Archive for January, 2010
It is definitly that time of year, mud everywhere. It is a nuisance to walk outside to the car or to the mailbox and have your feet covered in mud. It gets all over your car and it ruins your good shoes. But what can you do, not much.
Out around the barn the mud is much worse and it can become a problem. If you feed outside the barn the mud will just continue to get more messy and harder to get around in. It is hard on the cattle and hard on you. Then when it freezes the ground is so uneven that it is difficult to walk on.
So, what do we do? I don’t know about everyone else but, the one thing we do is move our feeders around every few weeks to keep the mud from becoming a problem. If it does become an issue, there are times when we had to just haul in more rock. There are some areas around here that I know are 10 inches or more deep with rock that has been built up over the years.
The other way is to feed on concrete but that can also get messy and pretty quick. Then you just have to clean, clean and clean. And if not careful, it can get pretty slick. I know that when it does get in that condition it can be hazardous. The concrete can be as slick as glass and a broken leg can happen pretty easily.
Another thing we do is drag the ground area around the feeders. When the ground is still muddy yet a little frozen, we pull the drag behind the tractor and even out the ground. Now, I don’t do this myself, but Al does on a pretty regular basis. He usually does this at the same time he puts out hay for the cattle and horses.
We do the same procedure around the hay feeders. They are easy enough to pick up with the tractor and move every time we put out a new bale. This keeps the area from becoming too much of a mess and the grass will grow back come Spring.
Everyone does things differently but this just might give you another idea. I do know that a drag is a must on the farm and an important part of our farm equipment. We have ours made from 5 old tires, halved and attached together in a triangular shape with a chain that hooks to the tractors hitch. It does a great job.
We are so happy this week. After 6 losses, we now have twins that have survived. Miss Dolly delivered Wednesday morning, to my delight, twins. Boy and Girl named Jack and Jill. I was so happy to see them and watch as Miss Dolly carec for them. She is becoming a wonderful Mama.
Today, they are 4 days old and have started playing more with each other. This evening, after getting the chores done, I sat in the barn and watched them play. They started with filling their bellies and then lying down. It didn’t take long and they were up and sniffing the straw and each other and then it became hilarious. Jack would try to jump and would get his front hoofs in the air and then fall over. Next, Jill would do the same thing. They just seemed to take turns and then all of the sudden they were doing it together. They would jump and then fall down. It just became comical and I burst out laughing. The other nannies probably thought I was strange. They all just stared at me.
I have to admit, I have a soft spot for babies, whether human or animals, and just love watching them at play. They are just so adorable.
Even though, I go on about their play time, I still have to make sure they are kept dry and have clean bedding and warmth, on the cold days and nights. Right now, they enjoy their own little cubical with Mama but in a day or so I will be turning them all out with the others. Mama has her own water bucket and small livestock feeder that are easy to move . This way when we get ready to move them back into the herd we can just open the gate, move the bucket and feeder and allow them to move when they are ready.
It is pretty simple to care for goats, the one thing is that you have to be consistant and you should be fine.
As anyone who has lived or worked on a farm to attest to, it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. From tending to the animals to maintaining the facilities, every set of hands is constantly finding a way to keep busy. Because of this hectic nature, it is extremely important to ensure that all of the daily tasks are well-planned and streamlined.
Luckily there are a multitude of supplies and equipment available to help make the most of each minute that you are working. Just one example of this is livestock feeders. They allow to feed animals is a safe and effective manner, allowing you to proceed with the rest of your daily tasks.
In todays economy we have to make use of all the things that we already have on hand. We just cannot afford to go out and buy new stuff and put it on our credit cards anymore so we must improvise. It is amazing what you can find around the barn, house or yard that you can make use of.
On of the things that we have started getting a lot of use out of is a drop sided wagon. (Look in the background of the above picture in the doorway of the barn, and you will see our wagon.) If and when we need to haul several buckets of feed at once but really don’t need the truck or tractor, it comes in very handy. A bale of straw or hay fits in it just perfect and you can pull it with you right into the barn. This little wagon can go places that other equipment cannot even fit into. It has rubber tires and maneuvers well. Having a bad back, it has became one of the farm supplies that I cannot do without. It saves me from having to carry feed out to the cattle because I can just load the buckets and pull them out to the feeders in the wagon, unload and dump. The stress and strain is no longer a problem.
Another item I have made use of is a hard rubber water trough. I placed it up next to the house under a downspout and now collect rain water in it. I have discovered that by using rain water on my seedlings and plants in my green house is better for them than city water with all the chlorine. I bottle it in milk jugs and plastic bottles and store it to use for my house plants all year round. It really works great. Even in the winter, I’ll fill the jugs and keep my supply stocked. I only have a problem if it freezes.
Look around, see what you can use out of all the things you already have. You may be surprised.
I have goats as you may have read in my articles. I enjoy my small herd and love caring for them. I am, at this time, awaiting the arrival of new kids any day now. So I get excited when it comes to my goats.
My little herd has a pasture to roam around in, a barn to sleep in, straw for bedding, hay, water and nutritious goat feed and minerals. They are very easy to care for and wonderful pets. Oh, once in a while, I’ll get a Nanny that has to be Queen and cause problems with the others but, that doesn’t last long around here. I don’t have a lot of patience for one that refuses and won’t get along. I, also, won’t tolerate a Buck that has no respect for me. I guess, even though I don’t think I am a perfectionist, I want a easy to care for herd that I can enjoy and not have a lot of hassles.
I am still in the learning process and am still getting all the ins and outs of raising Boer goats down like the dehorning, deworming and vaccinations.
The only real problem I have had is that they, like all goats I suspect, like to take advantage of getting out of their designated area. I have found that high tinsel electrical fencing works great, when it works, but the best I have found is woven wire fencing. When the fencing stretches from ground up they seem to respect the fence and not even try to get over, under or through it. But, as soon as they find or realize that the electric fence is not working, they go right under it and out into the field across the road. It really is pretty simple to get them back in, I just talk to them or holler, sometimes it takes a few loud words, and they go right back in. The hard part is if they get out once, the fence has to repaired and the short has to be found before they can be let out of the barn again. That is especially true if I have to be away from the house and can’t keep an eye on them.
Right now that wouldn’t be a problem, the fence is working, but since there are 5 of them due to kidd any time now, I check on them every 2-3 hours. The weather is in the single digits and pretty dangerous out there for newborns. I work close to home and try my best to be ready at a moments notice to help them bring their babies into the world.
So, as I have mentioned, goats are a lot of fun to have and to be around. They don’t take many farm supplies to care for them and they are an easy animal to tend to. So if you want an easy hobby, goats may be your next adventure. They eat everything, especially my strawberry plants when they get out, but are so much fun. Enjoy!