Monday, June 28, 2010

Progress is still happening.

It was really great to have our nieces Blue and Nyssa here to help Bryan and I, (mostly Bryan). They put the first coats of paint on in the shop, helped build a new wall, built a much needed chicken tractor and where just overall great guest.
Bryan also got a coat of paint on most of the barn roof. The cherry picker couldn't reach the far side of the roof. It seems that all of the animals are growing like crazy. The ducks are all feathered, well except the muscovies that keep getting their feathers pecked on. Our duck accommodations are not ideal, and one duck likes to take it out on the others.
The turkey warmers also have another name, The Brats. They quickly outgrew the brooder in the chicken house, thoroughly making a mess of the entire house. We put a baby gate over the door, but they soon flew over that. So they got their way, they are out in the big world during the day and then back inside at night. It is going well, the older chickens give them a bit of a hard time, but nothing serious. Most of the trouble comes from the Plymouth hens, who will chase anybody and everybody. The goats are all well, as are the sheep. Zeus and Pan are both settling in well, I still haven't heard about our last 2 additions, the 2 ewe lambs.
I have been selling soap at the local farmer's market, though it is a very slow market. I figure I can get my name out there and plug the shop once it is open. That is another bunch of fun. I have many calls to make in order to make that happen, that is of course on top of the work still needed in the garage. I hope the inspector doesn't have any surprises for us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Busy week

Bryan took the week off to get some work done. And we are off to a great start. We started on the garage so my shop will have a home some time this summer. We have been going through boxes still left over from the move. My nieces from Rhode Island have come to help, which is a really great thing.
Today they cleaned out the last of the goat stalls that was still in deep bedding, which translates into a big deep mess of hay, straw and other 'stuff'. They did a great job and Sarah was right there with them. I had them start on another chicken tractor and I went off to take pictures for the blog. I got a few of them taken, when I noticed one of the goats was standing behind the cattle panel bleeding profusely from her side. Earlier I had seen this spot on her, but it looked like she had been laying in poo and gotten it matted in her fiber. Well obviously that was not the case. I called the girls and they came and helped me catch her and get her into the barn.
I started cleaning her side and quickly discovered a bigger problem. Fly strike. Bryan finally was back in the barn area so he came to help. We thought that she had a wound that they had gotten into, but the more we worked the more perplexed we were. She had a bump, but no wound. The nearest we figure is that she had a cyst that started to bleed and the flies settled in.
It took a lot of work to clean her up and finally dress the wound. She also got a shot of penicillin and we shall see how she is tomorrow. I am really glad the girls were here to help.
Before this happened, Bryan was moving metal roofing panels from around the compost pile, he had told me that there was a snake around there, well there sure was. To me it looked like a rattle snake, but no rattle. Bryan finally caught it and relocated it to a far off portion of the farm. I am waiting a response from my nature expert to find out what kind of snake it was. Come on Amy!
I did manage to get some pictures of Zues before the emergency with Pansy. He is a beautiful, big boy and Thistle and Heather really seem to like him. I do have to separate them or I will have lambs out of season.
I was not able to get pictures of Pan, but I think he is one of the cutest goats I have ever seen. He is tiny and so soft and cuddly. He enjoys being petted and loved and I wish we could bring him into the house. The big boys pick on him, but they may not be here for much longer. That is another story.
So my flock is just about complete for now, possibly 2 more ewe lambs for Zeus but we shall see.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A summer day

There really isn't a cohesive theme today just a bunch of random thoughts and pictures. We'll start with the ducks. They are growing like crazy and will soon have a new enclosure. Bryan got a couple of fence post in the ground before the post hole digger quit working. We put them out every morning and give them clean pool water, as you can see by the picture, they do not believe in keeping it clean. We now know that the Indian Runners are not white, like the other ducks. It looks like they are wearing a brown bib.
Bryan also got the goat shelter built in the far field. This will be important soon when the boys are banished to the bachelor field. As soon as Kenny comes and cuts the field we will be putting up new fencing so we can rotate. I am amazed that the goats and sheep have not eaten the grasses down. It appears to be growing faster than they can eat, which is a good thing. I will be picking up Zeus, our Ram lamb this weekend, so it will be one more boy to join the group.
We are still having fox problems, so we moved the chicken tractors over by the dog's yard and will put the electric net around them tonight. The only way to get rid of the fox problem is to trap it, but we have the cats and rabbit to worry about. For now we will go with electricity.
The weather has settled into the nice range of the 70's, I may just get some work done this week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A bunny tale. (long)

Last Easter we got the girls rabbits in hopes of joining 4H. We did join but never made it to any meetings, which never seemed to be what we had thought it would be. So we had 3 pet bunnies, all girls we thought. When the weather was nice we moved them outside. They had it pretty good, I thought. Everyday we put them out in the grass so they could exercise and eat fresh greens. We even brought them dandelion greens and alfalfa from the field. Soon though Fufu became an escape artist and climbed the fencing. Easily caught, this became almost a daily routine, she (actually he) was forever foiling our attempts at keeping him caged. Unfortunately, this was to be his downfall and after an escape trip, he got sick and died. I can only assume it was something he ate, as there were no wounds anywhere.
So now we were down to 2 bunnies and they lived in their nice hutch together. When the weather got cold, we moved them into the barn and Bryan made a nice encloser so they still had plenty of room the play and still stay warm. Despite the large area they had, they both managed to escape, but were still in the barn.
When the weather turned warm, we opened the barn doors, but put up bunny fence in front of the door to prevent them escaping, silly us. First Mrs. Magoo fled, but she stayed close and came back to eat and drink. Piggy whiskers hadn't figured it out yet. We tried catching Mrs. Magoo, but to no avail. So we kept an eye for her and made sure she had a safe place, food and water.
Just about the time that Piggy made her break, Mrs. Magoo disappeared. No sign has been seen since. Piggy didn't have an easy time, she got entangled in the electric net fencing, luckily the charge was low enough that she recovered. We reinforced the hutch, fence enclosure and thought we had finally outsmarted Piggy. NOT. After a few days of recovery, she escaped again, never to be caught again.
Now please don't think we are negligent pet owners, we love Piggy and are finally admitting that the rabbit is just smarter than we are. It has been 2 months and Piggy has free run of the farm. She is quite happy and fat. She likes to hang with the chickens, but her special love is Wallace, our 'barn cat'.
I think this love affair began last year, when the bunnies where in their outdoor fencing, Wallace would come and sleep next to the fence. Often touching noses through the fence. Well now that Piggy is free, she has not forgotten those visits. She chases Wallace around the farm. At first it was innocent nose touches and a sniff, now it has moved on to X rated conjugal visits. Never mind that she is rabbit and he is cat. I have actually had to turn the hose on Piggy, she doesn't take no for an answer.
But it turns out that Wallace may not actually mind, for he often seeks Piggy out and vice versa. It seems that Wallace will hop up on the picnic table when he needs 'alone time' and Piggy is content to sit under the table. But as you can see, Piggy has overcome this obstacle as well.
So true love wins out I guess.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sad News on the chicken front

As you know from reading my blog, I am having an overpopulation of chickens right now. Well, be careful of what you complain about. Last night a fox dug under my chicken tractor and killed my 4 Buff Orpington's. It took 2 and left 2 behind. We went out today and purchased some moth balls to hang around rooster run and the other remaining chicken tractor as well as a baby monitor to listen for noise. I am also planning on staying up late with my .22. I don't know why I didn't take better precautions after we spotted a fox this weekend, as they say hindsight.
I had a box for the hens to go into at night in the tractor, but it didn't close, I guess I will be making some modifications before the next batch has to move in. The Serama's are still in their tractor, but they have a secure box inside theirs.
It is a shame, because I really liked the Buff's, I think they were the prettiest girls I had.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flo in charge

Flo and Alice are settling in, we still haven't solved her udder issues, but we are working on them. They are both happy with all the free forage and hay they can eat, not to mention the excellent organic grain they get at night. Up until today we were tethering them close to the house, but today I finally let them out with the rest of the goats. I was worried about the fence because neither girl had ever been fenced before. Alice got zapped a couple of times, but quickly learned after that.
Flo quickly let everyone know that she was now in charge. There was very little disagreement among the other goats, though Sage did look a little sullen. Flo also let Sage know that I was her human and he was not to try and get any special attention. At one point he was actually hiding behind me. The transfer of power went very smoothly and no one got hurt.

Alice was quite happy to be able to run and play as much as she wanted. She is one of those goats that likes to climb and has scaled the vertical stone wall of the barn. At one point I looked out the barn window and she was looking in, mind you the window is about 5 feet off the ground. There was just enough ledge on the outside for her to cling to.

The rest of the goats quickly went back to there important duty of munching grass and laying around. We are lucky that they aren't eating the grass quicker than it can grow. In spots it is quite high so that you have a hard time seeing goats that are too lazy to stand and eat.

It was also a day for
taking pictures of flowers, view these in my sideshow. It feels like summer is here and there is beauty blooming all around us. Things are settling into a rythym and I am beginning to truly beginning to feel like a farmer.