As we look out our windows on this mid-April morning we are somewhat saddened that Old Man Winter and Mother Nature are resisting letting spring arrive at Song Away Farm!!
But we are strong, stubborn folks and have no desire to wait for the perfect weather. We have about 130 tomatoes growing in the sitting room that were planted on March 19th - over half will be sold to offset the cost of planting from seeds. Besides that we have litters of bunnies being born every other week and about one hundred laying hens and meat birds arriving in less than a week. If that doesn't force a change in the weather we don't know what will. You can thank us later for our positive influences!
Our plans for these warm months are plenty!!
-We are going to expand the rabbitry to give ourselves a little elbow room and establish a formal processing area. This addition will provide for more pen space so we may develop our white New Zealand lines further.
-We purchased a "cold" house and plan to have that constructed by August so we can plant cool weather crops and harvest greens throughout the winter months! We will be modeling our cold house growth after Eliot Coleman's in Maine.
-We have also started playing around with growing fodder to supplement the feed given to the chickens and rabbits. We are pleasantly surprised at how positive the initial results are...and the animals are even more eager to get their afternoon snacks!!
As always there is NEVER a dull moment at Song Away so stay tuned for fodder and cold house updates – and send us a note if you’d like some tomato plants!
At Song Away Farm we have quality rabbits. We have driven many miles to obtain quality Californian and New Zealand stock. All of our breeding stock is pedigreed, and up until a short time ago we felt that was sufficient to prove our stock is the best that it could be. BUT a pedigree is just a piece of paper that tells the owner exactly which rabbits were used to make this offspring. The pedigree alone does not show quality of that particular rabbit or its ancestors. And not all rabbits with pedigrees qualify for official registration with the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
Registering a rabbit is not a difficult task but it is one that proves the worth of your lines. In order to register your rabbit the owner must be a current member of ARBA, the rabbits being registered must be 6 months old or older, and have a complete three-generation pedigree (tattoo numbers, weights and variety). The registrar, who is licensed by ARBA, then compares the rabbit before them to “The Standard of Perfection”. If the rabbit has any disqualifying factors: missing or wrong colored nails, weights not within the range, wrong fur color, etc. it cannot be registered. Therefore, every rabbit with an official registration means quality and they have a greater value over unregistered rabbits.
Eleven of our seventeen breeders are registered. The six rabbits that did not receive their registrations were because of incomplete pedigrees on our black New Zealand breeding pair – and sadly, four of our older Californian stock disqualified for having smut on the usable portion of the pelt – those of you that raise Californians know how quickly smut can appear on their coats!
Song Away Farm is committed to raising our rabbits to the Standard of Perfection because a strong foundation will continue to produce quality rabbits for years to come.
It would take an epic storm for us to finally sit a moment and get folks caught up. Last fall we processed all but 4 of our Midget White Turkeys. Some were Thanksgiving meals and some were made into homemade turkey sausage - one of the best items we've tasted in a long time. Of the four birds we kept one is a tom and the other three are hens. Our goal is to have fertile eggs this spring which we'll incubate and sell as poults. We are amazed at the number of folks that have contacted us about our breeding stock and spring poults!
The rabbitry expansion was a huge success!! Despite the winter temps we only had to supplement the room with a small oil heater a few hours a day during that very cold snap in mid January. Otherwise the rabbitry has been in the low 40's on sunny days and 35 degrees at night. Perfect rabbit temperatures for their comfort and for us to have kits throughout the winter! Now to see how cool we'll be able to keep the rabbitry during tropical heat waves this summer.
Our hens are laying up a storm and we are selling quiet a few dozen eggs each week! The chicks have been ordered for mid-May delivery - so yes, warmer weather is just around the corner...behind the five foot snowbank!!
As you can see from the enclosed pics the rabbits are settling into their new home nicely. The trip back was uneventful. All three of the rabbits seemed to do well, stopped and checked 'em twice. Judy Named the buck Jetsson (Jet's Son) so I call him George as he just doesn't look like an Elroy. ~ David M.
Our very own homegrown turkey meat mixed with a little of last years pig fat and spices then made into sausages by our talented sausageer at Song Away Farm, Farmer Steve!! We ended up making a total of 15 lbs of Sweet Italian, Hot Italian and Hot Breakfast sausage! And yes, it is terrific - our neighbors taste tested it and gave us 2 thumbs up!! Oh the possiblities...
Mixed Heritage Turkeys coming from a flock of Royal Palms, Narragansett, White Holland, Standard Bronze and Bourbon.
We ended up having a 78% hatch rate on the turkey eggs that we incubated! And we sold all but eight. We will continue to keep them in the brooder for another 3-4 weeks then they'll be joining our Midget Whites in the backyard. We are looking forward to incubating the Midget White Turkey eggs next spring!