Saturday, August 15, 2015

Morning has broken

The morning is coming a wee bit later each day now that we are in mid summer. This morning saw a beautiful sunrise on the heavy dew at the farm. The goats are just finishing their breakfast treat in the barn and looking out to see what the day will bring.

In the background, those tiny dots are the sheep. I took them to fresh grazing at day break. They always seem to know, before I open the barnyard gate, when they will be going to a fresh paddock. They rush, many kicking their heels in the air. By day four or five in a paddock I have to open the gate, rattle the chain and call them to come. They saunter through the gate giving that "meh" look.

To get to this morning's paddock, they had to go out across the pond yard, down the lane, and into the paddock. They ran all the way, knowing that fresh clovers, trefoil, many grasses await.

Everyone want their breakfast!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Settling In

The goats are settling nicely into their new farm.

Happily, they're already nibbling on weeds that the sheep don't like. Haven't seen them go at a thistle yet as there are none in their small yard. But there were a few burdock plants I missed when weeding and they ate the burrs and all (yay). Burdock is the one plant I will spot spray on the farm - burrs in the wool wreak havoc!

Besides a freshly baled round bale of hay and the weeds in their yard, I'm introducing the young does to a small grain ration supplement - tasty grains and soy meal mixed with molasses. This is a feed supplement that I can give them only while they are separated from the sheep as it contains copper - which is necessary for goats but toxic to sheep.

Finally, the goats have discovered the inside of the barn. Once they got a taste for the grain supplement I moved the grain trough and their water inside so they will learn its ok to come in.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Arrivals

New arrivals to the farm yesterday!

Five young does, born in late April this year. They are 'mixed dairy breeds' type.

To begin with, they have a small yard off one side of the barn, and a large pen just inside the adjacent barn door. They have a common fence with my Shetland ram and wethers. In the evening when the flock comes in, they have another common fence.

Sheep and Bonnie and the goats will sniff each other out for a time. Once the goats are settled in they will join the sheep flock.

I've enjoyed making sheep cheese over the years, but some years they have little or no extra milk to give me. Not that I'm complaining - its usually from a ewe who's lambs died that extra milk presents itself.

I've always wished for a dairy 'family' cow, but even with my extended family I'm sure we couldn't use anywhere near that amount of milk. Perhaps a few goats - heavier milkers than sheep but much less than a cow might be worth a try.

Of course if I don't find a Billy by fall there won't be any goat milk come spring!

Here are the new girls:

Of course Jonah is going nuts with these new sounds coming from the barn. Something else to steal attention from him!

So he doesn't get too jealous, here's a picture of him standing by the lavender garden:

Monday, July 20, 2015


Jonah loves chore time. He loves to help. He visits the chickens when I open their door to top up their feed and water and gather the eggs.

And he loves to poke his nose through the fence at the ram and wethers, who are now resident in one of the side yards at the barn - away from the ewe flock for now. They get a little bit of grain so they gain weight ahead of breeding season. Once breeding starts rams will often go off feed almost entirely as they tend to their duties - so I like to beef them up in advance.

The ewes come into to another of the barn yards at night, because of coyote pressure. When I take them out to pasture in the morning Jonah stays up at the barn and chats with the rams...

 and the pigs:


I guess someone (else) from town took a drive in the country to 'free' their cats.

These little kitties were meowing from a bit of a junk pile outside the barn last week. Scrawny as I'll get out. I put a little dog food out for them and when they hung around for a few days I went and bought a bag of kitten food and they're already putting on some weight.

There's a mama too but she's extremely shy and won't come out while I'm close enough to photo. I presume she's the mama as she eats with the kittens rather than chasing them away.

I have a death allergy to cats, but I hope one or more of them decide to stay on at the farm and tend to mousing duties in the barn.

When I go out to the barn one is always waiting, and calling to me - I think it hears me close the door at the house. As soon as I put the food in the bowl the second appears. Only when I back off does the third  one - the darkest with his back to the photo - cautiously approaches.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dog Ate My Homework

In this case, my homework is my 2015 Lambing Diary. Argh!

Fortunately I had all the Shetland data input to my livestock maanagement program, but not the Khatadins.


Day is Done

After a day of good grazing the sheep know its time to come in for the night and are usually camped out by the gate when I go out just before dusk to bring them in.