Tag Archives: Jingle

Busy week and some moving

Saffron with her babies

Yes, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Out of 9 goats in the girls’ pen, 4 have now moved on to their new home.  Luckily enough, they all went together:  Eleganza, Saffron and two babies.  They couldn’t have found a better home in Sarah and Tully’s place in Westbrook, Maine, where they are with other goats and young children.  I hope to get some updates, although from the sound of it they are all well, and from photos it looks like they are in a lovely spot.

And then my special baby, Jingle the Donkey, left for her new home last Sunday.  We have also lucked out in that she is not too far away for me to visit, and for the first time since she was very young, she is living with two other donkeys!  There are goats there as well, which will certainly not require her to do any adjusting, at least not much!  I have felt like a mom whose oldest child has just started kindergarten or preschool, wanting to know if he/she is making friends and having a good time!  Her new owner has been keeping me updated, and it sounds like she is getting the hang of things there.  Jingle has hit the sweet spot with these folks, as they are very knowledgable and loving animal people.  I can’t be too sad knowing where she is!  (You can read about her new adventures on Daryl’s blog FairWinds – she has two lovely posts up about Jingle)

And now it seems that we are finally getting some introduction to summer, although they are still predicting a bit of rain for the weekend.  It’s such a kick to have the leaves out on the trees again and to have some sun to enjoy along with it, that I hope we don’t get too much rain!  I am so relieved I won’t have to figure out hay for next winter… it’s not looking like a great haying season so far with all the coolness and wet.  Fingers crossed that this passes and lots more hay can be cut!

Time

Babies in the creep

I do apologize for not having taken the time for some updates and news.  The days just fly past and suddenly another week or month is gone.  The babies are growing like gangbusters, and we are finally, finally getting some reasonable weather, 70F, breezy and sunny.  Playtime out on the big rock may now begin in earnest!

Twig’s little boy

Unfortunately, I have news of the farm.  I struggled with this all late winter and early  spring, and finally have made the decision to let the goats and Jingle the Donkey go.  I can’t even tell you how difficult this is for me, but I am not up to the work anymore, and I don’t think I could manage another winter as icy as this recent one.  I suspect that winters here will continue to get warmer, which will only mean that much more ice for us here on the coast.

I am certainly fine with the day to day chores in the fine weather, but I am falling behind on the real infrastructure maintenance, both physically and monetarily.  I am on a fixed retirement income, and am just managing the hay prices, which keep going up.  (I ran out of hay right around the time the babies were born, and this time of year is not optimal to be buying it as everyone is jacking up the prices to ridiculous levels).  I am hoping that farmers are out making hay this weekend, as we are having a beautiful 4-day stretch of lovely!

Peanut with her new friend

And so awhile back I slowly put the word out that my goats are available, and I have to say that all but one buckling has been spoken for at this point.  Peanut was a particularly special case, as I needed to find her a home where she will not be bred (not easy at all).  But, a friend contacted a friend of hers and Peanut now lives the life of luxury not far from here, on a place where some horses and another adorable goat were rescued.  I have visited her and she is loving life!  Not being pushed around by the older goats here anymore, she is simply best buds with the dwarf goat over there (they have a great view, also!  I am jealous).

I have also found wonderful homes for the other mamas and babies, and Jingle the Donkey is going up to a farm not far from here to live with other donkeys and horses.  A great setting for my lovable girl.

And so it goes.  I have always thought that I would have my goats until I was at least 70, but that may have been wishful thinking!  It took a very long time for me to make the final decision, but in the end I knew that it was the right one.  I can never go anywhere between April and October because of kidding and then milking, so this will allow me to do a little traveling in the good weather, as well as actually having the money to do other things.  (Although I am seriously mourning the loss of that lovely milk and the chevre…)

The mamas and babies will be leaving toward the end of this month or early July.  It’s going to be altogether too quiet around here very soon!

 

 

 

And now we are 8

The last few weeks have been very busy ones.  I had been advertising the goats I needed to move along, without any response, and I was feeling a little down about it.  I really hated the thought of sending these beautiful girls to the auction, but I was beginning to think I would have no choice.

3 of the Guernseys around the feeder
Saffron stuffing her face
Jingle and Fergus

But, then, I actually found a farm that wanted all of them!  Edna with her two doelings, Battie and her daughter Betsy.  All together, which made me the happiest of all.  And so last Friday they all got a nice ride to their new farm.  I hope they do well, they are in a very good place.

Pippi and her buckling from this year are still here, although they have a butcher date in late October.  Pippi is still milking well, but she is losing her teeth at an alarming rate, and she is elderly.  If I leave her to try and winter over another year, I am afraid I will lose her at a time when we cannot bury her…  and I hate using the goats as coyote bait, but a lot of folks do that around here in the winter when they can’t bury dead animals.  And so she will provide us with a little stew meat, and her circle of life here will be complete.  She’s been such a great little goat, my fierce Herd Queen!  (Saffron is lining up to challenge that position, but Pippi is no slouch, she is not giving in one little bit).  Pippi’s buckling may actually have a home lined up, but if that does not work out, he will go with his mama.

And so the seasons are moving forward, and I am moving forward with our little farm.  Chores are so wonderfully uncomplicated now that we are smaller, and much more enjoyable.  More time to actually hang out with the goats and enjoy our time together.  They are awfully good company!

And I should not forget Jingle the Donkey, who will never leave!  So maybe I should say, now we are 9 :*)

Livestock guardians

Jingle mugging for attention

Our Jingle the guard donkey frequently gets overlooked in the social media department, even though she is a very integral part of our farm, and has been for many years.  She is our only guard animal now and lives with the boys.

When we first got our sheep, we added two llamas to the mix as guardians and had a terrible time with them.  Very difficult to handle, they were half brother and sister.  Good deterrents to predators, but dealing with them became very difficult because all they did was fight with each other.  We finally moved the female llama along to another farm, and after that Zorro became a real pussycat with us and just did his job quietly with the sheep and goats.  We always kept him in with the girls and the moms and babies, and he loved those little ones.  He even tried to reunite a stranded new born lamb with his mother, as she was having a very difficult second birth.  Zorro was patient as the day is long with the lambs and the goat kids, and they used him as a jungle gym until they got too big to do so!

Jingle wants kisses

I was very happy to have Zorro with my moms and Jingle the donkey with our boys.  That worked very well for many years, until Zorro died of old age.  I really didn’t know if having the donkey in with just the one group would count with the local coyote population and I thought maybe Jingle should be in with the girls and babies during the spring.  I guess she is in her perfect comfort zone with the boys, because she raised such a ruckus when we moved her, that we didn’t keep her there for long (it became a dangerous situation for us and for the girls).  Maybe it’s been too many years, I don’t know.  Guard animals have to get along with their livestock charges, or the whole thing doesn’t work very well.

Watching for her supper

Zorro has been gone for a few years now, and we continue to keep Jingle in with the boys.  We have a lot of coyote activity in the area, all around us, and we even see tracks right near the goat pens.  So far, we have not had an incident.  I know that wildlife biologists say that if the coyote population is stable, there should be enough to eat for them without attacking domestic animals, and I hope that our situation is in that category.  We have acres of woods with small game and lots of deer, so hopefully that keeps them moving past our goats.  And I think that Jingle’s smell and her presence may count for something as well.

Jingle on a much warmer day

Besides, we love Jingle just for herself!  She is a sweetie.  She begged for soft donkey nose kisses this afternoon and wouldn’t let me stop.  She loves people, and can’t get enough attention.  Even luckier, she is in love with the farrier :*)  She is also the neighborhood alarm clock if breakfast doesn’t come her way at the right moment.  Donkeys are the best!

The problem with bucks

Ephraim after the trip

The problem with bucks is that you can only use them for so long.  That’s why most of us are always on the lookout for new genetics, and it seems as though we have found some!

Ephraim is the new boy on the farm.  He is a big, beautiful Guernsey, with polled genes (born with no horns).  He is quite a laid back fellow, although at this time of year it’s difficult for any buck to be mellow with all the possible love that’s in the air!

He likes to be petted

We went Wednesday to pick him up in Vermont.  It was an uneventful travel day, but very long.  4.5 hours there, almost the same home.  And on the way home we had a frightened and very stinky boy in the back of the Subaru…  we took him away from a doe in heat on his home farm, threw him in the car and went!  I can’t fault him his nervousness, and he does appear to be fine now.  He has lots of ladies to cluck over and sniff at through the fence.  They are making him a little nuts, honestly.  He is sharing a paddock with Jingle the donkey, who is being very circumspect with this new guy.  She is keeping her distance, for sure :*)  (Not that he can do anything to her except spit a little and maybe get in her way at the hay feeders).  Smart donkey anyhow.  We like the ‘live and let live’ approach around here.

Jingle having a bit of a pout on Tuesday

And so we will have him on the home farm for the action next year.  I took Reddog out from the girls’ pen on Tuesday, so he is back with Hagrid and Fergus.  Hopefully we have the roommates sorted out for the winter now.  And new genes for the future!

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!

Tuesday, beautiful weather and more kids

Hagrid, resting by the feeder

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, for sure.  We had a visit from the vet to try and get our three babies from last week disbudded, but their horn buds were too big already.  That’s a disappointment, because I don’t like horns in my herd, but it’s possible that there are folks out there that will be fine with two Guernsey does with horns.  Our half Lamancha/half Guernsey boy, Hagrid, (he was the giant baby born last week to Pippi), may be desirable to someone as well.  He is a real sweetie!  On the plus side, she took care of Jingle the Donkey’s yearly exam and her vaccines, so it was not a wasted trip.

Edna and her new babies

Two of the does that we got in December are the ones that were still holding out as of this morning, even though they have looked like they would explode if you touched them, for the last few weeks.  Today at 11 we went out to check on everyone, and then I ran to a friend’s house to pick up a few things.  While I was there, about noontime, I got a text telling me that Edna had twins and they were up and cleaned off already!  It’s a buck and a doe, and they are doing well.  Edna is a good mom, and they are hunkered down and happy in the new greenhouse.  Edna ate more this afternoon than she has eaten in a week!

Edna and her little doe (I think!)

And so now Dorcas is the last holdout.  I know the full Pink Moon was at it’s height at about 2 AM this morning, but it will probably still look full tonight if the clouds have not moved in yet.  And so, who knows?  We may have more goat babies tonight.  You just never know.

Celebrating Spring

Our bottle babies, Captain and Tenille

This morning was really special, and not just because it is the first day of Spring.  Our Betsy did not spend most of the night with her babies, they actually were camped in two different greenhouses, but when we fed the mamas their morning grain, Betsy ate her whole portion, like a champ!  I can’t believe it!  She has finally earned the step away from being drenched with that awful propylene glycol, thank goodness.  She is off her antibiotics, her banamine (analgesic), and now the drench.  We continue to give her vitamin B every day, though.  We just have our fingers crossed that she can keep eating well.

Betsy’s babies ate like like champs as well this morning, drinking a little over 12 ounces, each.  We are slowly beginning to make the transition from kid milk replacer to cow’s milk, but it’s going to take at least another couple of weeks for that.  Most folks who have been raising goats for years do not use replacer as there is a much higher incidence of diarrhea that comes with it.  Our little ones are doing well, and I would use goat’s milk, but all of my current mamas have regulated their supply to meet their babies’ demand, so they are not letting me have a dependable supply yet.  And the next best thing is cow’s milk.

Jingle, up close and personal

Jingle the donkey was happy today as her good friend Fred the Farrier came by.  I know a lot of farriers don’t like visiting with donkeys, but our Jingle has always been good about her feet, and she and Fred love each other.  It’s such a relief that it isn’t a big deal for her!  Very nice.  Great start to Spring, even if we still do have a lot of snow sticking around.

Donkey dilemma

Beezus and Fergus watching the new fence go up
Beezus and Fergus watching the new fence go up

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday, whichever you celebrate.  We had a very laid back beginning to Hanukkah, and a lazy Christmas day with the kids and grandson.

But, best laid plans, and all that!  The vet was supposed to be here yesterday at midday, but she had an emergency in Belfast, which is up the coast far enough that she could not get here while we still had daylight.  She came instead this morning, so we finally got the newbies vaccinated for Rabies, and she got blood from all of them for the usual blood tests.

Jingle our amazing donkey
Jingle our amazing donkey

In the meantime, we have been watching things with Jingle the Donkey and the boy group, which is down to one buck now, Reddog,  since Oreo left the farm (we could only have used Oreo the Lamancha buck on the Guernsey girls as the two Lamanchas that we kept are his mother and his sister…  not very useful at this point).

Looking up the new fence line you can see all the icy patches that have made t-post pounding a challenge
Looking up the new fence line you can see all the icy patches that have made t-post pounding a challenge

We have always kept Jingle in with the boy group, back to when we had both rams and bucks.  Even though she is technically a mini donkey, she is definitely on the larger end of mini.  Jingle has always had complete control over behaviors in that paddock, and makes no bones about it.  Everything was quite normal with the bucks until we had Reddog the Guernsey boy come back into the group after being with the does for almost 2 months.  His behavior has changed.  No longer the mild-mannered, shy young buck.  And he has gotten quite aggressive with Jingle in particular, for some reason.  As he has horns, Jingle has begun to avoid him at all costs, which is becoming a very poor situation.  Being chased by a little guy with big horns across icy patches of ground is not how I want my little donkey to spend her days.  She is here as a guard animal as well as, you know, a pet.

I have always said that there is no room on a dairy operation for horns (particularly on the does), but we have had horned bucks in the past who would never even consider crossing the line with the donkey.  I am not sure what is going on here, but obviously we need to address the situation.  If I thought the behavior was only because Reddog no longer has a goat companion in the paddock, I could remedy that pretty easily.  But this behavior began the moment we put him back in after his breeding stint.  And has only gotten worse, Oreo or not (he was terrorizing Oreo as well).

The gap in the fence is being investigated
The gap in the fence is being investigated

To that end, Sam and I have been out there putting in a small paddock area where we are going to have to move Reddog (t-posts through the ice not fun,  but the ground is not really frozen hard yet, and today’s temperatures were a gift).  He will now have a full fence line with his girls, and hopefully, will calm down.  Jingle will stay in her paddock for the time being as I don’t need a pregnant doe getting on the wrong side of her and being kicked.  All the paddocks are contiguous, so everyone will be able to communicate with everyone else, so none of the animals are truly segregated and alone.

BUT, we cannot do this move until we are ok to mix the two girl groups.  Aargh!  It’s Dominoes all over again.  At least I know it will be ready the minute we have test results, or the vet gives her okay.  It’s always something.

Winter might be coming? But it’s still vacation

Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck mugging!
Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck.  Winter?

We think.  Tomorrow is predicted to be one of the coldest days of the season.  High of 24F.  Today it was in the 40s.  And it rained.  And rained.  I know we have had a few lovely days in the past week or two, but the overall feeling is of the grey sky and damp.  My arthritis is killing me.  It definitely does not feel like December.

Enough complaining, though.  It is past the Solstice, and we are still just wearing light jackets.  Not too shabby!  My husband keeps the wood stove going, and dollars to donuts, we have to keep opening the back door or the windows.  (I get where he is coming from; he hates to have to restart a fire everyday, so he wants to just keep it humming along.  Sometimes that humming is to the tune of 80F in the house.  Too hot for me!)  So it is this season.  Warm so far.  It feels more like a spring mud season than the end of December.  Mud and water galore in the paddocks.  The donkey didn’t want to go into her shelter in the last few days, and we finally realized that it was too wet where we had placed it over the summer.  We moved it this morning, thanks Sam, and now she is cozying into it.

Anyhow, it’s the holiday break and I am loving it.  Sleeping in until 6:30 a.m.  Lingering over coffee in the morning.  Not getting dressed until I have to.  Reading into the night.  I must be in training for retirement.  Hmm.  Sounds good to me!