Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Farm Adventure...

We have been very hot, humid and a good thing , dry.  I prefer dry over the wet horrible summer we had last year.  Parasites have not been to bad and the goat herd and sheep flock are holding their own.

Our new puppy, Lucy is doing well and fitting into the grove of the farm.  She is half Anatolian and half Pyrenees.  She is shorter haired with a wide broad head.  She likes to sit in the water trough and is usually muddy.  She is good with chickens, goats, sheep, but does want to mess with those cats.  Even when she gets slapped by a paw full of claws.  Have had to fuss at her several times to leave the cat alone, she is not a toy. 

All the lambs are weaned and have some of them in the Pecan Orchard under a  tree.  The last of the lambs are all sired by Trump and he throws mostly Moorit (brown) lambs.  A lot of them were solid morrit and just one or two gray morrit.  The picture to the right are a couple of lambs, the ewe (left) is out of a yearling and the ram (right) is out of Valarie.
With the heat indexes in the 105 to 110 range, I have the lambs in the shade until it cools down a bit.

Had a bit of an adventure when I opened a chicken coup door to find a snake looking at me. I jumped back, and saw the color and knew it was not one of the green snakes we had seen in the past and it had a color pattern & was brown & gray.  Well, I ran to the feed room for my shovel collection and called to Mr Paul to get the shepard's crook.  I thought it was a Cotton Mouth... but any snake is guilty of being poisenous until proven otherwise and that is usually post mortem.  Needless to say, the shovel is my weapon of choice, long handles, wide surface are for chopping and the added broad blade in case of a strike.  The picture to the left is the severed head, yes it is gross, but I am trying to educate everyone on what these things look like.  The head had a bit of a shine to it and is trianglular in shape.  I had seen the snake before, but it dissapeared before I could get my shovel.  The right picture shows the shape more. I opened its mouth to see the fangs and they were there, about 1/2 inch, looked like fine hyperdermic needles.  After removing the head, we buried it so kids and animals could not play with it and come in contact with any venium.  I am told a dead snake can cause problems if someone or a puppy was poked with the fang.  The picture above and to the left is the body with the color pattern.  We estimate it at being 3 foot long or a bit under.  It is on top of a medium dog house.

Snow Man, one of our Icelandic rams was watching the ordeal with the snake.  Last summer he was bit by a snake under the chin and swelled up like a basket ball.  We almost lost him and it took a month for him to recover.  I am sure he was happy to see us finally catch that guy... Snow man has recovered and we hope to use him for breeding this fall.  He is long, wide and has the beefy butt we like.  Had to take off the horns though, grew to close to his head.  He carries spots and we want his build and spots this year.  Will breed him to the ewes with the best horns and Havvah.

More later...  Oh, do not worry Ken, the boys were not at the farm when Mr Paul and I took care of the snake.  Mr Paul's grandsons are visiting from Ill..  Mr Paul did fuss at young Ken to not wear flip flops out at the farm and he is wearing shoes now...  Especally after seeing the snake...  Don't worry, the hospital carries  Antivenin.  We deal with several snake bites every summer.  Antivenin covers rattle snake and cotton mouth snakes, all the viper group.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

WOW!! The Sauna Summer Continues...

We have named this year, Sauna Summer, due to the humidity and heat.  I am just now getting used to the heat and we are out early and late to care for critters.  We take lots of water and work in the shade and wear our straw hats.  It is dangerous hot.  I have the AC in the house on 80 so we do not have such a hot, cold difference.  The 80 degrees seems cold when you come in soaking wet and cool down.

The picture to the left is Blue with Ariel's collar and bell.  For some reason, Blue liked Ariel's bell and collar and took it from Ariel.  Ariel is a Nubian and the collar is loose around her neck.  Blue used her horns to take the collar and bell & work it off Ariel.  She is a pretty smart critter and is the herd queen.  She wears it proudly like she is wearing a diamond.  She makes it clang and struts her stuff, even though it is to big, she does not care.  We will eventually get her a smaller collar and attach the bell to it.  But for now, it is a conversation piece....

I have had some folks emailing me wondering how Earl was doing.  He is doing great and to the right is a picture I took of him yesterday.  We have had him for about 2 weeks and he has gained quite a bit of weight.  He is a cute little guy.  We will be neutering him shortly and he will be going in with our young heifer after he is neutered and Barbacue goes to the processor.  Earl is a mini Jersey that we aquired.  He was a bottle baby and is very tame.  His cute factor is very strong and he will more then likely end up a pet...

Barbacue the steer (above) has missed no meals and has an appointment in a couple of weeks to go to the processor.  He is on pasture and getting corn mixed with soybean hull pellets once a day.  He is prime to say the least.  We have been raising him up, since a calf for this moment and we can not wait for the home grown beef he will provide.  No hormones, pastured freely, no cruel handling, corn fed, he will provide for us and our family after having a wonderful, but short life.  His girl friend is a heifer calf and Earl will be her buddy when Barbacue leaves.  We have two more calves out in the field with there moms who will be weaned shortly.  Both are steers and one will be sold and the other raised up for next years beef supply.  There is nothing better then home grown beef.

PJ came to the farm Sunday to help work the ewes.  We work them every 3 weeks during the heat of the summer.  We check for worms and give BoSe injections as needed and check hooves as well.
This is the work area in the shade under the new barn.  The shoot is a Billy Goat Gruff shoot I traded some goats for awhile back.  It has come in very handy and really saves your back.

The picture to the right is PJ getting the sheep up to ready them into the shoot.  He squeezes them in with the cow panel to push into the shoot.

This is the shoot in action.  The sheep goes into the ramp and has a door that closes behind them.  Then they go into the shoot and their head is secured in the head gate.  Then the sides can be opened on both sides to trim hooves, give shots, even shear.  We do have to remember before the next working to replace the springs on the head gate.  They are wore out and do not always close as they should.

After the sheep are worked, they go into a waiting area where they get some hay and a bit of grain and wait for the rest of the herd to be done.  There was a nice breeze today and it was not to bad working the flock.  We love the new barn and it has come in really handy for several needs.  After everyone is finished, we open the gate and with a bucket, the herd follows me back to their pasture.

The ewes are done for another 3 weeks and we are off to other things that need to be done.  The above set up will be really nice for the fall shearing of the Icelandics.  We will be able to put them up if it rains and shear come rain or shine.

Enough for now...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July is here...

We have been sooo hot, but did have a couple of days around the 4th which were low in humidity and were great.  We have had some rain as well and need to cut some more hay.

We finally got the turkey hut done and transfered the turkeys to it.

We have 5 Broad Breasted Turkeys who are about 3 months old now.  The Turkey hut is a trampolene which was given to me and we removed the netting around the top and put wire around the bottom frame.  It makes a perfect pen for them.  We did put a tarp over the top, because it is not water proof.  We used the netting that keeps kids from falling off as shade cloth on the west side.  It can be moved daily for the turkeys to get fresh grass.

We think we have 3 toms and 2 hens, but still are not sure what is what with them.  This is an expermental turkey project to see how it goes.

This little fella to the right is Earl.  He is a yearling Jersey Bull calf.  He was not in the best of conditions and was given to us.  Not sure what to do with him, we brought him home for some good feed and see where his temperment was. Earl was a bottle baby calf raised for a pet to a little girl.  He is very tame, but has grown up enough to be large enough to cause problems.  His horns are a problem to and can cause damage to a person without meaning to.
The pictures show the sharp horns which may seem small, but are very sharp and can hurt one easily.  The story we had about Earl was he butted the girl in play and knocked her down.  Thank goodness she was not hurt, but the incident scared them.  This calf should have been dehorned as a young calf and castrated when he was a month old, especally if he was to be kept as a pet.

I took him the Marion Clinic to Dr Doug Halbrook and he dehorned Earl.  We plan on castrating him once he recovers from the dehorning and puts on a bit more weight.

Earl is not real happy in the photo, but he is safe now and we do not need to worry about him hurting us by rubbing his head on us and catching a horn on us.

We will keep fly spray on him and watch the wounds closely for any infection or problems.  He is eatting well and is a bit sore.  We had wormed him a couple of days ago and gave him a cattle 7 in one vaccine with tetnus.  Now it is just a matter of time for him to heal up and get to know he is in a good home.

We think he is a mini Jersey becasue he is so small and once he is made into a steer, we will offer him for sale to a petting zoo or some type of simular home.  He is very friendly and leads and loves to be scatched.  His cute factor is pretty strong and there is no way I could butcher the little guy.  We will find him a nice pet home.