Friday, January 30, 2015

Photos from the Farm #19

Welcome back!

Thank you for the questions. There were many good ones. Your writing is getting very good! I could read almost all the papers you sent!

Here is the first question, and the answer:
Do you understand my answer?

Very good question! I noticed the question mark at the end, too!
We feed the animals every morning and every night.
Sometimes we bring them treats from the house during the day.
Treats for the animals are things that you and I would throw away,
like stale cookies, apple cores, and banana peels.
The chickens like old lettuce and bread for treats.

Yes, we have birds.
Chickens are birds!
Chickens have feathers and wings so they are birds.
I think this chicken is very pretty. You have watched her grow up from a chick.
She was one of the chicks that hatched when you started First Grade.

Here is a video of her flapping her wings. Even though she has wings she can't fly. She can flap her wings and get over fences, or scare other animals, but she can't fly like a sparrow or a hawk.
Do you know of other birds that can't fly?

The other question you asked was, "How many animals do you have?"
  5 does (female goats)
  2 bucks (male goats)
  2 cows
  4 ducks
  1 rooster
17 chickens
  1 sheep
  3 dogs
  2 house cats
  1 barn cat

Different breeds of chickens weigh different amounts, just like people weigh different amounts.
The chicken in the photo and the video will weigh about 6-7 pounds when she is full grown.
The little grey chickens we have weigh about 3 pounds.

Some chickens lay 5 or 6 eggs a week. Some chickens lay about 3 eggs a week.
The chicken in the video will lay 3 or 4 eggs a week when she is old enough.
She will start laying eggs in late March.

This chicken weighs about 7 pounds and lays about 4 eggs each week.

This breed of chicken weighs about 8 pounds, but she only lays 2 or 3 eggs a week.
We like this breed because they are gentle and sweet to be around.
We don't mind that this breed  doesn't lay many eggs because we like their personality.

Thank you for the questions!

Next week I will answer the questions you sent asking about how much the goats weigh, and why they have small mouths.

Have a good week!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mountain Monday * 26 January 2015

26 January 2015
East and south of the barn

26 January 2015
East over the barn

26 January 2015
North of the barn

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Photos from the Farm #18

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful week. 

We've been enjoying the nice weather but we hope we have more rain or snow because we will need the water for the garden, the pasture, and the animals during the summer.

Did you know that some animals get so excited to do their job that they don't take time to eat?

Scout is like that. He gets so excited to watch the ducklings, or check on the goats, or come out to the barn with us that he won't take time to eat.

He has started to get skinny because he doesn't want to eat.

You can see in the video how much energy Scout uses when he's watching the ducklings. He doesn't stay in one spot for very long! That takes a lot of energy, which means he should be eating a lot of food!

He's a good dog. Did you see how well he obeys?

The only thing Scout doesn't do well is eat his meals. 
We have to put him in his crate with the door closed until he finishes his meal.
If he doesn't eat enough he may get sick.
If he doesn't eat enough he won't have enough energy to play and do his work.
Scout has learned that we won't let him out until he finishes his meal,
so he eats everything now, even if he doesn't think he is hungry.

I thought you might like to see Sandy eating her breakfast on the milk stand. Sometimes she doesn't like the food we give her, but she is a good goat and eats all her food so that she can make milk and stay warm.

She finished all her breakfast and I'm done milking her so I can let her out to play with the other goats.
Miles and JJ eat all their food, too. Scout is the only animal that wants to skip a meal to go play! 

How many of you eat your breakfast and your lunch so that you can have enough energy to work and play? Are you like Scout? Do you skip a meal so you have time to play? Or are you like the goats and eat your meal even if it isn't your favorite so that you can play and be able to do your school work?

Eating meals is just as important for people as it is for animals!
Are Miles, JJ, and the goats smarter than you? Or do you make sure you eat your meals so you can stay healthy, have fun at recess, and do your best work at school and at home?

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Here's a funny video of JJ. She loves to smile in the morning!  She's learning to smile whenever we tell her to smile, but she doesn't do it all the time, yet.

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Look how much the ducklings are growing! They are eating a lot of food because they are growing so fast. They go out for recess in their pen every day so they can get some fresh air and sunshine. We make sure they have plenty of water and their food nearby so they can eat and drink whenever they are thirsty or hungry.
They love to taste everything. Human babies like to put everything in their mouth. Most baby farm animals like to put everything into their mouth, too!

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Echo and Remi wanted to say hi, so I took a picture of them. It is so much fun to have cows!
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 I didn't get any questions this week. I hope you have questions for me this week! I'm not sure what to write about next week! Send me some ideas!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Photos from the Farm #17

It was so much fun to visit you in person last week! I wish there had been more time for your questions.

If I didn't have a chance to answer your question I hope you will write it down in your best handwriting and I'll answer it here on the blog.

I thought you might like to see some photos from last week.

Sometimes chickens can get a little bit wild. If I hold them upside down by their feet they calm down very quickly.

We tried very hard to make sure each child got a chance to touch a chicken....

and a duckling.....

so you could feel the difference between feathers....

and down (those are the fuzzy feathers that they are born with).

The ducklings have grown since you saw them last week. They are starting to get their feathers, too. By the time they are 12 weeks old they will have all their feathers.
Here is a great link to show you how to take care of ducklings from right after they hatch until they are adults. How to take care of ducklings. Your teacher might not have time to look at it, but you may have time to look at it with your parents.

The ducklings have water to drink, but they don't have water to swim in yet. Did you know that baby ducklings will drown if someone other than their mother lets them get into a pond? Their mother will 'preen' them with her beak. She has special oil glands that coat her feathers and help her float. She can put some of that oil on her ducklings by rubbing her beak on herself then on her ducklings.

Ducklings don't develop (grow) that oil gland until they are about 6 weeks old. When they are about six weeks old they will start preening (spreading water-resistant oil) on their feathers. Then they can swim and float on the water if they want to.

You can try an experiment: put a little bit of oil in a cup of water. What happens to the oil?

*     *     *     *     *
Do you remember that I told you about trimming goat hooves? Just like your nails have to be trimmed, goat hooves have to be trimmed. Many animals need to have their hooves or nails trimmed. Our cats need their nails trimmed, once in a while we need to trim the dogs' toenails, too.

It is always easier to trim hooves after we have had some rain. The goats don't mind walking around on the damp ground and that softens their hooves. Your nails are softer after you get out of the bath or the shower.
I hope your nails never get as dirty as goat hooves do!

Sandy's hooves are all trimmed and she stands evenly on all her feet.

I can tell when I've trimmed enough hoof because when the goat stands up the bottom of the hoof is parallel with the hairline at the top of the hoof.
I can see that I trimmed a little too much off her toes because her toes don't touch the milk stand.
If you don't know what parallel means, look at the red lines on the back hoof in the photo. If I keep drawing those lines they will never touch each other. Neither line is tilted towards the ceiling or the floor.

Did you know that farmers have to know math? We do! We need to know all sorts of math or we can't put up fences or plant gardens or know how to properly feed an animal or how to properly care for a sick animal.

*     *     *     *     *

Here is what the inside of Clover's new coat looks like. It looks like a giraffe! She doesn't care, she is very glad to be warm.
Are you smarter than a goat? Do you wear your coat outside?

*     *     *     *     *
Do you see how big the chicks are getting? They are too big for their other home.
Do you see the board behind the white chicken? It closes off a doorway between the front part of the coop and the back part where the new chickens are. We kept the new chickens in the back with food and water until the old chickens got used to them. 

Chickens are bullies, and they are stupid! Hmmmmm..... do you think all bullies are stupid? I wonder about that.

The new chickens stayed in the back for 3 nights. Now the old chickens think they have always been part of the flock. Everyone gets along now! 

I think children are smarter than chickens because they can choose to be kind to everyone whether they are new to the neighborhood or classroom, or if they have been around for a long time. I hope all of you choose to be kind to each other. I know it's hard to be kind when you are having a bad day, but I think you are smarter than chickens and can do it!

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Next week I will show you what we have to do with Scout. He is a good dog, but he's not very smart sometimes. He loves to play and work and be outside. He gets so excited to do those things that he doesn't always eat.

Miles and JJ always eat, the goats always eat, the chickens, and cats eat, too. They are smarter than Scout!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mountain Monday * 12 January 2014

Raining and cloudy so there isn't much to see today.

12 January 2014
East and south of the barn

12 January 2014
East over the barn

12 January 2014
A little towards the north.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Photos from the Farm #16

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas vacation and a very Happy New Year!

Since you didn't have a chance to ask me any questions before the break, I thought I would post a few photos that I took while you were gone.

You might not believe this, I hardly believe it myself. We have another set of new animals on the farm!!

You'll have to guess what they are. I'll show you later.

*     *     *     *     *     *
It's been very cold lately.

Do you remember Clover, our goat? She is very old. We have had her for about 10 years. She was at least 4 years old when the neighbors gave her to us. They didn't know exactly how old she was. We know that she was at least 4 because of the teeth she had in her mouth.

I'll show you some photos of goat teeth another time.

One problem Clover has is that she doesn't like the cold! The white goats don't mind the cold one bit! The cows don't mind the cold, either! As long as the chickens and ducks have food, they don't mind the cold, either.

Clover shivers in the cold so she needs to wear a coat!

This is Clover's new coat!
The old one was worn out so over the Christmas holiday I sewed a new one for her.
First I cut it out, then I brought it out to the barn to see if I had the right size.

I had to cut it down a little, then I sewed the inside (which is a nice, warm fleece) to the outside (the black quilted fabric).

I went out to the barn to try it on Clover again, and to make marks so I would know where to sew the belt that holds it on.

Clover came when I called and walked in the barn. She stood their patiently while I tried it on again.

I went back to the sewing room to finish the coat.

Matt took the coat out to the barn. He called Clover and she came trotting up to the door because she knew why Matt was calling her. She came in and stood quietly and patiently while Matt put her new coat on. She knew she was getting a new coat and she was very happy because she hates the cold!

She loves her new coat and doesn't complain one bit about wearing it!

If you are interested in sewing your goat a coat I used the pattern at Rocky Run Goats and tweaked it a little so it would fit our goats.

Are you wondering why Clover is the only goat on our farm with a coat? The big, white goats all grow their own thick, winter coats. Underneath their white fur is a thick, fluffy fur that grows in the winter to keep them warm. We call it an 'undercoat'. Clover is a different breed (kind) of goat and she doesn't grow very much of an undercoat.

Dogs and cats and other animals often grow thicker fur for the winter. The ones that don't need a coat in the winter. People don't grow extra fur in the winter, that's why we wear coats and thicker clothing to keep warm.

I hope you don't complain about wearing a coat when it's cold. If you do, then I think Clover might be smarter than you.

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Some of you wanted to know how big a cow gets. Here are some photos to show how big our cows are now.

I thought you might like to see how big the cows are.
It's hard to show their size so Matt stood near them.
Echo is a cow (a girl). That is about as big as she is going to get.

This is Matt and Remi. He's getting bigger! He will be much bigger than Echo when he finishes growing.

Here's a video of Echo. You can also hear some of the other animals.

Guess what? One of the chickens ended up being a rooster! He's a very pretty rooster, but we only want one rooster on the farm. We like Charlie, so this rooster was sent to another farm.

That's all for now!

Remember to write any questions you have. Use your neatest writing so I can read them. I'm not your teacher so I have a little trouble reading poor handwriting.

See you soon!