Showing posts with label Donkeys on the Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donkeys on the Farm. Show all posts

What are Donkeys Good For?

Donkeys are good for a homestead for many reasons! Easy to care and multipurpose! Some uses for donkeys you may know about, but some you may not. Could donkeys be useful on your homestead? #donkeys #homesteader #donkeycare

Due to the overwhelming response to my donkey posts I've decided to move them all to a new site all for themselves.

You can find this article and many others about donkeys here

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Rain Rot in Horses and other Livestock Free Herbal Recipe!

A DIY herbal recipes for preventing rain rot in horses, dogs and other livestock!

UGH! How I hate rain rot! My first year with my own horses I got a rude awakening with that crap. Since I like my horses to live outside naturally in a herd. I do have to take steps to prevent rain rot here in the southeast. Especially since my horses (and donkeys) LOVE standing in the rain!

The first year I tried several options at my local co-op and TSC. They were kind of pricey and didn't deliver the results I wanted for my horses. So I dove in and did some research, got some advice from one of my vets and came up with an excellent formula to help prevent and treat rain rot in horses.
If you are unfamiliar with what rain rot really is here is a good article from Practical Horseman
Rain Rot

With my previous know how using essential oils and herbs with equine and other livestock I decided to combine comfrey oil, frankincense and tea tree for my own solution. Here's why:

Key Ingredients For my Rain Rot Home Remedy Spray

Frankincense oil helps soothe skin that is irritated, itchy or damaged and is known to promote cellular health and immunity! It is perfectly safe for horses and people.
Tea Tree Oil is a broad spectrum antiseptic with high levels of biocidal activity against bacteria, fungi, and insects.
Comfrey oil is one of my all-time favorites for skin healing. Its an excellent source of vitamin B12 and allantoin! I make a comfrey oil infusion. Typically using olive or sunflower oil.

For a more informed look at Essential oils and herbs safe for horses, you can check out my Horse Training Journal which has essential oils and herbs for horses guide

Horse Training Journal with essential oil and herbs for horses guide! Plus DIY natural horse care recipes! #naturalhorsecare #farmhorses

Quick Note: How to make Herbal Infusions

If you don't know how It is super easy to make infusions. I typically make all my infusions on sunny days. I add I cup of dried herbs to a quart jar and 3 cups of the chosen oil. Let sit for a week in the sun and strain out. Its crazy good stuff. If it's not sunny or you need an infusion asap you can make it in a tiny crock pot. Let set on high for 4 hours or low overnight and strain. Ready to use!

The rest of the recipe

  • Most of us know the wonderful benefits ACV which is wonderful for Fungus, burns, wounds and skin infections! So it's a perfect element to add. 
  • Vegetable glycerin is soothing and reduces skin inflammation. 
  • Vitamin E is amazing for skin healing.

That's why I added these particular ingredients.
Now the recipe!

Rain Rot Horse Home Remedy Spray

1/2 cup ACV 1/4 Cup Comfrey Oil
2 Cups of Water
1 Tsp. Vitamin E oil
20 Drops of Frankincense OIl
20 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
1/2 Cup Vegetable Glycerin

Herbal recipe for rain rot in horses and dogs

Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake vigorously before applying to the affected area. This helps keep my horses free of nasty rain rot during rainy times.
I tend to use as a preventative on the horses I know love to stand in the rain more than others for an ounce of prevention!
 I've not had a problem with rain rot since I started using this formula.
I hope it helps your horses like it has mine!

**Rain rot can also occur in dogs, donkeys, and other livestock, especially for those of us living in a humid climate. This can be used on any livestock and dogs for various skin conditions. I've also used it on my donkeys for dry itchy skin irritations.
My horses also LOVE to get in the pond and creeks at the first sign of warmth! Also doesn't help but they sure do love it!
Rain rot in horses DIY herbal remedy! #horses #naturalhorsecare

Other Herbal recipes for natural horse care I make

Fly season is right around the corner! For another great natural FREE  DIY recipe for your horses or other livestock check out my Homemade Horse Fly Repellent

Don't forget If you'd like these recipes and more DIY herbal recipes for horses with a training journal, health record sheet, AND an essential oil and herbal horse guide you can get one here Equine Training Journal with many Bonus pages!

I worked hard on this journal and it has been such a help to me with managing my horses and donkeys I'm really excited about it as you can probably tell! 😃

Other Happenings on the farm!

Change of subjects!!! Spring is coming fast! I've got my early tomatoes up and now my snow peas and radishes are coming up too! Lots of other seeds are started and up in the greenhouse!

I've only got this small greenhouse that my husband bought me for Christmas the first year we moved to the farm. Its been a great germination starter for early seeds, I've used it do sun infuse herbal oils and plant dyes, I've used it as a dehydrator and even to dry freshly washed wool for spinning yarn! 
Just goes to show you don't have to spend a lot of money on a greenhouse to have a useful one! This one has stood up to the weather for 8 years now! This year was the first year we had to replace a few panels. We got it from Harbor Freight.
I feel its important to say I'm not an affiliate! This is just a really good little greenhouse for the money and I wanted to share this because it's worked well on our homestead!! With so many people recommending products they don't even own because they get a commission it's sometimes hard to know what is a real recommendation these days! But here it is at my back deck! Love this little greenhouse!

Perfect greenhouse for diverse small homestead! #homesteader #homesteadgarden

Though I do dream of high tunnels sometime... I've been able to grow all our veggies all year without one so far. Anyone out there ever built one of those cattle panel high tunnels? That's what I'd really like to add!!! It is on the 'garden project list' with so much other stuff!!! 🤣

I have lots of ideas pinned on my boards if you'd like to check them out here Homestead Pinterest Boards

I love a good DIY!
Hope you have a blessed week!

Donkey Training Needs

Donkeys need a certain amount of training to be handled easy and safely. Donkey Training needs tips and resource links!

Due to the overwhelming response to my donkey information post I've decided to give donkeys a site all their own.
You can find this article and others here 

Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you enjoy the new site

DIY Hay Feeder : A Cheap and Easy Way to Stop hay waste!

When I decided to add a couple of horses to the farm I needed to start feeding round bales. It's just too expensive to feed square all the time. When you have a fairly large herd of donkeys, sheep, goats, llamas or horses saving on the winter hay bill is a big deal!

DIY Hay Feeder! Reduce waste and Save money on hay!

So my husband (the Bald Man) came up with an awesome DIY hay feeder that drastically reduced waste and kept the hay nice and dry!

So check out our DIY Hay Feeders!

DIY Hay Feeder! Reduce wasted hay and save money!

It cost us less than $65 each to make these. Keeps the hay dry. It's sturdy!
It keeps them from pulling so much hay on the ground and pooping on it. Now the barn stays cleaner with the bales not being inside plus there's more room for everyone if someones being a bit grumpy and trying to hoard the hay!

The hog panel cut into and placed at the bottom front keeps the hay back nicely, no one steps in and they can just lean in and eat.
Wish we had thought of this last year!! But oh well, I had lots of mulch hay!

The materials used: cattle panel over the top, 4 posts to steady the sides, tarp over the top, pallets to sit the hay on and help keep it from getting wet and moldy, a modified hog panel tied across the front to hold the pulled out hay in.
This is really going to also cut down on my chore time without having to constantly shovel up wasted poop hay! As well as save us money!

Since they like to stand, eat and poop in front of the hay for hours the Bald Man does have to use the tractor to scoop up the manure. Actually again, this saves me time hauling manure out of the barn or stalls to the compost pile.

These DIY hay feeders have worked really well for Donkeys, sheep, llamas and our horses. It works ok for some goats, but with goats being such jerks, for the most part, they jumped over the hog panel, climbed over the hay, pooping and peeing on it as they did. So the biggest hay wasters of all time figured out how to ruin this too! Its no wonder I no longer have goats! 🤣

Rescue Donkey Works

And On another note...
This is Shani. Just brought her in last night. Her owners were divorcing and just needed her gone. Sad circumstances have left her a little neglected.Rescue donkeys placed in good homes

She's a little thin, needs her hooves trimmed and needs deworming as well as her vaccinations.
She is a nice donkey though. Someone loved her one time because she's Halter and lead trained well.
She's the prettiest sorrel I've seen on a donkey. She's the largest donkey here so I sure am glad we got those DIY hay feeders made up! 
I think she will be impressive once I get her in shape and in good health! She'll be evaluated with small livestock and tested with dogs to see her potential as a livestock guardian. Then she'll be placed in an appropriate farm home. 

If you've been thinking about getting a donkey for your farm check out my Donkey Care Primer ebook. Its everything you should know before you bring home a donkey!

Everything you need to know before you bring home a donkey! Donkey care basics!

Wondering what all you can do with a donkey beside have it guard? You can go to Donkeys On the Farm to learn more about what I've used mine for and other care tips too! 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our DIY Hay feeders! I hope they can help you stop hay waste and save money on hay like they have for us!

Other places you can find us!

You are welcome to check out Homestead and Horses Pinterest boards. 
You can often find updates on our Facebook page Gods Blessing Farm
and more pictures and updates on our Instagram Homesteaders Journey  

Hope Y'all have a Happy & Blessed Week!

**ALL photos you see are from my actual Homestead. I do not need to use purchased stock photos. What you see on my blog is REAL! 

Useful Donkeys and their products on the Farm!

As many of you know that follow our blog I milk donkeys... it's not for everyone!
Donkeys do not fit every farm, but if they fit yours they can provide more than you think! Their most popular use is as a livestock guardian but what if you would like to get more from your donkeys?

Donkeys can be used for many things on a homestead. There are some uncommon uses for donkeys you may have never heard of though!  We are modern homesteaders that have found several unique uses for donkeys that has benefited us greatly! #donkeymilk #donkeys #homesteader

Donkey Fiber Yarn? 

For a little extra fun... this is donkey fiber yarn! That's right! Some donkeys get a heavy coat in the winter time which is super easy to collect in the spring when they start to shed.
This pretty art yarn is a mix of bamboo, Firestar fibers, and donkey fiber!
Who knew?! I plied it with a strand of sparkle yarn. This yarn sold fairly quickly to a fiber collector in CA. Pretty cool :-)
Yes! Donkey fiber can make interesting art yarns! #woolfarming #homsteader
Finished Donkey Yarn
It was just as easy to spin as any other non-crimpy fiber. Pick, wash, card and spin!

Making yarn from Donkey FIber! YES! It can be done!

Healing Donkey Milk Desserts?

Yep! For those of us who are milking donkeys (or mares) for its incredible health benefits or to help with autoimmune issues, this is a huge plus!
 Donkey Milk Panna Cotta .... one of the best desserts I believe I've ever made! The natural sweetness of the donkey milk needed no extra sweetener!

Donkey Milk

Donkey Milk Soap and Skin Care Products! 

My Donkey Milk soap is amazing, if I do say so myself :-) and received rave reviews from everyone who tried it! In addition to donkey milk soap facial skin care too! Donkey Milk is amazing for the skin! It makes some of the best lotions I've ever used.. age spots literally faded to nothing!
In a market of over-saturated goat milk soap, Donkey Milk Soap and lotions do stand out!

Donkey Milk Skin care products are a nice way to bring in extra income on the homestead!

Donkeys are a very wonderful blessing on this farm! In addition to their usual farm role in America, they have provided us with some very unique products to sell as well as a healthier dairy source for our needs.

Interested in trying donkeys on your homestead? Check out my book on Amazon to see if donkeys fit your farm and expectations. 

Donkey care ebook! What to know before you bring home a donkey!

Already have a donkey? Grab my FREE Equine Training Journal Pages!! Good for horses or donkeys you have goals for on your farm! Set goals and make a plan!

Equine training journal! perfect for horses and donkeys!

Until next time!!! Happy Homesteading!

Things to know about Donkeys

Due to the overwhelming interest in my donkey post I've decided to give them a site all for themselves. 
You can find this post and others here

Sorry for any inconvenience

Milking difficult donkeys

So if you read my previous post you have read about my quirky girl Fae.
Here's an update... For 3 days she milked like a dream. It was wonderful! Bliss!!
Then out of no where her shady ways came back and she backed away during milking,, tired to brush me off with a light kick ( yes there's such thing as a light kick if it was hard my hand would be broken and I wouldn't be posting right now) , she seemed annoyed and restless. What is it now? What could it be?

Unpredictable Donkeys can be Dangerous

Did she hate my purple jacket?? I took it off. Was she mad because Mina was staring into the stall at her? I lured Mina away .. Was she mad because her daughter was being annoying.. This, she should be used too!
For days I couldn't figure out what was up.. Then I figured it out. I had added a probiotic to her feed she didn't like 😒
She also doesn't like when I smell like certain essential oils.. She prefers lavender, chamomile or peppermint..she's a sensitive creature.
Please don't misunderstand the problem here.. Fae is not an unfriendly or high strung donkey at this point! She's pretty laid back for a donkey that was a cattle guard. 
Although she doesn't care for brushing, unless its a soft bristle brush, she loves hugs and scratches! She likes her belly rubbed and doesn't mind having her udder touched or milked. She always comes to me in the pasture, always easily follows me into the milking stall. 
She's just unpredictable and it's like all the stars must be in perfect alignment for her not to throw shade my way. Her quirks come out if anything is out of place during milking time! 
And if you read my last post you know why I put up with it.. Fae is a rock star for donkey milk and holds the record here for production. She milks more than donkeys much bigger than herself. Meaning my feed to milk ratio on her is excellent And I am possibly retaining her daughter because of this. 
Oh, Fae!! Please stop your shady ways you could have such a bright future and a pampered life that a million donkeys would kill for! 
Plus she's SO gorgeous!

More Donkeys more problems?

Then there's Mina.. I just started milking Mina last weekend.
Mina loves hugs and scratches! Stands so perfectly still to be groomed with any brush whatsoever!
She has no problem with me touching her udder But actually milking her udder she's not cool with unless I'm constantly feeding her hay cubes.
No hay cube and she will kick me across the field and she's not playing!! Her sketchy behavior is actually very dangerous And I'm extra careful with her. So I let her have her way. I do countless squats getting up and down to give her hay cubes in between milking. 
Maybe I'll have firmer thighs after her lactation is over.. Looking for a bright side here!
She can't be like a normal donkey and want grain... No! That's not getting you any milk! 
It Must be hay cubes.. And a specific brand to I might add!
I don't know that Mina will be the rock star milker that Fae is but it'd be nice if she let me find out! Her milk is sweet and early lactation milk is extra healing.

 I truly love donkeys and believe their milk is one of the healthiest and most helpful things I've ever had. 
On another exciting note, it's a wonderful ingredient to my skin like I've been developing since 2011. Best milk ever! You can try a bar here Donkey Milk Soap if you like! 

Milking donkeys isn't for everyone and I've certainly milked much easier donkeys!
I believe these girls can be dealt with and be less shady and sketchy someday.
If I'm patient, persistent and I'm observant to their sensitivities.
No 2 are alike that's the only thing I'm certain of!

If you are just wanting to get started with donkeys do check out my ebook Donkey Care Primer

Beyond blessed for the opportunity though.. Even with all the things to work out ...

Creating Farm Businesses

From homestead to small subsistence farm and now to the farm business.
Our wild ride in different homesteading/farming ventures has been a blast of successes and crushing times of utter defeats! 
Now this new year,  as I've stated in other posts, brings more changes and it feels so overwhelming but totally exciting.
For 2017 Gods Blessing Farm is now Gods Blessing Farm LLC. 

The milking donkey herd is getting bigger and the donkey milk soap business is a major undertaking. You can try some out yourself here Donkey Milk Soap
Check out my board for some soap making business ideas if its a business you are thinking about!  Soap Making Business

The Ever Changing Homestead 

For this to get bigger other things must get smaller. Management of time has never been more critical. So there will be No other dairy animal projects and no additional poultry projects.
To be honest, Over the years I'm realizing that my gardening and poultry efforts are ...
Well.... A bit too large! 
Ok much too large!!! 2 people do not need to raise over 80 goslings a year with no intent to sell them!
And 2 people do not need the huge and extensive amounts of food I grow in my garden.

So these things get much smaller and some things will get eliminated.
Other dairy animals I wanted, unfortunately, there's no time for me to dedicate there. The donkey milk is superior in skin care and I can't digest other milk like donkey milk so the focus has to be on what keeps me healthy and makes the best product. 

I'll raise about half of the grain corn and veggies that I raised last year and the more difficult things to grow, like things that aren't right for this climate but I've learned hacks to grow them anyways, will not be planted. 
I love my gardens and growing but I got to refocus on what most important. The ever-changing goals of the homesteader! 

I will only incubate some quail next fall for replacements but all other hatchings will be left to the birds themselves. Thankfully my Pilgrim geese and Muscovy ducks are excellent mothers and need no help from me!
My poultry efforts will be very very tiny.

I feel good that we reached an amazing goal of growing over 90% of our own foods here. This year that will be a smaller number. I'm good with that and looking forward to local sourcing from other farmers what I've decided to no longer grow. 
I feel the need to move on to other farm goals and challenges. I feel like these challenges have been put in from of me for a reason and I need to pursue them. 

Check out my Pilgrim goose post here though. Best goos ever! The Pilgrim Goose

The Meishan Pig Business 

My husbands' farm challenges and goals with the Meishans have also grown and changed somewhat. The Meishan offers opportunities that the American Guinea hogs could not offer. 
Having to be given the opportunity to preserve these extremely rare, diverse genetics and get them into the hands of other farmers is a huge undertaking. 
When I saw my husbands breeding schedule for the 2017 Meishans it was terrifying at first look!! 
The Meishans are a big part of the farm business. They are such wonderful pigs that I don't even mind having half our farm be a *pig farm*! 

He's put a lot of work into them. If you would like to learn more he has a great youtube channel where you can see them in action.. or lack of action! Meishan sleep a lot!

They are mostly my husbands' responsibility and as the Meishans get bigger other stuff he does must get smaller. It's all about balance and dedication to the opportunity given.  

There's much to be organized, much to be built and expanded and certainly, much to be learned with these new farm ventures we believe the Lord has led us too. 
It's a new day.... 
God is Good 

Starting a homestead soap business

We have much going on for the coming 2017!
The Meishans and Donkeys are certainly taking over here!

And I'm super excited about my new Etsy shop! check it out in the link below!

Donkey Milk Soap

Our first batches of donkey milk soap sold out quickly! And more is curing and being made as fast as we can! 
As a professional licensed Esthetician, it thrills me to be able to work with such amazing natural skin care ingredient!!   
As a farmer, I'm blessed that I have the ability to produce this milk myself so I know first hand that the donkeys the milk is taken from are loved and fed the best natural foods. And my milking donkeys are chemical free! 

Another goal for 2017 is My herb gardens will also be expanding as I find the need for more of my own medicinal herbs and I want to grow more herbs for the soap line. Herbs and Donkey milk do work so well together! Of course, lard from our Meishan pigs is another farm product raised here. A lard hog is such a wonderful thing for a soap business!

Having a soap business side hustle can be a great way to bring in extra cash to the homestead!
Especially when I grow SO much of the things that go into my soaps!

To find out more about Meishan pigs (best homestead niche hog ever!) check out the breeders association Why Meishan Pigs?  and one of our previous post on the hog here Make mine Meishan

Of course, I have info on milking donkeys here on our blog like this one Milking Donkey

Check out my soap making business board on Pinterest too! Soap Making Business Tips
And this board on Donkey milk Benefits Donkey Milk Soap Info Board

Here's a board for Herb garden Ideas too! Herb Garden Plans and Tips
Good quality herbs are hard to find and expensive. Many are stale by the time they get to you and their effectiveness isn't very good. Growing your own herbs is so easy!

If I do honey soap we have our own honey and beeswax, my egg white facial soap is made from our own eggs. 

As you can see my cost for a bar of soap is very low and we get the benefits of having these other homegrown products!

If you're interested in milking donkey on your own farm a good place to start is with my ebook Donkey Care Primer which can provide you with info you need to know before you bring home a donkey! 

As always thankful to God for the wonderful opportunities he has put in front of us! All the glory is His!  

Thankful for 2016 and praying for a good 2017

Homesteading for sustainability and for profit

It's been a lovely year. I might even say it's been the best year yet on the farm!
The discovery of donkey milk and how well donkeys fit in on our farm and with my personality has been a huge blessing!
Learning how they think and how to train them keeps me on my toes! They are never boring!

You can check out my Donkey milk board to read more Donkey Milk Benefits
I'm getting a better handle on what and how much I need to grow to feed us all year in our four-season gardens. I grow WAY too much food in my gardens and I have years of food preserved.
Next year will be a very different gardening year than the last few years have been! And I'm looking forward to it!
Check out one of my favorite Pinterest boards for veggie garden plans and Ideas
It was actually 2015 when the meishans entered the picture. But in this year of 2016 is when we were able to add the 2 rarest lines of Meishan in America.. The USDA line and the Illinois line. By the grace of God, we were able to acquire the last of these pigs from those 2 centers. 
Never before available to the public, if managed properly the genetic diversity this brings to the table is outstanding! 
The Meishan has a chance of being an amazing opportunity for small farmers looking to raise nondestructive, quite, productive, gourmet meat and lard hogs.
Also, for those of us who tire of the slow growth rates of most heritage breeds the Meishan grows much faster!  
If there is a pleasant pig that exists it's this breed!
For more info on them go here Meishan Pigs

or watch this informative video on, Does the Meishan fit your farm?

My Muscovies are still champion baby raisers! 

And we raised over 80 goslings this year.
I had some surprises along the way but overall the geese were wildly successful.
To cut back on the workload and the breeding pens needed. I'll only be raising Pilgrims next year. The Chinese will remain though for their superior egg laying ability. We love goose eggs!
To learn more about the best homestead goose check out my previous post here!
Also this year the addition of the quail has been wonderful! And we added a few more bantam chickens for summer eggs. 
Our plans for dairy sheep were once again put out due to having to up the donkeys because of my health needs for donkey milk and allergy to sheep milk if I don't have donkey milk but we still plan to raise some meat lambs!
The Lord has lead us where he wants us to be. Our farm has developed into something I never dreamed it could. 
It's a praise to GOD in every way. The failures and disappointments have been learning tools to help prepare us. The joys and successes have been amazing and we are grateful!
We will certainly be praying for guidance as we enter the new year to come.
Thank you, Jesus, 🙂 could not have done any of this without your guidance.