Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Newbies around here

 Happy day-before-Thanksgiving everyone!! I know my family and I are definitely looking forward the upcoming holidays. :) What's new around here, you ask? Well, I'd say the newest of new would be that we got our first dusting of snow yesterday! Two whopping inches yesterday, and patches hither and thither today.  But brrrrrr, is it cold! Why is it that animals always get really thirsty right when the pipes to the barn freeze? ;)

Other items on the 'new' list..... We got two more goats! Well, more like we got one new goat and the second is here for a visit. 

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet 'Jasper'. 

Ahem, Mr. Jasper is here for a visit with our lady goats, and plans to stay for a few weeks yet.

He really does think himself quite handsome, and I have decided not to tell him otherwise. All I'm hoping for are some spotted doelings (female goat kids) come spring!

Second new goat is 'heidi'.

No, there is nothing wrong with her ears! ;) Heidi is 1/2 Saanen and 1/2 La Mancha, so she gets her big white body from the Saanen lines, and the ridiculous looking ears from the La Mancha side.

When I first got her, she looked to me like the ugliest goat in the world. She was shaggy, underweight, had a 6" long beard, and I couldn't help but compare her 1" inch stubs of ears to my Nubians, who's ears are somewhere around 8"! She has improved since then. Her small grain ration is helping her gain weight and is making her sleek, I trimmed the beard off, and have finally gotten used to the teeny ears. 

Oh yes, and she is due to kid in February! It will so nice to have another milker! The only downside, is that she was bred to a Boer (meat goat), so we will not be keeping any of her kids.

Okay, Poppy's not new, but she was so cute that I had to put a picture of her on here! ;) In the picture, you can see where I dehorned her.

I did finally get more rabbits too! I had finally given up trying to get some Blue American does, as I absolutely couldn't find ANY in Oregon or Washington, so I reluctantly started looking for some Champagne De Argents instead. While at the feed store last week, I was chatting with one of the employees (to whom I had sold some rabbits to a few years back), and asked her what breeds of rabbits she was raising now. Her astonishing answer was: "Blue Americans"! 

four days later, I came home with two Blue American does. :) 

I tried to get a picture of my new girlies, but was unsuccessful due to lighting outside. I named one 'Pennyroyal', and the other is 'Thistle'. I cannot believe how big and gentle these girls are! With luck, I will have two litters of baby bunnies (also called "kits") in a month or two! 

In the past, while raising rabbits, I have always kept them in a separate area from the chickens. And all I remember from those years, was shoveling the manure buildup, trying to keep the smell down, and all around wishing that there was a better solution to raising rabbits. Then, I recently read in Joel Salatin's book 'You Can Farm', about keeping chickens and rabbits together. Put the rabbits in hanging cages, in the coop, at about shoulder height, and keep a thick layer of wood shavings on the coop floor. The chickens scratch through the shaving and will compost the rabbit manure, any fallen grain and hay that falls onto the ground, while the rabbits use up otherwise wasted space.

It sounded like a good idea, so I went ahead and put my rabbits in the coop to see what would come of it....

The plan works beautifully!! It is so nice when I go into the coop and see all that lovely compost, ready to be put outside in the spring! The best part is that it smells really nice in there; very woodsy and clean, neither like a chicken coop, or like a rabbitry in need of a cleaning.

So that's what's been happening around here! You got to read a huge post only to find that we merely got two new goats and some rabbits. Sheesh, maybe I should learn to cut to the chase....;)


Garden of Glory said...

Ha ha ha! Yes, tell Mr. Jasper that I think him handsome ;) He looks quite full of himself :D

Oh my, I can see what you mean about Heidi's weight... hope she gains well.

Why do goats usually have collars/chains around their necks?

Mennagerie Farm said...

Most goats have collars so that we poor owners have something to hold onto when they try a stunt. ;) My girls are forever trying to escape when I open the gate, and Jasper always tries to sneak into the milking stall, so collars are good!

The collars that look like chain, are made of plastic and are known as "break-away" collars, because if the goat gets caught somehow, he/she will be able to get free by pulling. Capri figured that out and would purposefully snag her collar on the fencing because she liked to feel it break. :-/