Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shuffling Livestock

The drought is bad in east Texas.  The only rain we've had this season is on June 21st when we got about four inches in 24 hours.  That is long gone now, the fields are drying up and the pond is lower than I've ever seen it.  So, we're trying to manage our livestock in a way that we don't have to supplement their grazing (other than the little bit of sweetfeed I give them each morning just to keep them in a routine and tame).

We let a friend whose fields are grazed down to nubs, bring over three of his cows to graze the pasture around our pond.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I'm wondering if we're going to need that area for our own livestock.  When I went to look at it, I found it eaten nearly bare except for some tall weeds the cows won't eat.

In addition to the exceptionally dry conditions and suffering grass/hay, we have at least one paddock that is infested with worms that have killed three of our Boer goats.  The vet told us not to put any other animals in that paddock for six weeks.

So, the time has seriously come to try to get the goats out into our small woodland areas to browse.  After wracking my brain for days on a way to position them so that they'd have protection from predators and protection for the donkeys that are supposed to be protecting them, I finally came up with a plan, which Tom and I implemented today.

I decided that we needed to divide and conquer.  Separating Kip and Henry was necessary to keep them from forming an alliance and attacking our spring crop of wethers that we wanted to put in the pasture with Billy.  Because Henry has a milder dispostion, we decided that he would stay in the pasture with the little boys and Kip would move.  Kip was a good boy when I slipped the halter on him and led him over to the pasture with Buffy and Hilde.  Hilde is his mother, but she's acting like she never met him.

Then I led the boys to Billy and Henry's pasture with Tom herding from behind.  Billy seems glad for the company.  Henry did a little chasing, but seems to have settled down.  Billy did some grunting and huffing, so maybe he was telling Henry that chasing wasn't allowed.  This is the pasture with access to the hay field and woodlands.  Billy hasn't ventured into the woods even after weeks of having access to it.  I'm hoping that he'll start wandering over there now that he has some pals to go with him.

We moved Buttercup and all the orphaned babies into Buffy and Hilde's pasture after moving the donkeys over one.  Buttercup had to be drug by the horns and eventually all the babies followed.

The Nubians and Pansy are in the smallest pasture drying out.  I can't believe that after a week their udders are still fat with milk.  But they can't stay there for much longer because the grass is being eaten up fast.


April said...

I didn't know you had a 3rd goat die..who was it?

Hopefully, you'll get some good rain before the fall sets in so you'll get some kind of growth.

Mosaics said...

Earlier this summer, we had traded one of our Nubian babies to a friend for two of his young goats. It was one of those that was the third and last one to die. All of the ones that have died have been full blooded Boer.