So Much Rain! And Sleet! And other Yukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkky Stuff.

This is supposed to be our last winter storm. They said it will knock our socks off. Personally, I need my socks ON to even TRY and stay warm… Trudging through 4 inches of mud in the pig pasture to bring more bedding hay inside the shed for my sweet 700 pound Priscilla meant that my socks got wet and my feet are stinky. But Miss Prissy is warm and dry….well, dry anyway, and covered in hay…I’m not sure anybody is warm today.

I’m okay with this rain today. By this evening the temps will drop 20 degrees and the rain will turn to sleet and then snow. We might not be able to get out of our driveway tomorrow. Next week’s forecast is calling for sun and higher temperatures, so this rain and cold winter weather is but a bump in the road. I’ve decided to like it.

Hank and Frank...two dumb roosters who wouldn't come out of the freezing rain. They are now inside until they are dry.
Hank and Frank…two dumb roosters who wouldn’t come out of the freezing rain. They are now inside until they are dry. Hank is quite tame, as this is his second foray into the world of climate control after a bout of extreme dumbness and possible brain damage from refusing to come into the coop out of the brutal wind and sub-zero temperatures we had a couple of weeks ago. Hank and Frank both have frostbitten combs. Hank is mostly Rhode Island Red, and Frank is Rhode Island Red with a smidgen of silky somewhere his background. He has really pretty silky red feathers. Both need new homes as my dominate roo does not like either one…although they are his children.
Our yard. This is the shallow end.
Jetaime (one of our milkers), and Wedgy (the brown wether with the white face behind her). Eating hay and watching the rain come down. When I walked inside they were all laying down but refused to allow me to take a picture of them like that.
Most of the herd inside munching hay. Malachai, their guardian is afraid of the camera. Silly dog. He thinks it will steal his soul.
A pile of wood waiting to go into the woodstove. The only remedy for a cold and miserable day.
Ahhhh, a nice warm fire.
Foxy Brown. She reminds me of a wolf dog. She’s the sweetest dog in the world though.
Happy Dog. Doing his favorite activity besides eating…sleeping.

Fall Is Here

This is my most beautiful girl (I think).  She has her mothers friendly and outgoing personality.  She is the loudest goat in the herd.  You can set your clock by this girl, who KNOWS when it's time to milk, and is NOT impressed by the time change.
This is my most beautiful girl (I think). She has her mothers friendly and outgoing personality. She is the loudest goat in the herd. You can set your clock by this girl, who KNOWS when it’s time to milk, and is NOT impressed by the time change.

I hope you are all enjoying the cool fall weather as much as I am!  No, I’m not a winter person at all, but with the onset of cooler temperatures, beautiful fall foliage, and the absence of flies and other pesky bugs, it’s always a welcome change from the heat that can sometimes be stifling here in Central Virginia.  The horses are always very happy about the cooler temps and get really frisky.  The goats however, are not similarly impressed.

Everything I read about my breed, the Alpine, says that they are hardy and do excellent in the harsh conditions of the Swiss Alps.  My girls must not be reading the same books as I do because they do not seem to like winter at all.  While the horses are running around kicking up mud clods, the goats are looking at me as if to say, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HEAT?”

For dairy goats, who can get thin at the drop of a hat, mine are pretty portly.  The bucks got sold last summer so that there wouldn’t be any craziness this fall with breeding woes.  I chose not to breed this season while I’m working on my degree full time.  With the extra weight they are carrying (due to lower milk production this time of year and only once a day milking) I expected that they would be only too happy to see the cold air.  But, they are not.  They love nothing more than to lay in the summer sun chewing their cud until it gets too hot.  It’s a little harder to do that when the ground is frosty.

Every girl on the farm is in heat right now.  They are noisy and boisterous and complain constantly about the lack of an attractive suitor.  I should have known they would not be happy about no fall romantic escapades.  Hopefully they will forgive me.  Or at least quit cycling.

It’s a rough life out here, but one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Wishing you all a wonderful fall!

New Babies and More!

Spring is finally arriving and not a moment too soon!  So far Mikey and Jetaime have kidded and Miley is due today.

Mikey kidded on day 151 with twin bucks on Feb. 11th.  (goats normal/average gestation is 150 days).

Jetaime kidded March 11th (day 152)  with two handsome bucks and a beautiful doe kid.  Jetaime’s kids are out of one of Alicia’s young bucks from last year, named Aristotle.  The two boys look exactly like their daddy, but CG says the little girl looks like a quilt with all her mixed up white, black and brown patches.

Miley is due today and is doing some pawing and making noise, but with absolutely zero udder I’m doubting she’ll kid today.

All kids and mama’s are doing great.  This is Jetaime’s third kidding and first set of triplets.  I cannot believe how much she is milking already.  That first day she gave a gallon of colostrum!  Day two she gave over 9 pounds of second day colostrum!  (A gallon of milk weighs approx. 8 pounds).  This mornings milking she gave over 5 pounds!  This is not normal for our goats…who are all great milkers.  It normally takes them a couple of weeks to get up to this amount of milk.  We’re doing milk testing this year and I can’t wait to see how Jetaime comes out.

Anyway, other than my excitement about Jetaime’s  beautiful  kids and how much she’s milking, we’ve also been doing a lot of work around here.

We’ve purchased the boards we are going to use for the siding on the front of the house.  (Right now it’s sided with OSB painted white!).  They are currently stacked to dry a little before we nail them up.  We got a small can of stain to try but it’s not quite the shade we were looking for, so I guess we’ll have to go back to Lowes to try something else.

We’ve got ALL the chickens and the two guineas in a pen.  Their house is an old, old corn crib/hog barn and we put a covered run around it.  We made it 8 feet tall and found that they could fly over that, even with their wings clipped, so we had to cover it.  But now we are getting fresh eggs everyday and no more chicken poop on the front porch!  But the best thing about it is that we can now plant grass without them eating every single seed.

Well, that’s about it for this post.  Here are a couple of pictures of our kids.  The First two bucks are now wethers and will be going to their home on a horse farm in just a few days.  Jetaime’s two bucks are for sale, and being out of both Jetaime, and Alicia’s son they should be fantastic herd sires, putting excellent udders and milking ability on their doe kids.

"Alpine dairy goat kid"
This is "Thing 1", (Mikey's kid) flying through the air. (needs a name badly)
"Alpine dairy goat buck kid"
"Thing 2". (Mikey's kid)
"Alpine dairy goat buck kids"
Jetaime's bucks...just a couple of hours old.
"Alpine Dairy Doe"
Jetaime's doe kid, Jilli-Anne, just a couple hours old.
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Breeding Season Has Officially Started Here at Shantara Acres Farm

We were hoping to postpone it, or perhaps avoid it all together, but when you’re living by the laws of nature, some things are just unavoidable.

We had pastured all the bucks with the two mares and the pony, and they all seemed happy with the situation.

Until yesterday, when CG and I needed to make repairs on the girls shed.

With all the excitement, the young bucklings decided to shoot through the electric wire and risk getting shocked, to get over with the girls, who were very excited about what we were doing.

All of them are in full-blown rut now, and even holding them by their collars got buck- rut-stink on my hands and turned my stomach.

Luckily I’m not pregnant.

If you know anyone who’s  pregnant, better advise them to stay away from buck goats in the fall.

We put the baby boys back in their infant pen in the yard..(they are now 80-plus pound babies) and so far they are staying put.  They can’t see the girls, and I’m betting they can’t smell them either…although we can sure smell them BOYS!  YUK!

Our 4 year old buck, Atticus however, who has happily stayed in the pasture with the horses so far this season,  must have gotten the idea too, because when I woke this morning and looked out the window, Malachai, our guardian dog who lives with the does, was acting a bit strange.  Upon closer inspection, I saw a big stinky buck standing in the middle of the girls, looking smug.

It was too late to do anything, so I went ahead and had my coffee, and then donned plastic gloves, which really didn’t help, and got Atticus back into his own pasture. The buck pen will have to be reinforced today and he’s going to be locked in it for the rutting season.

I checked the girls and luckily, he didn’t breed any of the babies.  I hadn’t decided if I was going to breed them this year…and in any case, they are not quite up to the 90-100 pound breeding weights needed.

Alicia for sure was bred, and Michal showed signs of it.  Michal was going to milk through this year and possibly next without kidding…ha ha ha.  Alicia is right on track, I keep hoping each year for a doe kid from her and hopefully this year she’ll give me one.

And that about covers it for this Monday mornings excitement.  Luckily the Stink-Be-Gone soap I made seemed to do the trick last night, and got the buck odor completely off of me.  I’m betting I’ll need to use the whole bar up by the time this day is over…..Ahhhh, the joys of fall and bucks-in-rut!

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Okay, I’m Mad…guest post by Ciara, the goat

Will somebody please help me?  No one here is listening to me.

When I was born I was very little.  Exactly 1/2 the size of my jug-headed brother.  My people here loved me very much and I got to go everywhere with them for a long time.

When I got bigger, and started jumping out of my box and peeing on the sofa, well, they didn’t like that much so I had to start spending the night in the pen with my brothers and sisters.  They were nice to me, but I didn’t really like them much.  Still don’t.

During the day I was allowed to roam the whole property free range.  I got to go eat with the horses, go in the garage any time I wanted and eat whatever grain I wanted, even the horse grain.  They wouldn’t let me eat the chick starter though.  I really liked that stuff.

I took naps under the back porch with the dogs,  greeted company when they came,  and chased chickens whenever I wanted.

I am well-behaved, they say, for a goat.  I come when called, I am very good about having my feet trimmed and taking medicine.  I don’t jump up with muddy feet and I stay off of the porch furniture and the cars.

So, I have NOT been able to figure out why I am now out FULL-TIME with those big goats with huge udders and my four sisters.  I just want to get out of here.  They are mean to me.  I don’t like them and I’m sad and MAD!

Can someone please help get me out of here?

This was me in June. I was happy. I could do whatever I wanted. WHAT HAPPENED?
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Wild Children

So much for sleepy kids! They wouldn’t even let us sleep in on a Saturday! I think they really wanted to watch Cartoons. Bummer, since we don’t have a TV!

alpine dairy goat kids
I can't believe it's true, NO CARTOONS!

Everybody else is drinking from the nipple bucket.  This one, however, insists on a bottle before bed, another in the morning, one at noon…..

bottle feeding a goat kid

dancing alpine kid
My camera is as slow as a slug, but by pushing the shutter button and holding it down for the 30 seconds it takes to take the picture, sometimes I can capture some action. Not very often though.

Reba thinks the goat kids are puppies and who am I to tell her any different?  This is a reformed mass chicken-murderer, so I don’t trust her 100 percent.  But what kind of killer cleans their victim thoroughly though before killing?  I almost trust her.

Border collie cleans up a goat kid
She's cleaning off a rump here. I had a better picture, but I couldn't find it.

And, here’s the star of the show….only because she is so different looking than the rest…and her mama is my favorite goat…and she’s just pretty.

black alpine doeling
This aint the greatest picture, but honestly, have you ever tried to take pictures of FOUR wild goat kids at a time....while also cleaning up their messes that they are constantly making. I swear I do not feed them as much as they pee out. Impossible. They couldn't eat that much.

I’m sorry, I forgot to edit out the background.  I went back and tried to do it.  Well, maybe next time.  Excuse the mess. All this stuff sits by the door in the winter time for wearing outside to do chores.  It looks much neater in the spring.

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