Saturday, November 26, 2011

Farming is SO easy

Someone posted this on twitter again yesterday, and it's so funny I was laughing all over again.

Warning: NFSW - fowl language.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Re-cap on Megs

If you've been reading my twitter feed, or my facebook page... we've had some concerns Megs might be preggo. She was leased out last year so she wasn't under my supervision during the time she could have been exposed. I don't think there were any stallions around (in fact I left explicit instructions she never be brought within 50' of anything with balls...) but there was a gelding mounting mares in the field (which I didn't find out about until months after the lease ended). 
Meg do you have something to tell us?
Long story short, she's put on so much weight since she's been here it's hard to tell what's going on now. Meg always been an easy keeper, but after being under-condition she really ballooned up on all the hay & grass once she got home. So either way we're really hoping it's just fat, but she's on a diet. Steak went back in with his momma and the horses have moved to the back sacrifice paddock for the winter (where I can control their hay intake). Little earlier for steak to go back in then I wanted, but we have to do something about Meg's weight, it's not healthy.

It may also say something that the first horse the vet saw out in the paddock was Maddie (he was a ways away) and was sort of himing-and-hawing like Mads could be pregs (Maddie would be the gelding... uh, he's a boy.) So apparently we should just start a fat camp for skinny horses! (I owe all that to my first horse management teacher Joanna McDonald from Spiritwood Farm, she knows everything there is to know about nice fat healthy horses!)

Vet says the lump is just a fat deposit.
Yep, that's embarrassing!

The vet came out this morning but wasn't able to check because after 2 doses of tranq (she's not a cheap date!!) she was still trying to pop up and double-barrel him. Checking for pregnancy in a horse involves inserting your arm up their back-sides, you don't want the animal jumping around or you'll end up with a broken vet & horse. So he drew blood to run a test that way, hopefully it will prove conclusive & negative. We should know early next week.

Which means more waiting, and nerves for me, but the vet seems to think she's more fat then anything else. Unfortunately horses don't show a lot of outward signs that they are pregnant. Although Megs had some heat cycles, like all mammals, there are always exceptions to the rules and that doesn't exclusively rule out pregnancy. Big signs like udder-development don't always happen in maiden mares. Horses that are really fat (like Megs) can hide that they are pregnant so you won't even see foal movement.
Fat rippling or foal movement?
(The reason the blankets are on the ground
is I took Meg's off & dropped it in surprise.)

The vet & I also came to the conclusion that when we do want to breed Meg, live cover then just a wait-and-see approach may be best. (lol)

All I can say is the net is really closing in on Meg's former leaser... man, there are a lot of people in this area that are pissed off at that woman. She was given every opportunity in this business, SO many people (including myself) giving time, energy, money to help her succeed. I don't have an explanation for any of it. At this time I don't even feel the need to publicly rant on about the whole thing because everyone of consequence in our area knows (If you live in the area and don't know, and think you should, you can get a hold of me privately).

I guess that also really shows the benefits of speaking to people like farriers, vets, feed store owners, etc. when looking for a new trainer or instructor.

A friend of mine gave me a good chuckle with this comment:

"Yeah, my first horse got (fat) like that. Someone asked my if she was in foal and I said; 'No, but any day now we expert her to deliver a small green paddock.'" - Judy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Playin' in the snow

Goats we're too sure at first, this is
D & Harry's first snow!
Once they realized there was food
they were out the door like a shot!
Ducks were first out of the coop, but a
little wary of the snow
Yes those are the DUCKS!!
Including one of our large males!!
I couldn't believe it!!

Horses were pretty excited to see the snow

Well, you're not really
suppose to eat it Mads!

Happy to be out of their blankies
so they could play in the snow.
We had ice/rain forcasted for overnight but doesn't look like we got a drop of it! Instead we got about 6" of snow, which I'd much rather have then sleet any day.

Too bad it's all gonna melt!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Breeding in the Home Flock

Traditional Breeding Programs for the Home Flock

Rotational Line Breeding White Plymouth Rocks

Two very interesting articles on flock breeding, I highly recommend reading them.

We've decided to go with these traditional breeding programs for our flock. What we'd like to aim for is a large dual purpose bird, which is broody & good at raising chicks. One that is very cold tolerant but won't suffer in the heat either. Also one that lays dark brown eggs. What the actual birds look like I don't care as long as they are healthy and good egg producers.

So we're going to start with an out-and-out program (adding new birds) once we get something going that we really like we'll probably go to a rolling system. I'm very excited to see what our first little chicks grow into.

Even if you're just keeping a small flock for your family, breeding is something you should consider. Whether you want to purchase new stock to replace the old, and let others do the work so you always know what you're getting. If you want to breed your own replacement chicks, you may want to introduce new blood, buy from just one strain or breeder, or mix & match and see what you might get.

The good thing about chickens is that if the experiment doesn't go well you can always eat the results!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yankey Banky Joins the Crew

 Or a lesson in why not to offer your 3 year old to let him name the animals...

Yankey is a 2 year old SaanenXPygmyXBoer (so: milk x small x meat goats) and she's been out with another pygymy for the summer so is hopefully pregnant (or just quite round!) and we could have kids as early as January.
Oops, someone needs a trim!
Like most hard-hooved animals goats & sheep need to be trimmed, usually at least twice a year, especially if they are kept indoors/on soft ground. Our guys are always running across the concrete in the barn, or jumping on and off rocks so they wear their feed down. I am expecting we'll need to do a quick trim on everyone in the spring (because of the snow covering the ground over winter) and we'll do that when Billy get his hair-cut. You can just use regular garden trimmers, they work quite well.

Quick trim all around, and welcome
to the farm Yankey!
Isn't she a cutie-pie!! Her former nickname was "Gazelle" because that is what she looks like.

Harry is very impressed!
Yankey immediately took leadership of the whole band, and has been bossing the boys all over the place (Billy too). Which I'm very happy about! That's just what they needed was a momma-goat to show them the ropes of being a goat.

I have to share this picture of a piggy from Yankey's farm. THAT is a pot belly pig!! That is the healthiest pot belly I have ever seen, I even had to ask & double check it was actually a pot belly! It actually looks like a piggy!! They are not supposed to look so wrinkly and fat they can't move or see well. I hope our guys look as nice when they are all grown up. 

Hatch #2

So out of 11 eggs, we have 3 chicks.

Our injured chicks died last night, which was too bad because he was starting to stand up & looking much stronger. I'm not surprised he was a premi and obviously not very healthy.

His buddy who had a bad start, but is much better now, is back out with mom. The little guy needs to learn his manners, he knows who mom is but is not sure how he's supposed to act so I have to keep a good eye on him.

We lost another little MarX last night, I didn't realize but the nest they are in had a cut-out front but it was too high for them to climb back in if they fell out. Probably would have lived if they were closer to the heat lamp.

Mom is still sitting on 4 eggs, but if they haven't hatched yet (and the first started on Saturday) I don't hold out any hope that they are going to.

So... this hatch didn't go so well, but we do have 3 very healthy little chicks; and CoCo is still sitting on her 6 eggs.

Monday, November 21, 2011

COOK Date Squares

After getting to 6:00pm yesterday and realizing I was really hungry, and then also realizing I hadn't eaten yet... maybe it's time for some "healthy" snacks in the fridge. Jerky is a great one, lots of protein, but we've got to wait for the beef to come back first. This is another family favourite, and definitely one of mine. It's also very easy to make. 


  • ½ pounds Chopped & Pitted Dates
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1-½ cup Brown Sugar, Divided
  • ¾ cups Butter
  • 1-½ cup Flour
  • 1-¾ cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (dissolve In 2 Tbsp Hot Water)
Combine Dates, 1 cup Water, Vanilla & 1/2 cup Brown Sugar in a saucepan. Over low heat cook down until dates are soft and mixture is thick (about 10-20 minutes). Cool.

Cream butter; add 1 cup Brown Sugar, Flour, Oats, Salt and Baking Soda, mix.
Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper (or butter & flour). Press half mixture firmly into bottom of baking pan. Add date filling. Spread other half of the mixture over top.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool before slicing. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Or you can freeze them for later. 

These are very filling and perfect for a mid-afternoon snack. The kids love them too.

Winter Sun Napping

Don't they look cosy?
Too bad they're napping IN the hay!
Even steak is having a nap with the ducks,
almost time for him to go back in with the
other animals.

Good thing I went out to take some pictures!
Goats are trouble!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chip, Chip, Chip

EE#2s first little chick
Isn't He/She cute!?
MarranXDominique with lovely eye-liner
We had two chicks DomXMar chicks
born w yolk sacks outside their bodies
one already DNS, the other was brought
into the house because he's not doing
very well.
 We also had a cream egg hatch. Turns out the Buff Orp is the one laying the pink eggs, so I don't know who laid the cream ones at all!

This little guy and a 3rd DomXMar are in the house. The chick with the yolk-sack doesn't seem to be able to stand, but he's a spirited little guy, so he's getting cooked yolks in the hope he'll pull through. The other DomXMar is doing better, but still a little weak.

It appears these chicks hatched a day or two too early, and I'm really not sure why since they were hen-hatched.