This morning as I went about my chores I let Pocohontas out of the kidding stall noting that her udder looked bigger than last year and bigger than yesterday. Considering she was a week overdue I felt that was good news. I fed her, noted her ligaments were pretty loose and that udder pretty tight so I stuck her back in the kidding stall making a mental note to check on her after finishing the other chores. Since I spent Saturday tired after checking on her all night Friday-Saturday, I wasn’t getting excited. Maybe just another false alarm. So I went about my chores. An hour later as I passed by the stall I heard little goat kid squeaks in there and was surprised to find two new babies!
Poco had two bucklings and they are strong and both up and nursing shortly after birth. Amanda and I named them Chestnut (the red one) and Black Walnut (black one).
I have to say Poco is a keeper mom, she has easy deliveries and takes good care of her babies. Now back to that giant pile of laundry waiting for me from this weekend…
Last night, Anna went to bed as I stayed up working on some things (ok, I was on Facebook). Around 11, I was ready for bed, but first went to the barn to check on West View Swan’s Saffron, one of our Lamancha does, who was in the kidding stall for the night since she was already 2 days overdue. I discovered she was in labor.
I headed back in and woke Anna to tell her I was getting more warm clothes and heading back out to the barn since Saffron was in labor. She thought I should get a couple of hours of rest first and then go out around 1. I didn’t think so. As she drifted off to sleep, I headed back to the barn. When I arrived, the first kid was already on the ground. She was a long legged doeling that looks a lot like her sire, Blue-Ridge Apache and weighed in at 6.6lbs. Her brother followed not too long after and weighed in at 6.9lbs, and has the look of his mother. Both started with wobbly legs, but by this afternoon, they were getting around a little better, so we took them out for some quick photos.
Last night, we got another 5″ or so of fresh snow dumped on the farm. After clearing the driveway (again), clearing paths to/from the barn (again), breaking ice (again), and finishing morning chores, we came in for coffee. We were originally scheduled to trailer ponies to a pony club games practice, but it was cancelled. So, Anna and I decided to call the next door neighbor for some babysitting after lunch. We saddled up King and Calli and headed out for a trail ride. There was over a foot of snow on the trails. Mack got to come along, but Turbo stayed home. We did encounter fresh snow mobile tracks, but no actual machines and no people. We got to work on Calli and crossing icy water. We will need to continue to build this skill. We spent an hour on the trails, and even though we only walked, I think the horses got a pretty good workout trudging through the winter wonder land.
Lucy also got to venture out into the snow with her kids, Red Maple and Oak.
Cedarfields Lucy kicked off our goat kidding season this afternoon. Vicki was diligently checking in her all day and came in for a brief time at lunch. She informed us Lucy was very close. Sure enough, when Vicki got back out, she rushed in to tell us Lucy was kidding and feet were showing. We went out and after a while, decided to help things along. This was Lucy’s first and she needed a little help. A healthy 6.8lb buckling came first and was quickly followed by a 5.3lb doeling.
We only name girls starting out, and this year our naming theme is trees.
Imagine you walk out to feed your chickens and spill some of the chicken feed on the ground in an area where the chickens can’t get to it. If you came back a few weeks later, what would you expect to find? Well, if it was commercial feed, you would probably find a pile of moldy feed. What you wouldn’t find, is sprouts. Just like the potatoes you bought in the grocery store – when was the last time you had to remove a sprout? More and more chemicals are being used on the foods we eat, and on the foods we feed our animals. Soy is cheap and has become a MAJOR component in animal feeds. One REALLY big problem with that is almost all of the soy grown in the US today is GMO soy.
For quite a while, this topic has concerned us. The problem is, commercial feed is cheap, and organic, GMO free, soy free feed is NOT cheap. However, we have decided the time has come to shift our farm to a product line that is GMO free, Soy free, and organic. We have chosen Countryside Organics because they offer feed varieties for all the animal types we currently have on the farm (and are considering in the future). The down side is cost. Our rabbit feed will be more than 2x as expensive. The chicken and goat feed will be about 80% more. However, in gathering info, another farm told us that their goats consumed about 3o% less feed and produced more milk on the Countryside product.
Since we know others in the area may also be interested in some of the products, we are starting a co-op. There are no resellers nearby, so we will be buying a full pallet at a time and having it shipped from VA (that’s not cheap). By coordinating a co-op, we won’t really save any money, but it allows us to order more frequently and not have to worry about exactly figuring out the next 3 months of feed needs.
If you are interested in joining our farm in the co-op, let us know. The first order will be going on Monday, 8/12.
Last weekend I was able to get one project knocked off the list. I spent Friday after work building the shelters, Saturday afternoon they for painted and started fencing. Sunday was the completion of the fencing and the boys moved into their new pens around 8:45 when I was done. We are now ready for breeding season, and the bucks are too (they already smell).
This weekend was the North Stonington fair. We had rabbits that spent Thursday-Sunday at the fair. Vicki showed Devil and WON the walk trot division on Saturday. I showed King; we had fun and won a class, but didn’t do great overall. Unfortunately, King was lame after the show from a coronary band injury, likely sustained while evading Huey in the pasture.
Sunday was the goat show. This was only the second time the kids showed goats; the first was the same faerie last year. After a difficult showmanship class for each of them, things improved. They both had fun and resolved to learn more to be better prepared for showmanship at the 4H fair in 2 weeks.
Here are some pictures from the weekend. Rob and Amanda on Devil for lead line Rob and King Vicki and Devil Vicki getting awards Vicki and Amanda
Rob and King
Vicki and Amanda with Devil
Alex and Onyx
Vicki and Pocohontas
Alex and Diamond
Alex and Vicki with Poco and Ruby in the Daughter and Dam class