield  crop, beneficial to our chickens and rabbits and ourselves.  

Wondering if Sunchokes might be an answer



Comfrey may be another possibility. I know rabbits will eat it. Not as sure about chickens.

An annual crop I had good luck with one year is an Italian squash that has prolific vines and can be eaten green like zucchini or hard like winter squash.
Rabbits supposedly eat the vines but I didn't get to the point of getting mine acclimated (rabbits can be like toddlers eating forage).
Rampicante/tromboncino
rampicante squash
It's hard for me to grow anything where I live and this plant thrived.
1 week ago