A family farm

Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Thursday, April 26, was the birthdate of our newest little Pygmy goat - we'll call him Leonard for now. I went out to the barn to do chores early Thursday morning and found that Ginger had drastically changed from just being pudgy pregnant with a big, growing udder, to a more streamlined goat with the kid visibly not on her side anymore. It was obvious that the kid had moved up into the birth canal. There was definitely shape in that direction. She also wasn't interested in eating anything, which is completely unlike Ginger. She might be our smallest goat, but she is a voracious eater. It came time for me to get on my way to work; Chris had already left for his job. There would be no one home to help Ginger if she had trouble with the birthing. I worried and prayed all day. On the way home, God provided a verse for me to stop worrying - you know, the one about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, admonishing us not to worry. My first stop when I pulled into my property was to go out to the barn. William, our Nubian wether, is in the same pen with Ginger. We have a nesting pair of large hawks near our property. I thought that if Ginger kidded that he would help protect the youngster if those hawks got close. Well, William came walking into the barn when I did. Then Ginger stuck her head in her door. I couldn't tell if she was still big, and I didn't see a kid. I put some hay in their manger, and she walked all the way in and this little fella came in a moment after her. He was plump and dry and very healthy. She had to have had him within hours of me leaving for work. The front half of him looks like daddy Freddie. The back end of him doesn't look like either parent. Already, he's bouncing around and getting into mischief. Yesterday he was trying grass for the first time! At age 4 days!

Saturday we had three turkey chicks hatch. Sunday it looked like we were going to get a fourth and a fifth, but the fourth one died mid-hatch and the fifth has made his hole in the wrong place. He's still chipping away at it. Another egg was making pecking sounds last night. It would be a little early for that one to hatch, but I've learned that our turkeys, anyway, seem to hatch at around day 25 or 26 rather than 28. Also, turkeys have to be warm for their first week. I've found that the chicks I get from the auction, or even those that I've hatched, don't need to start their first couple days as warm as turkey chicks do. Turkey chicks also start to feather out much faster than chicken chicks. It is interesting. Right now, I have 29 pheasant eggs and 4 turkey eggs in the incubator. I have about 6 more turkey eggs in the hatching incubator which is in the bathroom. Also in the bathroom is a bin with a heat lamp for the young turkey chicks. We tried just a regular lightbulb overnight, and I'm amazed that didn't do the trick. They did need a heat lamp.

Also, we bought a kiddie pool for the ducks. They don't worship the washtub as much, now, but they have started to worship the pool! It's awful funny seeing four ducks laying around it with their bills hanging over the edge and three ducks swimming around in it, with one of the three being the Indian runner.

I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing my farm and spending time with my critters. I can't wait until I can tell if my 2-month-old turkeys are hens or toms. You'd think I'd be able to by now, but I can't. I did just think about checking for spurs, so I'll be doing that this evening.

The calves are sort of doing better. Two have been sickly with pneumonia and diarhea, but we might be getting over that. We're trying to feed them more, but we'll see. In a few weeks they'll have hit the 2-month mark, and we should be over these troubles. It will be a relief.

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