Introducing....the two newest members of our fiber family- Tea (pronounced Tay-uh) and Twizzler!
They are both pygora goats from Great Lakes Pygoras in Ravenna Michigan.
Tea sports the purple collar. Both of the T's are trained to walk on a lead...I'm blown away by this...
Of course, what this means is that they will get to go for walkies...
...and have specific lawn mowing and brush control duties.
The kids took turns walking them around and Lila said "you should have got three of them Mom so we each had one!" I would definately get another from Allison- she and her husband are great people and they have lovely animals that are well cared for. The sheep seem to have accepted them just fine...very few altercations and the T's butted back at them so they laid off! I can't wait to harvest their fiber....October!
This morning I went out to move the hay feeders around. The old hay is getting rather deep and I need to get out there with a pitchfork and enrich the compost pile. In order to move the hay feeder I needed to rock it back and forth a bit and tip it over. There was something dark under there. What the heck is that??? Geez, it looks like...a...chicken??? Poke, poke....indignant squawk!
Evidently the poor speckled sussex who has been missing for around two weeks had wedged herself under there and the waste hay just piled up around the feeder and she couldn't get out. Her keel is sticking out and her breast is quite thin but when I took her into the coop she immediately went to the feeder. I'm sure she could get some bugs while trapped under there so that may have pulled her through. Can you imagine being buried alive in wet stinky hay??? What a survivor....though I question her common sense for going there in the first place...
Here are the cute chicks from the Speckled Sussex that was camping out in the barn. Still no sign of her so I'm assuming she is gone for good. The dark brahma bantam hen hatched them as surrogate. They have the cutest eye stripes!
At thirteen days old, their eyes are starting to open. This chestnut agouti was interested in what was going on.
Here is the wee chocolate kit with the white paw. I'm getting attached to this one. There is a white mark on the nose that looks suspiciously like a vienna mark- evidence that the kit may carry the gene for blue eyes. Hmm. Neither parent exhibits either blue eyes OR a vienna mark. Not sure how that can happen, though they do have BEW in their backgrounds...in fact the grandfather on the bucks side was BEW. There could be some broken colors in the lineage as well.
As if to clinch matters, Two of the whites decided to open their eyes. They are NOT pink. They appear to be blue! I'll have to examine all four more closely this week to see if any have red eyes. I'm not much of a geneticist, but I didn't think that was supposed to happen since neither parent has blue eyes! Maybe there is some ermine in the lineage that I am unaware of.
Finally, I brushed and plucked Mocha last night...six ounces at one go! Sheesh. She does look rather like one of those hairless dogs though with a bit of a fringe. I didn't want to embarrass her by taking a photo.
I had to get the kits out to change their nest box and couldn't resist taking a few more photos. With eight kits in the box it gets wet pretty quickly! It is hard to capture individual kits at this point so I tend to get these roiling masses of bunnies instead.
It is hard to tell which limbs belong to which bodies at times. Their colors are becoming more defined everyday, and I just discovered this morning that the chocolate kit has one white foot and a few white hairs on it's forehead! The kits eyes should be opening any day now so it will be interesting to see what color the whites eyes are. They should all be REW.
One of the agouti kits has been claimed as well at the black (as long as they aren't all bucks that is!). The agouti's have those pretty white lined ears and one is laying on top of the white babies. The wee runty kit is doing just fine and Dalilah is getting lots of treats to keep up her milk supply (dandelion leaves primarily). She does like the occasional cheerio also. I will be rebreeding Clover some time this week too.
Chicken updates: The speckled sussex that was sitting on eggs in the barn has gone missing. We don't know if something grabbed her or if she simply wandered away. There was no evidence of predation (no feathers etc...and the eggs were not disturbed), but who knows. I put her five eggs under the broody hens in the henhouse who kept getting on and off the nests and moving eggs from one nest box to the next (luckily I had marked them)...how they do that I can't figure out because there is a three-four inch drop to the ground so they have to push them out of the box and somehow get them back up that same space into the next box. Anyway, long story short- we moved the little grey bantam hen into a dog kennel with the eggs and three of them have hatched. They are very cute chicks- a speckled sussex and buff orpington cross.
We also went plant shopping this weekend and they had Aracauna chicks so we bought three of those as well. I like the pretty green-blue eggs! I think our chick total will be eleven...hopefully half of them will be hens. The problem is they are all vary in age so they are in three different setups! Chores are a bit more difficult that way of course.
Dalilah's kits will be a week old tomorrow. This photo was taken on their fifth day during a nest-keeping break. It was needed!. There are definitely four whites, one black, a chocolate and two darkish agouti. They are thriving, even the wee runty white one. I feel very fortunate that a first time mum is able to take care of all eight kits. Clover remains defiantly kit free. I bred three does the same weekend an only one took which is disappointing. Now to decide whether to breed Clover again or not...she just turned a year, and if I don't do it now we never will....but....eight kits! Yikes. Look at their sweet tiny feet....
Hickory Lanes Dalilah gave birth to NINE kits early Tuesday morning! One of them was dead in the nest box but the rest are doing fine. There seem to be four whites, one black, one chocolate and two agouti's. We will have to wait a bit longer to be sure of the colors and to determine their sex. One of the whites is a bit runty and I'm hoping she'll make it. Still waiting on Miss Clover to see if she indeed is going to grace us with more.
Last we left, Miss Frizz had three chicks and two eggs that had been laid about a week later than the age of the last chick. One of those eggs hatched. There was a wee tiny black chick under her that had a funny bald patch on its head. I assumed that was something that arose while incubating (our friends the Olsons' had a chicken that hatched with a bald head named "Tried It"). I put the dog kennel with all the birds (and the last egg) in an outside pen so they could get some fresh air. Not long after, I heard a very plaintive peeping...I looked out and saw the poor black chick all bloody in the kennel. I ran out and rescued it and made a mess of my shirt. Its' whole scalp was picked raw and bloody around the back of the head. I assumed it was going to die but used some wound powder to stop the bleeding and tried to calm it down. It snuggled under my hand and we prepped a home for it which included a stuffed animal to snuggle with. I really expected it to die and Duncan said he wanted it to be his chick. Oh no....
But....it is a week later and it seems to be doing just fine! Duncan has named his chick "Oreo". I think it must be a Buff Orpington and Black Australorp cross.
He loves attention and won't leave you alone.
This is the chick Lila brought home from school (a barred rock and rhode island red cross). Her/his name is "brownie". I'm beginning to wonder if I deny the kids too many sweets. NOT!
And to top things off, one of the speckled sussex decided she too needed to be broody and laid five eggs in the hay next to the hay rack where we feed the sheep and llamas. I found her while wrestling a coat onto a sheep and either the sheep or myself stepped on her which scared the living bejezus out of me because I thought the squawking was coming from the sheep. Sam and I made her a nest in the corner of the barn where she still resides. I have no idea how long she has been sitting on those eggs! I hope some of these chicks are hens....