Monday, June 18, 2012

Little lost Beau

This morning Buttercup was standing in a walkway crying.  I looked for her calf and knew immediately what the problem was.  Beau had disappeared.  About the time I went out to let her loose to look for the calf, Luis showed up to milk.  Since I am not supposed to be walking in the pastures with my new knee, I let him open the gates so that she could tell us where the calf was. 

In short order, mom and son were reunited.  Here are some pics of them rejoining the herd. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are they laying?

I got the new batch of pullets in March.  I wasn't expecting any eggs from them until August.  Yesterday I got a small egg.  Is it just a fluke?  Every now and then, the mature hens will lay a teeny tiny egg, but I don't remember ever getting anything but white (Campine) eggs in size XXS.  I am hoping that my new girls are starting to lay. 

Here is a pic of two eggs from the mature hens, plus the little tan egg I got yesterday.  Is this the start of something big?

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's another boy!

Buttercup freshened the end of June last year, and I was hoping she would wait at least that long, since we have so much milk!  And people are going on vacation now, offering up their milk to the other shareholders while they are gone.  I am making cheese twice a week now, getting a bit weary of it.

But I digress.  Buttercup and her calf are the centerpiece of this post.  It is another boy.  So we are raising three bull calves and a heifer calf.  We are keeping them on their mothers - makes life easier for the milkers if they don't have to feed calves!  And we have so much milk that what better use to put it to than to help us raise four fine head of dairy cattle?

Here are the pics of new calf (Beau) and Mama Buttercup.

He's baaaaack - but not for long

This morning I lifted the lid on the engine compartment of the Moop and there he was, staring up at me, none the worse for his fight with Tashi the day before.  Raccoons have such beautiful faces.  We stared at each other, and I finally admitted defeat and lowered the lid.  He, of course, was feasting on the chicken he killed yesterday.

I called Ed at Gold Star Nuisance Animal Control.  He has the booth across the aisle from mine at the Farmers Market.  He was here in a couple of hours, got the raccoon and left with him, much to Tashi's chagrin.  She was ready for Round 2.

So the raccoon is gone.  Ed tells me that farmers he knows have had good success by running a police scanner in the area where raccoons are a problem.  I guess I will try that.  I don't want to pay to have a raccoon carted off every week. 

I got quite a few eggs today, although I think the Campines have taken to hiding theirs again.  Wise thing to do when there is a thief in our midst.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mystery solved - eaten eggs

Today Tashi went nuts when we went out to the Moop.  She was nosing around the engine compartment, which is accessible from inside the truck, not outside like most vehicles.  I squeezed into the cab and lifted the lid.  There was a beautiful and well fed raccoon.  I managed to scare him out, and Tashi got him.  She is fierce!  She has killed groundhogs far bigger than this raccoon, but after a fierce battle, he got away.  He was pretty bloody and beat up.  I can only hope the damage was fatal.  I found a chicken in the engine compartment - a big Buckeye, probably weighed seven or eight pounds.  I have been finding feathers, but no chicken remains.  I guess I will have to count tonight for the depressing news.

I took the shotgun out there, but there was no way that I could get off a shot, so the predator is still there.  I don't know what to do now.  My poor chickens - they are never safe.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Success - of sorts

Yesterday, I got one dozen eggs, all intact.  I was quite happy.  Not sure which of the changes made the most difference, but I followed the same routine today.  One egg eaten, which was disappointing.  We will see how it goes tomorrow.

Egg production is down, even counting the empty shells.  I wonder if the older and wiser chickens are finding new places to lay their eggs so that they cannot be picked at.

I found a new nest - behind the air conditioner of all places.  I saw the hen sitting back there.  Ricky Ricardo cackles when a chicken lays an egg.  Are roosters supposed to do that?  I thought it was the hen who did the bragging.  Anyway, I saw him by the air conditioner cackling to beat the band, and lo and behold, there was an egg.   It was a brown egg, which is unusual.  It is usually the Campines who hide their eggs.  But these are dangerous times.

I wonder when and where I will find all of the eggs that are being hidden.  Sigh . . .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No rest for the wicked . . .

My mother used to mutter, on a very busy day, "No rest for the wicked."  I must be very wicked indeed. 

Spring is always a very busy time around here.  There are many weeks when I have put in 100 hours or more when all is said and done.  The greenhouse will be shut down next week, and that will be a load off.  Very successful season, we are almost sold out.  What is left will get stuffed into my garden and given away to community gardens.

So I am coasting towards a finish line of sorts, and I just keep thinking, "If I push a little harder today, there will be less to do tomorrow."  It doesn't seem to work that way.  I was so tired that I pulled into a gas station and took a 20 minute nap on the way home from  Purple Porch Co-op tonight.  All I could think of was getting home and going to bed.  When I walked into the kitchen, I remembered that the second batch of cottage cheese has to be finished tonight - a leftover task from last night's cheese workshop.  Ugh!  Then I remembered that I had to pick up eggs.  The chickens have been eating a few of their eggs each day.  I went to the Moop and found every last egg eaten.  How discouraging! 

To the computer - a little research tells me that possible causes are not keeping water fresh enough, eggs with shells that are too fragile, not enough feed.  Clay doesn't always clean out the waterers well, so we had a discussion on that tonight.  He gets it, and I'm sure he will do better.  I told him he needs to fill the feed troughs a little fuller, and I sprinkled plenty of oyster shell around.  The article also said to put golf balls in the nests.  They will peck unsuccessfully at the golf balls, and it may be enough to deter them.

Walmart is open 24 hours.  Into the car, get the golf balls, put them in the nests.  Then into the house to finish the cottage cheese.  The timer is nagging me again to do the next step.  It is 10:16, and I am at least an hour from hitting the pillow.

Yes, I must be very wicked indeed.