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.