Monday, February 11, 2008

Livestock in motion.

Well, it got cold again last night and it is supposed to stay cold all week. Since our rabbit Purslane kindled unexpectedly this week I was afraid that if I left the kits out in the cold I would loose another litter like I did last month. I needed to do something to keep them warm so I brought them into the house in one of our medium pet carriers. They are sitting on top of the washing machine behind the curtain in an attempt to reduce Purslane's stress level of being moved to a strange place. I am still concerned about the kits due to the move but am sure they will fair better here in the house then outside in the cold.

Out in the cow pasture today I discovered two more duck eggs in the hay the cows mulched down from the round bales. I put them with the egg I found yesterday in poultry hoop house. I will keep my eyes peeled for more hidden eggs now.

While out in the cow pasture I was visited by the goats. They almost always come to be with me when I am in the pastures. It is the result of being bottle-fed and doted on the first three months of their lives... I am their Mom and they love me! Well, our new goat, Gottaway, must have finally decided that he was missing out on something in the cow pasture and wiggled his way under the bar gate to get out of the alpaca pasture. Yeah! He has only been watching Gabby, Pepper and Little Joe for over a week doing this multiple times a day. He immediately set out to investigate everything on this side of the gate... the pasture, the new hay bale feeder, the cow stall in the barn and he sniffed at the goat barn door but didn't go in. Later on I saw him back in the alpaca pasture so I knew he had it figured out. Then tonight at feeding time Gabby, Pepper and Little Joe came tearing through the gate to get to the goat barn for their nightly ration of goat pellets. I lock the goats up in their barn at night so they will not eat the alpacas feed. I was hoping that Gottaway would follow them in but he did not. He wouldn't go back through the gate again. Oh well, it was a first step. Maybe over this week he will get it all figured out finally.

This evening I also got most of the hens separated out from the flock that I want to have purebred chicks from this spring. Chickens have the ability to store sperm for several weeks and from multiple roosters. If you want pure stock from hens that normally run with multiple roosters you need to separate them from the roosters for at least three weeks (although it has been documented that even seven weeks after removal hens have laid fertile eggs!). I pulled my four Cuckoo Marens and my Hill Roamer hen and put them in one of the brooder/breeding pens. Then I pulled five Plymouth Barred Rocks and my two Welsummer hens and put them in a second pen. I still need to pull two Buff Orpingtons and two New Hampshire Reds that I want to cross with my Dark Cornish Rooster for our meat birds. I will try to get that done later this week.

The hens laid 15 eggs today.

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