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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hay Anxiety and other farm Angst

Or, "How to Maintain a Relationship With your Hay Provider".

When we purchased hay this summer, in the midst of a drought and higher than average hay prices, we chose a new "hay guy". Young, motivated and enthusiastic.....but almost impossible to reach. We bought plenty of hay for the sheep, the two goats and the llamas. Then we added six alpacas. We probably could have squeaked by. However, the addition of the fourteen Suri's put a crimp in our hay lifestyle, so I've been nagging the Hay Guy (HG).

I first called HG when we had about a two month supply left. I left the prerequisite messages on his voice mail with phone numbers...ten days and no call. I left two more messages. Finally, an hour after the last one HG called me back. "Yup, your a good customer don't want you to go elsewhere let me check with my guy in M------. I'll call you back after the weekend". Another week rolls by......I track him down again. "Sorry, lost your number! Hay looks good but it is loose so I have to rebale it. How much hay do you have left?" Here is where I should have lied. I told him we had about a months supply left. "Okay that gives me time to bale it and get back with you. I sure have a lot of good customers that are short on hay!" I felt a twinge at that and wondered how far down the lineup we were. I'm back in the nagging and leaving messages stage and we are down to a two week supply (I think). Keep your fingers crossed! Next year we can buy extra hay and store it in his barn and he will deliver it when we need it. And we don't have room to get twenty more animals so no new demand surprises either!

Will is busy building two 4x8 lambing sheds for the five Shetlands who will be moved to the front field after they are done, hopefully by this weekend. They need to be separated so I can be sure they are getting adequate nutrition and extra oats. It will also make handling them and their lambs much easier and keep them out from under foot of camelids and the bossy goats. Nala looks like she may be expecting twins which would be nice! It looks like everyone was successfully bred by B.o.B and I can't wait to see what they produce! Lambs should start arriving the first part of May.

One of this years Crias, Mattie, has been suffering some health issues. She was removed from her dam too early and is a bit on the small side. I hadn't realized that she was getting thin because her fiber covered her body so well and I hadn't had my hands on her....until I found her collapsed. I picked her head up and she stood up and looked at me like she had no clue how she got down there. That's when I realized how thin she was. So, she has been in a straw filled cushy stall and had a blanket put on her to keep her warm and conserve energy. She has been wormed and is getting extra rations and supplements and is coming along just fine, but she had us worried for a week or so. I've since had my hands on every other animal to determine their body condition and while a few could use a couple more pounds, none was anything like Mattie. I went back and looked at all the health records the breeder kept and while there were meticulous records for meningeal worm treatments there were none for stomach worms. This means everyone likely needs to be treated, or at least those on the thinner side. We'll have a conversation with our vet about it very soon. As soon as the weather warms up, miss Mattie can rejoin the rest of the herd, but for now she is out of harms way.

The hens are back to producing at least a dozen eggs a day now that the days are getting longer and the weather a tiny bit warmer so they are earning their keep again and we aren't egg rationing. This makes Sam happy because he loves a "dippy egg" and toast for breakfast!

And sadly, one of my foundation English angora does, Mocha, died. She was five years old, which is getting up there in years for a rabbit with all their reproductive parts but not ancient. The other foundation doe, Buffy, has a large tumor so her days are limited too. Both girls have been getting pampered with extra treats and hugs. Our old cat is also on her last's been kinda sad nursing everyone along lately. We could use some warmth and sunshine and new life around here.


  1. When it rains it pours relative to animal care..)-:

  2. Animals always wrong foot you don't they?
    I lost a magpie duck today...a victim of a nasty prolapse andinfection I suspect
    All you can say is OH BUGGER,!

  3. Animals bring happy energy, but when they go down, sometimes there is no warning. All you can do id do what you can. Hugs to the cria, the dear bunnies and Hedwig.