Thursday, April 7, 2011

Farm Doings Update

Some days I'm not sure what to use for a title for my post! Today is one of those days as I just have an update and hate to use "busy" incessantly!

Weather wise, they said we were to get to 54* today. It hasn't happened. It's cloudy and got to 47*. That still is nice coming out of Winter and it's still a good temp for having outside catching up and Spring clean up to do. Yesterday it rained ALL day and hard for a significant part of it. Tomorrow is suppose to be T-storms and 51*.

The incubators are on lockdown. Today the humidity was pretty low so I hope that doesn't mess it up. I may have to help stuck, dried out hatching chicks and it's not a good thing to open the incubator during lockdown! One egg pipped a tiny spot a few days ago and has done nothing since. Tomorrow should be the big day! I'm about ready. I need to put the brooder up but everything is all together and I can do it tomorrow as there's not sense running the 250W bulb until it's needed. I'll put newspaper in the bottom and a piece of the vinyl/plastic shelf liner in and that's fast. I can fill the water with hot water. I guess the big thing is to bring the bag of eed in. The van is still near the back door so I can do that.

The kids are doing great. I've a few that really stand out that I like. I like their dispositions too. I have also finally named everyone a barn name. The Alpine doeling I'm keeping is Jewels. She is a broken chamoisse cou clair with wattles. I LOVE wattles. Chamoisse is a pretty brown. The cou clair pattern is dark in the back end and cream to tan in the front with lots of black on the legs, face, head, and underside. The broken means she has some white on her. Hers is a small paint-type marking under her belly that narrowly extends up onto her sides a bit where the cream and black meet. Bandit is her sire and his kids ended up with this broken white spot. He didn't have one but his dam, Spirit has a LOT of white for her broken paint-type marking. Buster, another Alpine, has had digestive issues from the start. He was almost dead when I found him and limp. His mouth was cold inside too. We did get him revived and he's one very well, except the digestive tract. He's finally improving but not over it. I wish he'd get over it because it would be nicer to handle him without a messy bum.

Pictured above is Macey's boy, Beagle. He was born the morning Macey and the others were picked up and moved out. My first sight of him struck me how much he looked like a beagle so I dubbed him that for the brief time he was here. The pics I took didn't turn out very well but they are what I have! He would have made a wonderful stuffed toy. He was one of those who had that type of a look and let you snuggle him like one! I sure wish he'd been a doeling. I'd have asked to keep him/her.

The 2 LaMancha boys have moved to the barn. They seem to be very happy frolicing in the big double pen. I moved most of the chickens to the outside pen so they only have a couple along with a couple bantams.

Unfortunately, a coon made an unnecessary and UNWANTED visit and got 2 of my mottled bantam trio (roo & hen). I was just sick to find them dead yesterday morning. I have the live trap set and baited. We're going to town tomorrow so I'm seriously contemplating picking up another one. They aren't cheap and yet the chickens I bought weren't either and I get no return if I have no eggs from them after buying them. :( So I think another trap will pay for itself over time. Last night I caught the remaining bantams (8) and put them in the travel cage (a ferret cage) and brought them in the house for the night. My trailer is full of hay now. I expected them to smell but didn't notice it until I went to give them some left-over soup this am so they had a snack and a wet one at that. They seemed very content. They'll have to come in again tonight as I didn't catch the coon last night either and it now knows there are chicken nuggets "available" for the snatching. I saw this coon up here at the house the night he got the pair of bantams. He was cleaning up the cat food I put out daily for the cats as the Barney, the barn cat needs food too. With another trap I can have one here by the house and another out to the barn and between both, hopefully get predators before they can get too many chickens.

I bought a used crockpot at GoodWill for heat treating the milk for the kids and CAE prevention. It's sure making it easier. I just need a bigger milk supply for all these babies! Being I brought the 5 home, I'm using more milk than my does who kidded can supply fast enough! Becca and Kendra have finally come into full milk so it's helping. It's not helpful though when Becca gets a foot in the bucket and kicks it over. I do keep another bucket handy so I can pour milk into it as I'm milking with the FF's (first fresheners). She managed to spill milk 2 x this morning so I lost over a pint. Normally that pint wouldn't be so crucial, but it is right now. This morning was the first her milk is fully in and was the first that I was able to empty her udder. We have a problem! It's a significant problem too. Even though I pulled her kid immediately, she has VERY TINY TINY teats. Skinny little teats the size of my pinky finger's first 2 joints! Her udder is small and up tight to her attachment area, the eustascheon. It's small but very nice.... it's just as if the oxytocin didn't last long enough in her system during kidding to help her teats finish filling out. I have a "handful" with simply my thumb and forefinger so I just can't even get ahold of anything hardly at all! I've never experienced this before. My 2 ND does have the same size udders but NICE sized teats that I can get hold of to milk and milk out easily. Becca will need to "fix this" for her 2nd kidding! This milking season will be a long one with milking her. Their udder has "memory" ability so I HAVE TO milk her as long as possible and get ALL the milk every time! If I don't she might get a milk memory that is too short. I'm going to look for a "contraption" tomorrow to make a milking aid with a top that works similar to a spray bottle and has tubing attached to a syringe. I'm going to need it to milk her for long. The good news about milking Becca as an FF is she is being VERY GOOD on the stand. She really doesn't move around much at all which is WONDERFUL! No bucking or theatrics! She seems to only be reacting if my milking makes an uncomfortable move. I'm very impressed with her milking attitude. Thank goodness she has a good one as I'd very be able to hang on to her itsy-bitsy teats!

I'm LOVING the new milkstand. I couldn't use it last night due to the pouring down rain but did in the AM as it was a fine mist. This am was wonderful to have it! In fact, it was BETTER than WONDERFUL! The height is a bit for the does with their full udders, but it's perfect for me to sit down on and stand up from. I put a cart that I have that is short behind it and they hop on the cart and onto the milkstand fine. I'm going to make a box for them to use that is just a couple inches higher than the cart and it will be PERFECT.

It's time to get bottles filled. The milk is finally processed and the kids are hungry! I hope you enjoyed the update!

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