Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's happening

Shane's been busy constructing something to be used here on our farm.  This picture is just a hint....Can you guess what it is going to be and what it is made out of ?  When it's complete, I'll put more pictures and details.

This is the first year that we have weaned calves on and plan on keeping for replacements.  We have a few steers that will be sold later on when the prices come back up.  We had actually planned last year not to winter over any cows...just goes to show you never really know what can happen when you run a farm.  Things change and all your plans have to change too.

Shane found a soy hull pellet feed at a local feed store.  It had 9% protein and the hay we have is 8% protein.  We have experimented with lick blocks, lick tubs, and for now, we are using the feed along with the hay to try to keep them going through this cold weather until the clover comes up.  I like it because the calves are starting to come closer to us now.  I can see why folks feed their animals.  They no longer run from you, they run to you and I like being able to get that close to them without them being scared to death.
We had an old feed trough that was here from when Shane's grandpa ran the farm.  We mostly used it for fun around here.  We would pull the kids across the pasture behind our Kawasaki mule.  It is just not quite big enough to accommodate all of the calves.  Shane had some drums around that he cut in half and then tied them together.  It is working out really well as a trough.

I was out in the back forty and did notice a little of the clover coming up in patches.  I sure hope it comes on.  The goats and cows have really put a dent in the hay supply.  We had a drought this year, and it is really showing with our winter grasses.  Thank goodness we didn't get any snow this year. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Livestock Guardian Dogs

Today just happened to be a day for us to be even more thankful that we have livestock guardian dogs (LGD), our Anatolian Shepherds.  Shane went out to make rounds this morning, and came up on this animal laying out near our main doe herd's hay rack.  At first sight, Shane said that he thought it was one of our border collies....and after getting a closer look, he noticed it wasn't a border collie.  It was a coyote.
6 month old pup overlooking coyote
We knew that we had coyotes around, due to the fact that about 3 years ago we lost several newborn calves to them.  We got donkeys to keep with the cattle, and didn't have any more losses.  Our goats have always had LGDs with them, and we haven't had any losses to predators.  We have found dead raccoons, rabbits, cats, hunting dogs, armadillos, etc. out in the pasture with the goats.  This was the first time we've had to carry out a coyote. 


Right on the other side of this pasture, I've heard a group of coyotes getting worked up at dark, and I wondered if they would ever get brave enough to venture into our pasture. Shane said that it had frost on it this morning, so it must have happened sometime last night. This one was missing some of his teeth, which Shane said he appeared to be an older one.  

We've gotten calls from folks, who have goats that were thinking about getting an LGD.  I would have to say it would be a very wise investment.  Some may never have any issues with predators, but all it will take is one night for them to put a hurt on your livestock.  I am so thankful that we have ours. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Will he stay or will he go?

We are in a kind-of horse dilemma here.  We have 5 horses, and at most we ride 2 at a time.  The other 3, usually the same 3, are staying out in the pasture with our cattle and getting their bellies full.  We have this horse named Shaggy that was purchased over the summer, that we had put on Craigslist to sale about a month ago.  Shane decided to ride him one last time, and like magic, he pranced around the field and caused Shane to really begin to like him more.  After that ride, Shane came inside and removed the post (we had already received 3 phone calls in just a few hours). 
Can you imagine what that horse did to cause Shane to decide to keep him for a little longer?  He had a gait about him that Shane felt like he could possibly be a Tennessee Walker; just needing a little fine tuning. 

Come to find out, he is a cross between a quarter horse and a Tennessee Walking Horse (so the owners before the previous owners had said).  He is a beautiful horse and has a very good disposition about him, but we have to get rid of some horses here!  5 are just too many!  Have you ever seen how much a horse can eat? 
So we are not sure if Shaggy will stay or go.  But one thing I'm pretty sure of after talking with Shane tonight, he will end up with a Tennessee Walker, because he is hooked to that smooth fast gait.  So we may end up changing the whole group of horses we have.  Of course, Mr. Sonny will be staying here for now.  I have enjoyed riding him quite a lot.  He isn't too bad looking either!  Just take a look for yourself....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We had a visitor today!

While I was at the barn I happened to notice something moving in our front yard down the road.  I thought to we go again!  One of those crazy TX goats got out again!  The closer I looked, it was just too big to be a goat.  It kinda looked like maybe a calf had gotten out.  That was impossible for one to be in our yard though.  The field they were in was on the other side of the barn.  Anyway, I knew something was walking around on the other side of the pasture fence that shouldn't be, so I was trying to get a game plan on how to get it back in on my own.  Then I noticed one of our neighbors coming down the road, she stopped to let me know that I had a big boar hog in my yard!  Aha!  No goat or calf......but a hog!!???  She said that it walked down another road heading this way.  It walked over a mile to get to our yard.  Here  is a picture of it right off of my back porch.

This thing was gigantic.  I was a little worried that it would be mean, due to all of the stories my mom told me about the wild hogs running through the woods when she was a child.  She said you could hear them coming through the woods and her grandma would holler for the kids to run inside the house so the hogs wouldn't get them.  As a child, hearing this story, I had a real fear of ever seeing any of those wild hogs.  On this day, I was just fascinated that this thing was in our yard eating acorns like this is where he belonged.  Our LGD's had other feelings about it.  In the picture below, you can see Jael and Kimba keeping a close eye on it behind their fence.
Kimba and Jael in background
After he was finished with the acorns in our yard he decided he would head down the road.  He ended up getting to my pecan trees and stopping again to eat my pecans!  He was such a hog!   

In the meantime I had called my neighbor to come check this thing out.....He arrived with a friend and they ended up getting him, if you know what I mean. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Please accept my apologies....

I have been slacking on posting on the blog lately, so please accept my apologies.  Things have kind of slowed down around here, and quite honestly.....I'm enjoying it!

Here's what we did this weekend.  In preparation for this winter, Shane has come up with a portable hut to put in the pasture for our does.  We learned a hard lesson last winter, when it was freezing with rain mixed with sleet.  We have our does in a different pasture that has absolutely nothing to get under, beside, around, etc. to get away from freezing rain. 

It started out with these metal rings that were like a spool for some kind of cable.    There are two of these rings with a rod in the center for the cable to roll around like a spool of thread. 

Then they were cut in half to make semi-circles to become the frame. 

Below is some tin that we have had put to the side waiting to get some good use out of it.  Let me tell you a little story behind this tin.....When Hurricane Katrina came in down here in 2005, she blew this tin off of Shane's mothers roof.  We kept the pieces that could be reused for something else.....and what do you know???  We have found something good from the devastation that the Hurricane caused us.  We were able to use the tin.....5 years later.

This is what it looks like underneath it.  There are 3 sheets of tin screwed across the semicircles.  They are ran lengthwise with 3 semicircles underneath which is overall 20 feet in length. 

In order to transport it to the field, we had to use our utility trailer and move it very carefully.  As you can see, it was too big to put in the trailer, so we had to balance it on top and use clamps to hold it in place. 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Never a DULL moment !!

Can you guess what this is a picture of?  If you guessed a goats horn, you are correct!  Now why am I holding this horn and snapping a photo of it?  Well, let me tell you why....

Yesterday, we ended our breeding season and moved the does together into one herd again.  That meant that our bucks went back into the buck field together again.  Of course one would expect the usual pecking order fighting to go on, but Rooster and Gold Digger took it to another extreme.  They started ramming their horns, and before we knew it, this is what happened.....
Gold Digger lost one of his horns.  It was broken completely off at the base of the skull.  You can see down into his skull by way of two holes left in his head from the horn.  It actually scared me...I thought we were going to lose him from bleeding to death, but it didn't bleed as much as I thought it would.  We gave him an injection of Nuflor and put some paste around the holes (not in them) to keep flies away per the vets instructions.  He said the holes needed to be left open to allow drainage.  I thought WHAT???  to myself....leave holes that expose the inside of his skull open??????  Shane and I were talking last night about what if an acorn fell out of the oak tree and landed in one of those holes.  It would hit his brain...How crazy is that!  He is doing well today, just hanging around in a pen by himself.  I tell you though, it is never a dull moment around here!

Today Mr. Clause Miller came to pick up his 7 does that were brought a couple of months ago to be bred by Pistol Pete/Rooster.  They left out this afternoon heading back to Illinois.

Three of these does were in with Pistol Pete, and the other four were with Rooster. 

Also, Mr. Miller was kind enough to transport one of our anatolian shepherds back with him for the Greniger's from Just Kidding Goat Farm in Minnesota.  They will be driving to Illinois to pick up their new LGD, Xena. 
Xena getting ready for the trip
So that's all that's been happening around here.......for now, that is.......because it there truly is never a dull moment when it comes to our place!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Something to share....

We had a cow that got down with mastitis this week. When I went out to take her some food and water, this is what I found.  Kimba, Jael and their pups were out there staying with her.  She had gotten down and couldn't get up, so the puppies had kept her clean from where she had pooped.  It was the neatest thing to see them keep the other cows and horses away from her while they were "taking care" of her.  We thought it would be something neat to share with you this week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Anatolians can be gentle!

We have found that a lot of people around here are terrified of Anatolian Shepherds.  I'm guessing they think since they are "guard dogs" that they are vicious dogs.  Here at our farm, we have contact with them.........ONLY in their pasture with their goats.  Of course they are used to us, so they are friendly to us.  This picture of Kimba and Mallory is proof  of how gentle they can be. 

As with anything new, they have to be introduced by one of us.  When Shane started using our border collie to round up the goats, the LGDs were not keen on a dog coming in their territory "chasing" their goats.  So for a few days, Shane would walk Davie on a leash with him out in the pasture.  Since they have been introduced, we haven't had an issue with the LGDs when we need to herd the goats. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Other farm happenings

We usually do not wean our calves; they are generally taken straight off of the cows and sold at the stockyard.  This year, our calves didn't seem to grow off real well (probably due to the terrible winter and drought of the summer).  The prices bottomed out late in September, so we will not be taking any to sale.  We weaned about 16 head this past week.  Those that were bulls were banded to make steers out of them.  They were put across the fence from the cows so they could still see them.  For the first few days, it was a noisy mess!  Now, things seem to have calmed down and all have went back to grazing.  We may end up keeping the heifers as replacements.  They were out of the Brangus bull Mojo, and we got some nice daughters out of him.  The steers may be sold as grass finished beef.  The whole weaning and keeping the calves is new to us, so we'll just have to see how it goes. 

We also only have 2 female puppies left for sale.  I should be getting our website updated with the information for those who are interested.  They are growing so fast.  We have found opossums and raccoons dead out in the pasture where they are at.  I think they are learning real well from Kimba and Jael. 

Dog wars again....or maybe not

I've been meaning to post lately, but things just keep preventing me from getting it done.  So here goes.....look out for several posts tonight.

I went out to the pasture the other day to find Kimba with a really swollen head.  All I could think of was that he had been bitten by a snake.  I couldn't find any bite marks on his head.  I did find a cut under his ear.  I decided I would check on Sinbad to see how he looked...(he and Kimba like to tangle up sometimes)  I went to the back 40 where he was and he appeared fine to me from the distance I was at.  The closer I got to him, I noticed he was limping a little.  Then I realized he had a cut under his leg.   Long story short, he had to pay the vet a visit and his wound was left open to drain.  We spray Granulex on it in the afternoon and he's also taking antibiotics. 

View from the side
We're not sure if he and Kimba tied up or if Sinbad got hooked by a wild hog.  They have been rooting up the ground in the back near the goats and we figured it could be a possibility.  The cut under Sinbads chest was such a large clean cut.  It seems like it could've been due to a tusk.  If that's what happened, we can't figure out why Kimba's head was so swollen with that cut under his ear.  Maybe they teamed up on the hog.  Who knows?
View from underneath

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Sad Day.....

Today was a sad day for us here at Deep South Kikos.....Our little rat terrior Maggie ( "Maggie mo-mo" as we called her sometimes) died this morning.

She had to be one of the toughest farm dogs ever known.  She only weighed about 5 pounds and you wouldn't have ever guessed a dog so small could do so much.  She loved to help (or get in our way) when we were working cows or goats.  She had so much heart....She had been stepped on by a cow, bitten by a copperhead, and yet she never stopped being our little super dog. 

We buried her in our backyard under a Bradford Pear tree at Dillon's request.  He wanted to have a funeral for her.  Mallory sang Jesus Loves Me and Dillon asked that I say a prayer.  He put a cross on her little grave site and we all reminisced about all of our wonderful memories of her (through tears for me and Mallory). 
We got Maggie in 2002, so she had been a big part of our family for almost 8 years.  We will really miss her very much.  It's something how a dog so little can impact your lives like she did ours.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Temporary visitors from Illinois

About a month ago a gentleman from Illinois contacted us about breeding some of his does to Pistol Pete and Rooster.  He had a select group of does from his breeding program that had made it through his strict culling practices.  He wanted to add some of our genetics to his stock.  We have 3 put in with Pistol Pete and 4 in with Rooster. 
Pistol Pete with the ladies

The does with Rooster

We also had our goat playground modified this past week too.  Shane had a guy bring in his heavy machinery and move the piles of concrete around.  It's not exactly how Shane had wanted it, but the goats are seeming to enjoy it better now.  It is not as dangerous as it was before.   They are running and jumping on it every time that I've went out there to check on them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breeding time is here!

We had a few cows that didn't move to the new pasture with the rest of the herd.  They had new calves and didn't seem to care about staying with the group.  Saturday, Mr. Broome and his pastor brought their border collies and together managed to move those cows across the road with the rest of the herd.  Now of course, it wasn't as easy as it sounded.  It took a few tries......I'm not sure if you can tell by the pictures butit was very foggy that morning.

Moving calf back down the road

Mr. Broome with his border collie

We worked all of our does Saturday and separated them into their "breeding groups".  We have Gold Digger in with the purebred and commercial does; Rooster is in with the 100% New Zealand does.  Kimba decided to jump in the driver's seat of the mule while we were sorting the goats in the catch pen (a good picture opportunity.) 


Rooster is finally with the does
Gold Digger checking out the ladies

I'm hoping to be posting some new information about some other goat breeding that might be going on here at our farm........Until then............................

Friday, September 24, 2010

Update on pups

I have finally been able to get a few more photos of the pups to share.  It has been a job to try to get a halfway decent shot of them.  They move around a lot!  I've got random shots below of them in the pasture.  We wanted to let everyone know, these pups have been around cows, horses, and of course, goats.  They are trained to a self feeder.  We put a 50 lb bag of food in it, and with the two adult dogs and 5 pups, it only lasted 5 days.  They are eating real well.

Hanging out with dad

Checking out the cows
At first we intended to have no contact with the pups, but when it came time to give them their shots, I couldn't catch them.  They wanted nothing to do with me, because we had had no interaction with them.  We now try to go out a couple of times a week and at least try to put our hands on them.  The kids really are loving that!

Shane bought a LGD locally a couple of years ago.  He ended up being a fantastic guardian for the goats, but not one of us could get our hands on him.  He would run way off from us and bark.  We had the hardest time catching him to take his collar off that he was outgrowing.  It was digging into his neck.  Our vet had given us "ace" to give him in his food, and that didn't even work!  Him not wanting us to touch him ended up being the death of him.....we couldn't catch him after he had been bitten by a rattlesnake numerous times; until it was too late.  I feel like the LGDs need to have some human interaction so they will not be like he was. 

Cooling off


Learning from mom
We had a man come by yesterday to look at one of our adult LGD's that is for sale.  He really wasn't ready for a dog yet, but he went ahead and paid a deposit on one of the males to give him time to get his animals set up.  So as of now, we only have 2 females and 1 male out of this litter of pups left for sale.  If you are interested just give us a call or email.  We also may be able to deliver.