Saturday, October 30, 2010
Today we packed Addison and Becca Boo into the car to take them to another farm to be bred. Chip and Gidget didn't understand what was going on and when they were out in the barn alone they we very sad and did a lot of crying. (Notice Gidgets little black feet between Addisons')
Karen at Pelican Acres has beautiful Nigerian Dwarf goats and she offered her buck Trapper to breed my girls. The set-up is very goat friendly and her babies have wonderful personalities. Look at the smile on that little doe!
Addison and Becca were put right in with Trapper, and Becca didn't look comfortable at all.
I didn't get a good picture of Trapper but Addison doesn't seem too impressed. Addison should reconsider because Trapper has excellent blood lines and is quite a handsome buck.
"Becca, if we ignore him and turn our backs maybe he will go away!"
When it was time to go both of my little girls wanted desperately to come home with me. I couldn't look as it broke my heart and I just began to cry. I cried all the way home. I can't wait to go back and get them!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The snowstorm Tuesday was brutal, thank goodness a lot of the snow has melted in the last two days. The electric fence looks so funny buried in the snow. It wasn't funny to see the rams tent crushed under the weight of the slushy snow, so we had to come up with a different shelter before the next snow storm - quick.
We looked around and decided that the dog panels surrounding the garden were available for winter use so off to the ram's pasture they went.
I took out a 30 x 20 foot tarp and attached it to the panels with zip ties. The roof is made of 2 extra waterproof sheets of plywood and some tin roofing left over from the demolition of the old Blue Barn
We left the pop-up tent inside the shelter but placed it on an old plastic shed platform that we stored firewood on. The boys new winter home should protect them from rain, wind, and snow. Its not pretty, but it should get them through the winter. A bonus is that we can actually close them up inside if we need to.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Winter is here, and it arrived unexpectedly. It was only supposed to rain!
Instead we got a heavy slushy snow that crushed everything. Power was out all over NE Minnesota.
Our poor apple trees, I hope they can survive. Notice the electric netting covered in snow. We had to collect it and wrap it for storage in the garage - nice.
The netting over the coop froze over and collapsed. The guineas can now fly out (which may be a good thing) and explore on their own. Ultimately they were disappointed as without Leopold to lead them they seemed lost - back to the coop they went to join him. I hope that with the netting gone the owls don't eat my beautiful chickens before they get a chance to lay.
Trees and branches were broken all over the property. I had to walk the fence line to remove debris so that the sheep didn't escape. Anyone who owns goats knows what they did, they stayed inside their barn all day to avoid getting their precious feet wet.
For some reason I woke up at midnight and looked out to see how they boys were doing in their pop-up tent. It was totally popped-down, covered in slush and snow. I woke the Commander and out we went, the poor boys were still huddled inside their crushed shelter. We brushed off the snow and back it popped-up. The Commander had to repeat the process at 0530 this morning.
As OhioFarmGirl says we spent the afternoon "hillbillying-up" a solution for the boys, pictures will be up soon.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Every evening when dusk begins to settle in I go outside to feed the animals and tuck them in for the night. Yesterday when I went outside all the animals seemed to go bonkers. As I opened the door I could hear the goats screaming.
The guineas and chickens were lined up along the electric netting like they were seated to watch a horse race.
The sheep were sprinting from one end of the fence twenty to thirty yards to their barn and back again. They did this at least three or four times, I thought that maybe they had lost their minds.
Sara started barking and the chickens and guineas (mostly the guineas) were creating such a racket that I had to yell to the Commander to be heard.
Screaming goats, cackling guineas, clucking chickens, barking dogs, and rampaging sheep, I never would have imagined that my back yard would ever be like this.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Why are these guineas on top of the coop instead of in it? We normally leave the gate to the coop open on weekends so the chickens and guineas should be free to come and go to free range as they please.
Invasion! The sheep have taken over the chicken coop!
I have no idea why the sheep would want to go into the chicken coop because there is nothing for them to eat in there. I think the chickens and guineas are in shock.
Maybe the sheep just wanted to show the fowl just who was boss. They proudly sauntered out to a hideous chorus of screaming guineas, like some kind of horrible musically challenged parade.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Fall is almost over and everyone can feel the onset of Winter in the air. The leaves have fallen and the grass is almost gone. The boys spend a lot of time lounging in the sun and love to snuggle up to the big Maple tree in the front yard.
With breeding season right around the corner I don't think the electric netting will keep the boys and girls apart for long, so they need to finish off the last of the grass while they have a chance.
The boys have been challenging each other for dominance for quite a while now, taking turns ramming each other with their horns. We lately have noticed the girls doing the same thing, I had no idea they did that.
With their bellies full the girls huddle up together in the sun, by laying together in a tight group they cut down on the chilling effect of the soon to be Winter wind. Most of the grass has been chewed down to the nubs, it won't be long till we have to transition to feeding them completely on hay.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Leopold is our only rooster, and he has a problem. Whenever we let him out of the coop area to free-range the guinea hens begin to follow him.
The guineas chase all the hens away and poor Leopold is stuck leading a screaming bunch of hooligans.
When Leopold finds something juicy to eat that he wants to share with the hens the guineas surround him like a screaming mob and rob him of his treasures.
It is so funny to see poor Leopold running all over the yard and through the brush trying to give the guineas the slip. If he ever does get away the guineas fly up in a tree to spot him.
At least he is more handsome than his running mates, Long live the King!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
My little Gidget is finally healthy, happy, and growing like a weed. She no longer accepts being pushed around and is even rearing up to stand her ground. I'm sure Becca Boo was as surprised as the rest of us when lil Gidget started fighting back.
Gidget is still pretty small but she is putting on weight quickly. She is up to 15.5 pounds, gaining 2 pounds in four weeks.
Today was weigh-in day. Addison has been putting on a few pounds just in time for next months breeding, now up to 42 pounds. Chip stayed about the same at 33.5 lbs, and Becca Boo is gaining on him at 31.5.
Winter is almost here, with fluffy fur showing on all the goats. Some of the leaves will be saved for treats to make the long cold months ahead more bearable.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
My father came to visit and went right to work on the sheep shed. Here is the before picture.
The sheep liked their shed, but they had to jump up into the front door.
Here is the shed after my father was finished working on it. Notice the lattice skirt that will prevent lambs from wandering underneath the shelter. A latch was added to hold the dutch doors open, both are open in this picture so you can see right out the back.
"Can I come in?"
"We really want to see what you are doing in there!"
Here is a barrel that my father brought and cut so we could safely store supplies inside.
He attached the pretty custom handles that I picked up for exactly this purpose, aren't they cute?
Before he went to work the inside was cold and empty. Notice how small little Gidget looks inside there.
The mineral trays were hanging by a thread, without changes it would be very hard in here come Spring when the lambs are to be born.
"Thanks Dad!" Look what he did. I now have three new birthing stalls and a reinforced hay loft.
Each stall has its own swinging gate and shiny new heavy duty latches to hold them open.
Notice the insulated waterproof siding that he put up all around the walls.
Once the loft was reinforced we took his truck and picked up 43 bales of hay to store up in the loft. We still have room for almost 100 more!
"When is he coming back to put in electricity and running water?"