Nothing better than a good spreadsheet

Not sure what Pippi means by standing there with her tongue stuck out. Thinking hard about Reddog, perhaps!

When I pulled down the driveway Monday evening on my return from NY Sheep and Wool, I was greeted with the sound of Pippi absolutely bellowing her head off.   My son said that she had been at it all day, and had not really eaten while on the milk stand that morning, just kept trying to go over as close to the boys’ pen as she could get, and mooning about, bellowing.  As I don’t want kids too early in the season, I had been waiting until after the Rhinebeck trip to put the breeding group together.  And so I took the opportunity to get Pippi bred on Tuesday when we moved Twig, Peanut and Betsy to a separate paddock, and moved Reddog in with the 5 moms-to-be.  Jingle the donkey misbehaved badly with the non-breeding group, so we put her in with Hagrid and Fergus the wether.  (Donkeys hate change of any kind, and I think those young girls freaked her out.  She sees them through the fence every day, but she didn’t care for their company at all.  Ah well, it’s a donkey thing).

Reddog is quite the hunky boy!

And so Pippi was a happy camper all day Tuesday.  As it happens, by Wednesday morning it was clear that Saffron was having a good time with Reddog as well!  Now when I sit down at the milk stand in the morning I can have a full dose of buck stink up close and personal.  (Bucks who are courting a doe rub their heads anywhere they can on their intended – and that head has been drenched with all kinds of stinky hormone-filled pee.  Delightful to a doe, not so nice for humans!).

A new spreadsheet makes the coming breeding season seem a little more real!

And so my new spreadsheet has been inaugurated.  First babies due on Friday, March 23, 2018!

Turning another corner

The two last doelings of 2017 (with Twig napping in the background)

It is finally the end of the kidding year!  Well, really, just the end of the movement of kids from here to wherever they are going to land in their new homes.  Yesterday, our last two goatie girls, Dorcas’ doelings, left our farm to join a lovely family in New Hampshire.

Older of the two girls

Our first kids were born on March 3rd, and these two girls were born last, on April 12th.  It was a crazy and eventful kidding year, and even though I knew I had to sell these two, I have not been trying very hard!

Younger of the two girls

Awhile back, Dorcas had gone to live at another farm.  The babies were ready for weaning, and Dorcas really needed to be her own herd queen.  I hear that she is very happy with her new situation, and yes, she is in control!  But when she left, and so many of the other kids were leaving, her two girls became even more joined at the hip (they never go anywhere without the other), and they just seemed to be a little lost.  I always feel bad in these situations, but there is not much to do about it, and they did have each other.

It’s a party around the big bale!

I am not sure when it happened, but one day we began to notice that the two girls were always at the feeder near Saffron.  Her babies had found their new homes quite awhile ago, and as the days went by we saw her cuddled up with these two in the morning, together in the field, and almost always together at the hay bale.  They found a surrogate mama, and I am sure Saffron enjoyed the company as well!

Saffron lying by the big rock while the two Dorcas girls play on and around it

It’s always interesting watching the social interactions in groups of farm animals.  There is always something happening that has the ability to surprise.

But now, good bye babies for the year!  Twig and Peanut will be our only hold overs.  Nice to get our feed calculations on a steady course and begin looking forward to next year’s new little ones!

Summer in Autumn

Peanut voicing her opinion

I am sorry to have been so long without posting.  Cardiac rehab is still dominating my schedule, but I feel like I have a little more breathing room now.  And the summer weather has continued to shine on us even into October!  We are very dry here, but we have hopes of some rain coming in early this week.  This evening is a misty one, and it’s looking good for some precipitation.

There is a lot to take care of on the farm at this time of year.  I am looking forward to breeding season, which will happen here after I get back from the New York Sheep and Wool show around the third week of October.  (I can’t wait!)  But, in the meantime we are making sure that the does are on a steady and slowly rising plane of nutrition.  Have to get them in shape for their amorous interlude with our stud, Reddog!

Round bale delivery

It’s a difficult thing for me to balance, this nutrition rise.  At this point I have cut back to a once a day milking routine, which means that the milking mamas are getting less grain, so they don’t make as much milk.  And since they are still in milk, they need their calories for that as well as for the energy to get into their breeding cycles.  Sometimes I dry them off before breeding, but this year it’s been so mild I think I will milk them well into November, or even into December, depending on the weather.  We decided to put a second cut round bale in with the breeding girls today, so they have that extra nutrition without the extra grain.  I am hoping that this will be a good plan.

It’s a party around the big bale!

And so it goes.  I will get their Selenium shots to them before I leave for Rhinebeck (as well as their annual Rabies vaccines), and then we shall see what happens.  We have chosen 5 girls to breed this year.  Another full house can be expected in the spring!