Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving day for the pigs

Guinea hogs grazing out back

After having the pigs in the front yard for the past few months it was an exciting day for all of us to get them moved out back.  They certainly did their job out front rototilling the new garden area but it was time for them to fade into the background a bit.  I think they enjoyed the move as much as I did.   I have to say I found myself over explaining the pigs in the front yard thing.   One moment I felt like this enlightened, environmentally responsible person and the next like I was this ridiculous person straight out of that silly sitcom Green Acres sans the denim overalls.   So with all that ambiguity going on in my head about pigs in the front yard it's a good thing  they aren't there anymore. 

I am moving them into the wooded area at the back of my property but they can also have limited access to the grassy area between the woods and the house now which is where they were today.  I had heard they weren't really rooters but they did quite a good job of rooting out front  for me.   But in the larger area of grass today they never rooted at all which is great because I didn't want that area torn up.   They just grazed .   I must say I enjoy having the pigs much more than I ever thought I would.  They are so friendly and I love the idea that even my weeds don't go to waste anymore.  And their size couldn't be anymore perfect for my little property.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Goats & chickens

Gwen, the Jersey Giant in a crate in my kitchen recuperating

Chicken coops only work if you close them up at night.   Gwen was one of the lucky ones last night.  I had my 9 yr. old close them in last night but somehow it didn't happen. 

When we found Gwen all the feathering on the back of her neck was gone and she couldn't walk at all.  On closer inspection under her feathers back by her tail she had an open wound about the size of a quarter.  I brought her in and put her in a dog crate in my kitchen.  I put some water treated with an antibiotic in with her. I wasn't sure she would make it through the day and kept checking to see if she was still breathing.   Bless her....she laid an egg within an hour although she still looks to be touch and go at this point.  She's had a little water and some cheese I put in there so maybe she'll make it.

Bonnie and the other hen must have made it out because they both were fine.   Rudy will be greatly missed as will Lilly.   Two of the new chicks have turned out to be roosters and the light blue one is out of Rudy and Lilly so at least I still have that line.   What I went through to get Rudy and Lilly is a story for another day.

Tomorrow is the goats day for shots, worming, supplements and a hoof trim.    Tina is starting to bag up and I should have done this a couple of weeks ago but better late than never   If you have goats and you have a dremel but have never used it to do the finish on their hooves you are missing out on a great use for this little tool.  My first year of goat keeping I didn't do feet.   I finally hired someone to come out and do them.   They did such a poor job I knew I had to bite the bullet and learn to do this.  

I bought the required orange handled trimmers all goat keepers must have.    I also bought a pick/brush combo, a long handled plane from Hoeggers, a left handed hoof trimmer from Hoeggers, a right handed trimmer from Hoeggers and a sanding block and lots of sand paper from Lowes.   The only things I now use are the orange trimmers and the dremel.   On occasion I use the pick but mostly I use the end of the orange trimmers for picking out dirt and manure.    The dremel, I didn't buy for the goat.  I already had it to trim my dogs nails, but like all the things I bought and found useless for goats feet the dremel was useless for the dogs nails.   But, oh boy, is that thing great on hooves.  

If you have goats you can imagine how bad their feet were after a year of not being trimmed.  I've read if they get that bad you may never get them back to the way they should be.   But I have to say, with some effort and a dremel, I've almost got them back to the way they should be.  And I don't hate it!   I actually don't mind a bit doing them now.  If I had my choice of doing my dogs nails now or doing goats feet, I'ld take goats feet any day.   I'll take pictures tomorrow when I am trimming them up.
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