Monday, May 14, 2007

Update, Part 1: The Animals

Sorry for the lack of posts. We're still cranking away on a hundred different things. Stand by for a multi-part brain dump of what we've been up to... Are we doing too much too fast? Absolutely. But by now many of you know that I hear a big clock ticking whenever I sit still for too long. But I digress...

Up first, the Livestock Report.

The goat kids are getting bigger by the minute. It's a bit comical to watch a 50 lb kid nursing on a 100 lb mother. They essentially have to lay down on the ground to get under there. (They'll be weaned pretty soon. We've been waiting on our pole barn to be done in order to separate them. I've a feeling that the mommas are probably already working on it.)

We seem to have lost our buyer for two of the bucklings. No worries, there are plenty of other buyers out there. And we can probably get a little more for them now that they're bigger.

It hasn't rained here in at least a couple weeks. The bad news is that means our pastures are thinner than we'd like. But we did get the donkey and the bucks integrated into one pasture, thanks to some extra prodding from Contrary Goddess. I think one of the biggest tricks to this lifestyle is knowing who to listen to when. It's not all wine and roses out there in the obnoxious animal paddock, but it'll have to do for now. Now if I could just teach that donkey to pull a plow he could start really earning his keep. In the meantime, we're looking for a buyer. Need a donkey?

The chickens are awesome. We especially like the Buckeye breed. The Dominiques are nice enough, but they are definitely more homebodies than the wandering Buckeyes. The Buckeyes are constantly popping out from under bushes, or the tractor, the car, a tuft of grass... We removed the truck cap that came with our pickup, and it's become a sort of home away from home for the chickens. They're nice enough to keep the grass trimmed under there for me too. Now if I could just keep them out of the garden until the seedlings are a bit more established...

In case you're wondering, yes, they're still in the garage. Well, they range during the day and use the garage as their home base. Lori built a chicken tractor for the roosters - we've only identified three so far on a straight run of 12! Woohoo! And meanwhile we're building a pen in the pole barn which is finally finished. (More on that in another post.)

A funny thing about the Dominiques is that they roost on the top rung of the cattle panel that used to form their pen in the garage. They have other perches, but for some reason, they like the precarious top rung, even though the most insignificant event sets them all to wobbling. Funnier still are the few who are a little slow on the uptake, perching on the second or third rungs, directly below their flock-mates. I don't think sleeping on a perch directly below another chicken is the greatest idea in the world, but maybe it's just me. A few Buckeyes join them on the panel, but the rest seem to prefer bedding down on the ground floor in a big clump.

The best chicken trick so far? Plucking flies out of mid-air. How cool is that?

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At 5/16/2007 9:12 AM, Blogger Morgan said...

wow you have been getting a lot done. So when can we come over.

At 5/16/2007 9:26 AM, Blogger e4 said...

morgan - Stay tuned, I'm just getting warmed up.

Y'all can come visit any time. Seriously. You name the day.

At 5/18/2007 10:59 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

I can't believe you listened to me! LOL! When we were turning the goats we are milking and their babies back to the pasture this morning . . . the donkey chased them. That's just the way they are and it seems to me, they are happy enough with it. When the donkey is willing to chase a wild dog while they run for cover, it works out.

And it isn't any fun if you aren't doing too much at a time.

At 5/19/2007 6:57 AM, Blogger e4 said...

CG - Yeah, I think the broken bone that donkey caused kept me pretty reluctant. I still don't trust him with the little ones. Maybe I'm too stubborn. Or not stubborn enough.

At 5/23/2007 4:47 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

Well, if I wouldn't just bore you or piss you off, the stories I could tell! LOL! Like the newborn goat that the 2000# horse stepped on. He didn't put that leg/foot down for a week. There wasn't anything obvious to splint, so I just left him running out in the field with his momma and two birthmates and a week later he was fine. He's a huge honking wether now waiting to be eaten. The horse is always curious. So is the donkey. Well, the cow too. Birth is a big thing in the animal world and the people world. Everybody has to have a hand in the babies.


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