Wednesday was Gel’s birthday. He is now five. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him. Wally and I planned to go out and reset the fence when he got home from work, but instead we went out to the local dairy farm to see if they had any bull calves. I knew that they had a man who was buying all that they produced so I thought we might as well go out and put our name down for the next one that was born. As it turned out, there was one bull calf there, who was promised to the man who bought them all, but the owner of the farm said that if we wanted to take him home that night, we could.
I road in the back of the truck with him. Wally said that it was a good thing that there were not a lot of bugs out as I would have had a lot of them stuck in my teeth. I had a big grin on my face the whole way home.
Jersey cows are beautiful creatures. They have eyes like deer. Buster Brown is a lovely calf. He is healthy and a very good size. This dairy farm takes very good care of their animals and I think Buster is going to do well.
So far he has. Feeding him has been a learning experience. After we got him home, we went back out and got him a bottle, filled it with goat milk and headed out to feed him. He’s a rowdy boy while eating. After trial and error, we leaned that holding the bottle straight up and down (vs. at an angle) works far better. When holding it at an angle, he’d butt it and at times, knock it out of your hand. Wally told me not to hold the bottle close to my body and I should have listened to him. I now have a bruise on my belly where the bottle hit me. If you hold it straight up and down, you can pretty much just hold it with two fingers and he doesn’t knock it out of your hand and he is able to suck the milk out easier. It makes sense, that’s the position of an udder. All and all, he’s doing very well. I want to get him on a three times a day feeding schedule for the first few weeks. If we can do that, I think he should grow up well.
After I got out of work today, Wally and I went to visit a Boer goat breeder that we both know. I hadn’t been to his farm before. It was surprising to see the difference in size of the Boer goats who are the same age as Casper. They are a lot smaller, which shouldn’t be the case given that they are meat goats. I think leaving the goats on their mothers as long as we did has made a huge difference.
Rain’s baby, formerly known as Sunny, who is to be registered as Spellcast In the Pink, is doing great. She’s growing like a weed. She was almost white at birth, but now she’s pink, hence the name change. Raspberry’s baby is doing very well too. She’s not producing much milk for us, but her baby is getting plenty and for now, that’s all that matters. A Saanen doesn’t come into her true udder until she’s three or four years old. She has filled out and is a beautiful doe. She’s very easy to handle and doesn’t let the other goats boss her around.
Speaking of milk production, I started weighing my milk today. That is a much more accurate means of tracking production. Rain and Champagne were tied at 2.12 pounds. Billie was a close third (which is impressive given that she’s a yearling doe and this is her first freshening), with Addie coming in fourth and Lil in fifth at 1.12 pounds. Lil has been a bit funky lately. I’m not sure what’s going on with her, but I think she’ll settle in and be fine. Champagne was off for about a month after I got her. Raspberry gave about four squirts into the bucket. That’s okay, she didn’t give me any trouble on the stand and her baby is growing good.
I took the plunge and ordered the ingredients for herbal wormer for the goats. It’s time I got with the program in that regard. I’ve also been inspired by this couple and their efforts to raise sheep in a sustainable, grass based system. They are using Pat Coleby’s mineral mix, which includes copper sulphate … horrors of all horrors, right? Sheep don’t need copper and it will kill them. Au contraire dear friend. Thanks to conventional means of farming and caring for the land, today’s pastures are literally stripped of nutrients and so is the food raised off today’s lands. While copper may have been available to grazing animals in the past, it is not today. If you offer animals (who, in some respects are a lot more intelligent than humans) minerals, they take what they need and leave the rest. Goats and sheep who are deficient in copper (and likely other minerals as well) are more susceptible to worms … but wait, no problem, just chemically worm them, every thirty or wait, how about every ten days … voila, no worms … but at the expense of what?
This world is so f*cked up it isn’t funny.
Anyway, I’m going to pick up the minerals recommended by Pat Coleby and figure out a means to make them available to the sheep and see what happens. The goats are on a good, pre-mixed supplement, but when that is gone, I’m going to do the same thing for them. Interestingly, the mixture is the same for sheep as it is for goats.
All of the chicks are still alive and there is a duck sitting in the garden. Know how you know when your garden is a jungle? When you go in to get tomatoes out and find duck nests throughout it. It isn’t weeds, but the tomato trees and herbs that are growing down there. I hope she is able to hatch out her clutch. Fingers and toes crossed. Last night Wally and I harvested a bushel basket full of miscellaneous tomatoes, all heirloom varieties. We cleaned them and put them in to bake with onions, garlic and herbs. I’ll process and can them tomorrow. How exciting!
The lap top is burning a hole into my legs and I need to end this post.
Until later …