Friday, April 26, 2013

Nelly Calved

Yesterday afternoon.  Stillborn.  Sad.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is Four a Magic Number?

It seems to be in the chick department.
Two hatched Tuesday night, and the other two last night.  One actually wasn't too long ago, as it's still wet.  The first two will go to the basement this morning, while the others try to talk a couple more into hatching. 

I guess the power outage didn't do too much damage.  Fingers crossed for geese!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another Two Weeks

And still no calf.
She's not as swollen as she had been, but still more swollen than normal.  She seems quite content to hang out with Mildred and the goats.
Even when Max decides to climb on top of her. He's quite the little trouble maker.
Just trying to entertain himself, since he now lives outside full time.  Soon he will have his own entertainment committee.
Since these two little ones were born yesterday.  Sheila popped them out all on her own.  She did well with the girl right away.  The boy was very shaky on his feet, and even with us holding him up to nurse she was very impatient.  We brought him in yesterday afternoon, since he kept collapsing in odd spots and wasn't able to move quickly should a cow decide it wanted to step there.

After a couple of bottles of kid milk replacer and a bit of extra warmth he seemed to be getting more stable.  He went back out to nurse last night and got a good latch, then slept in the house.  After one last bottle this morning, he went back out to his mother.  Apparently through the night Sheila remembered that she'd had two kids, not just one, and was anxious to have him back.  He was much more stable, latching well, and the weather is gorgeous (+11°F!), so we left him outside all day.

At every check in he's been doing well, sticking close to his sister, nursing well, and even getting a little playful. We'll be keeping a close eye on him, but we're pretty sure he's out of the woods.

Sheila is doing well, and Mama seems to be quite a doting grandmother. 
Monsoon is doing well, growing well.  He's our full time night milker, on account of him not leaving us any milk through the day.  He sleeps inside with the goats at night, while Mildred and Nelly spend the nights outside.  Mildred is giving us 4-5L/day from just the morning milkings, and we leave a bit for him for breakfast.  It works well for us. 
The dogs and chickens get very little milk now, but still plenty of whey.  The milk we're bringing in is plenty to drink, cook with, make butter, and I'm still making cheese at least once a week.  I've started buying yogourt again.  I still make a small batch about once a week, but it's not nearly enough for Husband and the boys to take to school all week.

Our first four chicks moved out to the brooder box in the workshop this afternoon.  They're feathering in nicely.  The box in the basement needs to be ready for the next batch of eggs, which could start hatching any minute now- today is day 21.  I'm a little nervous with this batch though, as we had a power outage a couple of weeks ago.  Still, I'm hoping we'll have new chicks soon.
A shot from the road when we were out the other day.  The huge snow banks are melting away, fences are starting to show up once again, and even a few bare spots here and there.  Spring is coming.  We should be snow free within the next 2-3 weeks.

Which brings up a lot of things to think about.  First- the garden.  All of my garden plans I made in the winter are being thrown to the wayside.  The past couple of years of early springs had me dreaming and making plans that aren't going to be accommodated in this short growing season.  While our frost free date isn't until the first week of June, I tend to push the season a bit and actually have most of the garden planted earlier than that.  This year I'll be ready to have the peas in early, since we'll still have snow into May, and then need to do soil ammendments, greenhouse clean ups, and tilling.  June is looking like it will be a very busy month.

Starting the garden in June also doesn't give me much hope for a lot of the more tender crops, or the longer season crops this year.  I planted corn our first summer here, and it never made it over two feet high, lol.  I expect this summer to bare similar results.  So, I'm minimizing a lot of my previous plans- maybe a plant or two of squash and melon, no corn, fewer broccoli, cabbage, etc.  I'm undecided about the beans so far.  The first two summers (late springs/early fall frosts), I barely got three or four pickings off the bean plants.  So I could plant half the garden in beans to make the most of each of those pickings, or I could plant just a row or two to eat fresh for this summer and not worry about freezing so many.  I definitely won't be planting the dry beans.

On the plus side, I expect it to be a bumper crop year for berries, and low concern for forest fires.  All of that snow should keep everything moist.

On the negative, I'm losing nearly a month of prime firewood and construction season.  That greenhouse I was planning in the backfield- not going to happen this year.  Ah well, plans are meant to change.

For now, we'll keep puttering away at tidying buildings, getting ready for spring.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Beef for Fall

If he makes it that long!

 Mildred is in heat. Mildred is very loudly telling anyone who will listen, that she is in heat. Mildred is adamant that being in heat is a horrible imposition that needs to be taken care of.

Toothless is a bull. If there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind, it's now passed. Toothless is a bull. Toothless is territorial and cranky. He's pushing everyone around. And he wants Mildred.

Yesterday morning we found him in the chicken pen with Mildred. Mindy was there too. I don't know which one of them demolished the fence, or if it was a team effort. We cut more trees and nailed them to the fence posts. The wire is trashed. I doubt we'll be able to straighten it out even after the snow melts.

There are no decent sized trees left to build with in easy reach of the fence.  That means we'll have to haul trees through the snow from behind the house for the next repair.  Which made the 5" of fresh snow we got yesterday all the more appreciated.  Not.

 #2 put the rope halter on him and half dragged him, half dodged out of his way, all the way back to the pasture gate.
If it wasn't for the snow slowing him down when he tried charging, somebody would have been hurt.  I'm hoping he'll settle down in a couple of days when Mildred comes out of heat.  Then we'll only have to put up with this nonsense for a few days each month.  If he doesn't, we may be doing some spring butchering.

Which means we'll have to buy another bull for breeding this fall.

And if he knocked Mildred up, we're looking at a January calf.  January 15th, when it's likely to be snowing and blowing, and forty below.  I was not planning to be milking in January.

However, the odds of Dorie and Mindy being pregnant have increased considerably.  He may be little, but he obviously knows how to get the job done.

And Nelly...  is playing mind games, I think.  She's still red and swollen, but otherwise not showing any intent of delivering that baby any time soon.  She is enjoying the spa treatment in the chicken pen, munching on the grain that Mildred doesn't finish, snuggling with her Mama at night.  I keep telling her it's fine if she want to keep that baby in until the grass starts growing, but seriously, if she doesn't pop that baby out soon we're going to stop doing the late night/early morning check ups, and then she'll be on her own. 

Which might be her plan.  Cause you know, I only ever get to see babies born when they get stuck on the way out and I have to assist.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pregnancy Check II

I checked the girls on March 27th. What a difference a week can make.
Mindy seems to be holding steady.

Dorie is gaining.  It's not proof of pregnancy by any means, she could just be well fed.  It's good to have a point of reference though.

Hay consumption has gone through the roof this week.  Two bales would last over a week most of the winter.  This week I don't think they'll make it 'til Saturday.  Increased appetites are a pretty good sign that a storm is on it's way.  Or someone is eating for two.  I'll be watching the weather.

No baby yet...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

She's Not Too Fat!

My baby's going to have a baby!

Miss Nelly, the fattest cow ever!

 Look!!  She's bagging up!

 And seriously swollen!

Nelly is moving to the chicken coop tonight.  Poor Mildred will have to sleep outside.  We might have a baby by morning!  Within the next couple of days for sure!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Results are In and Round Two Begins

There were no additional hatchlings.  :(

Of the remaining eggs, these six were stinky rotten eggs.  Plus the two I broke a few days ago- eight stinky rotten eggs that weren't even thinking about turning into chickens.

There was only one additional developed egg, two total, that didn't hatch.

That makes my four look a little better now doesn't it?

Assuming the eight were never fertilized to begin with, that's a 66% hatch rate.

I cleaned the incubator out and warmed it back up.

6 goose eggs and 9 chicken eggs went in the incubator this morning.
 21 days for chickens, 28-34 days for geese.  The temperature is also supposed to be a little cooler for goose eggs, at 99°F instead of 99.5°F.  I'll take my chances on the chickens hatching at the lower temp.