Written by: Christine
August 16, 2017
Got started when I wanted to this morning, about 7:30 AM. First the keets. Yes, we will have Guinea Hen keets for the Fall Farm Tour this year. Bobbie was able to find and hatch seven of them, which are doing fine in our brooder. They are the standard gray/brown breed that we have on the ranch. Here’s a view of them from the side door of the brooder. I’m surprised to see how predator-like their bills are shaped. At least a couple of them will be big enough to put in a larger pen soon. We’ll have 50 ‘exotic’ keets delivered to us to raise and sell around August 29th.
The constant rains have been hard on our goats and sheep in that the soggy ground, along with the heat, makes prime habitat for parasites. Historically, it’s not been worthwhile to raise ruminants in this soggy part of Florida because of this. Mom has been breeding the goats especially to be parasite-resistant. Even so, we’ve got a few that have succumbed.
The first sign a goat or sheep is having trouble is diarrhea, so we’re always on the lookout for ‘poopy butts.’ If they are quite far gone, they behave lethargically, but we want to catch and treat them before that, of course. Catching a goat or sheep while their still lively can prove to be quite a challenge. I did buy a lasso, but that’s another story.
We can herd the whole group into the barn and sort them out from there. The next sign that an animal is having trouble is the color of their eyelids. When you pull the lower lid away from their eye, the color, like our own, should be red. If it’s pale or white, you know that something is depleting them.
This group is the latest that are being given extra care to remove the parasites and fatten them back up. I’ll explain how we treat them exactly in another post. As part of the breeding policy, we’ll help them out a time or two. But if they are too susceptible, we have to let nature run it’s course, and let them die.
Pasture #2 and #3
We have the lambs out here now. There are 11 females who are close to breeding age. they are all in good shape; freshly sheared, hooves trimmed and a couple treated early for signs of parasites.
The chickens are next this morning. The rains make the chicken yard a sloggy mess of mud and chicken poop. Disgusting! So what I’ve taken to doing is bring in a flake or two of hay for each worn out area. I don’t have to spread it out, the chickens do a wonderful job. And they find bugs to eat in there, too.
Pasture #4 and #5
Here we have the mini-myotonic goats, plus Jilly a story unto herself. They all look great. There are 10 plus 12 plus Jilly = 23. Yep, that’s just right.
Pastures #6, #7, #8 and #9
We have the male sheep in here. One of them will be selected soon to join the young females in #2 and #3.
Here is where we have the blended, larger goats. The nubians and kikos, which includes the beautiful male, Kane. I see one small, white one with a tan head with a poopy butt. When Bobbie gets home, we’ll go out and get her.
The male goats along with Rocky and Andrea the Great Pyrenees livestock dogs. Goats are accounted for, although I think one of them may be having some trouble. He doesn’t look particularly poopy, but he’s hanging back during food time. I’ll keep an eye out on him.
The female sheep, or ewes. They are looking good and all accounted for.