Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Tag: animals (page 1 of 2)

Caring for a Preemie Goat

P.O.F. What does it stand for????? Prison of Farming!!!!!!!!!

That is kind of, sort of, maybe, exactly how I felt this last week and a half. With having Bucky born two weeks early he is as slow as they get for goats. Normal kids (goat babies) start standing within hours of delivery, and can nurse off of their mom. This little dude couldn’t put any weight on his back feet for a solid 24 hours. We were holding him up to his mom to try to nurse and his mouth just wasn’t strong enough. So now we were bottle feeding him. Since the goal is to have Dam raised babies, before every bottle feeding I was trying to get him to nurse and then I’d finish him off with a bottle.

Mama kept knocking him down

Mama kept knocking him down

By day two he was standing all on his own and trying to take steps. But he was not fast enough to keep up with mom so here I was chasing the mom with her baby trying to give him a chance to latch on. Yes I could have tied her up but every time I tied her up the cats got curious and would come to see her and the baby. Which meant one mad head butting mama and that is not an ideal situation for nursing either. So chasing her around was what I did.

this was followed by me getting a whole body shock because I reached down to push him off the fence

this was followed by me getting a whole body shock because I reached down to push him off the fence

Day three he could walk!!!! But he was still not very smart. Instead of running away from the electric fence he would run into the fence and that made me even more of a prison to the farm. Any time I heard him squeak we would have to run outside to make sure he was OK. If we had to leave the property I had to lock him in a kennel to make sure that he wouldn’t get electrocuted to death. Which means he couldn’t eat and I had only a couple of hours before needing to come home.

so stinkin' cute

so stinkin’ cute

Day Four-seven he was trying to jump and scratch his ears 🙂 Oh I was one proud mama!!! Everything was starting to get better. He was just too cute.  He was also getting a better chance at nursing but getting the teat in his mouth was still a bit difficult.

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a Rubbermaid tote with a blanket draped over it and he calls it home

Day Eight he is running!!!!!! He is eating all by himself 🙂 I am no longer such a prisoner of farming!!!! 😛 Bucky is also getting better and respects the electric netting now, no more worrying every time I hear him touch it. He will go back to his little cave when he is tired and his mama and the other almost mama will lay next to him and they all cuddle.

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storing, filtering and warming the milk

Since this was not a normal delivery for Incantation her body did not get a chance to produce the milk supply we were hoping for. In order to try to increase her supply I am milking her every three to four hours. So far I do not feel like her supply has increased at all 🙁 Only time will tell and hopefully Bucky and I can get her to start producing way more milk.

Little wanted so badly to be with Bucky haha kept giving kisses and hugs

Little wanted so badly to be with Bucky haha kept giving kisses and hugs

Now I chose this life, I really did. I knew that this bottle feeding was not going to last forever (well at least I hoped haha) Honestly I am becoming such a home body up here on the mountain that I really didn’t mind not going anywhere. Also I now know that if I ever want people to come visit me, I just need to get baby goats! I had so many visitors within the first three days of his life that I felt like I was hosting an open house. Unfortunately my house wasn’t clean and I constantly smelled like milk and goat and I didn’t have any good appetizers haha but it was all fun. It’s like having a human baby 😛

The next babies are due at the end of February so mid February I will become another prisoner of farming until those babies get here and are up and healthy!

Ta-ta for now 🙂 Have a great day and have you ever become a prisoner of something?

 

First Dairy Goat Kidding (birth)

Seriously! Last Saturday, January 17th, as I was going to write a post on what a birthing kit should have in it for a dairy goat I discovered quite a few things. ***remember this was going to be my first ever goat delivery***

  1. I felt seriously unprepared for everything that could go wrong 95% of births go uneventful, 5% need assistance, I just knew we would fall into the 5% category.
  2. I have good friends who walk me through everything and assure me that everything will be OK 😀
  3. Inca (our dairy goat who is due first) had a mix up on her due date. Initially it was supposed to be February 8th. Now it was January 31st! A whole week earlier! My timeline of getting ready for these babies had just been thrown for a loop.
  4. I can do this! or at least I can continue to tell myself that ;P

****This is the most helpful series I found on goats but this section deals with what belongs in a birthing kit****

So I went to bed ready for the next day of church, a birthday party, and buying the stuff for my birthing kit. Well those plans NEVER happened! Inca was acting weird when I woke up and let her out, she head butted the dog, peed a weird consistency, didn’t really want to eat. (I was going to add the video of her peeing amniotic fluid but I figured maybe you don’t want to see that haha) So immediately I rushed to my phone took videos and pictures and sent at least a hundred messages asking my go to goat lady what was wrong. She came back with “call the previous owner and see if she knows exactly what it is.”

After a couple of minutes on the phone with her she hears the noises Inca was making and tells me that she is in labor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What?!?!?!?!??!!?!? Labor……….I was not ready for this! This was two weeks early, I had no birthing kit (remember I was planning it out the night before), no milking stand (that was the next weeks goal), no idea what to do with a preemie goat but guess what, help was on the way 😀 Both of my goat ladies were rushing over, one left church and the other got out of chores 😛 They came to my rescue and brought everything I needed except towels (I had those).

The only down side was they were over an hour away and Inca started laying down and getting up which meant she was going to start pushing. Once I knew Inca was in LABOR I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I mean seriously, the Hubby told me that I was acting like he was when we were in labor with our first baby 🙂 Thankfully the Hubby took complete control over the Littles and everything else on the farm! All I had to worry about was making sure Inca had a happy ending.

Within twenty minutes of my goat ladies arriving we discovered that this labor was brought on prematurely by a kid that had died inside and was starting to decompose 🙁 After the dead one was removed and put away we turned our focus to the lone survivor, or so we hoped. The kid needed some major assistance coming out. It was sideways and backwards not wanting to come out on its own.  Thankfully the goat ladies knew what they were doing and were able to turn it and bring it out breech.

wonderful mom cleaning off her kid

wonderful mom cleaning off her kid

Upon it entering this world we discovered the little buck (boy) was still alive! Now it was our job to make sure he survived.

I am in love <3

I am in love <3

Stay tuned for more on how we have been caring for this newbie kid (goat baby) and how I have become a P.O.F.

Any guesses as to what that stands for? 😛

Our (Wannabe) Livestock Guardian Dogs

Upon coming to the homestead I got introduced to the concept of a livestock guardian dog (LGD). Seeing as we had nothing but chickens we weren’t ready to invest in a real purebred LGD. Instead we went to an event in the Mall by the Humane Society and found ourselves the cutest most adorablest had to have …….. PUPPY!

She was an 8 week old, German shepherd, Australian shepherd, border collie mix, (or so they think from her looks). Her name was given by the shelter, Ellie, and she practically trained herself.

Apparently chickens use the bell system too!

We used a bell system to let us know when she had to use the outdoors and she only ever had a couple of accidents in the house. She became like our chickens, Free Range. But there was something missing, a partner. Ellie got a bit lonely so two weeks later we picked her up a buddy, Bella the Newfoundland.

she slept all the time!

Now this breed is on the LGD breed scale but the question arose “Was Bella from a working dog line?” So we called up the original owners and found out she came from a working farm!!! But her parents were the laziest dogs…..NOOOO!!!!!

It all started going down hill from there. Chewing, nibbling the Littles, chasing the chickens, peeing everywhere, this all continued until the unfortunate happened. Two thirds of the chickens died from the neighbors dog and Bella’s rampage. I know there is a chance I could have trained it all out of her, but with three Littles under the age of four I mentally was not there. If it was during any other season of life I would have considered keeping her, but it wasn’t so we found Bella a home (without chickens) and continued on with just the one dog, Ellie, and things calmed back down.

she hated the car

When considering a Livestock Guardian Dog know that BREED matters, PARENTS matters, and your willingness to TRAIN them matters. Even though breed does play a big role in all of it, know that personality trumps it all. Eventually we will acquire a real LGD but until that time comes, a good farm dog will have to do.

helping dig the new tree holes

Ellie quickly became an excellent farm dog, she kept coyotes away and only bothered the chickens when she wanted to eat the scraps I gave them or drink out of their waterer. The turkeys would climb all over her, the feral cat kept her company, and the newest kittens learned that she was their friend and only wanted to play. Unfortunately our fence was not up to par, our entrance gate didn’t work, and Ellie had discovered she could get out.

On the morning she figured out there was a way out she tried to follow me out of our driveway, I stopped and put her back and the Hubby kept her from running. Later on that day as we picked the fruit on our fence line my heart dropped. I heard a huge thud and ran to find that Ellie had been ran over by a car and the car didn’t even stop. She died on impact. We promptly buried her, said our goodbyes and spent the rest of the night crying (ok I was the only one crying), and talking about how good of a girl Ellie was and how she was in Heaven with Jesus, if you are not a believer that is OK, but we are and like the eldest Little likes to say, “Great Grandpa is taking care of Ellie until we get up there ourselves”. We will miss her dearly and I miss having that security she brought us.

She is even more behaved then the chickens 😛

One day another dog will come to live on the homestead, but until that day we will be fixing the fence, making sure the gate will shut, and saving up to be prepared financially.

Have you ever had a farm dog or Livestock Guardian Dog? I hope your story ended better than ours, do tell 🙂

 

Attempting the DIY Brooder

When bringing the chicks home the Hubby said they must have a  home before entering the house. With little to no money to spend on the brooder I attacked our moving boxes, grabbed some leftover duct tape from labeling those moving boxes and started making a Frankenstein brooder.

a little bit of elbow grease and duct tape

Knowing that each chick needed SOOOO much space in order to be healthy I duct taped all those moving boxes together. These boxes ended up being bigger than my dining room table. Let me add that I have a huge dining room table (we thought we lived in a mansion when we bought it for our tiny newlywed apartment). We were expecting about twenty chicks overall and they are supposed to grow really fast so I made enough space for about 100 chicks.

These chicks did not needs so much space. Do not let these fancy books tell you otherwise. For the first few weeks they only need the size of a storage tub. maybe an extra long one. Next time the brooder will be about a tenth of the size.

Despite the size, I was determined to have everything be D.I.Y. (do it yourself) This would be saving money AND recycling. Here are the waterer and feeder…

Waterer and Feeder

The feeder worked great, the chickens could of course scratch some of it out but I feel like almost all DIY feeders wont be perfect. I used scissors to make the holes and hot glued the juice bottle bottom to the 8 oz baby cereal container.

The waterer was not so great. I hot glued the fancy plastic water bottle to a jar lid, made holes with scissors at the bottom of the bottle and it took me days to figure out why it wasn’t working that well. Every time I tried to fill it, it would overflow.

The holes are just above the lip of the lid…yep! The holes need to be lower than the top of the bottom piece (in my case a tiny jar lid). None of the instructions I read ever said that REALLY IMPORTANT piece of information. So the 2nd generation waterer was cat food cans. These worked and were cheap and of course got spilled but that’s why we had four to five cans in at one time. I didn’t have any more bottles and bottoms to try and make another proper waterer that did not leak.

this is only half of the brooder

Besides the basics we added fun toys. Roosts were in the corner poking through the sides or dangling in the wire. We added a floating wire top because the cat kept jumping in. The roosts really did help them stay distracted and they started roosting at about one week old.

Diamond sitting on his/her roost

There was also a mirror from the 99 Cent Store which had a handle that could be tied to the side or top. Ours leaned against the side since the walls weren’t very sturdy and kept getting knocked over. But boy oh boy those chicks loved coming up to it and seeing themselves.

pink mirror for the self absorbed chickens LOL

We had this set up for eleven days. That was all I could take of the heat lamp near the cardboard. So I kicked all of the chicks outside in a dog cage on our deck. But more on that set up next week 🙂

Have you ever made a brooder?

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