Friday, May 26, 2017

Baby Geese! May 2017

When I was younger I bought myself a couple of ducks from the feed store.  They grew up to be two mallard ducks with green heads and wonderful personalities. 

I've wanted my girls to have such an experience.  However we do not have a pond, and I feel bad about raising ducks without a large water source for them to enjoy.

Well, today we went to the feed store to pick up some turkeys.  Sadly, the turkey polts were all sold out but they did have a few geese! 

Now I've never raised geese before and I've heard how adult geese are pretty mean, but hey- we will never be able to say if that is true or not until we try it ourselves. 

So here are our new goslings!  The girls named them Penny and Pinto. 
We don't know the gender yet, so we may adjust names latter.  :) 


Tending our Neighbor's Pets!

Our good neighbors have watched and cared for the animals here many times.  It is a big job!  Eggs to gather, goats to milk, gardens to water, animals to feed and pens to open and close each night.  It is a bit more labor intensive then just feed a dog or watering a few flower pots. 

I'm always happy to return the favor, and this week we had the opportunity!  Below are some sweet shots I just had to capture as I gave all the animals their breakfast.


Raccoon! May 2017

We had a visitor help himself to some tender young chickens and to a few older hens as well.  He would dig under the coop and eat just one bird a night.  Because of his behavior we guessed we were dealing with a fox. 

But when the traps were set out we nabbed a big boy Coon!   I bet he thought he was being pretty generous, only eating one bird a night.  Raccoons usually make sport of a hen house and will kill lots of birds and leave them head-less and tossed about.  Yet after this boy was dealt with, all coop attacks stopped and we saw no more signs of digging under. 

So we conclude that he was the culprit.

I've always liked Raccoons.  I think they are cute and so fun to watch.  This boy was pretty mad about being caught.  He wanted to rip me up a bit and never stopped growling or attacking the side of the cage.  I nearly let him go because I felt sorry for him.  But then my favorite hen (and last Breda) walked up and looked at me.  She lost her two pure bred sisters to this fellow and I would have felt so so bad if she would have been killed too. 

So he got rehomed, and my Breda lives to see another day!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Goats and Chickens swapping pens! May 2017

The main goat field is getting over grazed and the chicken pen is over grown.  There is only one logical solution!  

Here the goats explore the foliage around the chicken coop.  We shut the coop up tight before letting in the herd in the evenings so they don't eat any chicken corn/grain- which could cause bloat.  The green fields themselves could even cause bloat, so we decided grazing time would be limited to the evenings.  This also helps the hens have the mornings for eating their feed in peace and plenty of morning and afternoon access to their nesting boxes in the coops. 



 Soon the goats and the chickens caught onto the routine!  In the evenings the goats would wait by the fence to get let into the chicken field, and the chickens would wait so they could go explore the goat shed!  They love scratching around the goat yard so the only thing I can figure is that they enjoy goat poop.  Who would have guessed???

My Columbian Rocks are growing! May 2017

My little peeps are no longer little.  Curtis made them a nice grow out coop that I need to paint.  Here they are making themselves at home.

April Showers! -April 2017

I'm looking back on all my photos as I write these make up posts.  This shot caught my eye as so cliché!  Too Cute!

Tippy and Nala our Farm Cats- April 2017

Every farm needs a couple of cats.  These two are both excellent mousers and greet us every morning at the back door determined not to be forgotten!

Here is Tippy being annoyed by some baby chicks out for a photo shoot.

I know she would like to have a chicken nugget, but she restrained.

We brought Nala with us from Texas.  She was adopted from a military family who were being transferred and could not take her.

Hickory is Here! Our New Baby Billy- March 2017

Hickory Nut came to be with us this month as a replacement for Gold Nugget.  He is cute as can be and HEALTHY!  He bounces all over the place, like a good kid should and is getting along just fine.

He makes a wonderful addition to our little herd.  His colors are unlike our other goats so he stands out.  Sadly he does not have blue eyes and is not naturally polled and that is disappointing, especially since that is the main reason I bought Nugget.  In fact when Pat told me he was born, at first I asked to wait for a boy with at least one of the desired traits.  Yet Pat had mostly all does, which makes me happy for her.  I later learned she did have some boys with the desired traits but wasn't willing to offer them to us.  I think she was hoping to sell them at a high price to someone else.

Yet I'm very pleased with Hickory now that he is here.  He was a tiny bit timid at first with my girls because he didn't know what a child was, but with some extra attention (and treats) he is now as tame as a puppy and will follow the girls around eagerly.  When I leave the house he is the first to bleat at me and let me know he sees me and is waiting impatiently for some petting.    I'm very happy with him and he is truly adorable!

Meeting Blossom through the wire.


Even my own kids like the new goat toy!

Getting the Garden Going- March 2017

Spring is trying to come, although the weather is still cool and breezy.  It is time to get our garden in and going and I hope we can do better than last year (which was a huge fail). 

Sweet Berry Farm Tractor- we just have to have a Tractor picture if we are talking about gardens.  No matter that it really does not have much to do with the garden we really planted. 

Here is my youngest, at the Nursery buying Tomato plants with me.

My oldest helped me make the rows and plant a bunch of Peas, Beets and Spinach.

Our front yard at Sunrise.

Planting some Plum Trees! February 2017

Passing the local nursery this morning I noticed some pretty fruit trees in blossom.  So I pulled over and paid for two plum trees.  I remember being young and visiting my Aunt Connie's home.  They had a black Cocker Spaniel named Nibbs who I adored and they had a plum tree that was in fruit.  Those plums were so delicious and their home seemed like a fairy tale, so green and alive outside with pretty flower gardens, grass, and trees.  I've always wanted a Plum tree since that day. 

My yard is not green right now.  I passed up on buying the young trees that already had blossoms and went instead for two bare plants, with the hopes they will wake up and blossom soon.  My passed research told me that bare root trees do better in transplant.  Well- we shall see.

Planting trees is a great family activity.  I can't wait to see them all green and big. 

First Chicks of the Year! February 2017

Our First Hatch went great this year.  We are running the incubator in my kitchen to avoid fluctuating temperatures in the feed room.  Last year our hatches were not as good as we wanted, and so this year we will baby the babies.

95% Hatch rate this time!  I allow the chicks to brood in the kitchen for about a week, then we put them outside with a heat lamp.  This special week in the kitchen makes our birds very tame and adapted to hearing the high play voices of my girls.  The little chicks eagerly peck feed from our palms and will even follow us around. 

We have two incubators running, and we are using a very advanced tot bucket for a brooder.  I'm sensitive to smells and so the chicks time is limited in my home, but we do enjoy them in the beginning. 

My girls are trained to recognize the desperate "PEEP PEEP PEEP" of a newly hatched chick and will come running to see what new wet chick is in the incubator.  We don't open the incubators until the whole hatch is over, so we don't mess up the humidity or temperature for hatching chicks, so it is a good thing both incubators have good windows for us to observe our hatchlings. 

My husband also ordered me a new breed from a hatchery!  I've always loved Columbian Rock hens, so I got 15 chicks.  They are adorable and arrived just days after our first hatch. 


 I can't wait to see how these little guys will grow out!