Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Miracle of Life

Today made all the work we have done the past year worth while. I was in the kitchen on the telephone when I heard some odd noises coming from the goat barn over the baby monitor. I rushed out there thinking that Becca Boo was getting ready to give birth but it turned out to be Addison instead. As I got there I noticed she had begun to pass her baby, I could see his little face and front hooves peeking out. As I watched one of the front legs began to slide back in! Knowing that this could complicate the birth I decided to give her a little help. As I got down there I noticed the little guys tongue was hanging out inside the sack and I had a sick feeling that he was going to be stillborn. I got hold of him and guided the hooves clear as Addison pushed him out - she did all the work.

Sara started to go crazy when Addison was crying out with labor pains. She was jumping up over the dutch door and banging into the side walls of the barn. I had to let her in to calm her down. Once inside Sara calmed right down after Addison stopped calling out.  Look at her sitting there with her "arms" crossed like an expecting father. Sara loves her goats so much!

Once the little guy was clear Addison immediately began to clean him up. I was so proud of her, I think she is going to be a great mother. I used some micro-fiber towels to absorb the birthing fluids. It worked great as an adsorber but the hay and straw in the barn stuck to them like glue. Look at his white ears, I think they are just adorable.

Addison was tired but I made sure she fed her little boy before I left them alone. He was dry and fed in no time, he soon was exploring the birthing stall on his ever strengthening legs. I so love listening to Addison "talk" to her little guy, she makes all kinds of noises I have never heard before.

The new guy even made Sara happy by touching noses with her. Life on the farm is truly a miracle, I feel so blessed to have witnessed this birth. Sara's herd has expanded by one as of today!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Waiting Game

Everyone here is excited because baby goats or "kids" are due on or about March 30th. Gidget can't wait to become and Aunt (or maybe she just doesn't want to be the smallest anymore).

Chip is so proud. As far as he knows all the kids are going to be his, Lord knows he has tried and tried. Unfortunately for poor Chip he is just a randy wether, but he will still make a good Uncle.

It was 0*F this morning so I took everyone out for a walk to warm up. During the hike I noticed that Addison was dripping a little mucus from behind, it looks like her plug may be coming unstuck. I guess the kids could come any day now. Her ligaments feel a little mushy so I think I still have a little time. Last night I put the baby monitor in the barn and listened to them all night. I am ready!

Here is a top shot of Addison that I took last week, even though this is her first time I think there are twins in there.

Some days I think Becca Boo is smaller and on others she looks bigger. Since Becca is a first timer I am predicting Becca has one large kid, I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hard in the Saddle

Leopold is the Rooster around here and he wants everyone to know it. The girls are starting to show signs of his "attention". He has also taken to occasionally charging me, something I don't like and won't tolerate. Danni at Critter Farm states that the best way to cure a rooster of this bad habit is to give them a good long hug. We shall see...

The Guineas have also taken to chasing the girls around, it gets so bad that I have to sometimes intervene to stop the bad behavior! Did you know that Guineas can run really fast? Check out this link over at Verde Farm!

Lucy seems to be taking the brunt of Leopold and the Guineas bad manners. See the wear her wing and tail feathers have taken? I am going to get her a chicken saddle from over at Mandy's Rabbit Ranch. The saddle should protect her feathers so that they can grow out good and healthy.

This last week I have been getting about 7 eggs per day from 8 hens, and the weather has been terrible. The girls have been doing a great job and I really appreciate it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Curse of the BBQ

Last time I posted that we had hamburgers on the grill, boy did they taste yummy!  Unfortunately the Minnesota Winter struck back and hit us with 3" of heavy wet snow.

This was my lovely view the next morning.  No grilling today.

Before, you can see the waste hay........

....and after, the hay is buried in snow!

Here is the floor of the sheep stall that the Commander cleaned out.  It still didn't look too appealing so I gave it a few days to dry.  Once the floor was swept again, sprinkled with DE, a few wood chips and straw added and it should be ready for lambing.

My sheep area has 3 stalls and a aisle way, this picture is taken from the doorway.

The stalls should provide plenty of room for a mother and her lamb(s) to bed down and spend some quality time together.

I just need to clean up the one closest to the front door, the ladder and the feed hay can go in the loft when the time comes.

Orchid can't wait for the lambing to begin. I told her, "Go ahead, you can be first!"  Oh yes, we are expecting a blizzard tomorrow with winds gusting to 40 knots and a possible 8-10" of snow - ugh!  The curse continues.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mucking Around

Last week I mucked out the birthing stall in the goat barn and put all the "stuff" on the snow that covers the garden. It seems the goats really waste a lot of hay.

Today the Commander mucked out the stall that the sheep sleep in, he told me that it was a mushy mess. Both Barn doors and the windows were open today in hopes of airing things out a bit and helping it dry. (When the sheep were put up tonight the stall door was closed but when the Commander checked on them to see how they were getting on in their new sleeping area he found 3 of them inside the mucked out stall. The must have jumped over the railing, and Jeepers and Gardenia are hugely pregnant! He left the stall door open after that.)

Chip was not impressed by the pile of sheep poo stacked outside the door. The Commander couldn't haul it off anywhere because the snow was too deep and slushy for the wheelbarrow.

Chip didn't like the smell of sheep poo one bit!

The sheep were curious about what was going on inside their barn but Chip wasn't about to let them get by him.

After running off the sheep Chip tried a bit of baking soda in an attempt to clear his nose of the smell.

It worked!

"Quick Gidget, come over here and eat some of this while I hold them off!"

The sheep gave up trying to get past Chip and went back to eating.

Of course Chip and Gidget had to try some of the hay that the sheep were eating, just in case it tasted better.

The sheep weren't happy but being good hostesses they let Chip and Gidget help themselves.

It was 41*F today and we had hamburgers on the grill, they tasted like sunshine!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

These Pictures are NSFW!

Addison and Becca Boo are about two weeks from delivering so last week they got their CDT shots and a little other attention. Earlier this month they had their hooves trimmed, so I gave their feet a quick check and moved on to more important things. Their eyelids looked nice and red so no worm problems were present and their fur was crisp and clean, no parasites to be seen.

All that was left to do was to give them a quick shave in the udder area so that the kids would have unrestricted access to the umm, milk areas.

This shot is definitely Not Safe For Work! Addison is starting to get a nice udder going and it looks to be filling with milk nicely. Note Addy's piercing blue eyes as she peeks back modestly.

Becca Boo was next and she didn't like me using the shaver around her at all. Doesn't she know this look is all the rage?

One day I think Becca looks bigger and on the next I go with Addy, this isn't the greatest picture and Becca's tricolor makes it harder to discern the area in question. This is my first time shaving, how did I do?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time for Sheep CDT Shots

The supplies arrived just in time as I think Jeepers (left) and Gardenia (middle) are about two weeks away from their delivery date. Two weeks prior to the birthing is when I wanted to give the girls their CDT shots. Jeepers was very heavy with lamb(s) as was Gardenia. This is the second lambing for Jeepers so I'm hoping for twins, I think as a first timer and for how round she is Gardenia is going to have a one large lamb. I am told first timers almost never twin.

We took this opportunity to not only give the girls shots but to also trim their hooves and administer some knit killer. Kia didn't enjoy the process one bit. She had a little belly but no where near as big as Jeeper's or Gardenia's, since she is also a first timer I can't tell if she is pregnant or not. An examination of her udder told me nothing, I'm not sure if sheep bag up like goats or not prior to lambing.

Orchid is our smallest ewe and she too showed no overt signs of pregnancy. She had a little tummy but nothing that struck me as an obvious pregnancy. I talked with the breeder and she said that some first timers barely show, I hope she is right. Maybe Orchid and Kia were impregnated later in the season, Lord knows Alder (Wild Man) did his darnedest to hold up his part of the bargain.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Friday a box that I had been waiting on arrived, the delivery man told me he was surprised at how heavy it was.

Inside were my supplies for the goats and sheep.  They kids and lambs are due to arrive at the end of the month so the supplies got here just in time.

The goat minerals are in the back.  Last year I had problems with copper deficiency as the mineral the local feed store sold just wasn't cutting it.  A bag of ammonium chloride for urinary tract health.

Milk filters, a strainer, cleaning soaps, and storage caps.  If I can get enough milk I want to try and make some cheese this year.  This gear will allow me to store and freeze the milk until I get enough for the recipes.

An ear tattoo kit for the kids ears.  I got my number from the American Dairy Association last week so I got the impressions ready.

A dehorner to burn away the kids horn buds.  I'm not looking forward to doing this but a friend of mine will be coming over to teach me how to do it correctly.

Udder balm, disinfectant, and wash to make sure the milking goes well.  I have never milked anything before so this should be interesting.

The teal ball to the left can be used to clear little mouths and noses, the red nipples can attach to the clear bottle or to plastic pop bottles.  Some drench and vitamin paste for the newborns.

My thermometer stopped working so a new one was needed.  I'm happy to finally have some activated charcoal as my goats have made a habit of eating plants that could prove to be poisonous.  Last year thay ate some rhubarb and I had to give them crushed charcoal, not very easy to get into their system.  I ordered some needles that are shorter than the ones I got last year, I hope this makes the shots easier to administer.

Everything gathered together, I'm ready to go!

Silly as it may seem this is my favorite purchase, a bin to hold their minerals and baking soda.  Everything I have put up for the so far has been broken or spilled, I hope this changes things.