Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And Then There Were 14...Our 1st Fatality

You know you shouldn’t be arrogant. So, me being the flawed human I am, can get a lil’ smug at times….despite the fact that I KNOW better!

We bought chicks a while back as you can see *here*. 15 Chicks total, all pullets and everyone said “Get extras, you’ll loose a few the first couple of weeks”.

My first chicks to raise myself and all have thrived! Weeks & weeks flew by and I didn’t loose not one single chick!!! Now they are beautiful little chickens, fully feathered, funny and slightly obnoxious. They grew too big for their chick pens and needed a new place. We had planned on building a coop, but as life likes to do, it’s thrown a few monkey wrenches in our well planned plans.

Jerimiah had a fist sized hole knocked in his diesel tank…couldn’t find a salvaged/used tank, so had to order a new one from Dodge…Only $534.06 for a stupid plastic tank!!! Shortly prior, his welder was spraying diesel everywhere and had to be repaired…

Needless to say, the coop isn’t built. So I’ve let them have the old rabbit room/future milk room as a night home & during the day they go out with the bottle bucks to scratch around in the dirt, eat grass and catch bugs. I’m dreading the intense labor that will be required to clean out that room once I move them, but at least they have a safe shelter…

So far, this lil arrangement has been working out great….. Until tragedy struck..

Sam & Tonka were playing their goat games, jumping around, head butting ect. ect.

Sam rears up on his hind legs to hit Tonka, Tonka swerves around, catches him on his side and over & down Sam goes…

Down, Down, Down & with a heavy *THUNK* lands on one of my Ameraucanas!!

Poor chicken did a split second, wings spread freak out and with an “Acccckkkk!” sound straight from a cartoon, she was gone.

Poor Sambo got off the flattened chicken, nosed it and looked at me with a face that I swear was nothing but bewildered.

Right now I’m considering grabbing a few more Ameraucanas from Acco before their chick season is over so by laying age I’ll hopefully still have some rainbow layers to lay the colorful eggs Clayton is so fond of.

I’m no longer smug about my chicken rearing skills…. I’ve just had a bit of luck is all.

In happier news, I'm posting a few pictures of the surviving chickens at the bottom of this blog entry…they have grown so BIG! The Ameraucanas and Reds are the most friendly….the Jersey Black Giants are pushy and are learning from the Reds & Ameraucanas that people = food. My Marans are still skittish, despite my best bribes and they are the ones I generally have to chase & catch to put up for the night, but hopefully they’ll warm up to people soon.

Shayla is working on naming the chickens…. One of the Reds likes to sit in her lap while she pets it… I asked her what she was going to name her favorite chicken…. Fully expecting to hear “Tinkerbell”, “Lucy” or “Carly”…..What do I hear instead??


LOL!! I have no idea where on earth she came up with such a name, but we apparently are the owners of the ubber friendly lil’ red hen named Riccardo.

Lets just hope Riccardo is swift of foot and is on a vigilant watch for those falling goats!

   The Chicken "Riccardo"  up in front on the right..


Friday, May 13, 2011

Held Captive in the Captivating Town of Noodle...

A day like any other day…I get the kiddos off to school, feed, milk, haul out hay, take care of the chickens and give the bottle bucks their bottles. After milking I put the milk on the stove on low heat to pasteurize (bottle kids get pasteurized milk).

While I’m waiting on the milk, I run out to the boy's pen to rinse out their water trough.

They are housed in a temporary kid pen….I have a large metal building that has 3 rooms…each one about 10’ x 12’. The boys pen is a 6ft tall chain link kennel about 20’ x 20’ bumped up against the last room of this metal building. It has a heavy sliding metal door that leads into the pen, and an old, very heavy, regular metal door that leads into the room. This was originally my rabbit room, but it’s the temp home for the chicks. It has 3 windows that we took out and securely attached fence panel to in order to keep predators out, but allow plenty of fresh air in.

Anywho… I intend on making a quick run out there, so I just slip on my flip flops. I’m trying to get things done in there, but the wind keeps blowing the door that leads into the building open. Frustrated I slam it closed as hard as I could so I could finish my work without having to round up escapee chickens.

This is at 8:15am.

By 8:20am I’m done and ready to head inside to check the milk on the stove, and maybe read a book while the house is quiet.

I can’t get out. The slammed door is jammed. No biggey…I’ll just tug harder!

8:45am- I’m having no luck with the door.. I’ve tugged, pulled, yelled, screamed…I’ve tied things to the door knob to pull with.. I’ve tried prying the door open with a piece of rebar.

No luck..the door is absolutely stuck.

I go to the window that borders my neighbors property.. I hear someone, so I yell for help, hoping Alan was home.. Out of luck there too! I hear someone get in a car and leave….that was my last chance for a quick exit.

I’m sweaty, my hands hurt……at this point the door is mocking me. I am getting angry.

I call my husband on my cell….no answer.

I rotate between calling and tugging the door.

9:10am - I give up. I accept the fact that I can not open the door.

I decide to go through the sliding door into the pen to climb the 6ft chain link.

After all, I was an awesome lil tree climber back in the day…a fence shouldn’t be a problem for a gal like me!

Back in the day was longer ago than I want to admit…the fence is more daunting than I originally thought.

Especially when I’m wearing flip flops and the horizontal bar that would make an ideal stepping stone is on the opposite side of the fence.

Trying with flip flops failed. So I kick them off and start up the fence…

My toes HURT, my feet HURT… I’m not equipped to climb fences barefoot, but I’m almost to the top…..I swing my right leg over the top, thinking I’m almost scot free..

Until IT happened….

Sam that is. My 70lb Alpine bottle buck wants to play! He’s got a mouthful of my jeans on my left leg and tugs..

I kick him away, try to keep my balance in such an odd position and he lets go.. Only to jump up on the fence, grab a bigger mouthful of jeans and dash away as fast as possible…bringing me with him!

My right leg hangs up on the top of the fence and in mere seconds I’m on my butt in the pen.

I’ve also discovered I am too old to be falling like that. I hurt all over, thankfully no broken bones, but my back and shoulder are throbbing with such intensity that I’m threatening to put Sam in the freezer and make fajitas!!

Okay, I did cry a bit….then I yelled and screamed and called Jerimiah again..

9:45am - Still can’t get Jerimiah to answer, and there isn’t anyone else I can call who can come save me in Noodle.

Not to mention, the further away I have to call someone in to rescue me, the bigger the embarrassment…

I decide to try getting the fence panels off one of the windows to get out that way.

Of course, I feared predators when I had my bunnies in there so we made sure the windows were VERY secure! So secure in fact I must have been out of my mind.

Apparently my irrational fear prompted me to secure the panels well enough to keep a damn bear out!

I can’t get them off…. I try all three windows, no luck. They are secured on with those giant, thick U shaped nail things…Like ginormous staples.. I’m sure they have a name, but at this point I don’t care what they are called…At this point I‘m convinced those staples thingy ma jigs are instruments of the devil, hell bent on holding me captive… I try everything I can think of and simply can not pry them off the fence panels…

I dig through the entire room looking for the bolt cutters…we just bought a new pair recently and used them to cut panels with.

9:50am- And I finally find the cutters….they’re OUTSIDE of the pen…completely out of reach! There they sit…just 2 feet out of arm’s reach on the outside of the boy’s pen….. they mock me with their promise of freedom just barely out of reach.

I hate them!

10:10am- I find a saw…just a regular hand saw but it’s SOMETHING. I begin to saw through the areas on the fence panel where it’s attached to the window frame so I can pull it off.

10:45am- Success! Finally!!! I get the panel pulled away enough to crawl through…well fall through the window, but at this point I’m not concerned about my mode of exit, as long as I’m out.

Get in the house, of course the milk that was on the stove pasteurizing has boiled over and there’s a thick burnt on mess of milk all over the stove top, so instead of relaxing, I have a huge mess to scrub up.

11:04am- Jerimiah calls!!!!!!! He left his phone in the truck while he was working….

“Hi Hon, I saw you called a few times, whatcha need??”

Oh NOW he calls!!! Now that I’ve escaped from being trapped in the barn for 2 hours and 25 minutes, he calls NOW!!! So much for that Knight in Shining Armor bit huh??

So I proceed to whine about my morning, hoping for some sympathy for my plight and for my aches, pains and bruises.. But NOOOOO!! I can’t even get all the way through my tragic tale because he’s in hysterics!

Ya know how several of my blogs have some lesson learned? This one is never go into an enclosed area without securing an exit for yourself!

What a morning!

In other news….. I’m excited! This week I went and picked up my newest addition!

I know, I know…I don’t need anything else, but this was a deal thrown my way that I simply could not resist…and since it fits in perfectly with my future plans, it’s not a pointless addition. I am changing some of my focus in regards to the goats. My mom is buying Tootsie from me, Lilly, Sabrina’s doe kid will be sold later on down the road and I plan to focus on Alpines and the earless goat breed known as LaManchas.

Their appearance can be off putting to many, but they are amazingly sweet, docile, laid back and amazing milkers with a high butterfat content to their milk. They are much more suited to the Texas heat than my Alpines and they are so odd looking they are cute!

I brought home an amazing lil buck that was a February baby and his name is “Tonka”. He’s an AI baby out of  +*B SG South Fork Toi Soilder who is listed as #1 on the ADGA Elite Lamancha Buck List. Had an awesome visit at his breeder’s farm, they were so nice, helpful and even gave me a lesson on how to tattoo a goat. Can’t wait to visit again in the spring.

Jerimiah is not smitten…nor is he impressed with his quality and the amazing sire he came from. Quite frankly, he thinks he’s the ugliest thing on 4 legs…But as always, he’s a great husband and humors me on my various insanities. I have a feeling Tonka’s sweet personality will win him over eventually.

I could not be more pleased with this boy…and I’m over the moon exited about my great start in LaManchas! Plan to add two does Spring 2012 which will give me an Alpine breeding trio and a LaMancha breeding trio which is all I’ll ever need.

Tonka is in the buck pen with Sam and they are getting along great. Sam is confused over the lack of ears…lol It’s been a few days and he still keeps nosing Tonka’s lil ear nubs as if to say “Hey man! What happened to your ears?” lol

Of course, here are pictures:

Tonka pictured a few weeks ago on top, his dam "Priss" pictured below:

Tonka meets the kids and gives kisses:

Sam and Tonka: