Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I never know what I will find when I make my usual walk back to gather eggs. This time it was the mother of twins with her head stuck. One of her kids was waiting patiently with her. Because one horn is slightly longer and bends at a different angle than the other, it is quite a puzzle to free her. I usually end up with a smashed finger or at least lots of frustration before she is free.
And I have mentioned before that if I find eggs at a "new" spot, I always throw them out and check that spot the next day. I have no idea how long the hens have been laying in a new spot so would never want to accidentally sell an old egg. Well, I was gathering eggs from the nest box in the old barn and happened to glance over into the next stall. When we had to move all the mothers and babies into the stable during a storm, Al had moved an old door into the barn so that no one accidentally knocked it over on themselves. It made the perfect shelter for some hens to begin a nest. Since we have an abundance of eggs right now, I've decided to leave all of them right where they are and see what happens.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The mother Angora goat is Curly. Well, actually Curly 2 - named after her mother who died a few years ago. Curly 2 is her mother's spitting image, not only in appearance but in behavior. Curly's little kid this year has been named Marie and Marie is a pistol. Marie is the little one bouncing on the trash can in the video posted a few days ago.
I happened to be passing by the fence and noticed Curly and Marie laying up next to it. When I first noticed them, Marie was napping on top of Curly's back. By the time I got around to the picture, Marie had gotten up from her nap. Curly, however, was still laying down. Since Marie could not reach her mother's udder, she was finding someplace to nurse. She spent a good bit of time suckling her mother's brass ear tag - that is what I did manage to get a picture of! Finally mama gave in and stood up so that Marie could get her after-nap snack.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Bert is a little Angora cross buckling who was born to a first-time mother. We checked her udder and discovered it was small but she was producing colostrum. The little fellow got a decent start but mama just could not keep up with him and he weakened. When he started to show signs of pneumonia, I brought him in for a few hours to start him on medication and observe him. Sweet little Tootsie Pie, our best "abandoned" dog, did what she could to keep an eye on him as he rested. We returned him to his mother and began supplementing his feedings with a bottle.
We have a doe with a ridiculous udder. One of her teats is so large that her own kids cannot suckle from it so we have to keep it milked out to prevent mastitis. We milk her and then put that milk in a bottle for Bert to enjoy. Oh, and Bert's name - when we realized he was not going to die of his pneumonia, Katy named him Bert. She had just finished watching Mary Poppins for the umpteenth time. The dark gray patch on this little kid's nose reminded her of soot. She named him after Bert, the chimney sweep from the movie.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Years ago we attended a seminar with a goat expert from Texas. One of the first statements he made was that each goat starts its day thinking about how it might kill itself before the day is out. Goats tend to get themselves into some pretty amazing predicaments.
Today I went out to feed mothers and check babies. I happened to glance over to the covered round bales and this is what I saw. A goat had stuck her head through the wire fencing toward the covered round bales. She must have gnawed a hole through the tarp. She then stuck her head through the tarp behind the fence on the hopes she could reach hay. Because of the way her horns curl back, she was not able to extract her head from the fencing. I managed to do that for her after a little bit of struggle. I got her head out of the tarp so that I could see her horns and guide her head back through the fence. Ironically, there was plenty of hay available no more than a few yards from where she'd pulled this stunt. Since she is not one of the mothers, I escorted her out of this pasture. She'll just have to get into trouble somewhere else.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
We've had two more lambs in the last 12 hours! We are now up to five lambs and six kids. Allez, one of the Anatolian pups, is just loving spending time with babies. We only let the pups visit when we are in the pasture as we're a little apprehensive about how roughly they might play with the babies. The mothers are not always comforted by the dogs' presence either.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
As we finished bringing the new ram lamb and his mother safely into a stall, we heard another new baby cry. This little goat had just kidded in the tractor shed on the hay. We would usually leave a new mama and baby for a while so that they have plenty of time to bond but the chickens had discovered them. The chickens can be very annoying and even dangerous as they peck and pull at the new one or even at the mother. We swooped mama and baby up and relocated them to a stall where mama went right back to work cleaning up her new one.
It is easier to get a ewe to follow if you walk ahead of her holding her lamb. This mama was a little reluctant to follow and had to keep being reminded that we had her lamb but she made it up the hill to join everyone else eventually.
We are now up to six kids and three lambs with more on the way. We are locking them in the stable at night but letting them spend the day in a pasture. We laugh at the way they segregate themselves in the pasture with the sheep on one end and the goats on the other. The babies will run around everywhere to play but when it is naptime they all seem to crash on their "appropriate" sides.
We are treating one little buck kid for pneumonia. His mother is not producing enough milk to feed him well so we've been supplementing with a bottle. He sounded a little rattly yesterday so I did start him on meds. He's done fine with his first injections and only has four more to go. He was perkier this morning.
I did have to laugh at myself last night. We had been out with friends and when we got home my goal was to race to the stable, bottle the little guy and get myself to bed. I came in with a bottle, picked up the little white kid and curled it in my lap. I held the bottle out and the kid turned its head. I gently opened its mouth and put the nipple in. The kid spit it out. I was confused as the little fellow had learned so quickly to take a bottle and had been doing nicely for two or three days now. I tried one more time, the kid hollered and mother ran over. It was the wrong mother! Well, it was actually the right mother for this kid - I was the one holding the wrong kid. I searched around, found my bottle baby curled up in the corner, gave him his bottle with ease and went back in the house. I really should not expect to function well after dark.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
This little ram lamb was born some time in the early hours. He was up and busy when Al found him this morning. His precious little Shetland mother had cleaned him up and nursed him. He's a thriving little fellow who already has big black horn buds sticking up on top of his head.
Katy's tulips are fast approaching their bloom! The garlic is continuing to grow taller after spending much of the winter nestled under the mulch. And the batch of chicks that arrived Monday are now out of the bathroom and under heat lamps in brooder boxes in the stable. It looks like we're progressing into another season.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This sweet doe had lost her buck kid last year shortly after he was born. At the time it happened, we put a gold collar around her neck to remind us to check her every day to be sure she wasn't having trouble with her udder. Well, this morning we found her with a pair of twins. They are both little does and are up and nursing.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The puppies were busy with their goat friends as usual. Everything seemed to be back to routine after two goat kids being born over the weekend. We even let the mothers and kids out to romp for a bit. It is hysterical to watch a two-day old climb onto a three inch tall log and then leap with all its might to the ground below. I spent a good bit of time just watching babies as I dug thistles in their pasture.
There was a bit of a surprise before the day ended. I noticed one ewe who had separated herself from the small flock that prefers to live in the woods. I watched as she pawed the ground, circled restlessly, laid down and stood again. I snuck up on to find she was in labor and that I could observe two front feet and the tip of a nose. I went on up the hill, gathered eggs and returned. About a half hour later a little white lamb with red spots presented itself to the world. That little one is now safely in the stable with mama. Fortunately Katy was able to help as we had to coax mama up out of the woods by dragging her while dangling her lamb in front of her. The walk up out of the woods seems a lot longer when most of it is done squatting and slowly creeping so as not to spook mama.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
A second little kid in less than 24 hours! This is a little fellow with a very big mouth. We were walking out to gather eggs when we noticed what seemed to be the Anatolian pups standing over a dead black chicken. I was not pleased. But it was a newborn little goat. Mama had just finished cleaning and the pups were very politely standing guard. They may work out yet!
Al was coming in from the barnyard late Saturday afternoon when he heard the familiar little tiny cry of a baby down in the oxen pasture. Curly was just finishing cleaning up her new kid. She is a tiny little thing who was already up and nursing. Although we did not weigh her, she probably is a bit less than five pounds. We left them alone until nightfall and then moved them safely into a stall in the stable. Mama and daughter are well this morning.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
We've had the Anatolian pups not quite three months now. When they first arrived, they both fit right into the corner of the kitchen. Just the other day Allez came in for a brief visit and wandered to that same corner. She has almost outgrown the corner so I cannot imagine what it would have been like to squeeze Gwen in along with her. They are growing out beautifully and are already beginning to show their guardian instincts. When they are not wrestling like fools through the barnyard and pasture, they either sit quietly at the top of the pasture looking out over the livestock or curl up and nap with the sheep and goats. So far, so good.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I walked around the farm just checking on everyone in the snow. The chickens seemed the most taken aback by the whole thing, refusing to leave their house and simply staring out the door in either distress or amazement as the ducks romped from cold puddle to cold puddle.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
These two are the first of the livestock I see most every morning. Zeke & Esther are our standard donkeys. Over eleven years ago when we began to consider moving to South Carolina, Eric, our middle child, decided he had to have donkeys. When we drove up here to close on the house, Eric found a little notice in a feed store about someone with donkeys to sell and, being the gregarious little ten year old that he was, he made the call. He found a woman with two pregnant jennies. We met the jennies and followed their pregnancies until the birth of the first little foal. He was a cute fellow and Eric just adored him. Within a few weeks, the other jennie foaled. We ended up with both of those little ones when they were five months old and weaned. There were twice-weekly trips to see them from the time they were born until they were delivered here. And now I am reminded of that every morning as they talk to me when I come out the side door to start chores.