Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hay Rack 2.0

Due to the recent population explosion in the goat family
the size of the original hay feeder became too small for them all to eat at the same time.
They were also dropping quite a bit of on the ground,
which we think was partially due to the size of the wire used to hold the hay in the rack.
To help feed them all we started scattering hay on top of briers and in dry spots under trees.
This worked for a while, but had to be solved.
This is the solution.
FabHub has put his developing welding skills to work and built Hay Feeder 2.0.
Higher capacity, more durable, smaller access points, and dual sided.
The photo above shows the wire from the original Hay Feeder being used 
to close the end of the rack and the smaller spaced wire of the new feeder showing behind it.
As a user, the goat may not appreciate the smaller wire size, 
but as the owner I am hoping for less wasted hay.
This is me distracting the goats away from where FabHub is getting started with the installation.
They turned around soon after this shot.
Goats aren't dumb, they figured out I didn't have any snacks to share.
They headed straight back over to the construction site.
and spent the rest of the day watching their new feeder getting installed.
This is not as precarious as it looks.
This is me helping.
I am good at holding the tape.
This is the not quite finished product.
It will have a roof, hopefully by the end of next weekend.
We will also be bringing in some rocks to go underneath it.
That should help keep the area from getting too muddy
and raise the ground height for some of the smaller goats.
Tthe girls really like it so far.
They like the higher capacity and the dual side access.
I like the durability. We will see if the smaller grid makes for less loss.
The new girls still won't let the yearlings eat with them though.
So I ended up putting some hay in the old rack too.
They all got something dry to eat and that was the important part.
We all enjoyed a nice sunny day.
The new girls napped and chewed while laying on a pile of old dry hay.
They won't eat it, but they like to lay on it.
It is kind of interesting to see how they socialize.
The farm they were on was a messy mud pit, 
so I guess they would lay together on the hay to stay dry.
The yearlings are less concerned about staying dry.

They, Flower, and one of the new girls went out in the pasture and found soft spots.
Tyson, he is his own kind of guy.
He found a barrel to lay in.
When he put his head down you could hardly see he was in there.
Probably I nice warm spot that cut down on what little breeze there was.
OR he was just hiding from all those girls.
Later on he and FabHub unloaded the trailer of old wet hay 
by tossing it over a hillside that could use the fertilizer.
I had loaded the trailer by cleaning up the space between the hay feeders.
I also took all the dry hay that the girls had been laying on earlier. 
They will have to find a soft spot in the grass next time.
Next adventure will be the roof on the hay rack.
I know you can't wait.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Goat Population Has Expanded

 Normally when I go out and call the girls in for feed or snacks this is what I see.
The four girls and Tyson are coming on the run. 
Flower, the fifth girl hasn't caught onto the program yet.

This morning when I hollered "GIRLS"
They came running like normal.
And then over on the other side of the yard there was another stampede in the making.
These are some of the NINE new girls that FabHub bought yesterday.
Some of them will stay some will go on to other homes. We really only wanted to have a total of eight girls.
There are 14 of them out there now. Plus Tyson.
And approximately 20 to 30 on the way.
Spring could be interesting.
Here FabHub is sharing some old bread with them. I covered some sensitive areas for you.
They are pretty healthy and all pregnant due in March or April.
The only real health problem with them kind of makes the purchase worth while.
They were living in a mud pit and bringing them to our farm may have been 
more Rescue for them than potential income for us. 
All of their hooves were caked and packed with mud. Some of them could hardly stand up and were moving around on feet not far from permanent damage. A couple of them are still limping around, but they should recover. The mud was so deep in their barn that they had to get down on their knees to eat from feeders that should have been at least chest high.
When FabHub and his Awesome Brother got them home they took the goats one at a time from the trailer to the trimming stand. They cleaned the feet, trimmed the hooves, gave them antibiotic shots between the toes, and made them feel loved.
Then Tyson checked them all out and got told to get on with himself they didn't have any interest in him right now.
The goats all came with names from the previous owners.
The funny thing is they all have -- would you believe -- FLOWER names, just like my girls!!
Most of them have tags in their ears with the names printed on them.
I will have to spend some time to get to know them.
At least the ones we are keeping.
This is Rose.
She seems to be the leader pack for the new girls.

And then later this afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look at this weather!
The girls eating dinner in the snow.
I discovered a small issue with combining goat "families" like this.
The original girls are yearlings. The new girls are between two and five years old.
And there are more of them.
This is Violet, she called for a meeting with management to discuss the situation.
It seems the big girls are being bossy and don't really know how things are "supposed" to be around here.
They will all get over it soon enough.
We do need to get to work on some more fence now though.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

How to Get Stampeded

The process of getting stampeded by my goats involves:
one part hay

and one part each of
sweet feed,
and especially
one part licorice flavored goat snacks.

If possible take these feed products out to the field when the goats are far away.
That will allow you to get in the gate without trouble and put the hay in the feeder.
If you are lucky there will be an opportunity to empty the feed barrels of the water that may have collected.
Moving those barrels or banging the metal bucket WILL cause a reaction in the field.
First the goats will holler at you.

Then they will start running.

They can move pretty quickly.

They are a bit cautious though.
I think the camera bothered them. They can be a shy. HA! Yeah right.

When they feel safe...

They will come up close and personal. Tyson says Hi!

And when you have the Licorice treats - Really personal!

By the way. FabHub went to the market and bought a goat.
Believe it or not, she has gained some weight since he bought her.
We don't know if she is pregnant, but we hope so.
I named her Flower, because she looks a bit like the girls named after flowers, Sweet Pea, Daisy, Tulip, and Violet, but different enough I thought she needed more identification to fit in. 
Besides that, the only name I came up with was Sunflower because she is so tall. 
So Flower works.

She is a bit taller than the rest of them, but Tyson and the rest of the girls seem to like her.

He still has a bad habit though. The gates aren't hooked to the electric fence.
The fence breaker blew and it was off for a couple of days.
Tyson started eating through the woven wire along the drive way and got stuck.
The juice is back on and the problem is solved for now.
Unfortunately, it was Flower and Sweet Pea who confirmed the power was on.
Not the naughty boy! He sat back and laughed when they jumped.

Winter Travels

When we leeft Mom's house after Christmas we brought her dog with us so that she could go to Iowa and visit the Grand Baby's. Then in January we met Mom half way and gave her back. Our dog Jake was pretty happy about that. He stayed home and had a quiet day.

After we met with Mom we took off on the scenic route home. The first plan was to go to Pigeon Forge to see a stage show at one of those big theaters they have and then drive home the next day. 

We made it all the way to Asheville, NC before changing our minds. So then we saw a sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway and thought that would be a great trip even in the winter because you can see more through the trees. So we hopped up on the Parkway.

And about 20 minutes later the Parkway ended. 
Basically, we drove from the west side of Asheville to the east side of Asheville.
We saw a lot of trees.
Then after we were on the road home we saw what the problem was with the Parkway.

That ridge way over there with the snow on it 
-south of where we are- 
we think that is the Parkway.
Probably not the safest place to be driving at the moment.
Oh well, now that we know how to get there we will try it again one day in the summer time.
Not very long after this we caught up with the storm. 
The semi truck traffic north out of Wytheville on I-77 was non-existent. 
So instead of going to a show we went home.
That was nice too.