Thursday, June 28, 2012

Working Like A Borrowed Mule

Sorry I haven't went on a lovely vacation or anything.........No posts have been made due to the fact that these sorts of things are going on.

Shane took this week off for us to get some things accomplished on the remodeling of the house and hopefully get moved in soon. He has been working me like a borrowed mule!  When I get the chance, I'll get a post put up with photos to let you all see  the progress.  Have a great day!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Selecting for Performance

Today, we would be heading out to take our selected bucklings to the buck test in Oklahoma. Notice that I said we would be .  This year is the first time in several  years that we will not be taking any bucks to the test.  We had picked out a few after we weaned them based on their dam/sire, weaning weights, dam's FAMACHA scoring over the past year, etc. etc. etc. ; but this years crop just didn't cut the mustard.

I'll have to be honest with you, this years kid crop has had it's share of disappointments.  Each year, we expect to have a crop better than the last, due to our strict culling.  This year, our group average 90 day weight as a whole was pitiful.  They just didn't seem to be handling the stress of weaning either.  We wormed all of the kids with Valbazen because many of them had evidence of tapeworms (looks like rice in their poop).

Several of our does looked like they had been raising 5 kids instead of two this year.  Last year, we left the doelings on their dams until they were about 5 months old.  The does really didn't have a chance to bounce back before being bred and going through the winter pregnant.  We feel like that contributed a lot to the quality of kids born this year.  Of course, this is all hindsight. 

It just so happened that a man stopped by our house the Friday before our work day.  He said he drives through often, and wanted to know who owns the goats out in the pasture.  I told him that my husband and I did.  He said that he had just had 12 acres fenced in and he needed some goats to help clean it up.  I told him that we didn't have any to sell at the time, but that we would be working them the next day and we may have some that we are going to take to the stockyard but that they would be culls.  He wanted me to take his number and have Shane call him so they could discuss it further.  Long story short, we worked goats and when it came to the kids, several of them were scoring 3-5 on the FAMACHA chart.  Some were still showing signs of tapeworms.  Shane and I stood there and discussed whether it was even worth keeping any of these kids.  We made the decision that we were going to load them all up and take them to the stockyard.  We went through our kidding records and weaning records and picked out 4 doelings out of those 42 kids to keep as prospects, the rest had to go.  We have learned the hard way that when you have some kids that don't do as well in the beginning they will only fall apart again when they have the stress of kidding as mature does. With that being said and ALL the hard work that we put into our herd we had a total of 66 kids and only 4 doelings made the cut.

So when we came home after working to have lunch, Shane called the guy that had stopped by Friday to tell him the situation.  He arrived not long after the call was made and he wanted to buy all of them.  I mean every single one of them!  Bucks....does.....he didn't care.  

Were there more than those 4 doelings that would have been "good" goats?  Probably.......but we are trying to raise more than "good" goats.  To sell registered seedstock, we should only keep the best.  Of course, "the best" varies from breeder to breeder.  We've also learned that the hard way.  Pedigree doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they don't perform well.   Performance is the most important factor that we use to set the standards when it comes to seedstock selection.  It is tough to make those kind of decisions, but it is so worth it in the end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hole in the Pond Dam

Can you guess why I'm taking this picture?

Look closer.....Do you notice anything in the dark hole?

Jael had 4 pups yesterday.  She dug this hole in the side of our pond dam and made a little cave for her pups to live in.  It is amazing how instinctive these dogs are.  She is our oldest female Anatolian Shepherd that we have in the pasture with our main doe herd.  She is 7 1/2 years old. 

Here is a shot of her in the "cave" with her pups.  This is the best my camera will get.  Just look at that pup on the right.   It just happened to be moving onto its back when I took the picture.

Isn't that just the sweetest little thing?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I just want to take the time to say Happy Father's Day to all of the men out there that have in some way made an impact on a child's life. Especially to my wonderful husband.

she's learning to drive

he's learning to construct things

working on fencing together

working the livestock together

spending an afternoon relaxing by the pond

Getting the ride of their life

Showing off his mad skills on the bicycle ;)

Happy Father's Day to the world's greatest husband and father!  Thank you for making so many memories for our babies.  We are so blessed with two of the most wonderful children. I thank God that he has blessed me with the opportunity to raise our children with you by my side.  I love you honey!

World's coolest dad

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our past week's happenings

The flooring is officially complete! We are getting so close....I'm hoping that we get to move in at least by the middle of July. Fingers are crossed!  Our stove and microwave should be arriving any day...Yippee!

I am sooooo going to enjoy having these two big windows.  This house is located more in the center of our farm.  All of the views from these windows are of the pastures.  That will be such a nice change.

living/dining room

We've also been seeing a lot of these kind of skies; and I'm so thankful to the good Lord for sending us all of the rain that we've received.  We have really needed it.  

soon to be rain

This past week, we had to round up all of our bucklings to make the final decision of  which ones were to go to the Oklahoma Forage Buck Test at the Kerr Center in Poteau, Oklahoma.  We were in a pasture without a catch pen, so Shane decided to use this small pen that we have out in that pasture (we'd had our ducks out there in it so the LGDs could get used to seeing ducks).   Davie, our border collie, went out and rounded up the bucklings and herded them right to the pen. 

The only problem was that they had to get into that pen by way of one small door.  Of course there were some that wanted to run around the pen and try to make an escape, but Davie kept after them and eventually got every single goat in that pen.  Shane would keep the door closed to keep those that were already in from getting out.  When Davie would get close with the others, he would open it so they could get in.  I'm telling you, that border collie is priceless!  I mean she has saved us many hours of frustration on getting those goats caught up.  There was a time when it was just Shane and myself on foot, with Shane being armed with a lasso.  Those days made for many laughs.  Shane did get pretty good at  lassoing  goats.  It was amazing... Of course we only had about 12 -15 goats then.  I couldn't even imagine doing that now. 

It's much easier to watch in amazement at how one dog can get out there and round up 100 goats and drive them into any area you want them to be in.  Truly amazing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Mineral Time!

I put out minerals the other day, and thought I would show what kind of mineral feeder we use. This mineral feeder is made out of the bottom of a 55 gallon drum and a flap of rubber. I do believe Shane got this rubber from a plant that was going to throw it away. It was a belt off of some kind of machine. He just cut it to size.

We have a loose mineral custom mixed based on what is needed for our area.  This mineral is also available for not only the cows, but the goats and horses as well.  Many times they will be in the same pasture together, so we had to have something that they all could consume.  In the past we had used the PVC pipe mineral feeders for the goats, but the minerals always got hard and it wasn't feasible to use with the cattle and horses too.  I have a photo of the goats using this particular type of  mineral feeder in this post from last year.  You can click here and scroll down to see the photo.

I must mention that we do have several in each pasture.  They will all try to attack just one, so it is necessary (especially with all of our cattle) to keep several feeders out.  They tend to get rowdy if they are all wanting it at the same time.  They are more "well-behaved" when they have the option to go to the next one when the other is "occupied".   Also something learned through trial and error is that the rubber flap must be wide enough that when the goats climb on top if it (you know they will ) that it will not sink down into the minerals.  It will then open that tub up to collect pellets; not a good thing ;)   

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ducks On The Farm

We have added a few ducks to our farm. They are strictly here just for us to enjoy looking at. We got them when they were a little over a week old and raised them in a cooler until they got rid of all of those fuzzy yellow feathers and grew those nice white ones. It is so relaxing to me, to watch them glide across the pond so gracefully.  

Gliding Gracefully

They do tend to spend most of their time swimming in the pond or standing just in the waters edge.  However, there are times when I will catch them in the middle of the pasture out "grazing" for bugs.  It's the funniest thing to see those ducks working over the ground so quickly.  It's seems like they are having such a feast.  Of course, when anything appears to be heading in their direction such as a horse, dog, cow, goat, or human; they take off like like rockets to get back to the safety of the pond.  I really do enjoy having them around.  Thanks to my honey for "convincing" me that we needed some ducks  on the farm ;)


Friday, June 1, 2012

Snack Time!

I always find it so amazing how those goats can eat the thorniest plants.  It's like snack time for them when it comes to briars and prickly weeds.  So thankful that we have the goats in our pastures.  They really have improved them.  They eat what the cows aren't interested in and it balances it all out.

The photo above is our summer project, once the remodeling is completed.  The wooded area at the bottom of this 40 acre pasture will be enclosed with portable electric fencing and goats will be put to work on it. I think it's about 12 acres. Several years ago we had someone come and cut the big trees off of it hoping to open it up into pasture land.  There were some smaller trees left behind, along with some brush, and you can see it has taken off in just the few years.  It was not top on the priority list of things to get done here on the farm, so once again, it will be snack time for the goats!

** Oh, before I forget.....the turtle in the last post was lucky because a pellet barely missed him and became lodged in the tree limb.  If you look closely you can see it below the turtle.  I just zoomed in to take a picture of the turtle ( he was so far away ) so we could get a good clear picture of him and didn't notice the "missed shot" until we uploaded the pictures on the computer.**