Warning: discussion of injured animals
The past week has been really chaotic. I haven’t had a chance to look into a(nother!) new photo hosting service, so you’ll have to use your imagination this time (you should thank me).
Last week, Tony was out of town for a business meeting. The week was tough because it’s been so hot, but I’d been managing. Thursday, when I got home from work, I went to feed animals and realized the goats had knocked their house over onto the fence and gotten out. Again. I was frustrated, but not terribly concerned until they weren’t in the yard (the last time they got out, they stayed in the yard). I ended up driving the 4 wheeler out to try to find them…by the time I found them, it was almost dark.
While two of them were fine, one of them was injured. As far as I can tell, our dogs treated the goats as if they were invading deer and attacked them. They did quite a bit of damage to her rear. I am grateful to Dad (beyond what I can say) that he came and spent the night helping me patch her together so I could call the vet for her Friday morning.
He came right away when I called, which was a relief and worked to patch her up. He said we were lucky her rectum wasn’t punctured and that all the parts that were hanging out could be tucked and stitched back where they ought to be. He said that our biggest challenges were going to be the flies and infection. So far, we’ve gotten lucky with both. The house that Ursa Major is in (a wood slat shipping crate) is closed off from the other goats with a gate, so she can see the other two and interact with them, but not be pestered by them while she’s healing. That house seems to be pretty well protected from flies. Every time she comes out of the house for her shots, cleaning, and fly spray regimen, she runs back to the house to escape the flies. As for infection, so far, she’s looking pretty good. It sounds like we still have a couple of weeks until we know for sure, but she seems like a tough little goat.
That emergency has pushed back getting other things I need to do finished, so finding a new hosting site is not high on my list of priorities (argh! photobucket)
The hen who brooded the chicks this spring has lost 2/3 of her brood (we lost the black chick about a week ago…it looked like a snake tried to eat it, but gave up). I’m hoping this is just a first timer making mistakes and not that we have this much predator pressure now that the neighbors don’t have chickens. I suppose we’ll see. Anyway, The hen in this picture is not the mother, but it looks like the chick adopted her anyway. I’ve seen chicks (this clutch and Buffy’s brood) do this to their mother, but never to another chicken. But Buffy never let the rest of the flock get that close to her babies, which probably has a lot to do with it.
As a bonus for listening to more babbling about chickens, have a pig picture. It’s been really dry here, so when I dumped their water to clean and refill it, they were really excited and stuffed their noses into the mud. I haven’t seen a pig nose that dirty in quite a while. What I really want to know is how they can see where they’re going with those ears.
We were pretty surprised when one of our seven month old hens decided she was broody, but we’re drowning in eggs, so we thought we would let her hatch a clutch. She had 14-ish eggs and 6 of them hatched (from what I’ve read, 50% hatch rate is about average). We lost one to a small black snake (the snake was rehomed…black snakes are useful…away from the chickens), but otherwise they are doing well so far. We have one Rhode Island red (cross?), one buff Orpington (cross?), and three black chicks. I don’t remember how to tell which is which and most of them (if not all) are crosses.
The hen’s been taking them out of the house since about the second day, which surprised me, since Buffy kept hers in for over a week. They are keeping up with her pretty well. We tossed the babies up into the house for her the first couple of days, but they’ve figured out (somehow) how to get in on their own now.
One of the nice things about this hen (who has no name) is that she’s pretty unconcerned about us messing with her babies, especially compared to Buffy (last year’s mom). It made helping her get her babies into the house a lot easier. Tony also said that as long as the dogs aren’t being too rambunctious, she isn’t bothered by them being around.
In other news, the three roosters were overwhelming the hens, so we finally took care of processing the two we decided not to keep (the buff Orpington and the Rhode Island red). We were surprised at how large they were, but definitely not disappointed. Between their size, the practice I got last year (I spent a day processing chickens on a farm about an hour from home last year), and only doing two, it felt more worthwhile than the days we spent last year culling our flock.
Things have been chaotic (chorus for the summer, I think), so I’m going for more pictures and fewer words.
There were two (human) babies expected at work, a month apart. They came one day after the other. While they planned to let the parents take time off, I’m not sure how much time they’ll actually get before they have to come back to work. There’s only one full-time person, me (about 25 hours per week), and another girl (about 10 hours per week), so losing two full-time people at the same time is hard (especially since full-time is more than 40 hours).
Dad came out to the farm last weekend and I showed him what I’ve been doing, which was fun. He enjoyed feeding the goats some maple leaves.
Our goats are doing better since losing the one (I think I wrote about her? I don’t remember). The pigs are happy, though I think they wish it would rain. It’s pretty dry and they seem to like a little damp dirt/mud.