Goats, veggies and a couple of chicks

Kidding Season

April 11, 2014


One of the biggest joys — at times, the most stressful thing — about raising animals such as goats is seeing new animals arrive at the farm. From watching for signs of labor to watching the new kids dance around the barn in that funny sideways-half-kick that they do, we try to take a moment to enjoy it when we can.

It’s too bad we aren’t a dairy operation. This year, the number of females to males is about 3 to 1. There were 30 kids born this March and early April. Some are brown like this doeling, while the majority are more traditional white with brown heads.

Now we are off and running to get potatoes, onions, cole crops and lettuces in the ground, and preparing to move the does and kids to pasture. It’s a busy time but every once in a while, it’s good to take a moment and look with awe at the new kids.

Farmers market starts tomorrow — stop by and say hello! 

Winter Makes Us Forget the Color Green

January 5, 2014

chicken in snowDecember: It snows and the chickens like this one step out to take a look around. Snow is new and there might be something to eat on the other side of the chicken fence.

Then January arrives. Arctic air barrels across the field and no chicken leaves the mobile house. We divert the wind from the small open hatch door using a stack of hay bales. The water inside the house freezes within 30 minutes.

It’s a challenging time of year to keep animals comfortable, and sometimes, to keep them alive.

So far today we’ve ventured out for two rounds of morning chores. Round one was to open the chicken house doors, stack bales, get food and water to them. We fed the few barn cats that showed up for breakfast and then the guard dog, Scoop, who watches over more snow plows than goats today. Round two included spreading bags of leaves for goat bedding, hauling grain and water and checking on their welfare. Round three will be go back to the chicken houses and look for eggs before they freeze.

On days like this the goats do not leave the confines of the open sided shed, or in the case of our yearlings, the enclosed dairy barn. We are so grateful to have shelter for them.

The goats will eat and sleep and periodically butt heads over perceived shortages of territory, grain or hay. In the early morning and late evening, we arrive in the barn to see them in pods or piles, often with barn cats snuggled close for a bit of extra warmth. We all hunker down.

The dining room table is covered with seed catalogs bursting with photos of broccoli, lettuce, arugula and spinach. Green seems like a foreign color, incongruent with the howling wind. -Jen

Posted by jen in animals