Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Is Upon Us!

Spring is here! In Wyoming that means blizzards every week and Interstate shut-downs so that the rest of the country will have to wait for their goods to arrive a few days later than expected.

Goat pens full of a snow drift that makes escape easily done. 04.10.2013

For the first time ever on our homestead, that also means baby livestock born right here on our land. My Toggenburg dairy goat, Tallia, had her twin doelings on April 7th around 7pm. They are both very pretty girls. One resembles Tallia more in the face and personality, the other resembles her goofy dad, Claudius.

Unfortunately, I have had to deal with the heartache of losing Tallia almost 36 hours after giving birth. There are a few things that could have gone wrong, including Milk Fever or a possible tear in the uterus while giving birth... As we didn't have an autopsy done, I will never know for sure. We lost her just as a blizzard blew in from Canada and we found ourselves bringing the kids in the house for almost a week. We couldn't risk losing the kids after already losing Tallia.

Goat kids keeping my 6 year old company while she does school. 04.10.2013

This meant I had to get a replacement dairy goat or we would quickly run out of the milk that I had frozen last fall and winter. I contacted Harmody Alpines, where I got my Toggenburgs last summer. They were looking for a good home for an 8 year old Alpine who had just kidded, so off I went to Colorado. While I was there, I decided to bring home a 3 week old buckling Alpine to breed my doelings with in the winter. I would have preferred to stay with the Toggenburg breed, but her only Togg was a dry doe - and she wasn't for sale anyway.

Nivasha is a great girl. She's very large compared to Tallia, but Tallia was only a yearling when we brought her home. I am getting just over a gallon a day from Nivasha! I was lucky to get just over half a gallon on a good day from Tallia last year. This is not uncommon for a yearling doe. She would have given us more milk this year had she lived. I will miss her dearly. She was not just a goat, but my employee. She provided a service to our family for shelter, food and water. That is how I see the dairy goat.

Claudius, on the other hand... His once-a-year service makes it harder to explain away the cost of feed. We will be attempting to fence in the rest of our acreage this summer, if we get a chance, so that he can browse all summer and cost us less in feed. He will also have a friend, unless we sell Claudius before Prong (the Alpine buckling) gets old enough to join him. I named him Prong because he is the coloring of a Pronghorn Antelope. Very pretty! I think that Prong and the Togg girls will make for some interesting kids next spring.

The doelings are named Ginny and Daisy. My 6 year old daughter named them. I am not sure where she came up with Daisy, but Ginny was shortened from Ginny Weasly. Yes, she is a Harry Potter fan.

Daisy saying hi to Huck. 04.14.2013

Ginny thinks standing on my ottoman trying to eat a burp rag is a good goat maneuver. 04.14.2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Around the Barnyard

It has been awhile since everyone got to see the animals around the homestead, so I thought I'd share some of the spring happenings with you.

She sure does love the camera (just look at those bulges!). 03.25.13

A very pregnant Tallia. She is even bigger today (4.05) however it is raining so I can't go take new pictures outside. 03.25.13

Tallia has still not kidded. She is due by Monday, as the latest average. After that, she will officially be "overdue." Hopefully it won't reach that point, the poor gal is huffing and puffing as it is. The weather is supposed to get nasty on Monday and Tuesday, so that is probably when she'll kid. :p

She is extremely lovey-dovey while she is pregnant. I hope it will stay this way, but probably not.

Healed up very nice! 03.25.13

Damsel (the Great Dane) is a much happier girl these days. After she got stitched up she got a huge bulge of fluid just above the wound. It took about 2 full weeks before it finally started oozing the fluid out, having re-opened a stitch or two (just enough to release the build-up) and is now pretty much healed. You can see the little section there that is a bit red, that is where she oozed.

Claudius and Paws are taking a break from all the gals. 03.25.13

Claudius and Paws (the Basset Hound) are just Claudius and Paws. Nothing really new with either of them. Paws was barking at the chickens today, out of the blue. No idea why, but I yelled at him. We can't have dogs barking at the chickens or they won't lay eggs.

Doo-to-dooo. Just walking along here, claiming my territory. 03.25.13

Claudius will be a much happier goat when/if we are able to get sheep fence up around the entire acreage so that he can run the 35 acres that Whiskey currently has run of on her own. Huck did get the uppermost strand up this past weekend, so we'll be getting Ruger and putting him in the pasture permanently (unless or until he figures a way back into the herd, the turd).

"Why are you taking pictures of my ladies? Huh?!? Huh?!?!" The D.I. has gotten an attitude since spring arrived. Little turd. 03.25.13

The chickens all made it through the winter! Hooray! I'll be buying an egg incubator this weekend so we can incubate 10 eggs. We were hoping to use a broody hen, but alas, none are displaying any broodiness so we have to do it on our own. We only want 5 more layers, so we are doing 10 with the hope that no more than half with be cockerels. Those ones will become dinner very quickly. We have an old tin shed laying down on it's side out there (that the wind randomly changes position of twice a year - it's very odd) and Huck said we'll stand that up, get it staked down and use it for the brooding house. Can't do the chicks inside this year since we no longer have a "vacant" room. I'm glad. Damn dusty birds. We also have a leaky water troft to use for them to be in and stay warm with wood shavings on the bottom. Sometimes it really does come in handy to have all the junk lying around here :p I still look forward to getting most of it gone. As usual, we have plans to get it all cleaned up, but we also have to build a few things... Priorities, priorities.