a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Talking about the farm side of life

At the NYE/NYD celebrations, a couple of people mentioned how much they are learning about goats and farming from reading my LJ. From the head-nods around the room, I'm guessing my readership is wider than the comments would indicate. Wow. I'm flattered that people read these posts, and I'm pleased that they find the posts interesting/useful/informative, etc.

I need to remember to explain myself a bit when I'm talking about farm-type stuff in my LJ. Not everyone has had to deal with extracting mice from water buckets, and preventing a repeat swim. (The "mouse soup" post was memorable to many.) So hopefully I'll be better in the future about details. If not, I hope people will ask questions to cue me on them.

Where do we stand today?

There are four cats and a snake inside of the house. The one old mastiff left (Joy) spends a lot of time inside asleep in the kitchen, but she still goes out with me every day for morning chores and other miscellanous time.

In the goats there was a bit of expected turnover as kids and adults went on to new homes. This year in the kid department we welcomed the arrival (and departure) of Heidi, Giselle, Maggy, Kagan, and Julius. Clara and Ida remained behind to remind me of their mothers Goldie and Crystal, who both left for other pastures in the same town. Ria and Justin both went off to new adventures as well. In the boy pen, that left us with Sancho, Jared, Loki, Lerris and Cookie. Lerris is Cookie's good buddy now, and since Lerris is castrated I don't have to worry about either fighting or unauthorized breeding if Lerris stays with Cookie throughout the year.

Crystal's departure allowed for the ascendence of Sashimi as Queen of the Goats, and Jessie as matriarch and generally unflappable food taster. Alys took over Jessie's spot as most-outgoing-and-annoying girl goat, with Mona as her sidekick and Penny as a tag-along. Anna continued to be freaky stand-offish with Sashimi. Dahlia hasn't decided which way to go (social or not) so spends some time with both groups. The unexpected arrival of #15 (still nameless) did not cause much of a ripple in the goat heirarchy, as she added herself to the misfits-and-uninterested group of Summer, Penny, Clara and Ida.

Hercules the llama joined the pack at the end of October, and has made friends with Penny-goat more than anyone else. He prefers the misfits group of girls for his social time, and spends his days in the girls' pen watching over the whole group of eleven. The girl goats have not been split up into breeding / non-breeding yet, and if they continue to get along I may wait until someone actually kids before I separate anyone. (The separation is really only to keep lower-ranked moms from being beaten up and any babies from being trampled.)

We added new permanent fencing to divide the back field and barn into left/right halves. We also put in an entirely new fence to add pasture to the back field along the power line behind the green hay barn. We had the contractors stain the front barn a beautiful dark green, which shows the scars of the boys eating/scratching on the wood so much more clearly. ::sigh:: Ok, bad idea. I'll try not to make that mistake again soon.

During fall rut, we learned that we need to separate breeding boy goats by more than just a single fenceline. Loki and Jared together managed to take down part of the new fence, and Loki did some impressive damage to part of the interior barn wall in his efforts to beat Cookie to a pulp. We stopped Loki's wrecking machine by putting Cookie into the dog yard and put the dog into the pasture between Loki and Cookie. And now we know. ::laugh:: We also know that we can't field more than three breeding bucks, because that is as many divisions as we can currently do that allow for space between the boys and any other boys. Regardless of distance, any girls next to any boys will try to close that gap. Penny managed to get under the fence into Jared's field, though she is still not showing any pregnancy. I scheduled her for a sonogram when the vet comes out for everyone's annual shots. (Breeding discussion here: http://reedrover.livejournal.com/774099.html)

Current baby goat expectation in my mind is 13 kids sometime between February 17th and the beginning of April (4/8 or thereabouts). Maximum expectation is 15 kids(Sashimi never has twins), but I'm betting some of the new moms who are twins won't have twins for their first time out. I could be wrong, of course. ::laugh:: Tune in this spring for the real story.

Since older does catch and kid more quickly, I expect everyone to kid in age-order except for #15, who didn't arrive until late October.

Sashimi x Jared
Jessie x Jared
Alys x Loki
Dahlia x Jared
Mona x Loki
Anna x Cookie
#15 x Jared
Penny x Jared

And that's it for news right now.

ETA: I just got a phone update that the boys are having sparring practice. It is Jared on one side of the [open] gate, Loki and Sancho on the other side, and Cookie trying to decide how to join in. Lerris is being sensible and hiding in the shed.
Tags: angoras, animals, dogs, fencing, llamas

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