Monday, March 30, 2009

Too cute not to post!

Just a quick post of a picture that HAS to be shared. From left to right: Edna, Eve & Elvis - Angel's babies.

We're in full kidding swing, both good times and bad times - more on that later.
Total babies so far, 6 doelings, 2 bucklings. Three moms left to deliver. I'll be glad when they're all done!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

More Babies!

Ruby had her babies this morning, finally! We've thought for almost a week that "today would be the day". Of course, she waited until it got chilly and the rain started pouring down. Contrary old thing.

The two little bucklings are doing well, but still having a bit of trouble figuring out where the milk comes from. Ruby's udder is pretty swollen, so I'll go out and milk her a bit and see if I can relieve the pressure. It's always good to have some frozen colostrum on hand anyway.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hello, World!

This morning brought three beautiful little surprises. Two little girl surprises and a little boy surprise. The two little does are in the back against the cattle panel and the buckling is closest to the camera. They're gorgeous - Angel (the mama (maa-maa?)) always has beautiful babies.

This "lazy nursing" move needs to be patented!

The little boy, however, is quite willing to get up for some ninny!

What a great way to start the morning! Expect more pictures over the next week or so as the rest of the moms have their kids!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unstuck by Truck

Craig took the tractor to scoop poo out of the field about three weeks ago. The mud beside the cow shed apparently resented his efforts to drive out there. Here was the result:

We tried several methods to get the tractor out of the field. We put boards under the bucket and tried to climb out of the mudhole using the bucket. No joy. We tried to pull it out with Craig's truck. No joy, and we almost got the truck stuck. Then we tried rigging up a "come-along" with some chains to pull it out. I swear I heard the mud snickering at us.

Today, Dad and my brother Aaron came over to lend a hand. We cut the fence behind the tractor, then chained Aaron's Suburban to the tractor and Craig's truck to Aaron's truck. Little by little, the tractor came loose from the sucking (in more ways than one) mud. Yay!

Here they are, the tractor saving trio!

Now to fix the gaping hole left in the field by old Allis.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is Here!

Spring is getting here. After the months of cold, nothing could be more welcome.

The daffodils are blooming.

The redbud trees are budding.

The hens are out of the coops and loving it!

The geese are happy on the pond.

The creek is running with clear sweet water.

Cagney is nesting, with Starsky standing guard.

I love spring.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lucy Goosey

Even though the chicks are done hatching I'm still not over my incubator addiction. I've been spying on Mama Goose and she's been laying an egg a day for a few days in her normal spot. You don't really have to be James Bond to spy on Mama laying, because her fearless mate tends to stand around and honk at the top of his lungs. I'm not sure if he's trying to keep people away or if he's smart-mouthing her since she's too busy to shut him up. I've dated guys like that.

Anyhoo - I stole her eggs and have put them in the incubator. Fear not, she's still laying eggs, it's just that she's never successful at hatching them so I thought I'd give it a go. So - six goose eggs in the 'bator today! She can hatch the rest.

Goose eggs are huge. And tasty. But I'm all about the goslings with these eggs, so omelets will have to wait. Check out the size of these eggs! That's a regular chicken egg next to it. Probably an "extra large" sized egg.

I suppose you're wondering what that "M" is on that egg in my hand. Well... my friend Becki has several "knacks", one of which is telling the sex of a goose egg with a wedding ring and a string. You suspend the ring and hold it still. The ring will eventually begin to swing over the egg. If it swings back and forth, it's a male. If it swings around in circles it's a female.

From our results it looks like there will be 4 males and 2 females. Mind you, I "ring sexed" two of these and I'm not knacky. Becki may need to come double check my findings. When we're nearer to hatching I'll put a piece of cardboard in the incubator to keep the hatchees separate, then I'll band the legs of those two we think are females. Should be an interesting experiment.

All six are in the incubator and being turned 3 times a day. Starting March 10th, I'll be taking them out of the incubator for 15 minutes each day and misting them with water. That'll be a good time to candle them to see how the embryos are developing. I'll try to get some photos of the candling, but I'm not sure that I can. Watch this space around April 5th and we'll see how the hatching goes!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Billy Goat Gruff

Sasquatch was standing on the other side of the bridge that leads to the chicken house late late last night when I went out to feed the bottle babies. Well, it looked like Sasquatch in the dark anyway. In actuality, it was Mo, the billy goat. Apparently, he's found a sneaky way out of his pen and really really wants back up with the ladies. And who can blame him, they're good looking girls! However, I don't want the teeny-boppers bred just yet; I'm already going to have goats coming out my ears at the end of this month!

Mo is much sneakier than I thought a 250 pound goat could be. We have one older doe that I didn't want bred this year, so I never put her in the pen with Mo. I did, however, put her in a pen that is separated from the main goat yard with a cattle panel of 4 inch by 4 inch squares. Guess who's looking really darn pregnant? How in the world? I don't wanna know... I think we know how Mo's getting out of his yard, though. There's a bit of his fence that goes over a creek. There are several granite boulders around there. I think he's climbing up on the boulders and then jumping over the fence over the creek. He REALLY wants back up with the ladies!

This afternoon I heard what sounded like Craig starting a bar fight in the yard. "Ah, ya wanna fayt, do ya lad? Well come on, then!" I looked out the window and Craig had Mo by the horns wrestling a rope onto him. He got the rope on, and then got dragged a couple of steps, which apparently pissed him off (Craig, not the goat). I honestly wasn't sure who was going to win this battle. They're both about equally hard-headed.

Craig was victorious and Mo is safely back in his pen. Let's see Cesar Milan top that one!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beginner's Luck

The hatch of the chicks went very well. 10 eggs incubated, 10 eggs hatched, still 10 healthy chicks. This was our first time incubating eggs and I'm very pleased with the results. The chicks are a cross between Barred Rock hens and either a Barred Rock rooster or a white Leghorn rooster. The two roosters are constantly getting jiggy with the hens, so no telling "who's yer daddy".

We ended up with five black chicks and five yellow chicks. The five yellow chicks are definitely a Leghorn cross, but the black chicks could have gotten their color from mom and still be a Leghorn cross. The Barred Rock is a "dual purpose" breed, meaning that they lay well and are meaty enough to eat. The Leghorn is mainly just a laying breed, although some may disagree. I'll let ya know how the chicken and dumplings come out! :)

The little fellas (well, hopefully more ladies than fellas) are doing very well in the brooder box. Time now for me to clean up the incubator for some goose eggs!