Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting started young!

Yesterday was FEC day. I walked around the farm with my cooler and collected samples in ziploc bags. We had battled the scours about 1 month ago around here, which ended up being coccidiosis. We have a few young bucklings that have started again, so there's only one way to find out the culprit....Look at it under the microscope. I guess it's a blessing that I absolutely loved any form of science in high school and college. ( My nursing experience has come in quite handy for the farm as well.) Most people just look at me cross-eyed when I tell them that I look at goat "poop" under the microscope. Personally, I think it is the best tool here on our farm. No guessing...

Training them young....Dillon appears to be as interested in scientific things as myself. He said, "Mom are there any eggs in there?" Wonder what he'll be teaching the kids at school now.

Ended up finding quite a few of coccidia in several samples. I'm beginning to wonder if those nice cement water pads are a good thing for the goats. We've not had this sort of issue until they were installed. The verdict is still out on that one.
Yesterday a pup followed Jael way out into the pasture and ended up getting caught in the middle of all of the goats. I noticed it was missing from the rest of the litter. When I got out into the field, it was just hanging out there with the goats by itself. Jael went back to her other pups. It has started taking it's job very seriously at such a young age :) I thought it was pretty neat to see it out there in the middle of the goats, like that is where it belonged.

See if you can spot the little LGD in the picture below.... The grass almost swallows it up completely.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pup update

Shane and I went down into the heart of the woods where Jael had her pups hid away today. We decided to bring them all out and put them in the pasture with the goats. I was thinking it was going to come a flood today and I didn't think they would've made it.

As we go down there to gather them into a clothes basket, mind you we have never touched them. (they are 5 weeks old) They went to barking, yelping, and scattering out to get away from Shane. When he would get one in his hands, some of them bit him. Of course, it wasn't like they ripped his hand off, but for a small pup, Shane said they sure had a bite. They are truly survivors. I am amazed that they have made it where they have been this whole time. It was a total washed out area. Each time it rains, water floods through the area they were in. One day I went to do a head count from afar, and couldn't find them. I figured they all must have died. Later that evening, I walked deeper in the wooded area and found all 5 of them in a very COOL spot. Our heat index has been up to 110 with 90-100% humidity! Jael took them to a low lying area, that was damp and cool. So here are some photos after we put them in the field... Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Goat Playground

There is a bridge being torn down close to our home, and we have been the "lucky" ones to get the debris from it. Shane was approached after church one Sunday about it a few months ago; and here we are with it in our pasture. Shane directed the men to put in on top of an old road bed that used to go down beside the chicken house that used to be in that area. The ground there is super hard and doesn't grow grass well. I guess our goats are going to be the envy of goats around this area due to them having their own goat playground.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fillin' holes

Shane called the county supervisor the other day to see if he could bring out a load of dirt....We ended up getting 3 loads! Shane has been filling up holes and trying to put it in areas that have washed away. We usually put hay on top of the dirt in those washout areas to keep it from washing the new stuff away.

We also have a dirt road beside our barn (old chicken house) that has many low spots that holds water when it rains. Shane took some and piled it up on the road and we tried to level it out some. Look at the two hard workers. Dillon was working circles around me, then the camera came out and Mallory had to get in to have her photo taken!

Mr. and Mrs. Shows brought back our buck Y 27 (we call him Elvis due to his fancy hairdo) that they leased for their herd. I will be getting updates on him on our website. We did do FAMACHA checks yesterday on all of our bucks and they all did real well. A lot of 1 and 2's!!! We do have some bucklings though that aren't handling things well where others are doing well. They are starting to show us which ones might make the final cut at 1 year of age.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dung beetles

Shane called me the other morning to tell me what he had found down at the barn....Evidence of dung beetles and other wonderful critters that are helping spread the manure! It may sound totally crazy, but we are excited that we have a "natural" thing going on here. We have been trying to rotate livestock through some of our pastures to create even more "foragability" (if that is even a word). We've been reading the Stockman Grass Farmer for a couple of years and have been working towards growing good grass naturally. I can remember reading that the farmer/rancher ultimately isn't a cow/goat/sheep/horse/etc farmer, they must be a grass farmer first. Without grass; the whole raising livestock would be a definite challenge. (of course, there is sack feed, but I am not going there.) Back to the manure.......Here are two photos; a before and after ...Be prepared...Yes it is photos of a pile of POOP! These photos were taken to show the difference beetles/other critters can make for a pile:

If you would like to learn more about dung beetles and what they can do on your farm click here.

Here is a photo I took before we moved our cows to the back 40. This was at a time when we had them in a pasture with all of our bucks/bucklings. You want to talk about confusing when trying to move the cow herd out while keeping the goat herd in (and the LGD's). When the animals see Davie the border collie, they know they have got to move somewhere, so they all get in a wad and wait for her to move them. Shane said that will be the last time we put the two difference species together. We will just have to run one after the other.

Also I had to include this shot of Rooster reaching to get that tasty morsel of green stuff. I am so amazed how an animal of his size can balance so well on two hind legs and reach that far for one tiny little leaf!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

286,942 miles and counting

We have just made it home from a whirlwind of a trip to Poteau, Oklahoma! We left Thursday night around 7pm and drove all night to drop off our bucks to participate in the buck test held at the Kerr Center in OK. Shane wanted to try driving them at night to reduce the stress of such a long haul. He had just bought the goat tote earlier Thursday morning (kinda last minute). Usually we use our cattle trailer, but have decided to invest in a goat tote instead of hauling that big trailer around for a few goats. He covered it with a billboard tarp that we had to keep the wind out, rather than buying a cover for $120. We had to stop to get some bedding to soak up the "mess" they would create in that tote. We stopped to get gas to realize too much wind was coming in and blowing the bedding around, so we went to Home Depot to get yet another tarp. That did the trick. Here are the bucklings below, before we put that last tarp on.

We decided to send 4 bucks this year from 4 different does than we sent last year. The smallest goat had a time with our LGD pup chasing him around until we finally weaned him off. His dam has had the best FEC that we have checked on our farm. Next year, we plan on sending some of Rooster's bucks with the same does to see how his offspring perform.

We arrived at the Kerr Center a little after 8am. Mary, Andy, and Courtney were waiting for us to arrive to check our bucks in. There are a total of 60 bucks in this test with ours included. Our 4 missed out on 1 week worth of the "warm up" period, but we hope they will do fine.
After they checked everybody in, we took a tour of the facility. There are some nice bucks that have been entered into the test this year.

We also looked at their Pineywoods Cattle herd. Mary and Andy drove down to Mississippi to get some of the genetics in their herd. Their bull came from down south and has been given the name Mississippi Mud.

We finally left there somewhere around 10am. Meanwhile, Shane still hadn't had any sleep after driving all night. He finally pulled over right before leaving OK, and I drove to the other side of Memphis while he took a power nap. He said he wanted to drive again, so I took the passenger's seat and started with my camera. I look back now at all of the crazy photos I took, and I do believe I was a little deliriously silly with my sleep deprivation. I decided not to share all of my crazy photos, but here are a few.

This is us about 20 hours into the trip.

Thank goodness for that nasty coffee at the gas stations. I guess I shouldn't knock the coffee, after all that is what keeps you awake!

Shane's truck, Besse or Betsy (he said she'll answer to both), rolled over to 287,000 miles before we arrived home. She has been a good 'ole girl for us. We decided it would be nice to document the mileage for our trip. Notice the dust had to be wiped to see the mileage. I think she deserves a little clean up after taking us to Oklahoma and back safely. :)