Thursday, June 23, 2016

Unity College Heritage Barn : Week 3 (Georgia M.) June 6- 10th

What about new generations?

A big part of having a working barn is making sure that we always have a fresh supply of animals. Our heritage barn not only raises animals for education but also raises them for fur, meat, eggs, and pets.

Our chickens are used as egg layers (farm fresh indeed!), our pigs are raised for meat, our rabbits are raised for pets, meat, and fur, our sheep for show, and meat, and our goats can be raised as dairy goats or pets but mainly we just have them to keep the San Clemente Goat population strong.

This week at the barn we started to incubate just over 20 eggs we had collected from our chickens over the weekend! We learned how to operate an incubator; sadly our egg turner broke so we have to turn our eggs by hand every day.

We also candle the eggs periodically to ensure that they are developing throughout the growing period. Any eggs are have stopped developing will be discarded. Egg candling, is a process that involves holding a light under each egg to illuminate the air sac and growing embryo inside the shell. 

Ziggy one of our female rabbits recently gave birth to a litter! the baby bunnies are still very small and staying in the nest but all were born healthy and safe!

We will have to make sure that all the needs of the rabbits and chicks are met (food, water, heat, etc). Additionally we will be helping to get them used to human contact by handling them regularly. This can help make their lives much more relaxed later as both chickens and rabbits are usually approached by humans regularly it will be important that they are comfortable with human contact. 

Lars our youngest pig is growing and next year will hopefully be ready to mate with our resident female Penny. That means next years barn interns might get to help with some baby piglets! But for now I just get to give lots of belly rubs to Lars.

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