Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And More.

I went to check on Pansy and Buttercup (the Boers) this afternoon because I thought Pansy was pretty close to going into labor this morning when I gave them breakfast.  Sure enough, she was busy cleaning up twins.  She still looked big and she kept laying down and getting up, so I wondered if she might have another baby that hadn't been born yet.  She's never had triplets before...just two males every year, but I watched her for about 20 minutes or so, then I went off to do some other things.

I went back some time later and there she was, cleaning up another one.  Tom had just gotten home and Jordan was driving up, so I enlisted their help in getting Buttercup, Pansy, and the triplets into the barn.  I probably would have just left them out if it wasn't supposed to get cold tonight.  Pansy was very upset about moving her babies and we had a hard time getting her to follow us to the barn.  We ended up having to play "leap frog" with the babies.  I took one, Tom took one, and Jordan took one.  I'd set mine down and Pansy would run to it, Jordan would set his down several feet ahead, and she'd run ahead to that one, while Tom was setting his down several more feet ahead and she'd run to that one.  We did that all the way to the barn.  Buttercup followed sedately along.

Now all the babies are safely ensconced in the barn and I'm waiting on Buttercup to deliver hers.  I'm so relieved that everyone is in, safe, and healthy and I can finally sleep soundly at night.

Boy, girl, boy.

Wide load.

Kids, Kids, and More Kids

I needn't have lost all that sleep over Daisy.  After several nights of getting up at all hours to check on her and even sleeping in the barn apartment a couple of nights so I'd be nearby in case she had triplets and needed help, of course, she had her babies while we were at church and didn't need me at all.




Four out of six kids are girls this year.  We usually have all boys with a girl thrown in here and there.


Udderly Ridiculous

Hyacinth's udder is, once again, as hard as a basketball and bigger than ever.  At least I rememebered this year and started the babies on a bottle right away.  Since her udder had gotten hard about two weeks before kidding, I started giving her Vitamin C back then in the hope that it would soften up quicker and be ready to feed the babies, but it didn't work.  At least, it hasn't worked yet.

I'm torn about what to do about her.  On the one hand, she has this same trouble every year and it makes life difficult for all of us since she can't support twins at first.  I can't, in good conscience, sell her to someone unless it was to someone who wanted only a pet and didn't want to breed her because they'd end up with the same problem.   On the other hand, I have so much time invested in her.  When her udder softens up, she's a good milker.  She has calmed down on the milk stand and hops up on it willingly.  She's a leader and the other goats will follow her and she will follow me, so that makes it easier to handle the other goats.  It doesn't seem fair to just toss her out because of a few weeks of udder problems.  But, is it fair to continue to breed her?  Is it a genetic problem that will pass to her babies or is it something that was caused by the mastitis she had the first year?

I really just don't know what to do about her.  It's too difficult to have a doe that can't be bred because it makes pasture rotation too complicated when I have to keep the does separated from Billy.  That's the reason I sold Rosie last year and I thought I had finally simplified matters.


On another note, I've been checking on Daisy every few hours, for the past few days because I'm sure she is going to have triplets.  I don't want a repeat of last year, so I want to be present at the birth.

"Just put me out of my misery."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Intuition? Goat ESP?

Whatever it is, I need to learn to listen to it.

Last Friday (it is now Wednesday) I felt like Hyacinth would be having her babies soon, so I got the stall all ready to move her into.  I debated with myself if I should put her in that night or leave her out a few more nights.  I refreshed my memory about the gestation period for goats.  It is roughly five months or 150 days.  If Hyacinth (and the other goats) were bred on the first day they were exposed to Billy, Friday would have been day 142.  So, I decided to ignore what my gut was telling me and leave Hyacinth and Daisy outside for another night.

So, at around three in the morning, I just woke up and my very first thought was, "Hyacinth is kidding."  But, it was pouring down rain (of course) and I didn't want to go out there.  I laid awake for an hour and a half worrying about Hyacinth having babies outside on a cold rainy night (Even though all of the livestock do have shelters to be out of the wind and rain, it is still cold).   I finally was able to go back to sleep.

I went out to feed extra early on Saturday morning and when Hyacinth didn't come out of the shed for her breakfast, I knew she had kidded.  I ran down to the shed and sure enough, she had twins, both alive and apparently healthy. 

Tom and I spent the morning, out in the rain, moving goats around.

So, even thought the babies are healthy, Hyacinth once again has a congested udder and can't support two until it softens up, which is several weeks.

This picture was taken yesterday.  They are four days old.  The one in the foreground is the female and the one closest to Hyacinth is the male.  On the second day, it was clear that the male was not getting enough to eat.  He was lethargic and huddled up just like the twin that died last year was.  For some reason, the female was perky, running around, and  playing.  Maybe the difference in who lives or dies is that one learns to nurse faster and gets all the milk first, then there is none left for the baby who is less adept at finding the teat and latching on.  That is what I observed with these two.

I remembered that I had some frozen goat milk left over from previous years - four quarts from 2010 and one from 2011, so I thawed those and started bottle feeding the male right away.  The female was not really interested and it has remained thus.  The male guzzles the bottle down and the female has to be forced to take even an ounce.  They both are still attempting to nurse...successfully, I guess since the female hasn't starved to death.

She has become slightly smaller than the male.

But they are both active and playful and neither seems to be starving.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Round Pen

I'm very excited about this.  I've needed a round pen to work Henry, Kip, and Pony in.  I plan to use Monty Robert's methods ( http://www.montyroberts.com/ ) with the pony and the donkeys.  Pony has been a pet for the past few years and has developed some bad habits, like crowding me when I lead her, or her trying to lead me, and being too greedy for treats.  I want her to be as safe as possible for little children, so she's going to need to break those bad habits.  I haven't seen Monty Roberts work with a mini or with an older horse (Pony is almost 11), but I'm assuming that the same techniques work on all horses. 

Donkeys are different from horses in several ways, so all of the techniques might not work, but I'm going to give it a try.  Monty Robert's philosophy is pretty much the same as mine and from what I've seen, a lot of the things he does, I do naturally anyway.  Now, mind you, I have never  in my life "trained" an equine.  Every horse I've ever had came to me already trained and I never gave it much thought.  But, hey, until we bought this farm I'd never milked a goat, never halter broke a donkey, never grew a garden, never built a fence, never trained a livestock guardian dog, etc. etc.  My list of "never dones" is pretty long, so why stop now?

Anyway, I've been searching for either livestock panels or portable dog kennel panels to make a round pen with.  In his TV programs, Monty Roberts uses what looks like dog kennel panels.  You can buy a 50 foot round pen from his website for about 4,500.00.  Many ranchers around here use the livestock panels that you can hook together in whatever shape you need.  I could get a cheap round pen new for 750.00.  Looking on craigslist, I could buy up every dog kennel I could find for about 150.00-250.00 for a 10x10 pen. 

But,  I found this guy on craigslist that was selling all of his dog kennel panels  - 15 6' panels and 6 10' panels for 400.00!  That makes up a round pen that is just a little short of 50 feet.

Tom and I drove over on Tuesday morning to get them, then he and our nephew, Jordan, put them together for me.

Now I have to get serious.  No more excuses for not training the donkeys.  Ack!

Winter Gardening

I haven't done much in the garden this winter.  In fact, I only just got the old asparagus and tomato plants pulled out of there.  Winter weeds love the garden and I'm barely keeping them from taking over.

I planted some broccoli, but only three seeds germinated. They are just now starting to produce. 

And my lettuce in the greenhouse is coming up.  So far the winter has been so mild that freezing hasn't been a big issue.  I put that little heater in there on a timer so that it comes on if the temperature gets below 65 at night.  I don't think it would keep the whole greenhouse warm if we had a big freeze, but it's working for just this small area so far.

An old man with a green thumb and an amazing garden told me this weekend that it's time to put onions in the ground, so I'm trying to get that done this week.