It’s been like Christmas around here lately. Twelve goat kids on the ground and counting. Still have four more goats to kid. I brought several of them up into the milk parlor this morning (note to self: have to get the milk parlor back in condition to do the goats as well as Gwen) and milked about a half gallon. I can’t use it now, but the chickens and dogs enjoyed it.
The surprise I talked about the other day was I picked up five rare Silver Fox rabbits. I had wanted to get Silver Fox rabbits back when I was getting into rabbits, but I couldn’t find any in the area. I knew that a girl that I had become friendly with quite a while ago (I bought Beetaloo from her) had some so I looked up her number to see if she had any breeding stock to sell. I found out that she had gone back to work full-time with an hour commute each way and really hadn’t done much with the rabbits. She had her original pair and three does (from the original pair). I asked if she’d sell them all and she agreed. I trade milk and cheese for several of them so there wasn’t much money involved at all. The Silver Fox is supposed to be a very calm, easy-going breed, but no one told that to the ones I got.
So now I’m full-up on rabbits. I don’t even know how many does I have right now: a lot. The first litters are due around Valentine’s Day. I am still thinking about whether I want to leave the does that are in the pen in there to kindle or if I’m going to put them up. I am going to take the buck up several days before they are due so he doesn’t re-breed them right after they kindle so I may very well just leave them in there to see what happens.
Gwen’s production has dropped again and she’s acting off. I think, this time, it’s due to loneliness; I think loneliness may have been part of the problem all along. I found via Craigslist a weaned Jersey X calf that I’m going to go and pick up tomorrow to keep as a companion cow. Once Gwen calves again, this calf should be big enough to butcher. We had planned on getting more Jersey bottle calves once the goats get going, but with a bottle calf, there’s always the risk of the calf starting to nurse on Gwen. There’s a risk of this calf doing the same thing, but his mother died before he was ever able to nurse so he may not try. If he does, then so be it. I had thought about the option of just putting Gwen out to pasture with a calf or two once the spring grasses come in. I do not want to have to milk her when it gets really hot … or more so, once the flies start in again.
Oh, milking goats again … that’s culture shock I tell you. When they first freshen and you bring them up and start feeding them grain again, always, several of them mess on the milk stand. I don’t know what that is. Once they get going, they don’t mess. It’s as if introducing a bulk feeding to them after so long of grazing and browsing does it to them. Weird. Only a couple of them do it. Goat pellets are a lot easier to clean up than cow plop.
Note: the goats are not getting corn or soy. Their “grain” consists of oats, barley, organic alfalfa pellets, sunflower seeds, molasses and kelp. All of the ones that I brought up to milk gobbled it up.
Last night I prepared a wonderful pasta dish. I sauteed ground beef (ours) with onions and garlic, then added tomatoes (ours). I tossed that mixture with some pasta and soft cow cheese (ours) and baked it for about 30 minutes. It was incredible. What an accomplishment to finally be able to eat at least some meals consisting of ingredients almost entirely from our farm.
Until later …