Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Good Clean Water

We have had to come up with a way to provide clean water to our horses, cows and bucks that are in the front pasture. This pasture has a pond, but the pond looks extremely nasty. Unsanitary watering areas can wreak havoc on your animals ( take it from us....we've been there and done that ). Shane put an old empty protein lick tub out in the field and drove a t-post to give it support on the back side. Water is being brought in from a hose attached to a faucet at the back of our house. The hose is connected to a float that we attached to the tub which will provide a constant level of water. As the animals begin to drink the water, the level decreases which in turn causes the float to move and release more water to keep it full. It's actually quite nice. I can remember a time when we had to haul water in 5 gallon buckets.......Can you imagine how many trips that would take to keep them with water? I don't even want to think about it right now....

Shane covered the hose with a 4" PVC pipe cut in half and turned over to keep the animals from getting tangled up in the hose.  We have been using this for a week now and it is working out pretty good.  You wouldn't think that 40+ cows could manage to drink from this small tub, but they have learned that the water is always there.  They come up in different little groups during the day, sometimes just one will make the trip to get water.

The float is the silver box

It's real nice to have a water source nearby to connect to.  We still have quite a few acres that do not have access to a water source.  About a year and a half ago, Shane added a  few water pads to some of our pastures to try them out ( click here to see them, they are on the lower part of this page) .  They are really great to have because you can rotate your pastures more efficiently when you have a water source readily available.  Without a source of water, you are kind of limited to how you are able to have the area grazed.

By the way, I haven't forgotten about putting the buck test information up....I'm just trying to get it all together.  Please bear with me :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dixie's Colt

This morning as we walked out the door to make the trip to school, the kids started yelling and pointing. It scared me at first, I really thought something was wrong. Then I realized they were looking at something that made them both excited.....a new colt. 

We have been waiting to see a foal out of Dixie for a little over a week. We had to go to Oklahoma this past weekend to get our bucks from the buck test, so you can imagine how quick of a trip it was. Shane didn't want to be gone with Dixie getting so close and he had also noticed one of our new heifers was bagging up and getting ready. We left Friday at 5pm for Oklahoma and made it back home Sunday morning around 3:30am with no newborns. I think I heard my dear husband breathe a sigh of relief when we returned home to find all of the animals just like they were when we left.

My babies didn't want to go to school today because they wanted to stay home and pet on the "baby horse".  Guess what we'll be doing this afternoon?  Hanging out in the pasture, of course! 

My next post will be a recap of our weekend excursion to Oklahoma at The Kerr Center.  There were some very informative seminars  Saturday and the day ended with the results of the 2011 Buck Test.  For now, I have to get a some laundry done and a little housework done.  I've already spent half of my morning out with the new colt.  Some things do have to get done around here...  :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pasture Walk In Louisiana

We received an email the other day from Mr. Nic Girgenti of Lagniappe Kikos, about a pasture walk being held October 1, 2011 in Ethel, LA. Shane told me after talking with Mr. Girgenti on the phone that it would be okay to put it on the blog for others to see. The information was sent in JPG format, so I uploaded it like a photo. When you click on the picture below, it should pull up larger so you can read it. It is being hosted by the Southeast Graziers Pasture Group. The meeting is open to the public and for those interested in grazing management and livestock production. They will also have a special guest, Dr. Ann Wells, who is Program Director at The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Poteau, OK. This should be a very interesting and informative event.  If you have any questions about this event, let me know and I will try to direct you to someone that will be able to answer them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Please Help...Ideas Anyone???

I am in great need of ideas for us to do at our school's fall festival.  Both of our kids were chosen as fall festival King and Queen for each of their classrooms.  I mean what are the odds of that?!  This means that I have to try to do fundraisers for not one, but two kids.....So far, I have signed us up for putting on a "kiss the goat" contest.  These contests are usually pretty fun.  Someone will have to pay so much per vote for a faculty member at the school to have to kiss the goat.  The one with the most votes gets the honor of puckering up. 

All proceeds from any fundraisers that we do will go to the school.  They will have a ceremony in November to recognize the top 5 kids that raised the most money.  They will be crowned at this ceremony.  So we are trying to get some good fundraising ideas.  Please share any that you may have.  You can leave a comment below, or you can send an email to deepsouthkikos(at) yahoo(dot) com.  Thanks a bunch!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Agriculture News in Mississippi

I found this video on You Tube of a show about agricultural news in Mississippi.  I think that this show is featured on RFD-TV.  We only have regular local channels, so we wouldn't have the opportunity to watch this program.  It is 24 minutes in length, but I thought some may like to watch it.  It talks of topics like the catfish industry in Mississippi, Farm Families of MS campaign, and the eminent domain initiative that will be on the ballot in November to try to put a stop to eminent domain abuse.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My First Attempt at DSK News

I thought it would be interesting to go back in time and relive some of what was going on around here.  We knew that we wanted to keep our friends and family updated with all of our farm's happenings, so on our website we dedicated a page strictly for that.  Now, the way we share our "news" has changed.  If you are reading this, you will now notice that we use the blogger to keep everything updated.  Thanks to Amy Johnson from Horseshoe Canyon Ranch for giving me advice on using blogger a couple of years ago.  I'm glad I made the decision to use blogger!  Here's a look back at my very first attempt at Deep South Kikos News (when you get there, you can click on the photos for a larger view, if you'd like). Please excuse the bright background.  Remember, I did say this was my first attempt.  I'd like to say that I'm progressing, technologically speaking, at getting you guys the news! 

Miss Dixie

We will possibly be experiencing something new around here pretty soon. Dixie, a mare that Shane bought several months ago, is going to have a foal. Mr. Shows, the previous owner, said that it was possible that she had been bred by his stud horse before Shane went to look to buy her. He really wanted to get another Tennessee Walking Horse, so he rode her at the Shows' farm and really liked her. He didn't intentionally seek out a pregnant mare, but the Shows' said that she was a great horse; and they are pretty nice as you can guess, we got another horse. 


We have experienced the beginning of new lives with calves, chicks, kid goats, LGD pups, and the foal of a donkey. Now we will get to have a horse's foal running around, hopefully. Mallory is super excited that this little one will belong to her. We're not even sure of a estimated date of arrival, but when it arrives I'll definitely have to post pictures. Maybe they will be a little more clear than the one of Dixie above. 

Happy Friday everybody!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chinaberry Trees

We have these trees, that we call Chinaberry trees, on various areas of our farm. Shane's grandfather believed that these trees had some benefit to his cattle. He said that when a cow got "wormy" that they could eat from the Chinaberry tree and that it would "de-worm" them. He never used any kind of de-wormer for his cattle because of having these trees in the pastures with them. The photo below is one of the trees growing beside the pond.  We actually have quite a few growing near the waters edge in both of our ponds.  The one in this photo has seen better days. 

I have seen the cows nibble at the leaves from time to time on these trees, but I have often wondered if there is anything to it. Our goats absolutely love them.  I decided I would try to educate myself on the tree and I found this article about the tree.  It's pretty interesting.  It did say that there is a component of this tree that is used in insecticides; don't know if that would cause it to have an anthelmintic property for animals.  This would be something that I would like to find out.  I did read that the Chinaberry tree is considered poisonous to swine in this article by UC Davis-Weed Research and Information Center. 

Chinaberry Tree leaves and berries
 We have a few of the trees that are growing in a leaning position which enables the goats to walk right up the tree and eat the leaves/berries.  Since they couldn't climb the tree in the photo below, they started with the bark.  The only problem is that when you let the goats eat the trees like this, they will eventually kill them.  Goats are good at ridding your place of invasive plants/trees if you'll allow them.  I read an article in the Goat Rancher a while back that if you wanted to keep goats from eating the bark and killing your trees to collect goat pellets in a bucket and let them soak in water.  Then you can "paint" the trees with it.  I think this idea was featured in the "Makin' Do" section of the magazine.  It's title was something like "Makin' do with goat poo".  I haven't tried it, but I can see how it would work.

We do like to keep a variety of plant species for the animals, so we try to move the goats to a different pasture when it looks like they are going to kill off some specifics plants.  We are the only people around this area that actually don't mind having "weeds" in our pasture.  I've heard Shane tell several other farmers that visit our place, " Oh no, that's not weeds, that's goat food."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Remodeling Continues

We struggled in making a final decision on what we would be putting on the exterior of the house we are remodeling. Our decisions had went from log vinyl siding, brick, stucco, cypress, cedar....We finally took the plunge and went with a board and batten vinyl siding. It isn't exactly what we envisioned, but the exterior is finally covered. The addition that we had added on definitely needed to be protected from the elements. The original house is block and we went ahead and covered the whole thing to make it uniform. 

The picture below is a closer view of the vinyl.  It has the appearance of wood grain.  There is a smaller space between the battens with the vinyl than what you would find with true board and batten.  We weren't able to find anyone that had used this, so I'm hoping if anyone considers it they will be able to get  a better idea of what it will look like by seeing these photos.  The website of the company we purchased it from didn't really have any good examples of what we could expect.   

All in all, I am happy that we are getting closer to being finished.  I was hoping that we could be in by Christmas of this year, but we are working on it as time allows us.  It seems like there is always something coming up that takes time away from working on the it.  Ah, the joys of living on a farm!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Hay

Several years ago, Shane decided to sell our hay equipment.  The mower, rake, and baler.  Instead of keeping the animals off of the  "hay fields" while hoping to achieve a good stand of forage that could be baled into hay, we are trying to improve our pastures and get more grazing out of them.  On the other hand, there is also no maintenance or repair of hay equipment, the stress of watching the 10 o'clock news to see if it will be dry enough weather to get the stuff cut, cured, and baled in good time without any rain.

This year Shane bought hay from a neighbor that lives a few miles from us.  It worked out very well.  He was able to make quick short trips with each load.  Last year, he made some loooong trips back and forth getting the hay from another guys place.  Hopefully we will fare pretty well with our hay supply this year.   

Shane hard at work ;)

Our hay is stored in the barn to keep it out of the weather.  Our barn is actually an old chicken house.  Shane's grandparents operated 3-4 chicken houses on this farm at one time.  This is the only one that is left standing, and it has been put to use.  Of course, our kids think this is the greatest time of the year....All of those bales of hay to climb and play on.  It makes me itch just thinking about it.

I also noticed in the Mississippi Market Bulletin that there is a hay directory for Mississippi. It has listings by the each county that have hay available for sale. Click here to go to MSUcares website or to view the hay directory you can click on this link here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee

Today we are expecting quite a bit of rain.  Tropical Storm Lee has moved right below the coast of Louisiana, and we are located on the northeastern side.  This is the side of the storm that typically produces severe weather, so I am keeping my eyes on the news today.  It has been said that this storm will produce lots of rain for our area and that is something that we definitely need.  We haven't had rain in over a month and we could use some.  I told Shane this morning that our pond's water level might actually see some improvement after all of the predicted rain to come.  Hey, I'm just looking for the know the silver lining as some call it.  

Here is a link to the satellite radar imagery showing what kind of weather we are in at the moment.  If you'd like to see it, you can click right here.  

Have a great weekend everyone!  And for those of you in Tropical Storm Lee's path, stay safe and dry!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kiko " Lease Bucks"

Meet Elvis. No, not Elvis-the king of rock and roll...this is Elvis, one of our lease bucks that we have here at Deep South Kikos. He is a son of Pistol Pete and one of our 100% New Zealand does. Can you guess how he got the name Elvis? Check out his hair-do.  Mr. Newman thought the name fit him well, and I do agree.  He can even do the Elvis lip trick....Well, it's not quite the same...but he can sure curl up his lip.


Elvis had been gone from our farm for about a year.  He had been leased out by numerous commercial goat farms to breed their does.  Shane looked up his "log" for the lease bucks and out of the past year, Elvis may have been here for a few days in between his "service calls".  Sometimes he would leave one farm and be delivered straight to the next one.

He has just been returned safe and sound back to his home here at the farm.  I would think with all of his travels, that he would be glad to kick back and relax for a while.  I couldn't have been any more wrong.  He has been calling across the fields to the ladies on the other side of the road trying to get them to notice him.   With four mature bucks here on the farm, at this time, one can only imagine how it smells around here ( if you know anything about goats and their "cologne").  At least it is only concentrated in one area!

Just to let folks know, we do offer the option of leasing one of our " lease bucks" to breed to your commercial does.  We have found that folks around here aren't real familiar with the breed, or they are unsure about making the step in purchasing one.  This option allows them to add kiko genetics  to their commercial herd without having to keep a kiko buck on hand.  All of the details about leasing a buck can be found here.   We do have one other buck that is still out on lease, that should be coming back to the farm soon.  He is out of Rooster; I will get pictures of him when he returns. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

We had a few visitors today

Today while I was washing dishes, I noticed something walking in our back yard. I was so excited about the opportunity to grab my camera and hopefully get a few shots to share with all of my readers.   This group of turkeys has been spotted several times around here, but I never can get a picture of them. 

This is one of the benefits of living deep in the heart of the National Forrest.  We get to see a pretty good bit of wildlife from time to time.  Other times we may have visitors like this or this. ( You can click on the links-the highlighted words, if you'd like to see)  We've even had one of these visit our place. ( I promise we do treat all other visitors much better than him.  He kind of asked for it when he entered the pasture with our does and their kids.)  One time, we even had this group of visitors come and spend a little time here on our farm.  As you can see, we have visitors of all types.   I could keep going and going, but I'll save the others for another time :)

So back to the subject(s) at hand, I was worried the turkeys would see me and take off, but I crept around the side of my house like a undercover agent with my camera aimed and ready to take a quick shot.  They were walking pretty quick and cautiously, so I went ahead and snapped, hoping to get at least one picture. Of course there were objects in the way, so you'll have to excuse the distractions in the photo.  I didn't want to step out and give myself away, so all you get to see are shots taken while hiding around the side of the house in some banana bushes and hoping and praying there wouldn't be any banana spiders climbing on me.  I would've had to give myself away for that.  Have you ever seen one of those? Well if you have, you would know why I am not a lover of spiders.  Yet another "un-welcomed" visitor, if he/she messes with me. 

Heading for the woods.

Hope you are lucky enough to get a few visitors this week too!