Happy New Year from Minka Farm

Welcome to 2018 and a fond farewell to 2017…
We here at Minka Farm, all 389 animals and 5 humans, hope that 2017 was a good year for you and that 2018 will be a great year!

One thing we’ve missed during 2017 is communicating with you: keeping you up to date on the farm and sharing our stories and learning lessons. After trying half a dozen various way to reach out, we hope we’ve finally found a good solution. Unformatted emails were sent over the past two days when we deactivated and deleted an app we had previously tried using – it didn’t give up without some kicking and screaming. Our deepest apologies for taking up unnecessary space in your inbox.

One of our New Year’s resolutions is to keep you in the loop because without you we can’t fulfill our purpose! As a start, here’s some of what’s going on around here:

As cold as it is during the winter, things don’t really slow down here – they just change. Keeping drinking water available in a non-frozen format takes patience and time. There’s no mowing, but fenceline maintenance is easier when the grass isn’t growing right back. And, because the grass isn’t growing, we have to feed the hay we made earlier this year – three to four large round bales every day… each bale weighing in around 800 lbs!

We’ll be pruning in the orchard before too much longer and are working on mulching the asparagus bed. With good luck and a non-extreme winter, we should have asparagus in April and lots of fruit starting in June – beginning with PYO blueberries.

We are getting ready for the next group of babies: we recently vaccinated the cows, weaned last year’s calves (see the picture below if you wonder how necessary that is) and confirmed that we are expecting 21 calves this year. In addition, we are hoping for 8 lambs and 23 kids sometime between March and May.

Additionally, we are renovating the 3-bedroom ranch house on the farm, hoping to have it available for Farm Stays this summer, and reorganizing our Meat CSA so you can choose what cuts you receive (at a discount!) with your prepaid subscription – watch our website for updates!

We are working to improve our duckling hatch rate in order to be able to hatch all of our own laying ducks on Minka Farm – no more receiving ducklings through the mail. This means we will also be raising our own ducks for meat and will be sure to let you know when whole duck will be available.

2017 was a great year for us and we are looking forward to learning more in 2018. We hope the same for all of you!

Happy New Year,
The Minka Farm crew

And here is why we wean our calves at around 9 months of age:

This white-faced cow (Z20) had a heifer (girl) calf in March 2017.  She is pregnant and due to calve again this March.  She is an awesome cow!! She lets the calves of other cows nurse her without sacrificing her own body weight!  There are three calves nursing at the same time in this picture and only one is hers.  As great as that is for these calves, this mom really needs time to make good quality colostrum for her new calf.  It’s definitely time to wean the 2017 calves!