A family farm

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The weather is changing, getting colder and wetter and just plain drearier. The past few days have been windy and sunny, but today is ick. Saturday I purchased a pair of peacocks. They are supposed to be the blue variety, but right now, they are brown and white. They have these little shoots on the tops of their heads that are about an inch long already. They are shy, afraid of the chickens and turkeys that currently occupy the garage with them. The chickens will eventually move out into the chicken coop and the turkeys will have their own coop soon. The peacocks will remain in the garage to grow until next spring when we build them a new home. I've wanted peacocks for awhile now, and I just love how adorable they are with the feathers on the tops of their heads.

I'm now, however, very happy with my chickens. We have gotten NO eggs this entire week! It is absolutely crazy! I cleaned their coop a couple of weeks ago, when we were getting 1 or 2 eggs per day (I have over 10 chickens - barred rocks and isa browns) that are laying age, and about 20 that are a getting very close to laying age. I have no idea why they aren't laying. It is starting to get on my nerves. They show now signs of poor health. They have plenty of room. They lead a rather calm life (only the occassional letting out of the dogs startles them, but they are even getting somewhat used to that). They are well fed. The whole thing is just crazy!!! Any ideas? I've even started to sing to them. To the tune of the Piano Man, I've made up this song: Lay us some eggs, you're the chicken hens ... Lay us some eggs today! Cuz we're all in the mood for an omelet, and you've got the capabilities! oh, la da da, di de da ...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Basketball Playing Goat!

The other evening, I had let the goats out to graze in the yard, free-range. I had to get the stinky chicken coop cleaned up and new straw put in, so I was able to keep an eye on the goats. They behaved themselves as well until one of them, Jade, I believe, remembered where the strawberry and raspberry patches are. I first chased her and Joey out. Then William joined them. I was having a hard time keeping them away and cleaning out the chicken coop. So, Kellie finishes her homework and comes outside to practice dribbling. She had a game earlier in the day and just like everyone else on the team, when she got the ball she immediately passed it off instead of dribbling and moving the ball herself. There's nothing wrong with passing, but she could have dribbled down the court a little. Anyway, I told her to go practice behind the house to help keep the goats out of the berry patches. Like the great kid that she is, she did as she was told. I was hauling a cart-load of chicken pooh and straw out to the new garden area, and I watch William, our nubian goat, come running up to Kellie as she is dribbling the ball around. He stopped her from moving forward, he would put his head down if she tried to go forward, he would walk forward forcing her to dribble backing up, and if she got around him, he would follow her and get in front of her again. It was the funniest thing ever! Kellie and I were even able to play a brief game of monkey in the middle, but I think you'd have to call it nubian in the middle this time around. Hopefully we'll be able to re-create the scene and have video. Right now I only have a couple of pictures.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Too late for Lucy

Morning chores brought tears to my eyes. Lucy is succombing to the meningeal deerworms brought on my eating the slugs. I carried her out of the pen as gently as I could and put together some hay for her to lie down on. I can't bring myself to actually do the deed of putting her down. I have to let her go naturally. I don't think she is suffering much. She's not crying out in pain, nor is she thrashing around. The doggone deerworms are doing their worst. And there is absolutely nothing that I can do. This has been such a tough year for us with our animals. Lucy and Brian take the cake, tho. They were great goats. It was tough to bury Brian, it will be tougher to bury Lucy. It's not that I like Lucy more or better than Brian, but I'm sick of burying goats. And cats.  Luke, the German shepherd, is doing just fine. He doesn't sleep much, but he's still pretty healthy. He's 11. Kayleigh, the Golden Retriever, is 9, and other than her snoring, she's still going strong. Harley, the Doberman, is still very much a puppy. But she's only 2 years old, so she should be.

Getting back to the goats ... Brian was always so very silly. We have so many pictures of Brian where all we see is his head above the gate. In looking at these pictures, you wouldn't think that he even had a body! Brian was the goat we took to church. We could lead him around everywhere! He behaved so well in church, and made a great addition to the sermon about the use of a scapegoat by the Israelites.

Lucy was a great mamma. She was probably the best mamma we've ever had! One of her and Freddie's kids was a best in show grand champion Pygmy goat this past summer. Her little Willow is a show goat now, earning ribbons and championships. She was always so calm and loved her chin being scratched. She was the first goat we purchased with a beard. We nearly named her Aunt Ruth, after the VeggieTales song.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meningeal Deerworms

This has been a rough year for us raising goats. We battled a hearty battle of coccidosys earlier this summer and lost 2 does. Brian was affected, and it weakened him. My goats have been well wormed. I put our two very pregnant does (Lily and Ginger) in a pen with Brian and Lucy. As I said, Brian seemed quite weak, yet. Lucy appeared to be injured. It seemed as if she had a pulled muscle or a back injury and was favoring her rear back leg. She hasn't been in any pain. Last Thursday evening Brian laid down and would not get up Friday morning. I ran across an article that said sometimes the dewormer can cause a severe drop in a goat's iron, causing anemia. I tried to find some iron supplement for Brian on Saturday and had him stand propped up on a bale of straw. He could not stand on his own. Sunday, he died.

Lucy's condition has been getting worse. I was all set to bring her to the vet on Thursday, but I'm not going to now. I know what is wrong with her, and it isn't an injury. This is the same thing that happened to Brian. She has contracted meningeal deerworms. The wormer I used doesn't protect against deerworms. Deerworms are transmitted by whitetail deer through slugs. We have whitetail, and we have slugs, and I know the goats have eaten slugs. Unfortunately, Lucy and Brian ate slugs that were carrying the deerworm. The deerworm do not affect whitetail deer. They just pass through, but if a goat eats an affected slug, the deerworms start eating their spinal tissue causing paralysis and death. The paralysis is irreversible. Lucy can't get up on all four legs anymore. She should be dead in the next couple of days. This really sucks. Next Saturday, I'm picking up some Ivomec Plus, which will kill the deerworm and prevent against them contracting it again for the next month. By then it will be too cold out for slugs, and I won't have to worm the goats again until April.

Moral of the story is that if you live in Michigan where there are deer and slugs, use a better wormer. I'm losing two great goats. Lucy is the best mamma ever, and Brian was amazing. He was our clown.