Oh how our chickens and roosters are so happy that winter is over. They are enjoying being out of the hen house . Not only do they have their own yard to enjoy, but they also have recently been enjoying the back play yard with Pumpkin and her daughters. They are eating their grain, and whatever goodies I place on the “table”. Eugene is our beautiful Brahma rooster, Bojangles is our Black Netherlands Whitehead rooster. Then there is our fluffy buff Orpington rooster with no name because we thought he was a hen for so long.They are so much fun to watch.
As you can see, Gullringstorp chickens and roosters enjoy the Spring/Summer and I enjoy watching them.
This is a typical Spring weekend here at Gullringstorp. We have the goats and chickens to care for and the property. There are the usual chores on a farm property. Things need mending, fixing and just plain tending to.
The cats and fish that are in the house get fed first thing. Then off to the stable with my bucket of chopped veggies and fruit and molasses water for the mothers. Max always joins me and Leif follows later. I make a quick check on the new mothers and their new babies and when all is fine, I say hello to all the others on the other side of the stable. Max and I fill a wheelbarrow full with hay to take out to prepare the enclosure for everyone who goes out. The boys were so happy to go out as were the other ladies and girls.
We have with the help of Leif and my daughter, finally got names for all the new babies, even the little boy who will be sold.
Iris’ daughter is Blossom and her son who will be sold to a good home is Florian
Pansy’s daughter is Lilly
Poppy’s son is Huckleberry
Pumpkin’s daughters are, Willow and Violet
Peanut is still a mystery, no babies and no heats for the past 5 months! Hummmmmm
Once everyone is out and happy, I returned to the stable to tend to the new mommies and babies.
Iris and her babies :
Pansy and Lilly:
Pumpkin and her daughters, Willow and Violet :
After I take care of Iris and her children, I work on the other 3 families, starting with Pansy. Then I took care of the box of Poppy and her baby boy. I took all that was needed into Poppy’s box to be able to take care of both boxes. It’s just easier for me.
After the mothers and babies have been taken care of, I went to check on the other goats in the enclosure. They had run themselves out and all resting:
I was a bit worried about some of the ladies out in the enclosure:
Petunia, Surprise and Ivy have never been separated from Iris. They are doing fine as long as they can hold conversations with her from the stable.
Rose is such a mamma’s baby that she never likes to be without Pumpkin. She is doing better than I though, finding a little group to attach herself to in the enclosure. She will stand and eat hay with Peanut and her mother Hilda.
Leif has been busy with our firewood supply. this weekend he has been cleaving the logs he cut earlier. I think I posted earlier that he was cleaving the wood, mistake, he was chopping.This weekend he cleaved the logs with his new machine:
Looking at all those beautiful logs, I got an idea; why not bring ion some logs for the babies to play on. Poor Leif, I never run out of ideas and ways for him to help. But he was kind and asked me to pick out the logs I wanted from the big pile. When I found the 3 perfect ones he brought them into the stable and placed them where they belonged. He thought he should cleave them in half so they would have a flat bottom to sit stable in the boxes. When I said no , they are fine as they are he was not so sure. I was.
Leif had concerns about these logs, he didn’t think they would be appreciated. Well, just look at Huckleberry:
I hope you had sunshine for this this Spring weekend and you were able to be out enjoying it!
March 22nd was the first day of Milk Stand training for my does who are expecting. It went exactly as I had expected. I expected that Pumpkin would resist when she realized she wasn’t leading the herd out to the enclosure. She did just that.
Our sisters Pansy and Poppy can never be separated, this was no exception. As long as they were together and could see each other, they were fine.
Iris was the biggest surprise. She has a bit of history that needs to be explained. She was born at the same farm as our other Pygmy goats. At this particular farm , they do not believe in hands on especially with the babies, so they are not socialized at all. They all arrive at Gullringstorp very timid and it has taken a couple of years to gain their trust. Iris is a bit of a special case. Someone bought her mother at the same time that Iris was nursing. This meant that Iris had to move with her mother until she was ready to come to us at Gullringstorp. Her second mother absolutely spoiled her. Not so sure what she did, but Iris is pushy and expects to be first all the time. It has taken us nearly 2 years to try to calm her down. She will rush in front of the others for grain or even jump into the bucket of hay when I bring hay in her box. She is learning to be a bit more kind and not so pushy. I love Iris , but oh my goodness, sometimes she can be a handful.
Our problem with Iris is the leash. When she is on it she decided she would crawl through the stable , past 5 boxes toward the Milk Stand. Once we arrive at the Milk Stand, she decides to crawl up. I look forward to the day Iris actually walks up the ramp on all 4 cute little feet. Once she is on the stand she is just fine.
Since I am still getting stronger every day from the flu, I had our ladies on the stand just inn the mornings, for now. I will soon be up to full speed and then the ladies will have both breakfast and dinner on the Milk Stand. Because they are not really that comfortable on the Milk Stand yet, I do put grain in their boxes after they have been on the Stand. As they become more accustomed to the routine, they will only have grain on the Milk Stand. It takes time and I will give them the time they need.
We have one young lady who was bred the same time the others were, but went into heat the very next month. I have been under the assumption that her breeding was not successful. With all that down time in bed with the flu, it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard her in heat again after that. So….Peanut went on the Milk Stand this morning. She was accompanied for a short while by her mother Hilda.
You probably never imagined that someone could write so much about Milk Stand training. Well it might just be me , but then again, I don’t think so. Goat owners are always so fanatical about their beloved goats. I am just no different.
Here is Day 2 March 23rd of Milk Stand training:
I must tell you that when my goats are out of their boxes for indoor activities due to weather conditions, each and every one of them finds their way onto the Milk Stand. The difference here is that they are being directed there. they are all familiar with it and know that there is grain in the bucket. They willingly slip their heads through the opening and enjoy the grain at their leisure.
To have me come into their box with a leash is not acceptable to any of the goats except Pumpkin who leads our herd our to the enclosure. She is quite comfortable with the leash; in fact, she has her very own leash, a powder blue one and that’s the one she expects.
It’s all about repetition and consistency. Goats thrive on consistency , so it is up to me to continue with them.
I will post Day 3 then I will return when they have mastered the Milk Stand. the idea is that I will one day not need to use a leash. I will only need to open t heir box and they will run straight to the Milk Stand and place their head in to be secured in place. This will happen. I have done it before so I know it will happen. I will return when they are at that point. It will be a pleasure to post on their success.
After being sick for so long, many of my daily chores here at Gullringstorp have been passed on to my husband. I have been taking care of all the animals in the house and small tasks. I am happy to know that the goats have been so well taken care of by my husband, in my absence.
Last night I struggled with the fact that my pregnant ladies should have already started their Milk Stand training. I could not decide if I should start this morning or wait till Monday . Well I decided that this would be the morning I would start.
We bred 5 does but I have a big question mark over one young lady, Peanut. shortly after she was bred, I did witness what I thought was a heat. We just need to keep an eye on her. I think I may start her on the stand as well.
My first doe was Pumpkin. She was not so happy , but I expected that. She is a strong goat and it took both of us to get her up on the stand.
My next twi does are Pansy and Poppy. These are Frieda’s last babies born here at Gullringstorp. Their mother Frida passed away just about a year ago. I still miss her terribly but thankfully, I have 4 of her children and one granddaughter. I see her in all of them.
Here is the last doe of the morning, Iris. She gave us the most trouble. She was not having it! She refused to walk up the ramp and when she did move up, it was inch by inch. Iris is a Pygmy goat and is quite a bit smaller than my Nigerians Dwarf goats.
Overall, the first experience for my does was pretty good. They will soon come to learn that the Milk Stand will be the only place to get their breakfast and dinner. The process works. I have several does who have been through the Milk Stand training and are very comfortable on the stand. It takes time and patience and lots of love. You can never just yank and pull a doe up on a stand. You must take as long as she needs to walk that ramp and then to actually place her head in to be locked in. It takes time. This is nothing to be rushed.
My does will not be milked for some time, but when the time is right, they will be ready. As with my other does, these new mothers-to-be will have their babies with them when they are on the Milk Stand. This way they will help with any possible separation issues that may come up. It’s always fun for the babies to run and play and get used to the ramp and stand.
Oh I love being back with my goats. I have missed them terribly. It’s like being away from your young children. So much happens and you miss so much. I know they are my goats and not my children, but in a sense they are and I am the goat mommy. This has to be the relationship when you own goats. they need all that you can give them, not just hay, straw, grain and water. They need and require your love and attention, individually.
So here is how we came to have Tom and Jerry. These tiny babies are born in the stable and come into the goat’s boxes for food and water. I can’t rescue and bring every tiny baby into the house, even if I want to. They are stable mice and really have a great home there. the only problem is they get thirsty and seek out water. This is their undoing. They fall in and can not get out. It’s one of the saddest things to see when we go into change and refresh water in the boxes. We don’t really have a stable cat so these mice are not taken care of through the food chain . I go back and forth with the idea of a stable cat. I do have some concerns. One would be where do they wee and poop? Don’t really want that in the boxes or in the straw and hay supplies. Also cats carry Toxoplasmosis in their poopies and that’s really bad for pregnant goats just as it’s not a good idea for a pregnant woman to change litter pans while pregnant. Exposure can be harmful to the fetuses of both humans and goats. For these reasons we don’t have a real stable cat. Sounds so idyllic to have a stable cat, but these issues must be considered.
We just take care of whatever we find when we go to the stable. If they are in the water, they are not alive any longer and that is always sad for me. It never becomes routine. When I find these tiny babies in food bowls, I am so relieved. I just scoop them up and see where they run to. I put a small supply of grain in the hole they ran too and I try to remember where they ran to and place them closer to home. I have no problem scooping them up because there is no rabies in Sweden so these tiny cuties are not dangerous.
This tiny baby was lucky, he had a nice meal and had a dinner partner and didn’t fall in the water bucket.
It’s cold outside but it’s nice and warm and cozy in the stable. This is what I was met with when we went in this morning:
We are expecting more snow here at Gullringstorp. Burrrr……..