Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trimming Goat Hooves

Goats can be persnickety creatures.  They are smart and they are stubborn.  And mine HATE getting manicures!

I have been asked how to trim goat hooves.  Well here is how I do it. Goats have a outer hoof like a fingernail and they have a soft inner hoof for gripping.  If they were living with rocks the rocks would keep the outer hooves rubbed down.  But my pasture has no rocks so I have to trim them.  They also have a heel part that can grow up. 

First put them on a stand with some grain to keep them busy,
Then you will need a pair of trimmers.  They need to be sharp and pointy.  You can either go out and buy a pair of hoof rot trimmers which was kind of pricey or a nice pair of rose bush trimmers will work also.
In the next picture you will see the hoof which the outer covering has grown up and curved over.  That is what needs to be trimmed.  Also the heel gets a little long so I will trim that down also.

The next picture shows the hoof after the trim
You can see the light colored parts where I trimmed off the excess.

If you cut too deep you can hurt them and also cause bleeding the same as cutting your own nails too short.  So go easy and just take off a little at a time.  If you start to see any pink then stop.  Mine like to fight and argue.  Usually grain or soft words help.  I also will sit next to them and lean my back up against them while I do it.  This seems to have a calming effect on my girls.

I usually trim their hooves about every 3 months.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pigging... What fun! Meet our 12 new babies!

Pigs do not mess around on the whole due date thing 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days and she popped! I knew she was due yesterday by the calendar so I went to go check on Monster our pig.  We had been pulling grass out of the garden and the girls had given her several loads of it.  That pig carried the grass all into her house and made a nest.
So as the day went on I went to check on her every little bit.  The kids and I started trying to dig some potatoes one of the times we went to check on her we found her laying down breathing hard and looking miserable
Now mind you we have never had a pig give birth and did not know really what to expect.  So I got on the trusty Internet and looked up the process for farrowing.  It said 30-90 minutes from the time they lay down and be still.  Well at 2 hours I was getting worried and still no pigs.  I decided I would give her 30 more minutes and then go get my neighbor who used to work in the hog farms. 

30 minutes later I went out to check on her and this is what I found
Twelve year old daughter got called out to help we got the birthing bag and put pads down behind her to contain the mess and those baby pigs just started coming out.  One every few minutes.  We were wiping baby pigs down as fast as we could!  They are feisty little buggers when they are born.  We did not expect them to be running around the pig shed as soon as they were dried off!

I like this one.  It has some interesting colors on it!  And it is a girl so we are probably going to keep this one to replace her mother!

Monster is a good mom she was being careful not to lay on any.  If she heard a squeal she moved.  Except they were only squealing because two wanted the same nipple!
We ended up with 12 little piggies in all.  7 girls and 5 boys! 

Our pigs are mutt pigs so we ended up with an assortment of colors!

Monster is going to the butcher when we wean these babies.  That was always the plan.  Our pig is sweet and loves scratches and her tummy rubbed but she is just too big to handle anymore so she will have to go.  We will all miss her but we also know that is why we have them.

My neighbor is going to come and help in about a week or so to castrate them.  I can do castrations with a band and I have assisted with human castrations (worked as a RN for 20 years) but I have never seen or done pigs and the have to be cut.  So I am thankful for the assistance and guidance.

We are going to keep 4 of the barrows (castrated males) to raise for the freezer and two of the cute red females for breeding and probably sell the rest to pay for their feed.

We have been out of pork for about 2 months so we will be glad to get some bacon again!

Pork chops in the making!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Life on the farm and random pix

It has been crazy around here.  The grass grows faster in the garden than I can pull it.  I had the garden totally pretty a couple weeks ago and now I have trouble finding my plants! 
We butchered 12 chickens and are doing 7 ducks today.  I hate plucking them so I made a plucker.  It cost me about $20 to build and we can pluck a chicken clean in about 2 minutes.  It took us 3 hours to do 12 chickens that averages 15 minutes a bird for killing, dunking, plucking, cleaning and packaging.
If anyone wants to know how I made this plucker then write a comment and ask and I will put up a post detailing the way to make this yourself.

We have been canning and putting up the harvest nothing fancy is why no detailed articles.  We have had a bountiful harvest and feel blessed by God for all the rain!

mixed berry jelly and pickled beets

Roasted Tomato Soup

The pig is due to have her piglets in 2 weeks and she keeps getting out!  As soon as her babies are weaned she will have a date with the butcher and our freezer!  One of my doeling Alpines is terrified of the pig.  She gets up on the spool and will stay there for as long as the pig is out!!!

Birds everywhere

I found this guinea nest in the field there were about 100  eggs

We got 2 new furbabies for the house.  The Dog sons are named Freddy and Hoyt.  They are wonderful and getting spoiled already!
My oldest daughter finally got pregnant after ten years of trying (and two adoptions)  so we are working on finding baby things.
I picked this treasure up at a yard sale for her  for $10.
My neighbor makes beautiful hand carved spoons and stuff.  He gave me these for helping out his parents and they are food safe to use.  But they are just too pretty to use!  If anyone is interested in some I can get you hooked up with the family that makes them!  The top thing for those who don't know is a dough cutter.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. 
Keep your garden growing and your powder dry!