Thursday, July 29, 2010

Down times

I haven't blogged in awhile, between the heat and health issues, it has been a rough patch. We have had a few weeks of heat and humidity, (I know, who hasn't)and I am learning that the RA doesn't go well with either of those. At least I assume it is the RA that has just had me beat.
So basically almost the entire month of July has passed, and while so much has happened, I can't really recall it all. Due to personality issues, Sage and Juniper have moved on and the barn is a much quieter place to be. On a sad note, we lost our 2 ewe lambs this week. We knew at some point this would happen to us on some level, but it was incredibly sad to be so helpless when it comes to the health of your animals. I am still learning to understand what they are trying to tell me in time to do some good. When your kids are sick they tell you what hurts or feels yucky. But the animals can only talk with their bodies, and so often symptoms can have so many causes. So while I realized that Heather was not feeling well, the action I took was not what she needed. Thistle never showed signs of not feeling well, we just lost her.
The vet came out and had a few ideas, on the good note, he did dose a couple of our younger goats who where showing signs of anemia. They are both on the mend.

The turkeys are growing and are finally free ranging. We did not plan to let them be completely free, but they had other ideas and didn't seem to mind going through the electric fence, and yes the voltage is high. We had put their tractor down in the goat field. By the morning all the turkeys had found their way back to the chicken house area, where the pen was located before. So for now we have 8 turkeys roaming amongst the many chickens. It's just a fowl fest.
The time has come though for 15 of those fowl to grace the freezer. Once that has happened we can let the turkeys roost in the side pen. A much better idea than roosting on the dog cage next to the duck yard.
We have also had visitors this month. Sarah's friend Kay was with us for a week. Now we have her friend Santina with us. My friend Eve came up from Philly with her daughter Sarah. We had a great time and can't wait for the next visit.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A day for ducks

First, Happy 4th of July. I think the only ones to truly celebrate today were the ducks. After our health issues and the ducks, we made some quick changes. Changes, not on the to do list for this weekend.
First off we (mostly Bryan) finished the fence as well as the gate for their enclosure so they no longer have to be locked up in the house at night. This will hopefully take care of the feather pecking that is going on and causing my ducks to be colored bright blue/purple. While helping Bryan do this, we decided to dig a pond. Up until now, they have had to make due with a small kiddie pool, not deep enough to get a good dunk.
At it's deepest the pool is about 2 feet, and around 8-9 feet in diameter with a nice shallow ledge to stand and then an incline to climb out.
While I know they are incredibly happy with the end results, the ducks let us know that we really didn't belong in the pen with them. At one point one of the ducks was giving up pointers.
We got the hole dug and had a quick run to Home Depot for the liner today. By early afternoon the pond was filling and ducks where circling. They fell in love with the hose for the waterfall, and finally one took the plunge. It wasn't long before they were all jumping in and swimming happily. A few of the ducks were even swimming underwater, a short trip but I don't think they care. You can see the duck underwater in the next 2 pictures.
Perhaps tomorrow we shall get the waterfall done, they seem to enjoy the water coming out of the tube the best.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vet on the go

A very bloated Flo.

It seems that we are under a grey cloud health wise. We are still fighting the mastitis for Flo as well as now a form of mange on her udder and underbelly. Dr. Burleigh came out yesterday and did a great treatment and I also got to talk to him so I have a better idea how to proceed. I would have been happier with her progress today, but when i went to see her I discovered she had bloat. This can kill a goat. So I quick consulted my books and gave her a dose of mineral oil and baking soda and then called Dr. Burleigh again. His suggestion was to stomach tube her to allow the gas to escape.
Easier said than done. I wrestled with her for a few minutes, me grunting in effort, she burping and flinging vomit. She won. I did notice that she was not quite so big, so I got some more BS into her and left her in her pen. A check an hour later revealed that she was much better and out to pasture she went.
One thing I learned about the mastitis is that I need to drain her more often than what I usually do, so I get to milk 3 times a day now. My usual plan is to separate her and Alice overnight so I can get a good milking in the am. Then she goes out with Alice during the day and Alice nurses off and on through the day. Now if Alice had been nursing both sides, she would have kept Flo pretty drained, but she wasn't nursing the bad side. So I would milk Flo's bad side in the evening when everyone came in. Now I get to spend a mid day milking with her as well. I did notice tonight that her bad side is milking nice white milk instead of the green stuff we have been getting.
I feel she is on the road to recovery at last.

Second health issue we have is Zeus and the scours. I have been treating him for 2 days now and I think he is on the mend, but in the morning I get to look forward to wrestling the strong ram and getting covered in sheep shit. Isn't that the thing that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and greet the day. Hopefully tomorrow I don't have to dose him again and can skip the wrestling match.

Our final health concern are the ducks. We have been having problems with one of the Muscovies pecking the wing feathers off of the other Muscovies. Well, yesterday morning one of the Muscovies was unable to walk on her legs, she was pulling herself around by her wings. Into solitude for her. I consulted the best batch of people I could find, Backyard Chicken forum members, and got some great suggestions. We kept her on her own last night, and fed her some special treats today and she is walking a bit better, however, another one started showing the same problems, all the ducks got the special scrambled egg snack and seem to be doing better. I am going to be switching feed around to prevent future nutrition problems.

I count myself lucky to have a vet that will come out to the farm and is very, very reasonable, but on the other hand, I have learned that I can step up and assist my animals if they need me. I have picked maggots out of wounds, bandaged bleeding hooves, dealt with all manner of bodily fluids and not shied away yet. For those of you who know me, you will realize what a triumph this is for me. I feel like I am up to the task of being responsible for my animals. My own Independence Day!
The pool after the bears had their way.