Farm Chores – How Long do They Take?

Farm Chores – How much time do they take?

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I homeschool my 4 children.

I do lots of laundry.

I cook lots of meals.

I work at our Pawnshop.

I milk a cow every day (almost).

I am raising 8 17 pigs.

We also have: 40 layer chickens, 16 meat (broiler) chickens, 7 rabbits, 3 cats, 3 cows, 1 dog and 2 ducks.

I grow try to grow an awesome garden.

I can, preserve and freeze our food.

I chauffeur my kids to and from youth group, music lessons, band practice, classes and where ever else they need to go.

On top of this, I help out with the kids at church.

Oh, I also blog.

If you are looking at your life thinking there is no way you could get a milk cow or a pig because you are just too busy, you might be wrong.

It doesn’t take as long as you may think.  Adding some critters to your home may actually increase your productivity.

“Say What?”

It’s true.  There was a time in my life when my first child awoke at 9am and I peacefully slept until that blessed occurrence.  I would sip my coffee, teach my kids, and before I knew it, it would be dinnertime and my day was shot.

This doesn’t happen (much) any more.

Now, I wake up bright and early, milk a cow, feed the pigs, let out the chickens, care for the rabbits and other cows, feed the kids, skim yesterday’s milk, strain today’s milk, slam some coffee and start school at 8:30am!  Talk about productivity.  To think that I used to wake up at 9.  What a wasted morning!

Here’s the truth about how long all the farm chores REALLY take.


FARM CHORE TOUR

Honestly, the kids help out a ton.  They each have responsibilities (except the 8 year old free-loader, but his day is coming).  Sometimes I do all the chores my self, most days the kids help.

Here’s the quick overview of everything that needs to happen:

  1. Feeder Pigs – food & water
  2. Cows – Milk Rosie, give all the cows food & water
  3. Pot Belly Pigs – food & water
  4. Rabbits – food, water & empty the trays
  5. Chickens – let out of the coop, feed them the kitchen scraps, gather eggs

We will get this knocked out in no time!  Let’s go:

#1 Feeder Pigs

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I give them some yummy food and fill their water bowls.  That’s it.  Easy!

Time it takes:  10 minutes

#2 Milk Rosie & care for the Cows/ Calves

Milking the cow is my favorite part of the morning.  Rosie is a darling of a cow and the time I spend with her is so enjoyable. She is a spunky, young thing who loves life, food and people.  If you ever decide to get a milk cow I can’t recommend a Jersey highly enough.  She will not only give you more butter and cream than you’ll know what to do with, she will also be your best friend.

Jerseys are easy to love with their giant eyes and sweet demeanor.  Go here to read why we went Jersey.

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We tag-team this one.  My oldest daughter calls Rosie in from the field & sends her to the milk barn.  I clean and milk her.  While I am milking Rosie my daughter takes hay out to the feeder and fills the water tanks.

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When the milking is finished my daughter reunites Rosie with her 2 claves while I clean up the milking supplies & barn.

Time it takes:  20 minutes

#3  Pot Belly Pigs

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Polly is doing a wonderful job caring for her piglets.  All that’s left for me to do is make sure she and George have plenty of food and water.

The potbelly pigs are low maintenance.

Time it takes: 5 minutes

#4 Bunnies

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The baby bunnies (kits) are growing at an unbelievable rate.  They went from tiny bald, naked moles to miniature bunnies in 2 weeks.  They are so, so, so stinkin’ cute!

My youngest daughter gives all the bunnies fresh water, food and empties the trays (that catch the droppings) under the cages.

Rabbits are an easy one.  They only need food and water once a day.

Time it takes: 5 minutes

#5 Let the Chickens & Ducks out

We keep our chickens (and ducks) the redneck way.  If you do this your chickens will be a cinch to keep.  No fences, no cages, no nasty run to deal with.  Clean chickens, clean eggs.  Go here to learn why and how to keep chickens the redneck way.

Keeping chickens this way will involve 2 daily chores:  let them out in the morning and put them to bed at sunset.  We usually collect the eggs when we let them out in the morning.

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My oldest son lets the chickens (and ducks) out of the coop and feeds them the scrap bowl from our kitchen.  He always says, “Here chick, chick, chick!” when he feeds them.

They drink from the creek, so they don’t need to be given water.

Time it takes:  5 minutes

THAT’S A WRAP- Morning chores done.  Yea!

Most of these chores happen at the same time.  The kids and I all get up, get dressed and head out to work.  There’s a bustle of activity all over our homestead at 7:30am.  We are the opposite of quiet around here, even at 7am we are a lively crew. There are no rules against laughing, joking or enjoying work.

Here’s what we accomplish every morning some where between 7:30-8:00:

  1. Fed the Feeder Pigs  (10 minutes)
  2. Milked Rosie & fed the Cows  (20 minutes)
  3. Fed the Pot Belly Pigs  (5 minutes)
  4. Fed the Rabbits & cleaned out the trays (5 minutes)
  5. Let out the Chickens & gathered eggs (5 minutes)

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When you include walking time between pastures, fields, coops, barns, and the short dog that joins me it takes (one person) less than an hour.

If all hands are on deck and every one goes to their stations, we get all the morning chores completely knocked out in about 20 minutes.  Woo Hoo!  Let’s hear it for teamwork.

Morning Chore Total Time (if only one person is working):  about 45 mintues 

Morning Chore Time with Kids:  around 20 Mintues

EVENING CHORES

Once the morning chores are complete we are pretty much free all day to do whatever we want.  When evening rolls around there are a couple things that need to happen.

Here’s the chores we do before bedtime:

  1. Separate the calves
  2. Feed the pigs
  3. Put the chickens to bed

#1 Separate the Calves from the Milk Cow

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We milk our cow once a day.  This is a wonderful arrangement.  I get all the milk I want,  I only have to milk once a day, and my cow is raising my beef for me.  It’s a great deal. To learn how to do this go here.  It involves separating the calves from the cow for a 12 hour period so I can get the morning milk before turning her back out with her calves all day.  This is why we “separate the calves” in the evening.

If you don’t need milk right now, are not feeling well, or just don’t want to get up and milk the cow tomorrow, simply leave the calves with the mama cow and they will take care of business for you.  Boo-Yah!

Time it takes:  10 minutes (if that)

#2 Feeder Pigs

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When they are little, you can get away with feeding them once a day.  They don’t go through the food very fast.  Once they really get to growing you’ll want to feed & water them 2 times a day.  The faster we can get these giant pigs off the farm the better.  Feed, feed, feed.

Time it takes:  3 minutes

#3 Potbelly Pigs

George and Polly get an evening meal too.

Time it takes:  6 minutes

#4 Put the Chickens to Bed

If you are raising chickens the redneck way, they will all magically go to bed at sundown.  After this happens we just have to go out and secure the coop door.  Some folks have automatic doors.  We don’t.

Time it takes: 3 minutes

Again, this is a “divide and conquer” time around here.  My oldest daughter separates the cows, my youngest daughter feeds the Potbelly pigs, my oldest son puts the chickens to bed and I do the feeder pigs.

Here’s the evening overview:

  1. Separate the calves  (10 minutes)
  2. Feed the pigs (6 minutes)
  3. Put the chickens to bed (3 minutes)

Evening Chore Total Time:  about 20 minutes

Evening Chore Time with Kids:  10 minutes

Of course there’s times when someone gets sick, or someone gives birth, or someone dies.  There are days when the critters need more of your time. There’s also the days when you just want to sit pig paddock and play with the piglets all afternoon.

Whether it’s for work or play, around here we agree that the animals are a joy.  Even when it’s hard it is satisfying.  I love it.  I have never considered the morning chores, “work.” They are almost all enjoyable activities.

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-CJ

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