I learned some things.
Breeding is good because the animals will pay for themselves over and again, but only if there are buyers. I do not have enough buyers.
There are too many males born, about half, which is normal, but who are unneeded or unwanted. It only requires a single male to breed many females and after breeding, they are only fuel consumers. So, the males become meat animals through necessity. It was never my design to raise animals for slaughter. What do you do with twelve ram lambs though or 25 roosters? Only a few will be sold and the rest…well, stew or soup is their unfortunate fate.
Without a market, one should truly not breed. The animals then quickly multiply and suddenly, there may not be enough hay or pasture to feed them all or enough fenced area to ensure their safety. This is also the case with my farm. I kept some of the ewe lambs, too many, and then they had babies this year and I definitely do not have enough fenced areas to pasture them. I also have no more hay. The only option I have now, is to install the electric net fence and move it daily. There must be one area fenced for the rams and one for the ewes. The setting up and moving of the fence daily is at least a three hour job and adding that to an already full day means one tired old farmer. The lesson there, is do not breed unless there is already a market and be sure there is enough area to feed the animals. There, preparation ahead of time would have been sensible.
There are the heart breaks of losing baby animals. Mamma turkey has slowly lost her whole brood and the second turkey has lost half. The geese both have lost a few of their babies, too. There are so many chickens and guineas sitting on too many eggs in the nest boxes, that after the sheep are set up, I will have to throw the hens off the nests, clean the nest boxes out completely and make some new boxes so the hens not setting can have a place to lay. Even the two new boxes I installed each have setters, one with two hens on one nest and the other with a Muscovy duck. When I can, I must remove the chicken eggs from her nest. I think I will give her guineas to hatch instead, since guinea hens are terrible mothers, losing all of their babies usually and Muscovy ducks are fantastic protective mothers. Guineas do not like water much though, but Muscovy ducks are not as fanatic about it as North American breeds either. It might work. Getting a Muscovy off a nest is another story. They are like small geese, biting, hissing, and using claws to fend off their intruders. Long padded sleeves and leather gloves will be in order.
But, despite the problems, the lack of outbuildings and a barn, the impossible situation getting anyone to work at the farm, and the lack of fenced pasture, when I hold the little lamb in my arms and give her a bottle, just watching the life that I am entrusted with puts a song in my heart. There are too many mosquitos, too many flies and it is too cold in winter in this climate, yet the wood fire is soothing at the end of a cold hard day and there is the promise of flowers blooming in spring and new life on the horizon. Why be a farmer? The blessings far outweigh the trials. That is it in a nutshell. A farmer is the steward of the Earth and for the world and without farmers, life as we know it would forever change. Bless each and every one who dedicates their lives to the hard work of farming, me too!