The Fat Ewe Farm 
    and B & B

...organic permaculture farmin' 
  for the lazy you's and
 Bed, Breakfast 'n Bale

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Two Little Dahlings, er, Doelings

Posted by Fluffy on December 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

These two little ladies are the cutest tiny goats you will ever see. They are sisters, well, sort of. Pippin, the miniature one, is actually the only living daughter of Serena, who died from worm infestation, though she was wormed regularly. In my ignorance, I did not realize that she had become resistant to the wormer and it was no longer effective. Barber pole worms attach to the stomach and suck the blood, rendering the goat first anemic and then finally, dead. I had no idea this goat was pregnant even, but she birthed twins somehow. The boy died the night of his birth, but I fed Pippin with an eye dropper, she was so tiny. For three days, she was fed ever hour and then the next goat was ready to kid and I was able to graft Pippin to her new mamma. Since then, Pippin and Sherry have been inseperable. There was also a beautiful brother born to the mother and she was raising triplets, but being Nigerian Dwarf, a dairy goat, she had plenty of milk, until now that is.

The little girls would not be weaned. Mother goat, Daphne tried to kick them away, but every time she was up, one of the little girls was attempting to nurse. Finally, Daphne was worn out and I had to separate the babies from mamma. They are 5 months old, well old enough to be on their own, but with Pippin's rough start, I left them with the mother longer than normal. Mother is run down and with the cold snap, she was struggling to stay warm. The babies are together in an 8 x 10 shelter with a straw bale house and as of today, they have Mat the Flemish giant rabbit to keep them amused. The shelter was originally designed to give the dogs a place out of the wind, but they only played in it and so when the goats needed a place, it was available. I sure hope the rabbit and the goats get along.  Aren't the little doelings just darling?

Very Busy

Posted by Fluffy on August 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

It continues to be a very busy time at The Fat Ewe. The bed and breakfast has been full several days this week and there is a booking for Friday as well. I actually had to turn people away for the first time yesterday! I am grateful for the increase in awareness for the B & B.

My beautiful daughter Brianna has been visiting for a few days. She drives the 16 hour trip all in one fell swoop, then crashes on either end. She is a pleasure to have around and loves the animals. This time she was very enamoured with the turkeys, which she picked up and petted and carried around, and the baby goats. There are also 3 days old chicks under two mother hens and yesterday the first 3 of the ducklings hatched, so she had to pick up one to cuddle. Her two day visit ended too soon and I saw her off this morning as she drove away on her long journey home. She had been after me to get matching tattoos for a couple of years now, and this visit we did exactly that, so she will have a very close reminder of this time together, as will I. 

The women who tattooed us asked to visit the farm and no sooner did we arrive home, they were there too. They loved the farm and the animals and spent several hours here. As well, buyers for the two remaining male goat babies arrived. I had to spend quite a bit of time with them as they are new to goats and had many questions. They too spent almost 2 hours here, along with the tattoo guests. In the meantime, my chores were waiting, so as soon as they left, I got straight to work and just finished as it became too dark to see what I was doing. Then I still had to go to the B & B and lay out the morning fare since the folks requested a Continental breakfast at 5 am. After I set the coffee pot and cleaned up, I came back to my home and Brianna arrived with pizza and beer! I said she is a pleasure to have around and that was very thoughtful of her, since it was already 10 pm and I certainly did not feel much like making dinner. 

I have to drive to Vilna, a small town an hour and a half away, this afternoon, so when Brianna left this morning, I began the day's work, stripping beds and cleaning bathrooms and also letting the animals out to free range and feed themselves during the day. The birds have been wonderful in keeping the ants, mosquitos and flies down. Last year the mosquitos were terrible and I was not willing to go outside in the evening even wtih long sleeves on because they would bite through everything. This year that has not been a problem at all, except on the evening walks with the dogs out in the quarter. I am impressed with the bird's foraging for that reason too. 

So the past few weeks at the Fat Ewe have been very very busy. There are still 8 sheep to arrive this fall and the chicken coop to build, as well as several smaller shelters for the sheep, goats, geese and ducks. I sure hope that September offers good weather so that everything can get accomplished on this busy farm!

Some Days are Very Frustrating

Posted by Fluffy on August 20, 2012 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I cannot feed the dogs until the chickens are in for the night or they come screaming across the yard and feast on the dog food. The ducks, turkeys and geese also love it, so in the morning, I have to take any food inside and the dogs don't eat until evening. They are all old enough to be fed once a day now. Harley, who came to me at 66 pounds is beginning to look more like a Maremma instead of a scarecrow. I don't know his current weight , but I cannot see is ribs and tail bones sticking through his fur anymore and he is playing with the dogs and wagging his tail, all good signs. 

The geese did not want to go to their pen tonight either. I do not let the goats and geese free range as much because they are huge trouble. The goats have topped and eaten the raspberries, the canes and the leaves. They turned over a planter to eat the petunias and they find any morsels of grain and eat it all. Sarah got into the duck pen today and ate herself silly before I caught her. She would have been dead by now if that was not whole grain. Grain is not good for ruminents at all. It took a good half hour to get those geese in the pen. The dogs were not helpful. Robbie wants to head the animals off at the pass which is the opposite of what he needs to do. I am not sure how to get him not to do that. 

I find that if I leave the doors open to the Australorp, Rare breeds and bantam's pens, they go in by themselves, but it is almost dark. I cannot take the dogs walking in the dark, but I am so frustrated trying to get the birds in when they do not want to go in. I guess I could resort to going for a walk in the early afternoon instead. The only thing is, that with all the dogs and me gone, there is no one here to watch the free ranging animals. Maybe I should take the dogs for a walk in the morning before letting everyone out, but my energy level in the morning is zero. I am much better at night. Tonight, I mowed the grass then took the dogs out just before dark after all the animals were safely stowed away. I physically have to half carry the Alpine goat or she will not go with the herd. She is always in trouble and frustrates me to no end. I should not be angry with the animals, but I only have so much patience and when the dogs are undoing what I am trying to do, it only worsens the situation. Gads!

I didn't do it, honest!

A Very Sick Little Girl

Posted by Fluffy on August 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

She is a twin. These two young ladies were not the strongest babies, but have grown well and improved immensely. I see the goats daily and yesterday all was well in the evening. Today though, one of the twins seemed a little off. Upon closer examination, her mouth was open and she was drooling. I picked her up and inside her mouth was what I thought was manure, lots of it, in her cheeks, under her tongue, down her throat. I cleaned and cleaned her little mouth and washed it out with cool water as well as I could. There was so much gross smelly stuff there, it was a wonder she could still breath. 

But this did not fix her problem. She could not close her mouth and the lower jaw was off to one side. I gave her some electrolyte solution, penicillin, vitamin b 12 and a vitamin complex and let her be with the goats. I called the vet, but he did not return the call. I looked up her symptoms and listeriosis was the closest diagnosis. If she indeed does have that, it is very contagious, not only to goats and sheep but to humans and the other animals on the farm. 

I gave her some more electrolyte solution. I do not think she is able to nurse so I prepared milk replacer and gave her a bottle. She was unable to suck but could swallow, so I basically squirted the diluted milk in her mouth and she swallowed about 5 ounces. I returned her to her mother and she appeared dizzy and disoriented but was not stiff and was not going in circles, two symptoms of listeriosis. 

This evening though, she is worse. I boosted the shot with more of the same and selenium/d as well. She is in a tiny kennel to keep her still, is shaking, so she is inside the house where it is warm and she is away from the herd in case she has something contagious. I have a feeling the little girl will not make it to morning, but if the drugs kick in, she might have a chance. It is disheartening to have a sick animal and very sad to lose one. 

Sarah, the Goat

Posted by Fluffy on August 5, 2012 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Sarah was a gift, or rather the better part of an exchange. I offerred wool and the goat was the offer of the person who wanted the wool. Last year's fleeces had a lot of vegetative matter though and Sarah is a purebred hand raised bottle fed baby Alpine goat. The trouble with Sarah is , well, everything. Because she was people raised, she did not learn to be a goat. She doesn't know what to eat and she would rather stay with the people than the goats. The other goats push her away on top of it all, recognizing that she is a little different. Sarah is an escape artist too. She can get in or out of most of the fences here, but now the goats and ram lambs are in a place that Sarah does not seem to be able to climb from. Huray! I had every bit of hay and grain surrounded by tarps and wire and even wire on top and she stil got into the grain. She broke into the duck coop through the wire too and at the grain there. Grain is not really good for goats, not allowing proper function of the rumen. Sarah is 3 months old now and I am sure hoping she will settle in better. Alpines are way different than Pygmy goats it seems, or maybe Sarah is just vey special. Here is Sarah busting through my fortress to get at the grain.

Worms

Posted by Fluffy on July 31, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Worms are a bad part of raising animals. The populations of worms have become resistant to medications and can kill animals. This past winter, I lost a little goat because she was resistant to the wormer I used. It was too late for her by the time she was so anemic she dropped. unable to walk. I have been reading about worms. The sheer numbers and types of worms that affect animals is staggering. Most can cause severe problems from anemia caused by blood sucking worms, to brain damage from worms that crawl into the brain area. Treatments are with drugs. Years ago, there were no drugs to treat animals. Those who could not tolerate their wormloads died and the strong propogated the next generation. Some primitive sheep retain the resistance to worm loads. One breed even appears to secrete an enzyme that kills parasites. 

In the meantime, we ply our animals with wormers and the wormers stay in the meat or milk and eventually humans consume them. What we need to do is only breed those that are resistant to worms again and build flocks that can manage their parasites without the man made drugs. Something is not right about that whole situation. For thousands of years animals survived, even thrived without the intervention of chemical wormers and now they drop dead in spite of their use.  What to do, what to do?

So Long Leroy

Posted by Fluffy on July 27, 2012 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Leroy has sired some wonderful healthy strong kids, but I am keeping his girls, so he needed a new home. I tried for almost a year to find a home for him with no luck, so tonight he was sold for meat. I thanked him for his life and his spirit as I said goodbye to him. Leroy came to the farm with Louise and the two kids were inseparable, that is until he bred her. She had something, but the sow ate it or them before I could even see what happened. Poor Louise. Leroy jumped the fence and bred her almost immediately after that and she kidded late, twins, a boy and a girl that were sold as pets to a local couple. Louise suffered during the winter, not having had time to gain her strength between breedings and with the fact she was young, the mites got the best of her. With great perseverence I helped her get better and made extra effot to keep Leroy away from the does until early in the year when they were older. Louise recovered from her ordeal over winter, but one little goat succumbed to anemia because she became resistant to the wormer, unbeknownst to me. She was so sweet too. 

Anyhow, Leroy is leaving a legacy of 11 kids on the ground, plus the two that were sold last November. He was cute guy, but very strong and knew something was up tonight. I have never had trouble catching him before. Offered a bucket of grain, he was first to stick his head in, making grabbing him by the horns an easy task, but tonight he was not coming to the bucket. Finally I got the dogs, Joseph and Robbie and they continually chased him until he was worn out. Then I was able to grab his horns and we led him to the truck where I said goodbye. I will miss his antics. He was one good lookin' billy goat!

Mom, Is This a Mountain?

Posted by Fluffy on July 25, 2012 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I could spend hours with the kids if I had that time. They are delightful, running and jumping and playing. They call to their siblings who answer them and they run to each other. Then they run and play with the other kids. The kids will sleep together in one house if the moms are out on the farm, but once the moms are back in goat city, they push the foreign kids to their own moms and call their kids to stay beside them. 

"Aw shucks...no more playing? Come on mom, is this a mountain? It sure is fun!"

The Pain of My Mistake

Posted by Fluffy on July 23, 2012 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I am so sorry Weezie. I cut her hoof too short and it bled so badly. I held her foot in the air to help stay the bleeding, but it obviously hurt my poor little goatie. I am learning how to trim the sheep and goats hooves and they are quite different. The sheep do not have as much of a pad that needs trimming. That is a cartigalenous bump on the bottom of their foot. In the videos it shows it being trimmed. I trimmed the toe too short though and cut into the meat. OOOOOOOhhhhhhh. 

Who Eats What?

Posted by Fluffy on July 20, 2012 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Aaaarrrrrrgh!

I have the goats, ducks, geese and chickens, well at least some of each, free ranging in the yard, plus one sheep and lamb. Sarah, the baby Alpine is such a pain. I cannot keep her out of anywhere. She finds a way to get over the fences and suddenly she is causing trouble. She has toppled a good deal of my carefully stacked wood pile playing on it, only some logs nearly fell on the baby Pygmies and could have killed them. She goes into the chicken pen and eats their food and she goes in what is left of the grain bin and eats what she wants. She nibbles my raspberry patch, but has not as of yet discovered the tomatos. 

Then there is the issue of the dogs eating the turkey/duck food and the ducks eating the dog food. What is up with that? The dogs scarf down ny turkey/duck food they find. The ducks frequent the dogs' dishes and eat the kibbles. I need to look at the ingredients and prices and maybe just buy dog food. It seems hot on the menu anyhow. 

Evenings are quite the rendezvous too. I try to round up the goats, catch the babies and lure the mothers back to goat city, protected by an electric net fence. Sarah jumped onto a house and over it though, so there was no keeping her there. Then I round up the Saxony ducks and 3 geese, plus the Rouens, all who share a night pen with netting over the top. The Saxony ducks have just started to lay eggs and Rouens are just stopping, but if the ravens see them, they are gone. The netting prevents the raven from getting to them before I do. The sheep and lamb go to a different pen and do not like to cooperate. Then the Khaki Campbells go to their hut but they avoid going in the door and I end up chasing them around and around the hut. OY!. Finally I get the chickens in, but have to chase a few every night. Last night I tried letting the turkey poults and young Australorps free range. The turkeys decided they would roost in the trees and not bother coming in...perfect raven breakfast. I could not get them down so I sprayed them with the hose a bit, not to get them wet, but to make them think it was raining. Then I chased them in but they just left again because the door was open so I could chase the Australorps in. I decided not to let them out for another 3 weeks and hope they will do better then. They did NOT want to go home!

The Australorps decided the dirt at my front door was the best and stayed around there most of the day, leaving little reminders of their presence. Boy, those fencers better get back soon so I do not have to deal with that, plus they ate the dog food and dirtied the dogs' water. 

The theory is that free ranging different species is a good way to utilize the whole pasture. What they forget to say is that everyone eats everything they are not supposed to and the instructions for easily getting the critters home for the  night are ommitted. Sheesh!


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