We usually have at least half a dozen each of cats and dogs on the farm, sometimes more. Cats are fantastic at rodent and bird control (so we get a few cherries and blueberries). Dogs are livestock guardians or companions who also help guard the farm. They contribute and are valuable members of "the team," and we enjoy their personalities and friendships. Some of our pets have sensitive stomachs and we watch what we feed them. Most do fine on good-quality commercial pet foods. However, we have found that when homesteading and living on the farm, we have the ability to provide them a far superior diet.
Our sheep are all wool sheep, meaning they need to be sheared every year. We do this in the spring just before lambing. I have had woolly sheep lamb before (ewes due for shearing when they have their babies), and it was not especially messy (surprisingly). Shearing early makes the mother more sensitive to weather changes. Without her fleece, she'll seek shelter in poorer weather, and her lamb follows her. My shearer also tells me that lambing also can cause a change in fiber - something about them breaking off or something.
I'll admit that with our first goats, cows, and sheep, I didn't like having tags in their ears. I could recognize the individual animals without problem, so they didn't seem to have a meaningful purpose for me. However, I now regularly tag all of my animals, most with two, and I feel I have justified reasons.
Anyone who has laying hens knows that they lay far more eggs in the summer than the winter. Well, maybe not if they live near the equator or add light during the winter to induce increased laying.
I learned after having a surplus of eggs in the summer that I couldn't just stick them in the fridge and use them through the winter, especially when we have a long dark winter. Before we sold surplus eggs, I did give some to friends, but I hate buying supermarket eggs in the winter.
Wife to Brandon, mother to Tess and Liam, farmer, entrepreneur, cook & baker, nurse, and accountant who loves to try new things, travel, and work toward greater self-reliance.