It has been a very cold night here at Gullringstorp. The sun came up to a chilly -17C this morning.
We have a heater on one end if our stable to keep the pipes from freezing. We used to carry buckets of hot water to the stable during winter months. This tiny heater keeps everything from freezing so we have water on hand for the goats and the chickens.
With the body heat of our 25 strong herd, the temperature today is just above 0C. We are careful not to open any doors unnecessarily that would let the cold in. Everyone has, by now a nice warm bed of straw and hay built up over the recent months. This makes a nice warm bed for them.This also means that in addition to their warm thick winter coats, they are cozy, not crazy warm, but very comfortable.
Outside my dinning room window I can see our covered pond is buried under fluffy snow. I know our koi are in their hibernation state and we will see them in the spring.
I can also see our garden birds enjoying their meal here at Gullringstorp. There’s seed in the many containers as well as seed spilled to the ground. Soon it will be time to refill the seeds and lard balls that sustain them during the bleak cold winter months.
Just a tiny look into winter here at Gullringstorp.
I spoke about what he is used to. I made sure they understood that as an adult buck he can no longer have grain and that he needs to have hay. The spoke about ensilage but I let them know it was not good for goats and that he could die from bloat, too much gas in the stomach. Larger animals like horses and cows can eat ensilage with no problems, but goats are a bit different.
Well I had held up fairly well until I watched Phillip’s new daddy place the hay in the truck. I just had to walk away as the tears began to fall.
I am still sad that our Phillip has left us , but I am so happy that Phillip’s new parents will love him. they have lots of animals: 2 does, a mini pig, cats, a dog and hens. Now they have a buck.
I hope that Phillip doesn’t have a hard time settling in to his new environment. I hope he settles in real fast. I hope he doesn’t miss his pals too much. It will be all new for him but I am sure he will be happy and cared for with love.
Goodbye my sweet little Phillip!
It was a very strange and unstable weather day so our herd remained inside.
I did work and added items to my website http://www.lilsisgoatmilksoap.com
Today was the perfect day to pick up hay for our goats. We now have a beautiful new bale in the feed box.
Quite some time ago, we went to our neighbors to ask if we could buy a little playhouse that was sitting unused. We thought, ok, I thought it would make a really cute chicken house. We were thinking of getting chickens for Gullringstorp and had yet decided on how to house them. This little playhouse seemed perfect.
It’s tradition to build a replica of the main house when houses are being built in Sweden. They are so cute. The children have a tiny replica of the house they live in. It’s also tradition to allow children to make decisions. The young lady who had clearly outgrown her play house, refused to sell it to us. I was disappointed of course , but she had that right to say no.
We decided to renovate the outdoor stable bathroom/shower house. So now our chickens have a real apartment. They have 3 rooms, a front door with steps , a hatch door on the side, a heater, windows and lights.
We have watched the cute little playhouse fall into disrepair from non use over the past year. Poor little house. While in London, my husband was asked if we wanted this little playhouse, at no charge. My husband accepted and said we would find good use for it. The sad little playhouse made its way into our goat enclosure. With much TLC this house is now a cute addition to our enclosure and a place to have hay and shelter for our girls.
Our girls are all happy with the new playhouse and we are happy to have it.
I am so happy to report that our little buckling Florian has been through the worst and all the discomfort associated with his procedure. He is now under the watchful, loving eye of his mother Iris. Iris who was my wild child, always needing to be first and get all the treats, has settled down considerably when she became a mother and a fine one at that. Florian is in the best hands possible with his loving mother.
He is sleeping well, and has a wonderful appetite. He no longer sleeps with the bucks in their box, he is back with his mother Iris and sister Blossom. In addition, he is able to enjoy his days now in the ladies enclosure. There he can play and still be a little boy with Huckleberry, with no fear of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies among our does or doelings.
He has been welcomed into the enclosure by each doe and has been accepted as a part of their herd within a herd. Prior to our goats being released into the enclosure, we must prepare. Water buckets are cleaned everyday, the grounds are checked for any dangerous items that may have gotten into the enclosure and hay for both the boys and girls is brought out from the stable. Every now and again, there are repairs that need tending to. Leif takes care of them, as a rule.
Little Florian spends hes days now with Mommy and returns with her to their box in the evening, for dinner. For the next 5 days, he will receive a penicillin injection. He took last night’s injection well. I decided that he would be too active in the morning and like any child would not be still for me. So when he comes inside at night, not only is he worn out from all the fun of the day, but he is hungry and pays no attention to me or what I am doing.
Well as you can see, I had real difficulty keeping my promise to sell our next bucklings. I did try with Florian but it was a no go. He will remain with us here at Gullringstorp and grow happily in the home of his birth, Gullringstorp.
When we started out with our goats, we decided not to have bucks of our own. This was because of all that I have read and all that I had heard. Bucks were dangerous, bucks were stinky and bucks were unpredictable.
We went for a long time hiring a Rent-A-Buck to come by Gullringstorp for our ladies. We were lucky to get a beautiful buck named Emil who fathered some of our most beautiful babies. You can read about Emil on another post “Our Rent-A-Buck” .
Then it happened, Hilda, our most gentle of all our goats gave birth to a doeling and a little buckling. Knowing how the temperament of the mother is passed on to her babies, we knew that this would be a wonderful and gentle buck when he grew up. We were right. Then we realized that since we also had tiny Pygmy does, we needed some tiny Pygmy bucklings for them. We purchased 3 tiny bucklings from the same farm we bought the doelings. With these little boys , we gave them all the love and attention we could so that they would be manageable.
Two years later, Nanna one of our Pygmy does, gave birth to Toby and I just couldn’t bring myself to sell him. Alika and Hilda two of our Nigerian Dwarf goats gave birth to 3 beautiful little bucklings, Pip, Winston and Phillip. Needless to say, they all have remained here with us and near their mothers, at Gullringstorp.
We have 7 bucks now in the boy’s quarter. With all the love and hands on, hand feeding every day, we have 7 beautiful, tamed bucklings. They are all collar and leash trained, should we need them to be led on a leash.
Although they are all tamed and kind, they are not without challenges: One challenge has been the way they have their hay in the box. We had one hay rack That was already in place from when horses used to live here. That hay rack was modified for our goats. Then we saw that we needed more hay holders of some kind. We tried horse hay bags. Well let me tell you, I know horses weigh a lot more than our little boys, but our little boys can really do some damage. they used their horns to systematically destroy the bags. That wasn’t working with the bucks , but did work with the does and doelings. We found an ad for hay racks at a great price, when purchased in volume. so we bought 5 of the.
Our bucks got 2 of the new racks. We thought our hay storage was solved. well it really wasn’t. We had two little bucks who thought it was fun to leap from the cable drum and lad right in the middle of the hay rack. Not a good idea; no place for accidental poopies or pee pee. We tried to move the cable drum so they couldn’t reach the hay racks. We did that, then , one day saw something that I had never imagined. Our little buck Winston, no bigger than a Cocker Spaniel actually leaped up into the hay rack from the ground!!
Then I got an idea. Not just out of the blue, mind you. Lids!! Lids are not unusual here at Gullringstorp. I our tiny Pygmy girl’s box, we had the same problem. We had a tiny doe who kept leaping into the hay rack. Solution, a lid. Pygmy goats love to climb so all the girls have had a chance up on the lid, now a fun shelf.
So lids it was:
Our bucks were shocked at first to see the lids and were a bit confused. Then they found the perfect use for the lids; sharpen their horns , of course!
As our little bucks have enjoyed their enclosure, it became obvious that they were now in need of more grazing. It was time to extend their space.
The boys like to relax on warm days:
Well with new covered hay racks and extended enclosure, our boys are more than happy!
With a bit of disappointment I must report that our little Iris did not have her babies last night. It just goes to show you, no matter how you may want babies to be born, they will always come when they are ready .
We checked Iris several times last night and again this morning. I can say that she is due quite soon, just when, only Mother Nature knows for certain.
We had yet another lovely Spring day and all our goats were out till nearly 8 pm this evening.
Here are our mothers-to-be :
Here are four of our five mothers-to-be :
I will keep you updated with post from the Maternity Ward at Gullringstorp and share all the news.
Sorry no babies yet, but, they are coming!!
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……..
We are now in the beginning of a real winter. We have had nothing but rain all Autumn long with mild temperatures. December has been rung in with not only low temperatures -14c but SNOW!
I love Gullringstorp in Spring and Summer but Gullringstorp really shines during the Winter!
This snow has caught us all a bit off guard. Like everyone in the countryside, we are now scrambling to get everything done that needs to be done before being buried in snow.
We have stocked up on hay and straw supplies in the stable, Leif has weather lined the stable doors that needed it and covered our pond the has many koi. Of course all the shovels have been activated and the chains have been placed on the tractor which is needed for moving large quantities of snow around Gullringstorp.
Max has worn last year’s winter suit and I realized that little Max, like all of us has put on a few pounds, so I have been in the market for a new winter suit for him. My husband laughs when Max gets “dressed” to go out but, he is not a big dog and he does get cold. Not now, because he has a new warm winter suit!
It is important to get all the supplies need for the goats, they need fresh hay and straw especially during winter. Any hay or straw that fall to the box floor, is added cushion and warmth during the cold winter months. Our goats, like all goats love to ear hay and straw and some of it will and always does hit the floor. We don’t mind.
I hope your winter is beautiful on your eyes and heart…