Birdie’s kids were born. Brendon and I were outside smoking and heard something that sounded like small children yelling “MOOOOOOM!!”, so we ran out to the shed, to find two freshly born kids. Being inexperienced, we didn’t realize how week they were. One died the next morning, and the other wasn’t standing and eating. That night I milked birdie and brought the other inside. The inside of her mouth was ice cold, and she was almost unresponsive. We warmed up some colostrum, put it in a bottle, fed her, and kept her warm by the woodstove. We noticed alot of improvement until the next day when we were bottle feeding her, and she choked. We did our best to clear the airway, and even tried CPR, but she didn’t make it.  After this, Brendon and I decided we need to slow down. Maybe we jumped into animals too quickly. Chickens are easy, Rocky (the steer) is easy, and goats aren’t too bad. But we had too many, the rabbits weren’t working out, and we didn’t have the money to properly care for 4,5,6, 7 goats. So we sold Paisley, gave Billy away, and now we are down to Birdie and Onyx.  I also just sold all the rabbits and their hutches. We decided that in the spring, after we get our taxes caught up, we will start over again with goats, and do things the right way. Get purebred, proven breeders and milkers. Disease tested or vet checked milkers. At first we thought about doing meat goats, but hey, all goats are edible, and you can milk your does and eat kids that don’t sell right? I am going to do a high producing breed, but a sweeter milk content, so I am choosing alpines. Between now and then I am shopping around for reputable breeders, so if you know of anybody–let me know! I really like the coloring of alpines, the thick fur, the docile disposition that they have.

So now I am milking Birdie.

Birdie

Even more amazing, is that Birdie is like a professional milker, even though the people we got her from only milked her once. (They couldn’t stand the sound of the kids crying when they took them away.) Very quickly, Birdie has learned that when I open the shed door, she must go to the back porch to be milked. And she doesn’t just go there, she flies! She gets quicker every day and leaps up the 3 stairs. But she doesn’t kick, doesn’t fidget, doesn’t squirm. She just eats her grain and gets milked. Occasionally she looks back to check on me, and if she finishes the grain, she will give me the look that says “Are you done yet?” But she is amazing. Milking has changed my life.

I have struggled with undiagnosed ADD my entire life. So much so that I used to wonder if I was retarded and nobody bothered to tell me. I know this sounds quite down on myself, but its how I felt. I would forget everything halfway through. I would go out to start my mothers car, start it, and couldn’t remember if I had actually started it or just turned it on. I barely graduated high school, because I couldn’t focus enough to get homework done, or I would forget about it. If somebody explains something to me, I just doesn’t stick. I have to hear something about a million times before I finally learn. You should have seen me learning how to drive this past spring.

I have to call my cell phone from DH’s about once a day because I have lost it. I run back into the house about 5 times a morning because I have forgot something. I’ll start doing dishes, get distracted, and oops, not the dishes will just have to wait another day. This has been piling up on me terribly as of late. I have so many things going on in my brain that I can’t figure out where to start and I just freeze up.
On occasion, if I try as hard as I possibly can and try to focus on doing one thing and one thing only, I have peace. This is where goats come in.

I have only been milking for a week now, but I think it just might be my saving grace. There is something wonderful about Birdie knowing exactly what to do. She runs to the back porch, spreads her legs, and for the next 10 minutes there is only the milking. Maybe I sound fruity, but it is so peaceful. Because it is something that MUST be done every morning and every evening, and when you are milking, you can’t be distracted by anything else. Its just you, a bucket, a goat, and your thoughts. When I am milking that goat, I have a quiet in my brain I never knew I could have.

I am quite proud of myself for milking. I get up earlier because it has to get done. Sometimes I have to stay up a little later to get it done, but I do it. I am sticking with it. Its not like the african violets that I thought I was going to crossbreed, that I can just give up on any time I feel like it. This is a goat, a companion. She relies on me to milk her, not just because that is grain time, but because she will be in pain if I don’t milk her.

She is a decent producer, giving 1 1/2 qts daily. I was a chicken. I milked for like 2 days before I even tried the milk. And when I did, I made Brendon’s family try it first. When I didn’t see any of them gag, I tried it. And it tasted like….

…*drumroll please*……………………………………………………………………………

MILK! A really sweet, creamy milk. Not quite my favorite, as I am a vitamin d/2% milk kind of gal, but tonight I will be making butter, so maybe I will like it with the cream skimmed off? So I made some chocolate milk using some chocolate syrup. YUMMY! It was so rich it was like drinking a chocolate shake. Maybe that will be the next recipe.

So I haven’t been drinking a whole bunch of the goat milk, because I still get WIC and I get milk for free, so the goat milk was piling up on me quite quickly. I started looking around the internet for recipes that call for a lot of milk and I found cheese. Hmmm.. Cheese. I like cheese.

Brendon and I had tried some store bought goat cheese and were disgusted. It had this awful, tangy, nastiness to it that made me gag.0 So I decided when I made it,I would spice the heck out of it and hope it didn’t have that nasty aftertaste. Last night I made a simple mozzarella cheese.

I am pretty ecstatic about it. I got the 1/2 gallon of milk almost to boiling ( I didn’t have a thermometer,) added 1/4 cup white vinegar, and stirred. I knew it was supposed to happen, but I was amazed to see it turned into curds in way in about 5 seconds! So I turned off the heat, lined my colander with a non-fuzzy, very clean dish towel (I didn’t have cheese clothe) and let it strain. When it was strained, I added some garlic powder, onion powder, and some pepper, pulled the corners together, and squeezed it into a ball. I squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until all the whey was out, and removed the ball. Here is where I was daring. I pulled off a little chunk, that had very little spice in it, and I tasted it… It was tasty! A little rubbery, but I can slice it! I crumbled some up and put it on my leftover tortellini for lunch today and it was delicious! I am so proud. My coworkers think I am losing it. Oh well!

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Touchy topic.

Read a post on HT  (http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/sheep/465511-dog-killed-chasing-sheep.html ), that referenced this story: http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article/222385/314/Dog-shooting-in-Newcastle-sparks-controversy

It references the farmer’s blog response, so I read that too, and I must say that my heart goes out to the farmer.

When we were first starting out, we lost two birds a night. A chicken and a turkey every time.  We sat out as dusk approached and sure enough we had a feral cat problem. We asked our immediate neighbors if they had cats, none of them did. We didn’t have the means to trap them. So we had to resort to shooting them. I tried to do some googling about the laws in Michigan as far as cats and other animals goes, but all I could find were dogs.

287.279 Killing of dog pursuing, worrying, or wounding livestock or poultry, or attacking person; damages for trespass; effect of license tag.

Sec. 19. Any person including a law enforcement officer may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing. Any dog that enters any field or enclosure which is owned by or leased by a person producing livestock or poultry, outside of a city, unaccompanied by his owner or his owner’s agent, shall constitute a trespass, and the owner shall be liable in damages. Except as provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, other than a law enforcement officer, to kill or injure or attempt to kill or injure any dog which bears a license tag for the current year.

History: 1919, Act 339, Eff. Aug. 14, 1919;¾CL 1929, 5263;¾CL 1948, 287.279;¾Am. 1959, Act 42, Eff. Mar. 19, 1960;¾Am.

1973, Act 32, Imd. Eff. June 14, 1973.

287.280 Loss or damage to livestock or poultry caused by dogs; complaint; examination;

summons; proceedings; killing of dog; liability of owner or keeper.

Sec. 20. If a person sustains any loss or damage to livestock or poultry that is caused by dogs, or if the livestock of a person is necessarily destroyed because of having been bitten by a dog, the person or his or her agent or attorney may complain to the township supervisor or a township officer or other qualified person designated by the township board of the township in which the damage occurred. The complaint shall be in writing, signed by the person making it, and shall state when, where, what, and how much damage was done, and, if known, by whose dog or dogs. The township supervisor or a township officer or other qualified person designated by the township board shall at once examine the place where the alleged damage was sustained and the livestock or poultry injured or killed, if practicable. He or she shall also examine under oath, or affirmation, any witness called. After making diligent inquiry in relation to the claim, the township supervisor or a township officer or other person designated by the township board shall determine whether damage has been sustained and the amount of that damage, and, if possible, who was the owner of the dog or dogs that did the damage. If during the course of the proceedings the owner of the dog causing the loss or damage to the livestock becomes known, the township supervisor or a township officer or other person designated by the township board shall request the district court judge to immediately issue a summons against the owner commanding him or her to appear before the township supervisor or township officer or other person designated by the township board and show cause why the dog should not be killed. The summons may be served anyplace within the county in which the damage occurred, and shall be made returnable not less than 2 or more than 6 days from the date stated in the summons and shall be served at least 2 days before the time of appearance mentioned in the summons. Upon the return day fixed in the summons the township supervisoror township officer or other person designated by the township board shall proceed to determine whether theloss or damage to the livestock was caused by the dog, and if so he or she shall immediately notify the sheriff or the animal control officer of the county of that fact and upon notification the sheriff or the animal control officer shall kill the dog wherever found. Any owner or keeper of the dog or dogs shall be liable to the county in a civil action for all damages and costs paid by the county on any claim as provided in this section.

History: 1919, Act 339, Eff. Aug. 14, 1919;¾CL 1929, 5264;¾Am. 1937, Act 47, Imd. Eff. May 18, 1937;¾CL 1948, 287.280;¾

Am. 1968, Act 38, Eff. Jan. 1, 1969;¾Am. 1972, Act 349, Imd. Eff. Jan. 9, 1973;¾Am. 1989, Act 45, Imd. Eff. June 12, 1989.

I also found that if a coyote or a wolf attacks and kills your livestock, Michigan will reimburse you the value of the animal in question if you can prove it. You cannot however kill a wolf.

 There are a lot of people out there who argue that this was cruel. (“That farmer had no right!”) and so on.

 I like animals. Of all kinds. And I know they have to eat. But so do we.  As farmers we invest alot into our animals. We provide for them so they can provide for us. People may say that “its just livestock, its not like a pet”. Maybe it isn’t “like a pet”, but when was the last time Fido put food on your table or money in your wallet? Don’t get me wrong, I have three dogs, and I love them. Taz and Cail are my indoor dogs, and we keep them on a pretty tight leash considering they aren’t very experienced with livestock. Zeus is an outdoor farm puppy (he is in training). He has been known to try to chew on chickens. Luckily he hasn’t killed any yet, and we are constantly trying to train him out of it. But he stays in the yard, and we know he has problems. If one of our dogs ran on to someone else’s property, and damage the property, or kill/harass their livestock, I would understand that they need to do what they have to do.

I would be heartbroken if something like this was to happen, but I wouldn’t be suing anybody. They are 100% within their rights. And as a responsible dog owner, I need to keep my dogs contained, and if that fails, and something happens, I must take responsibility and accept consequences.

On another note. Misty, the Flemish/Rex/Californian, just had her last chance, and failed. Went out yesterday, she was in her nest box, looking out with big wide buggy eyes, surrounded by freshly pulled fur. She looked nervous, like she was guarding something. So I walk around, open the box, and with quite a bit of nudging get her to leave the nest box. There is a kit. A single, dead, deformed kit.  And she was guarding it. You know what this means? Rabbit stew. I feel bad, especially when she was giving me that pitiful look with the big buggy cute eyes, and guarding the kit… But you know what they say in baseball. Three strikes. I guess I will just keep breeding Mama. Maybe in the spring I will get some pedigreed New Zealands. Or something proven.

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Gonna try to update more….

So I don’t feel like I am always trying to catch you up. We lost Fern on the morning of the 16th. I was letting the dogs out, and checking homesteadingtoday on my phone. A fellow goat owner had just posted that his buck had died, a story that we had all been following, hoping he would make it. (RIP Bonsai.) I read the post and got that sinking feeling in my gut, like when you just know something is wrong. I got real quiet and was listening, and Fern wasn’t crying anymore. I knew what that meant. We are thinking that the kids had passed a few days before, and she couldn’t pass them, only making her more toxic and unresponsive. And the last couple days she was alive it was so obvious that she was suffering that if she wasn’t better on Saturday the 17th, we were going to put her down ourselves–an act I am not above doing if it will put an animal out of misery. 

On the brighter side. Cora is now a whopping 10 lbs 9 oz. Meaning she has gained 4 lbs since birth. She smiles, coos, wiggles, farts, and occasionally does this little laughing thing. And even though you can’t quite tell what she is laughing at, there is no denying it is adorable. What is not adorable, however, is when she projectile vomits immediately afterwards. Nah, who am I kidding? Everything she does is adorable, but then again I am biased.

We are down to 4 goats, Onyx, Paisley, Birdie, and Billy. As previously mentioned, we sold Barley, who was also no doubt the herd queen. When we bought her, we bought her with Onyx. Since Barley is gone, Onyx is different. She was always the quieter of the two, but now she is quieter and cuddlier than ever. Its like she doesn’t know her place anymore. Billy doesn’t know who he wants to spend all his time with anymore, as he was Barley’s best friend. Everybody is getting their winter fur. Onyx especially, being an alpine. Birdie will always be shaggy, but Billy is getting all kinds of pretty fur. I’ll try to edit some pics in tomorrow and post again.  Birdie is due any day. Can’t wait to have some little kids running around!

I can also now post from my phone, but I will warn you the grammar is going to be TERRIBLE because if I had to worry about punctuation and capitalization the whole time, I would be a very grumpy person by the time I was done. 

 

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What has been up

Haven’t posted in a while since I’ve been off work on maternity leave, but I am back, and have some down time as usual, so here is what has been going on.

1. I had a baby. Cora Mae was born at 2:15pm, on 9/29/2012 weighing  6lbs 9 oz. She now weighs about 9, the little porker. She started smiling at 3 weeks, and started laughing at 5. She is happy pretty much all the time, unless she REALLY wants something, or it is between 9:30pm and 10:00pm and she is so tired she doesn’t know what she wants.

The first pic is sleepy Cora in the hospital. The second pic is Cora wide awake and talking away.

She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

2. Fern went down. In october I noticed she was a little wobbly on her feet, which I stupidly attributed to her being later on in pregnancy. But she got worse and worse. She would avoid getting too close to the other goats in case they would bump her and knock her over. Well, about a week ago, I just stepped outside, looked over and witnessed her go down. She was down for about 45 minutes, so I went over and helped her up. SHe fell again. This time I waited till my husband got home, and we helped her up. She went into the goat shed, and fell one last time. She has been down since. So we moved her into a shed all her own. it has a window we can open for some ventilation, and its where we store all of our grain/straw too.

I went on the forum: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/goats/, and they said calcium deficiency. So we got some CMPK (Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium) and mixed that with some molasses water, and gaver her 3 Tums about 4 times a day. The more we read, and the more we did reseach, the more it didn’t seem like that was the entire problem. But the  more we read, the more things it could have been. So we tried more stuff. Thiamine deficiency. So we bought Vitamin B Complex and are giving that to her two times daily. Then she started getting some snot, so we started a precautionary regimen of Penicillin. Then, one of the geniuses on the forum suggested Toxemia/Ketosis, and voila! I think we have our answer. I called a vet and she suggested honey four times a day. This makes perfect sense. Fern, a normally fairly lean goat, is at the low end of the pecking order, so she wasn’t getting as much food as the other does, and therefore wasn’t getting enough food. Plus, it is more common in pregnancies with large and/or multiple fetuses. The body uses up all of its fat as nutrients for the kids, and eventually runs out, and starts eating away at muscle mass, causing ketones to be released into the blood. Hence Ketosis. Thats why we need to give her honey. To get her that sugar, carbs, and energy she needs to metabolize correctly to make it through this pregnancy. Good news is, she is trying to get better. She keeps trying to stand, but her backend doesn’t want to work. So every day, Brendon and I give her some of our time, and we do our best to get her to stand on her own or atleast bear weight for a few minutes. I am keeping everyone updated on the forum, and hoping against hope that Fern makes it.

3. Saturday we picked up our newest addition: Rocky, the Jersey steer. Yes we don’t really have the money for a cow right now, but Brendon’s mother is essentially paying for all associated costs. Rocky is on the right. Hank (on the left) belongs to my mother. Rocky thinks he is a goat. This morning, I went outside for a cigarette at 3am, and I heard Rocky mooing. Every time Rocky would moo, you would hear Fern’s low pitched answer shortly after. Sounded like she was telling him to shut up.

4. We butchered Jack (the alpine/saanen whether) a few weeks ago. He had discovered how to get out of the fence. So we fixed that spot. Then he did it again. So we fixed the next spot. We did this again and again, and the worst part was he would encourage Barley and Billy to get out. And then they all discovered they could fit in the chicken coop and eat out of the hanging feeders and break it all to shit. So Jack had to go. Well, a couple nights of goat quesadillas  and chili later, and that was that. That was the end of Billy getting out, but Barley didn’t care, no matter what we did, she would get out too. So …

5. we sold Barley last night. That atleast pays for some of the stuff we’ve been having to get for Fern.

6. We also sold Maddie and Minnie. I forgot that I had Maddie still posted on craigslist since I had decided to keep her, and somebody texted me looking for some does. Well, I really don’t need 4 does, and he was willing to pay 20 dollars for each and I could use. Plus Mama just had bunnies and between her and Misty they are due end of november and beginning of december again, so if I want new stock I can get it from myself.

5. Right before maternity leave, I got rid of Fiver, our old buck (rabbit). He didn’t seem to be doing the job. Somebody offered me a free Flemish Giant buck, and I jumped at the offer. His name is now Bigwig. It seemed to me he wasn’t interested in our does. I put him with Minnie for 3 weeks and never saw the slightest hump. I put him with Misty. She humped him and ripped out his fur. I put him  with Mama, and they cuddled. I was thinking, “great, I have a sissy buck.” Well, I waited a few days, and sure enough mama kindled, with Fiver’s kits. So I put Misty in his cage and she humped him again, but this time I just watched. She humped him, ran around in front of him, and lifted, and he did it! I was so proud of him for not earning stew pot rights. They did this back and forth thing for about 24 hours, and I separated them. What odd, kinky rabbits! I thought this was some sort of fluke and they were just being goofy. But I put Mama in with him on Sunday, and she did the same thing! This rabbit (Mama) has never been anything less than submissive to any other rabbit. But sure enough she humped him before she would even let him near.

Sorry I seem to jump around so much in my posts. I feel like because I don’t update often, that I have to fill you in on everything you missed.

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What’s been up?

Haven’t posted in a while since I’ve been off work on maternity leave, but I am back, and have some down time as usual, so here is what has been going on.

1. I had a baby. Cora Mae was born at 2:15pm, on 9/29/2012 weighing  6lbs 9 oz. She now weighs about 9, the little porker. She started smiling at 3 weeks, and started laughing at 5. She is happy pretty much all the time, unless she REALLY wants something, or it is between 9:30pm and 10:00pm and she is

[IMG]http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg596/smcnutt1/coramae_zps2195f749.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg596/smcnutt1/Cora_zps331c458b.jpg[/IMG]

She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

2. Fern went down. In october I noticed she was a little wobbly on her feet, which I stupidly attributed to her being later on in pregnancy. But she got worse and worse. She would avoid getting too close to the other goats in case they would bump her and knock her over. Well, about a week ago, I just stepped outside, looked over and witnessed her go down. She was down for about 45 minutes, so I went over and helped her up. SHe fell again. This time I waited till my husband got home, and we helped her up. She went into the goat shed, and fell one last time. She has been down since. So we moved her into a shed all her own. it has a window we can open for some ventilation, and its where we store all of our grain/straw too.

<a href=”http://s1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg596/smcnutt1/?action=view&amp;current=Fern2_zps64279f6d.jpg” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg596/smcnutt1/Fern2_zps64279f6d.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>

I went on the forum: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/goats/, and they said calcium deficiency. So we got some CMPK (Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium) and mixed that with some molasses water, and gaver her 3 Tums about 4 times a day. The more we read, and the more we did reseach, the more it didn’t seem like that was the entire problem. But the  more we read, the more things it could have been. So we tried more stuff. Thiamine deficiency. So we bought Vitamin B Complex and are giving that to her two times daily. Then she started getting some snot, so we started a precautionary regimen of Penicillin. Then, one of the geniuses on the forum suggested Toxemia/Ketosis, and voila! I think we have our answer. I called a vet and she suggested honey four times a day. This makes perfect sense. Fern, a normally fairly lean goat, is at the low end of the pecking order, so she wasn’t getting as much food as the other does, and therefore wasn’t getting enough food. Plus, it is more common in pregnancies with large and/or multiple fetuses. The body uses up all of its fat as nutrients for the kids, and eventually runs out, and starts eating away at muscle mass, causing ketones to be released into the blood. Hence Ketosis. Thats why we need to give her honey. To get her that sugar, carbs, and energy she needs to metabolize correctly to make it through this pregnancy. Good news is, she is trying to get better. She keeps trying to stand, but her backend doesn’t want to work. So every day, Brendon and I give her some of our time, and we do our best to get her to stand on her own or atleast bear weight for a few minutes. I am keeping everyone updated on the forum, and hoping against hope that Fern makes it.

3. Saturday we picked up our newest addition: Rocky, the Jersey steer. Yes we don’t really have the money for a cow right now, but Brendon’s mother is essentially paying for all associated costs.

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9/18/2012—Thi…

9/18/2012—This post is falsely dated, cause I wrote it yesterday on Word and just didn’t post it.

Where did I leave off last time? With Minnie, the new doe. She has warmed up to me now, and is just as greedy as everyone else as far as food/greens goes. Maddie (the young white Flemish doe) has taken it to extremes however. Maddie and Minnie’s cage is separated by a 3’wide x2’tall (it’s homemade remember?) and this is usually a pretty good barrier. But now if I get Minnie some greens and I don’t get Maddie some in less than 30 seconds—I may or may not be exaggerating—she will do some acrobatic move to jump over the window and chow down with Minnie. Goofballs.

We got our puppy on Sunday, and his name is Zeus. He will be the goat dog, or livestock guardian dog as some prefer to call it. He is 8 weeks old and a mutt. There is A LOT of debate about the breed thing as far as LGDs go, and the argument is as such: certain breeds were bred to do a certain job, and you cannot train a dog to do a job that it was not bred for. Meaning that because Zeus is not a Great Pyrenese or a Meremma sheepdog or one of those other “guardian” breeds, he will ultimately end up killing our goats because his “prey drive” is too high. I don’t believe this. If this were true, you wouldn’t have people with pitbulls as service dogs and beagles as well-trained housedogs. Right? If it were true, then all pitbulls would attack any dog in sight and beagles would be following their noses right out the door and you wouldn’t be able to get them off rabbits/squirrels/etc. I guess that yes, some breeds may be BETTER at doing a certain job, but that doesn’t mean others absolutely can’t do it.

Anyway, my mother has a dog from the same parents, just from last year’s litter. Her dog, Max, has shown potential that I really like. Since being a pup, he has been very low key. Not a jumper or a nipper, but pretty relaxed. He barks and will go greet a new arrival, but doesn’t do anything really. However, he knows how things are supposed to be. My mother was rotating her goats throughout the yard to trim things up, and occasionally a goat would break the lead or somehow get unhooked. Every time this happened, we would be alerted by a loud barking. Walking back around the house to see what had happened, Max was barking at the goat, keeping it in its  designated spot. He didn’t make any advances, but would circle and herd the goat to keep it in the “tether” area. I think this is a great quality. He isn’t over enthusiastic, but respects rules and expects other animals to respect the rules.

Brendon and I decided to take this a step further. A low-excitement dog, protective of his family, and respectful of boundaries. Sounds like good guardian qualities to me. Our plan is to raise Zeus in the goat shed (he has a safe “pen” area where the goats can’t hurt him) where he can bond with them and see them as family. During the day while we are at work, he is locked in the pen, and when we get home we take him out to roam with the goats. First day went well. He met all seven goats, and not a single one was upset by it. They let him follow them around. He seemed especially taken with Fern.—As an aside, I think it is odd that all of the young animals are so taken with Fern. She must just have that motherliness about her that the young ones like, even though she hasn’t ever been bred.— Even Billy was nice to him. Billy isn’t even that nice to Jack (our 6 month old whether)! That night he slept inside his pen, and the goats opted for outside.

Yesterday we let Zeus out of his pen when we got home, and we walked out into the pasture where the goats were. We didn’t say a word to Zeus, but just let him follow. If he tried to act playful or nip at our feet, we ignored him and kept walking. Upon arriving where the herd was, he immediately tries to greet each one, especially Jack, the little whether. He walks up to each goat, sniffs them, and if the goat lowers its head or acts upset that the pup is so close, the puppy gets submissive and lays down until the goat sees that he means no harm. (Something I noticed the bitch—his mother—did quite often.) The only goat who had a problem with him being too close was Jack, the little 6 month whether, and Jack gave him a little bump, and the puppy immediately corrected what he was doing. So we ignored the puppy, only petting him if we were petting a goat at the same time, and just kept watching how he interacts, and I think he is bonding really well, especially considering today is only day three. Then last night, it started thunderstorming like mad, and sure enough, the puppy was sound asleep in the pen, goats laying just outside of the pen, not a care in the world. When I checked on him this morning again, as all the goats were starting to head outside, Zeus was still happy with his goat family. He did get upset when they went outside without him, but I don’t trust him out on that big of a pasture just yet.

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Rough night for a pregnant woman.

Tried to fall asleep, couldn’t get comfortable. Cail has been barking at night as well and I couldn’t figure out why. Well, the night before last (Monday night), she would bark atleast once every hour. So I would wake up and listen to find out what she was barking at. Then I heard the clank of a dish. Sure enough in the morning, I found evidence of mice on our countertop. Most people would be saying “EEWWW, GROSS” at this point, but it doesn’t really bother me. I just don’t want mice making a mess out of my house, eating my food and all that.  That morning (Tuesday), I go outside, and Reuben, our cat is prancing around like he has something special to show me. I go to the rabbit hutch and find a dead shrew right in front of it. So I pet the cat and say thank you, as this is his purpose. (At first I doubted his abilities because he is declawed.) I feed the rabbits, cats, and chickens, and Reuben starts prancing towards the truck, which is odd because he hates vehicles. I get to the driver’s side door of the truck, and there is yet another dead shrew just waiting for me. And there is our cat, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, just so happy to show off the “presents” he has left for me, just where he knew I would find them. I think he is trying to suck up so we will let him in the house but that isn’t happening, so tough luck.

Anyway, on with the story. I picked up some of those sticky traps at Meijer, since we’ve always had good experience with those and set one out in front of the microwave before bed with cocoa puffs as bait. To bed I go. Can’t get comfortable, the husband is snoring away and talking in his sleep, and the dog barks. My ears perk up because I am waiting for that mouse to come out, and sure enough I hear a dish clank. So I get up, go pee for 50 millionth time, and take the flashlight into the kitchen. I see a mouse scurry behind the microwave. And what do you know, the trap I set out is missing! Not knocked on to the floor. No mouse stuck to it. Gone. Not behind the stove or the fridge or anywhere in the house that I can find. So did a mouse run off with a glue trap stuck to it? I still don’t know. I put out another trap with more cocoa puffs.  Then I got up this morning to make omelets (with some of our fresh eggs!) and  there was a mouse stuck to the trap.

Next part is a bit graphic, but what do you do with a mouse stuck to a trap when your husband is still asleep? Especially a live mouse that you can’t get unstuck. And even if you did get it unstuck, would you be throwing it outside just so it can get back in? I guess the solution was to kill it.  But what is the most humane way? So I grabbed the trap and smacked the whole thing, mouse and all against the deck rail and did the job. May be gross and sound cruel, but it worked, and I am proud of myself. You see, we may raise rabbits for meat, but we haven’t gotten to the point of our first slaughter yet. I have been quite worried about this part, wondering if I have the guts to kill an animal when it comes time. Especially cute ones. No, I didn’t raise this mouse, but yes it was cute. I managed to get the job done. So I guess I am tougher than I thought!

Mama, the checkered mutt doe, was due today (day 31) but her last litter was born a day late so we will see. Misty, the Flemish mutt is due tomorrow, but she delivered her last litter (one stillborn kit) four days late. I just want some bunnies!  And lots of them to get this ball rolling. The other night I responded to a craigslist post looking to trade Flemish giant/ NZ mixes in exchange for chickens. Well, what did you know, we happened to have just a few extra chickens (more like 14 extra chickens.) So I made the call, and they had 6 month old does that had been breed 2 weeks ago to a flemish giant buck and were willing to trade for 3 hens. Sounded like a good plan to me. Even though it was an hour drive, it was totally worth it, and I would like to welcome Minnie to the family. She is a BIG girl, probably pushing 15 lbs. Even though this is her first litter, I have high hopes. (Fingers crossed!) A little skittish, but after a few more days of me giving her treats I am sure she will get over that.  Here is a pic:

Image

Sorry for the bad quality.

And the Chicken-that-celebrates-diversity has become broody! I caught her sitting in the laying corner and she growled at me! She didn’t peck or anything, so I picked her up, grabbed the egg she was sitting on, and put her right back in her spot. She gave me a dirty look and growled some more, but I don’t think she realized that I took the egg. Because she still sat in that same spot for another good 2 or 3 hours.

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