Signs of Spring are starting to show around the farm, cautiously, but anxious. In spite of the snow and freezing temps for the past month followed by pouring rain and mud, he garlic and tulips are saying, "Hello! its time for spring!" The garlic was sprouting through the ground before the cold spell, so I was afraid it would be hurt. The tips of the elephant garlic are a little brown and shriveled, but it survived, and the hard necks look great. The jury is still out on the blueberries.
The chickens had their first taste of fermented feed today, and they loved it! I have been anxiously waiting for the freezing temps to go away so I could start. Fermented feed has many benefits for your flock, so I can't wait to see the results. Preparing the feed has taken several days. Monday evening, I started the process by filling a bucket with water from the tap, and let it sit out overnight to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Tuesday evening, I put a few scoops of chicken feed and 1 scoop of scratch grains into another bucket, then poured the water over the feed. The water was filled a couple of inches above the level of the feed, and then the mixture was stirred. Wednesday, the feed had soaked up most of the water, so I added a little more to make sure the feed was covered by at least one inch of water, and, stirred again. Thursday and Friday, checked the water level and keep stirring. The fermentation process takes 3 - 4 days, and begins by showing a bubbly film on top of the water, and a sweet yeast like smell. Today was the day to test the feed. I put one scoop in two separate feed bowls, and the girls came running. The brave ones pecked curiously at first, trying out this new interesting brew, then more followed. Pretty soon, they had gobbled it all up. I call this a success.
And, with spring fever setting, in, I couldn't resist the urge to order a few more chicks from the hatchery :)
This odd looking sight is the 'post-op' phase for Bailey and Tater, wearing their Elizabethan hats in the recovery room kennel. Tater started getting frisky with Bailey this week, apparently feeling his own spring fever and adolescent hormones. Thinking there are enough babies around the farm, and not really interested in raising pups, we decided it was time to take them to the vet. Bailey is now 2 years old, and probably should have been done sooner, but after the sad experience with Scout last summer, I was guilty of procrastination. Tater is now about 7 months old (and 102 pounds!!) It was time.
Connor and I have had a 'rough' week, according to him. I told him to think of it as 'making memories.' Some day we will look back at these days and laugh. He didn't seem to see the humor.
First, we had the emotional trauma of dehorning goat kids on Wednesday, and then... Thursday evening, we took the gator up the muddy trail to feed and water the sheep and horses. As we started through the field to the horse water trough, with me driving, the gator slid sideways and got stuck in the mud. We tried and tried, but neither of us could get it un-stuck. So, we called John. Of course, he was able to get it un-stuck, although he three of us and the gator were covered with mud from head to toe, including my hair. The next task was to gather the dogs and haul them down the hill so we would be ready for their Friday morning vet appointment. By then, it was getting dark. Connor and I sat in the back of the gator holding on for dear life to these two gentle giants for the ride down the hill. Once we arrived, they went into the dog kennel, and we washed as much of the mud off their legs as we could. Surgery went great, thanks to Dr. Snyder and staff of the Proctorville Animal clinic. They took excellent care of them. The dogs will stay in the kennel by the house for a few days to recover before heading back up the hill with their livestock. Now, let the barking begin. I hope my neighbors don't hate me.
Today was dehorning day for Sasha and Tyrese. It's necessary, but my least favorite part of raising goats. I think it's harder on me than it is them.
Meanwhile, Candy is doing a good job watching over her lambs,
On days like today, I feel like I live in a Lake house
This is the view from my front porch...
And this is from my drive home...
And another surprise, Old Nag gave birth to a giant single ram lamb. Last year she had three tiny triplet rams, and this year, a single boy who as big as the ones that are 2 weeks old. So far, we have 3 girls and 5 boys, with 2 or maybe 3 ewes to go.
Can you guess who the daddy is?
My name is Christy Franklin.