Monday, December 19, 2011

Pt 2 of last post!

and then the goat milking saga:
Today:
Hi all,

day three in my saga to get milk of my goats.
Every night I have been locking up the kids around 8pm and taken the girls to the milking stand, giving them nibbles and trying to milk them.
Up to the part of the getting the milk out of the teats it's all been good.

Tui, who had had mastitis in one teat, is giving about a tablespoon each day!!!
Poppy, a drop or two.
Their udders are not bursting full, but I can definitely feel some milk in there, and once I let out the kids they seem to be getting what they want with no problems.

Now, as we all are first timers I'm fully aware that my technique might be lacking.
I have tried you tube, but all the goats seem to have way bigger teats than my girls: I can place only three of my fingers around them, which is impossible for me to work.
One thing I can't sort is breaking the tiny plug that seems to develop over night at the tip of the teat.
Maybe I'm way to gentle, but I'd rather be too gentle than the other way around and freak the girls out by pulling/squeezing too hard.

Any tips, videos hints highly appreciated.

Today, 30 mins later:

kind of what I did just now.
And success!

I took a container with hot water and a flannel with me,
gave the teat a gentle rub down and soaked the plug bit.
And then I worked them, a bit firmer than the previous times, and lo and behold, the milk flowed!
Squirted more likely. I was trying to remember the rhythm I had to get into when using a breastpump myself and it worked.
I still have to sort out the milking and locking out arrangement, as the other goat was running around like mad wanting her share of nibbles. A second gate to the barn entrance should fix that!

So pleased!!!

Next thing, there were skin bits from the teat floating in the milk, so I filtered it through an 8 layer cheese cloth. Is that enough?
It looks clean and is sitting now in the fridge.
oh, and here's the proof, it's a large jam jar:




So, finally pretty much exactly a year after we got our goats Poppy and Tui I finally got my first milk.
And after I've strained and chilled it we had a wee taste and it tastes good.
"Nice in a sweet kinda way" according to Ms.8




Win some, lose some.
As long as the winning outdoes the losing I'll be fine and continuing in my persuits.

A very Merry and Peaceful Christmas and a good start to the New Year
love and peace,
Petra

One more post for the year?

I've been rushed of my feet in the past weeks, again!
I'll copy and paste the relevant conversations from my lifestyle block posts.
Suffice it to say, I'm looking forward to a quiet end of the year, and an even quieter start of the next one!!

First bunny saga:
15.12
Sudden bunny death

..again.
This time one of the young ones due for slaughter in a fortnight!
Rigor mortis hasn't set in yet, I think. How long does it normally last? The nose is grey and cold, but the body is about as cold when I have finished prepping them, meaning not colder than me, to my touch.
Anyway, this one had plenty of room to run around, was getting pellets and grass ad lib.
The boys were only now starting to get obnoxious with each other.
Could he have died of a sudden fright? No obvious wounds or marks anywhere, so no fight with predator.
I haven't done the post mortem yet, got to look after the goats and kids first.
Back later with my findings.
 
 
16.12
Wow, I just googled and found a very interesting and informative article on RCD.
It's a PDF but nevertheless:
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/plep.pdf

I suppose if I keep them isolated for the next fortnight, and on pellets, and they all stay alive, they should be safe to eat!
Better evaluate my breeding stock and get it vaccinated too! So far we've only done the pet ones.
 
17.12
Another one this morning, and this time I went straight in.
BUT, it looks all normal. Well, it looks like the other ones that I had butchered for eating.
No discernible spots anywhere, definitely no blackening on any of the organs, no frothy mucus around the cavity.
So far the two dead have been plain white ones, looking the closest like NZ White.
Yesterday I had noticed one being a bit quieter than the others, but can't tell whether that was todays's corpse. When feeding today I noticed one of the coloured ones sitting a bit behind. Also, it's only in the outside boys pen. So far nothing has happened in the girls pen, which is in our courtyard. Let's wait and see.
What is an appropriate way of disposing of the bodies? I had intended of burying them. We do have a drum I could burn them in, but burying would be easier.
 
18.12.
and another one.
This one has been dead a while, stiff as a board. So no PM.
I suppose it's like with tummy bugs etc.: a week after the last corpse I can assume the rest will be fine?
I'm tempted to cull the lot, except for the intended stud boy and a couple of mates to keep him company.
 
 
19.12.
Unfortunately I had to euthanize another one last night, but today the ones that were looking a bit on the dopey side seem to be perking up.
Spoken to the vet, he said burying is fine, and he's going to find something out for me regarding vaccinations.
As he wouldn't eat any, I will not cull them, but wait and see who will survive. I'm doing hourly checks now, to be able to put any out of their misery.
Anybody out there in a similar situation who has eaten bunnies?
And what about hunted ones? They might be infected but not showing signs?
On the up side, I can get my animal cuddles from the goat kids, one of them is positively cuddly and always tries to snuggle up on my lap. But, boy do they have ants in their pants! 
 
and another one today, 20.12.11
 
If my tally is correct that's 5 out of 14.
Not happy but I can only wait and see.
BUT, today I butchered three of the girls, no rabbit in the separate girl run has shown any signs of infection, so I thought I'd get in there before anything happens to them too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Times like these...

...make me very happy about my choices.
Bed time was approaching and the kids were kind of cooperating. Closing their doors I was wondering if I could get away with taking the goats in straight away or whether all hell would break loose once I had left the building?
Well, went and did it anyway.
Got the pellets for bribery, glass jar for milk, the Phytolacca and got Tui first. Cooperating all the way and stripping done in minimum time ( milk still stringy and ever so lightly pinkish). Got Poppy: she was fully into the idea of having little tidbits while walking back to the paddock!  That distance normally takes her 20 minutes, if I keep pushing and pulling. Today, I think it would have been less than 5!
Next the ducks to be locked  back into their hut.
First, a cuddle with the heaving mass of bunnies and grabbing a few handfuls of fresh grass for them.
Went towards the hut, quietly because I had seen some movement inside and found they had taken themselves to bed already! I upset them a bit by actually looking closer in to count, but not too close: they've been in there only for 3 days and already the pong is too much to bear!
To counter that I decided to pick on of my pink roses that had opened over the last few days and it is smelling heavenly.
On my way back I checked and the kids doors were still shut and it was peacefully quiet.

Tomorrow will be most probably the day from hell, so I thought I'd better write this down to remind myself when it gets too bad, that it will get good again too!

TTFN

Monday, November 28, 2011

Duck run up and running

After the last couple of weeks of building, ramming warratahs in the ground and putting mesh up it's finally done.
On Sunday evening I moved the ducklings into their new enclosure. Complete with 'shower-tray' bath feature. It took them a while to get into it, but once they did there was no stopping. They splashed and paddled til they all were absolutely soggy wet.

We all went to bed completely shattered and then the storm started. I thought I could leave them out and not worry about chasing them to lock them up in the hut. I was wrong: I was tossing and turning so badly that in the end I gave up and went out in my PJ's and gumboots, torch in hand and chased them, 2x2x2, until I had them all safely locked up in the hut. And just as well I had gone down, the roof had blown open and was hanging of the hinges. Fortunately nothing had broken and a few more bricks on the top of it secured it for the night.
Here now the pics of the whole process:













And as a final touch, a couple of images of the resident wild pheasant that came to visit a couple of times in the past weeks.







That's all folks,
Peace and out!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Countdown has started!

As of Sunday, 20.11.11 I am counting down the days until the goats will definitely have had something!
On Sunday it was T - 40. I won't be reporting daily, but if you see a number it pretty much means nothing has happened and so many more to go!
Tui's still suffering from mastitis, but at least she's getting used to being handled on the milking stand. And that stand has been a blessing in disguise: having to handle her and administer the medication is so much easier with it. Hopefully the mastitis won't be of a problem anymore once she has kidded!

Until then I've got Project duck to keep me occupied. As they are literally growing over night I have to make a new home for them. After having learned from the first failure I am now making a decent large house and will make a properly fenced-in run. At night I will lock them into house and during the day will let them out into the run; and once they are big enough into the orchard. But even the orchard will get fenced in eventually.
Anyway, on Saturday I started making the house and put the finishing touches on today. Ross gave me technical advise and recommendations regarding materials to use. But the actual sawing, drilling etc was done by me.
I was going to post some pics, but the uploader is having a hissy fit. I will try at another time.

That's it for now, a short and sweet update on the general state of things. Well not quite, I don't think I've mentioned the chicks, chickens, hens AWOL and that female bunny who's decided 3 days ago to make a nest and pull out all her fur, even though I don't think she could be pregnant. But I haven't sat down with the calender and checked when all the boys got moved. I'll leave her be, not much I can do about it either way anyway!

Peace and out.




Friday, November 4, 2011

Addendum

For some reason, no idea what has been happening, I forgot to write about the birth of the chicks and ducklings.

Our rooster Rusty had died on 2.10.11 and on 5.10.11 one of the hens walked out of the bush with his last progeny, 12 chicks.

The ducklings were born on the 18. and 19.10.11 and had been sat on by two hens. They had been playing musical chairs with the eggs and I doubted any would hatch. One egg was rotten, and one duckling didn't survive the night. Now we've got 6, three dark coloured ones and three yellow ones. Still waiting for a reply from the breeder regarding that difference. For now they're growing well, which is good!


Finished of the bunny run properly and it's working great so far. The boys, all 15 of them, are enjoying the space.










































Today I'll be taking the first milking stand attempt apart and start on the second. This one will be hung from the wall and make more space in the barn.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's been a while!

And heaps has happened, as it should.
But on some days it seems to be more than I can handle.
The bunnies have produced, almost to the minute of conception. With two authorized and supervised matings and two unauthorized ones we've now got 21 new bunnies. Unfortunately the majority seem to be boys. I have had a few friends asking for some girls, but I think only a few of the white ones are girls this time. It doesn't matter much with roasts, but to keep as pets girls are better.
In the first couple of weeks we lost 3 babies: one fell out of the nest and died of hypothermia and two were the victims of our adopted cat.
On a positive note, the chicks are thriving in a "new" second hand hutch which I found a couple of weeks ago at our tip recycle centre. More space for them to run around and develop their motor skills, and enough space for mum too. After all, it's 12 chicks!

And the ducklings have finally hatched: out of 8 eggs 7 were fertile, and 6 survived the hatching process. One problem now though, three of them don't exactly look like Rouen chicks. Will have to have a word with my egg supplier. ;-)



And the goats definitely seem to be pregnant!  Hehe, how definite can seem be?
I dont know, but the obliging Billy's owner reckons I'm well on my way of becoming a goat nana! She reckons our girl Poppy is way bigger then when she saw her last, so here's hoping and keeping fingers crossed!


Update done for today on the critter front, it's been a very busy school holiday too, just in the last week we're literally having visitors daily. And most of them for sleep overs too! And since they're all friends and come to see us and not the house, it's pretty casual and entertaining.

TTFN


Sunday, October 2, 2011

What a start of the week :(

Right, after having fed and watered all the animals, tethered the goats to a good browsing spot, had breakfast and then went to check on our sickly rooster Rusty. He had been quiet for the past week and I had isolated him in a separate hutch to give him peace and quiet to recuperate. Unfortunately, he didn't get over whatever had been ailing him. He was lying dead in the hutch.
So I've had the enviable task of plucking some of his prettiest feathers as a memento for my boy and then bury him, next to Uno the stud bunny.

As I was digging the hole, I wondered what some archaeologist might interpret into the " random" burials of animals around our property. We've got two sites at the moment reserved for our "pet" farm animals. I wonder what someone would make of that!!! "They "worshiped" their farm animals and buried them facing the East! They must have been also worshipers of the rising sun!"

Back to the chores, making a frame for casting concrete pads for the duck run.

Critters and their nature

On Thursday we woke up to a half dead baby bunny in the kitchen. My first job was to euthanize it asap. Later on I examined the cage and found that all the baby bunnies are now mobile enough to leave their nurseries.
Our adopted cat Purdie has realised there's a mouse family living under the rabbit cage and caught a baby mouse. And after that baby bunny crawled out she's now after the BIG mice! 
I'm keeping mouse traps baited, and caught three so far, but have to make sure that in the mean time no more babies can escape or get fiddled out of the cage: I discovered another baby in that litter with a major scar under the chin and near the eye! I don't know exactly who the culprit was, but pretty sure it was one of our cats.
So, the babies are mobile, the older white ones are starting to seriously practice making babies, which meant the boys are in their own solitary cages. I will have to separate them before the hormones seriously kick in, I don't want them to get into the habit of fighting each other. And then of course the duck run will need to get started, latest due date is the 21st of October!

And to top it all off, my little girl has finally come down with a cold, again. For the past, ah, I don't know 4-6 terms, she's always come down with something in the last week of school. A day at home for her, a sleepless night for me and worrying about her state of health.

And the school PC seems to be infected with two Trojans! Which means working on the back up PC, which works just fine, but is considerably slower. Patience will be tried today!

TTFN.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photos

And here are some photos:
our cats, Elli and Purdie, and one with our dog Tuppence.
The bunnies, the black ones are already spoken for and growing nicely!
And our two broodies sitting on duck eggs.
And my daughter's two favourite soft toys!!!!
Food chain!
  

 I'm NOT fat!

Really!

Showdown


Ginger's babies
 Ginger's black one.

Lavender's babies

Lavender's black one

Broodies

Unicorn
 




Enjoy.

Weigh in 4

Another week has raced by and a few priorities have changed.
I sat down and wrote down when I could be expecting my ducklings and baby goats and realized that the raised vege beds will have to wait. I've got to finish the duck enclosure in the next three weeks and make the goat fence baby proof in 6 weeks. Taking the weather variable into account, and my aging body I can't spend time getting the raised beds made. That will have to wait. So, in the past two days I've been sorting out wood and started on the fence yesterday. With the wonderfully ( NOT) incapacitating result of a pulled muscle in my back! If I can get my husband to bang in the first post, I'll be able to slowly work on the rest. Til the back is strong enough again to do some more digging.
So, to slowly warm up, I weighed the bunnies again today:
Yellow      1380g
Black        1335g
Red          1360g
Green       1210g

Mixed results, but as they are still a fair way away from decision making time I'm not even going to contemplate who will be kept for breeding and who for eating.


TTFN, photos maybe later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weigh-in 3

Here are the numbers:
Yellow   1140g
Black     1115g
Red       1150g
Green    1000g



And here some photos from the latest three litters, born Wednesday a week ago, and Sunday night.





Monday, September 12, 2011

Weigh in 2

I'm about to move the kits into a hutch by themselves as their mum might have another litter in the next couple of days. I want to make sure she doesn't get stressed out by these bouncy inquisitive fur balls. So, before moving them I decided to weigh them, a day early, but that doesn't really matter for me.
Results:
Yellow 844 grams
Black   838 grams
Green   710 grams
Red      854 grams


And I got myself, or rather my hens properly set up for hatching out a couple of eggs. It was supposed to be duck eggs, but the breeder down south is having a full-on time with the lambing, so I will wait another couple of months til the next one goes broody. As ducks mature a bit slower than chickens,it won't really make that much of a difference to my breeding regime anyway. And I'd rather not have him stressed out!

That's it for now, I'll be on baby watch again for the next 5 days, hopefully it'll all turn out well, and Uno's legacy will be a fruitful one!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pounui weigh-in

Watch out: Pounui weight watchers are tracking weights around here!
Collared, sexed (hopefully correctly) and weighed at 4 weeks old:
Red        poss. female   640 g
Green     poss.female    526 g
Black           female       592 g
Yellow          male         640 g

The babies seem to be weaned, they are now eating everything mum eats: fresh grass, hay, fresh vege scraps and pellets.
Mum might be due for another litter in a week, so I will have to move the babies to a separate hutch. Hope they won't miss mum too much.

Unfortunately their dad, Uno (the big white rabbit with the big snoz) died yesterday morning unexpectedly.
After doing a simple autopsy and posting the photos on forums, I'm relieved that he doesn't seem to have succumbed to an infectious disease. On the other hand, his condition ( possibly urinary calculi) is something I will have to bear in mind when raising more male big bunnies for breeding: they need obviously more exercise to keep everything moving and flowing properly. A shame he had to be the one to teach me that, but at least his kids seem to have inherited his pleasant character disposition, so I will see what will come of them.


TTFN

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

and now for a video!

video

Bunny nursery

I seem to have sussed out a set-up for my bunny nursery. Hopefully the pics say it all. Today I cleaned all the bunny cages again. With kits at hand and new litters due I want to keep everyone as clean and healthy as possible. And it was easy peasy.
Now I just have to figure out a nice permanent set-up for the studs, as they don't like to keep each other company and I want them to have "happy" singles accommodation.

Oh, and btw, the babies are SOOOOO cute right now: 20 days old and now jumping around and starting to nibble grass and hay.







Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Babies!

Ok, last week Brownie gave birth to her third litter, and her daughters Ginger and Lavender didn't. Unexpectedly her litter was only 4. But as I found out from others later on, to be expected from an unsupervised "mating". Obviously he didn't get to do the job properly with either of them.
So, after the max waiting time had elapsed the daughters got mated again on Monday, and this time properly. Well, as far as I could tell.

In the past week Brownie, the mum of four, has been behaving like an utter tart. And last night she managed to undo the boy's latch and they spent the night cavorting. AGAIN. I have to padlock his cage! Way to early for her: the does are supposed to have a recuperating time of 2-3 months between litters, but hey, let's see what happens in 30 days!

The babies, because there's only four of them, have been thriving and putting on weight and fur very quickly. Eyes are still closed, and should be for another 3-7 days, but that doesn't stop the kids bringing them in and giving them oodles of cuddles.
This bunch of babies is the leakiest we have had so far. EVERY time we pick them up, they piddle! I always make sure not to wear anything "nice" and even the kids are learning to keep their distance after the first one managed to squirt them in the face!!

 

Uno, the boy, has had a bit of a big snoz for quite some time. We had decided once we knew if he had lead in his pencil, we'd take him to the vet and get it sorted out. Well, while playing around with Ginger, she did the vets job, without anesthetic: she lanced one side of his nose and the most disgusting amount of gooey thick puss came out. Trying to keep it clean so it doesn't get affected, and hopefully the abcess will go by itself. Otherwise a visit at the vets is still on. We got him in for a check-up and he had a good nosey around, watched suspiciously by the dog!

The snow storm, which prevented me from watching two movies and a highly anticipated gig on Sunday night, was exciting at first. But now that we've been having mainly rain, hail, sleet and WIND we're over it. Could Spring please make an appearance soon?

The goats have been coping so far okish, I had to put coats on them twice, but feeding them hay twice a day seems to have been alright for them.

And we've been getting 3-5 eggs a day from the hens, so this week I'll be doing some baking again.

Oh, and speaking of baking, I've decided to start another blog!!  Only about food, recipes. No raising, butchering etc there. And the name?? Hehe, Pounui Resort Restaurant and Cafe!  PRRC for short.

see you soon,
here or there,
or ANYWHERE!