Downsizing for Winter

As we head into winter, we decided it was a good time to sit down, think about and reevaluate the last year. While we feel the year went pretty well, there are a few things we’d like to do differently. One of the biggest changes we’ve decided to make is decreasing the number of animals we keep through the winter. In the fall of last year we had the opportunity to get a really good deal on a couple of feeder pigs, so we got them. In addition to that, we increased our goat herd because we needed a buck for breeding and we added a few boer goats for 4H projects. All was fine until winter hit. It was a tough winter…. long periods of freezing temperatures with several big snowfalls made it difficult to care for them all. While we planned for our feed costs to be higher since the animals have to eat more to stay warm, it ended up being a lot higher than we expected it to be. So let’s just say… we’ve been eating some pretty expensive pork.

Not wanting to make those mistakes again, one of the first things we did was buy a feeder pig in the spring. That way, there’d be plenty of grass to graze and extra produce from the garden to give, in addition to the regular feed. We noticed a huge difference in feed costs between last winter and this summer. Piglet is all grown up now and will be headed to the butcher at the end of the week…

While we’re sad to see her go, it will be nice to drain the hog tank for winter and not have to walk through drifting snow several times a day to care for a pig.

Next, we decided it was time to make some difficult decisions and sell part of our goat herd…

“I’m giving my best sad eye look and you’re still selling me?”

We decided to sell the boer goats, which are the kids’ 4h projects, because the kids want to try something different for 4H next year. They like working with dairy goats better, so they want to focus more on that. If they decide they want to take market goats again, they will buy some in the spring rather than trying to raise them. We also sold one of our Nubian does and our buck. The doe is an older one that we no longer milk and the buck was getting to be obnoxious and hard to trust. He’s tried to charge at Michael and I quite a few times, so we felt that we couldn’t trust him around the kids and thought it would be better to sell him.

Hooves were trimmed…

Goodbyes were said…

This is one of the kids born to the doe we milk, last spring. She was sold when she was a baby but we kept her through the summer to help keep our doe in milk when I needed a break from milking. We delivered her to her new home where she joined her sister. She’s a sweet heart and it was hard to see her go.

 The goats were loaded up…

 It was sad to see them all go and it was sure quiet when I went out to do chores this morning. Although we miss them, it will be nice to have a smaller, more manageable herd to care for this winter. Brooke chose to keep her favorite doe, Sugar. Miley, of course, chose to keep her Sweet Pea. In addition to those we kept Nutmeg, our milking doe, and a nubian/boer cross that we’re thinking about taking to the butcher in a few months. Sugar and Nutmeg are both bred so we’ll have new goat kids scampering around this spring.

This was shared on Garden Tuesday. and Clever Chicks Blog Hop

4 thoughts on “Downsizing for Winter

  1. Karen

    I can imagine you are looking forward to a more restful winter. I bet you need that in order to make it through such a busy planting, growing and harvesting season:)


    1. Shelly Post author

      Yes, I am looking forward to a restful winter. I’m looking forward to doing some additional fun educational activities with the kids that we usually don’t get around to during the busier times. 🙂



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