Friday, May 6, 2016

Stumpy is Getting Trained

Welcome back!

Sometimes we send dogs to a school to be trained for work. We send children to school so they can learn, too.

Often we train the animals on the farm to do things ourselves. We don't send them away to school.

We need to train Stumpy, Echo's calf, to lead. We've been working on it this week. I'm hoping to get a video of it for you next week. I can't take a video while I'm training so I tied Stumpy to the fence. He is learning to be well behaved on a lead.

A lead is just a farm word for leash.

He's so cute!
He has a halter on, and he has a blue and green lead rope.
The lead rope is a special one that goes over his nose and around his ears. It's the best way to train him. When he gets good at leading we'll just clip a lead rope to his halter.

If he pulls really hard the rope around his nose gets really tight. He doesn't like that! He would rather follow me than pull back and have his nose squished!

River and Serenity, the goat kids, love to play with Stumpy.

It's so much fun to watch them play. I'll try to get more videos of them this week.

Did you notice the dark spots on the top of Serenity's head?

Here is a better look at River's.

Goats are usually born with horns. We don't like our goats to have horns because horns are dangerous. Imagine what would happen if your mother let you play with your friends while you were holding knives or scissors! Ouch! Someone could get badly hurt!

Every year when goat kids are born we have to 'disbud' them. That means we get rid of their horns when the horns are very, very small. They don't grow back. If they don't have horns they can't get their heads caught in a fence as easily. They can't hurt each other when they play. And they can't hurt people or children when they are playing.

It only takes a minute. They are up and playing with their friends as soon as they are done! Annie, Misty, and Clover are all fine! They were disbudded when they were about 5 days old, just like River and Serenity.

Cows are often born with horns, too. We will take care of Stumpy's horns in a few weeks. He'll be fine, just like the goat kids.

Echo is a wonderful cow.
My friend called her a 'fairy tale cow' because
she does things that most other cows won't do.
She lets the baby goats have a snack!

The turkey hen didn't want to get off her nest, even when her eggs didn't hatch.
Silly turkey!
So I put a bunch of chicken eggs under her.
We'll see if she can hatch out chicken eggs!
She started sitting on them last Saturday.
They should hatch in 21 days.
*     *     *     *     *     *

Do you see the tape measure around Misty?
That's how we 'weigh' the goats.
But Misty and Annie are too big for the weight tape!

We have to use a regular tape measure to see how big they are around. Then we put the measurements into a special app on my phone and it tells us about how much the goat weighs.

These are the two places we measure on the goat.
These are Misty's measurements.

This is about how much Misty weighs.

These are Annie's measurements.

This is about how much Annie weighs.
An average First Grader weighs about 45 pounds.

Misty and Annie each weigh about the same as 6 First Graders!

The goat kids weigh much less. Serenity weighs about 20 pounds. River weighs about 18 pounds. They will grow for about two years and weigh about the same as their mothers. 

Goats and cows grow much faster than people do!

You might be wondering why we can't weigh a goat on a regular scale.

It's very hard for them to put all 4 hooves on a bathroom scale and stand still. We would have to get a large animal scale and they are very expensive and very big.

Most goat and sheep owners use a tape measure. It really does tell how much they weigh, which is often a surprise for people that don't live on a farm.

Someone did a lot of math and weighed a lot of animals on a big scale so they could figure out how to make a chart (or an app) that tells you how much a goat or sheep weighs.

*     *     *     *     *     *

One of the best things about living on a farm is that children love to visit.
Here are my grandsons heading out to the barn to do the chores with Papa one morning.
Sometimes they come early in the morning, or stay overnight.
They love to help with the chores.
Their favorite chore is finding eggs.
I hope you have a wonderful week!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mountain Sunday * 1 May 2016

South of the barn.
1 May 2016

East over the barn.
1 May 2016

North of the barn.
1 May 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Some Visitors and Some Cheese

Welcome back!

Do you know what happens when you live on a farm and get sick?

You still have to do the chores! Even if you feel like you can't get out of bed!

That's what happened to Matt and I this week. I was sick one day and he helped so much with all the chores so I could rest. I still was out in the barn but I wasn't strong enough to get everything done that I usually do. Tim helped by doing some of the inside chores that needed to get done. Matt got sick the next day so I did all the chores that he usually does.

The next time your mom or dad gets sick I hope that you help out with the chores at your house. I am so grateful when I get help!

It has been cold and rainy lately.
Stumpy found a nice place to sit in the barn so he can stay warm and dry.
It's so fun to come out in the morning and see this cute calf!

*    *     *     *     *     *

We had a neighborhood preschool visit us this week! The children and the parents were very well behaved. They listened closely, asked good questions, and were kind to the animals.

Echo loves the attention from the visitors.

Visiting the bucks (boy goats).

Feeding Clover.

This is my favorite picture of the visitors!
Echo loved them because they were all so kind!
*    *     *     *     *     *

This week I made cheese, too. Echo gives us a lot of milk! Thank you so much for saving your containers for me! 

I made cottage cheese.

I also made some Gouda. 

Gouda starts as curds, like cottage cheese.
Then it gets pressed into a round mold.
A mold is something that makes a shape,
it's not the green stuff that grows on old bread.

After it is pressed it has to sit in salty water called brine for about 12 hours.

The next step is for it to dry in a special refrigerator.
Then we have to wait for almost 4 months before we can eat it!
We won't be eating this cheese until 24 July, Pioneer Day in Utah.

*    *     *     *     *     *

I've been trying to get a good photo or video of Echo, Stumpy, and the goat kids.
It's pretty hard to have the camera ready when they are ready!
The goat kids love Echo, and they love to play with Stumpy.
You can see in the photo that Echo doesn't mind the little kids at all. 
We love this cow!
*    *     *     *     *     *

This is the friendliest chicken on the farm.
She doesn't have a name, but if you can think of a good one, I'll name her.

People can pet her or pick her up and she doesn't mind at all. That's unusual for a chicken that is handicapped. They are usually scared of people!

She is handicapped because she is blind in one eye.
Something happened to this eye, we don't know what it was.
Her eye got an infection, then it went blind.
She still lays eggs, and I like her because she's so friendly.

*    *     *     *     *     *
I'm sorry to say that the turkey eggs didn't hatch. Maybe she will lay another clutch of eggs and try again.

This little hen is sitting on eggs!
She started on Wednesday, 27 April.
Chicken eggs hatch out in about 21 days.
We're hoping they hatch!

One of our friends had a 'broody hen' and she asked for eggs.

Her hen sat on the eggs and she was able to get a short video of one of the eggs hatching! I am so happy that she let me share it with you.

And here is another short video she got!

I'm lucky to have such nice friends!

Here are the two new chicks with their mama hen.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Mountain Sunday * 24 April 2016

North of the barn.
24 April 2016

East over the barn.
24 April 2016

South of the barn.
24 April 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Graphing Eggs

Welcome back!

Thank you so much for bringing me containers for milk! You'll see later why I needed so many. 

This week I'm going to show you my graph. I hope you made a graph, too.

Here is my graph.
Does yours look the same, or different from mine?
I counted the eggs I collected each week, then entered the data into my graph.

Did you notice that there are only three bars on the first week? That's because the little grey chickens hadn't started laying their eggs yet.

There aren't very many duck eggs, or small eggs because we only have one duck, and we only have two small chickens.

Did you notice that week 1 has the fewest eggs? That's because I only counted eggs for 5 days that week, not 7 days.

I thought you might like to see what my tracking paper looks like.
This is how I collected the data and kept track of it each day.
The graph above looks muck nicer!

I collected 564 eggs over 5 weeks.
There are 12 eggs in each dozen.

564 ÷ 12 = 47 dozen eggs

The food we buy for the chickens costs about 20¢ per pound. The chickens and duck ate about 125 lbs of food during the 5 weeks I was counting eggs.
20¢ x 125 = $25

To find out how much each dozen eggs cost I divided $25 by 47 dozen eggs.
$25 ÷ 47 dozen = 53¢ for each dozen eggs.
We didn't add the cost of water, or the cost of heating the water in the winter. Our eggs cost more in the winter because it costs more to keep the water warm. Chickens also eat more in the winter because it's cold. It also takes us time to collect and clean the eggs. And it takes time to feed and water the chickens, and to clean their pen. 

If you buy eggs from the store you have to pay for all of those things, too, not just the chicken feed. You need to pay for the carton, and for a place for the chickens to live. You also have to pay someone to bring the eggs to the store!

In the spring and summer the chickens eat less food because they like to eat bugs and grass in the pasture. We're glad that the chickens eat so many bugs!

Here's a link to last years post on graphing eggs.

I thought you might like to see what we put in our nesting boxes.
Plastic Easter eggs!
The plastic eggs let the chickens know that this is a good place to lay eggs.
We still have to look all over for eggs because chickens like to hide their eggs.
Silly chickens!
*     *     *    *     *     *
Do you see something different about River's front legs?
What's missing?
Her splint! We took it off on Monday and her right front leg is strong and straight!

One other thing that's different in the picture is that River is eating from her mom. Last week I showed you drinking a bottle. Usually when a kid starts with a bottle they won't eat from their mom.

I think River is very smart because she learned how to eat from her mom! We still give her a bottle or two every day to make sure she gets enough to eat, and because it's fun to feed a goat kid with a bottle.

I thought you might like to see what it looks like when a goat kid eats from her mom.

*     *     *    *     *     *

I thought you might like to see what our refrigerator looks like.
Echo gives a lot of milk!
That's why we need so many containers!
Echo fills between 4 and 5 gallon containers every day.
The chickens lay a lot of eggs!

Do you see the yellow stuff at the top of the containers? That's cream! We can shake the container of milk and it mixes in. Yummy, creamy milk!

If we want just cream then we skim it off the top to make butter and ice cream.

This is something I'm very excited about.
It doesn't look like much.
We thought this tree died during the winter.
But it didn't! It's growing a new branch from the trunk.
I think it's because I pour about 5 gallons of water on it every day.
We don't like wasting water so when we're done cleaning the milker
we pour the water on this tree, and the garden.

This tree will grow very tall and provide a lot of shade for the animals. We don't have air conditioning in the barn so we like to make sure they have some place to get out of the sun in the summer time.

If you scroll back up to the tracking page you'll see that I wrote a note on the paper by Mon 28. That's when the turkey hen started sitting on her eggs.

Turkey's usually hatch out their eggs in about 25-28 days. How many days has it been since she started sitting?

I hope you have a great week!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mountain Sunday * 17 April 2016

South of the barn.
17 April 2016

East over the barn.
17 April 2016
North of the barn.
17 April 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New Goat Kids!

Welcome back!

Wow! We had an exciting week during Spring Break!

Saturday there were two goat kids born at Welcome Home Farm. One was born early in the morning, one was born very late at night.

Did you know that baby goats are called kids?

I'll take some videos next week of the kids playing.

Here's Quin visiting the two new kids.

It's so much fun to get inside the little dog house with the kids!

The goat kids need to wear sweaters because it's been a little bit chilly. They stay warmer and grow better if they have sweaters on.

Do you see the red light on the left side of the picture? That light comes from a heat lamp. If the kids are cold they can sleep under a warm lamp. They also like to sleep inside the dog house because it's warm inside.

This kid's name is River.
Her mother is Misty.
She is wearing a red sweater to keep warm.
She's also under a heat lamp to stay warm.
River was almost dead when she was born. We don't know what happened, we don't know why. We worked very hard to keep her alive!

She was very cold when she was born a little after midnight. Matt and I took turns using the blow dryer to warm her up. We have to make sure she's warm before she can eat. People can eat if they are cold, but goat kids can't. If we feed them when they are cold they will die because their stomach doesn't work properly if they are cold.

Look at River's front leg near the wall. That's her right leg. Her leg was hurt while she was being born.

The leg in the back of the picture is just right! The hoof is flat on the floor.
The hoof in the front of the picture is bent.
We had to put a splint on it so that it would heal.

We used a tongue depressor for a splint.
Sorry the picture is so bad! I had to take it while I was feeding her.

Do you remember the name of the covering on the hooves of newborn animals with hooves?
It's the eponychium!
Here is a link so you can hear how to say it.
River had quite a bit of it on her hooves. Matt took a picture so you could see it.

River was very weak even after we warmed her up. She tried to stand but couldn't do it. Matt had to feed her with a syringe because she wasn't strong enough to suck on a bottle, or to get milk from her mother, Misty.

She was so weak that she couldn't swallow very much milk, either. We were finally able to put her under the heat lamp at 3:30 in the morning. She was born at 12:15, just after midnight.

Matt had to go out at 4:30 and again at 5:30 to feed her a little bit more, and to make sure she was staying warm.

I went out at 6:30 to feed her and she was finally getting strong enough to drink a little from the bottle. It was a lot of work to keep River alive for the first 24 hours! We had to feed her every hour or two.

Now look at her!
She can drink a bottle full of milk with no problems at all!
We still have to feed her every 3 or 4 hours because we don't want her to get sick.
Next week we'll feed her every 5 or 6 hours because she will be bigger and stronger.

Serenity is the kid in the blue sweater.
Annie is her mother.
Serenity was born early Saturday morning.
She was already drinking milk from her mother when I got out to the barn to milk the Echo, the cow.
*     *     *     *     *

Here's the last two weeks of egg counts.

I'll make my graph this week and show you what it looks like next week. 

  • Friday, April 1 I collected 10 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, 0 duck eggs, 1 little egg, and 1 tiny pullet egg
  • Saturday, April 2 I collected 6 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • Sunday, April 3 I collected 12 brown eggs, 5 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs
  • Monday, April 4 I collected 8 brown eggs, 6 green eggs, and 1 duck egg
  • Tuesday, April 5 I collected 6 brown eggs, 2 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • Wednesday, April 6 I collected 14 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 1 little egg.
  • Thursday, April 7 I collected 6 brown eggs, 7 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs.
  • Friday, April 8 I collected 3 brown eggs, 3 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • Saturday, April 9 I collected 13 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 1 little egg.
  • Sunday, April 10 I collected 6 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs.
  • Monday, April 11 I collected 7 brown eggs,  2 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs.
  • Tuesday, April 12 I collected 6 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs.
  • Wednesday, April 13 I collected 7 brown eggs, 6 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs.
  • Thursday, April 14 I collected 20 brown eggs, 14 green eggs, 1 duck egg, and 2 little eggs. (I found where the chickens had been hiding their eggs! In one of the dog houses!)

Next week I'll show you my graph. 
I hope you have a wonderful week!