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Monday, March 9, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Actually, a bunch of things. More randomness for a Monday.

First thing. I received a goat hoof in the eye this evening. I was out in the barn as usual, frolicking with the goats and lambs. I was patting the lambs and generally making a fuss of them, and Luna was sitting on my lap. Stuffin, who can be a little stand-offish at times, suddenly decided her time had arrived. She came over for a fuss, which I began to give her, but she has this habit of pawing at me, which is fine, except this time, she put one foot up on my shoulder, and the other one straight into my right eye, which I was not expecting. I had to take some moments to recover, during which the lambs and goats did not appear to be concerned, since in my bent-over, groaning condition, my back became instant playground. After a brief moment of possibly holding my eyeball in place, I got up and found that I had a blurry spot. However, the blurry spot has dissipated over the course of the evening, so I think it will be OK. We'll see if I get a black eye or not!

Lesson learned: Do not let your goat put its hoof in your eye. It will hurt.

Second thing: The lambs have officially been named. The one with the two dark eye spots is Panda. The one with the puffy wool on her head and the single eye spot is Pennyroyal. Perhaps those of you with Jacob experience would be kind enough to comment on them (I can take the criticism, I'm just a beginner). The more time I spend with them, the more I realize how very different they are.

Pennyroyal has dense, tight fleece with tiny little coils near her neck.
Panda has a looser, open fleece but it's wavy.
Which is preferable? Which lamb has the better conformation? Any ideas?
Lesson to be learned: How to choose lambs.

Third Thing: Some of the chicks that hatched from our own eggs initially came out looking a bit ordinary. That is to say, no special markings, just cute little chicks. As they have grown, I have begun to realize that some of them are clearly the offspring of either our Creme Brabanter rooster, or our Appenzeller Spitzhaben rooster, both of whom have funny top-hat feathers.
Here are some of their chicks presently in the brooder. They didn't start out with the head bump like Polish chickens or silkies, but they have come to develop it later. So cute! I mean, they're at that awkward chick stage, but still cute.
Lesson learned: Watching "barnyard mix" chicks maturing is great fun!

Fourth Thing: Donkey experts? Can anyone tell me, does this donkey look pregnant to you?
We obtained Willow and her gelded son Springfield from the Animal Rescue League some months ago. They are a sweet pair of Sicilian miniature donkeys. Sometimes, she looks really wide to us.
Is that because she was a mama donkey before and so she will always look rounder, or is it because she could be "with donkey?"
Lesson to be learned: How to identify if your donkey is pregnant or not.

Fifth Thing: I made a little basket! Well, some of you who have been following for a while know that I'm still learning how to crochet and knit. When we drove to Nebraska to get the lambs, I took some bouclé yarn with me to try to learn how to crochet in the round. I started out attempting to make a hat. It didn't quite work out that way, so now it's a cute little basket. I think it's not bad for my first item beyond 2 very ordinary scarves.
Lesson learned: I can crochet useful things!

Sixth thing: Finally, remember those pictures of my chicks in the brooder, and how they were all little and cute and fluffy. Now, they are big!
They're all about 8 weeks old, some a bit younger. I know some of them are Rhode Island Reds, and some are Buff Orpingtons, and then there is this group of reddish coloured ones - not as dark as the RIR, and not as light as the orps. There are also barred rocks and silkies.
Does anyone know what the red ones are? (central bird above) This is embarassing, but I can't remember all the kinds of eggs that I hatched. There is a red one at about 2 o'clock from the central silkie.
This picutre has 2 buff orps and 2 RIR, but what is the reddish one to the lower right?
Frizzles are one of my favourites!
Lesson learned: Leg band chicks. Early. Keep better records.

19 comments:

Christy said...

Oh, I loved this post! I'll be careful when playing with the goats. Your chicks are really cute and I love your basket! I need to make one of those. I'm good at crocheting in the round.

Sharrie said...

Oh, my goodness, you won't have to do anything for a long time because you have learned so many important lessons already. You have some great questions, too. And when someone answers them, you will learn some more. Your must get tired with all that "learnin".

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Great post. I wish I had done more research and looking before I got my first two Shetlands, and I've heard the same sentiment from other shepherds. In other words, you're in good company!

I learned of two new kinds of chickens from your post: Creme Braba-what? Appenzeller Spitz-who? Without my husband's moderating influence, I could definitely become a collector! There are just so many interesting sounding and looking chickens to be had! Your "red chicks" look like our RIRs did as chicks; ours were not nearly as dark as your RIRs do in the photos. I've wanted to band our three RIRs just so I can tell them apart more easily; I hate having nameless critters here!

The basket is adorable and I think your donkey COULD be pregnant.

Kara said...

Great post. Good names. I can't believe the chicks, that was so fast!

JLB said...

My official answer...You have a fat donkey and red chickens! LOL

Does your donkey have memory loss?? Cravings?? Pee alot??

Yes, I'm in an odd kind of mood tonight. (really honestly dont know the answers) Good Luck!

Mom L said...

First, I love your little basket! Well done! As for your donkey - gulp, can't help you there. I love the question "does she pee a lot?" Funny! Well, you're already a goat midwife and chicken hatcher, so you're prepared, right?

You've got an adorable brood of chicks (I really want to call them chicklets!). I still can't believe there are so many different kinds. The little fuzzy headed ones are cute, but my fave is the Frizzle - is that really a chicken brand, or are you pulling our many legs? He/she looks like a lady from the 30s in a feather boa.

Your Jacobs are adorable, but I just hope your eye doesn't look like theirs!!

Nancy

Nancy Craig said...

Take care of your eye! They are precious. I love seeing your babies. That must be very special.

Totally Timmy said...

I just posted some of my old chick pictures on my blog. Your blog was making me miss them. I had frizzles too..just be careful with them in the winter, they don't have the insulation of flat feathers like the other birds do. If you scroll down my blog you will see my frizzle rooster wearing a sweater!

Ishtar said...

Lol, this post made me laugh! Thanks for the extra smiles today!
As for the donkey, she does look heavy and could well be pregnant. Donkeys here in West Africa tend to be a little broader when pregnant, but that belly has really sunken very low... Does she have any milk?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! Lots of lessons learned, but I just don't know how you keep up with all those wonderful critters. And everytime I check back in, you get in a couple more. lol!

Uneducated guess: prego donkey. She is huge! hehe

Lots and lots of interesting chicks you got there. I love the frizzles, too. I wanted to get some over a year ago, but couldn't find anyone who had them for sale. So I ended up with Polish and Silkies instead. Now I'm dreaming about some Cuckoo Marans and wanting those dark chocolate eggs.

Have no clue about the sheep, but I'd guess that the tighter curlier wool is more desirable. The wavy wool looks more like hair. Hair sheep mix?

Your basket is adorable! I want to try making one now. Well done! And the eggs inside are so cute, too.

~Lisa
word verification: humming

The sound that llamas make :)

IsobelleGoLightly said...

OOOh! I hope your eye gets better! Our lady had a big cut and a fat lip from when Durin pawed her face when she wasn't expecting it. We also took advantage of the bent over back and hopped on! Aren't we all just the most loving of goats? I love those top-hat chickums! Please ask your donkey if you may examine her udder and her back-side. She should have some fullness in the udder and maybe a little "squooshiness" in the back side if she is very pregnant. You can also lay your head on her stomach and feel for movement. You can also hear lots of interesting gurgling noises when you do this! hee hee I would love a baby donkey. It can come in the same box with Luna, Tulip and the fuzzy headed chickums. Goat kisses from Isobelle!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Fun post! And I think your donkey might be pregnant.

colorandtexture said...

Hee! Hee! Great post! LOVE the chickens with the top-knots! With all those critters, you must be so busy!!

Farm Chick Paula said...

I love hearing about your lessons learned Claire... even if they are learned the hard way! LOL
I'm going to have to get some Brabanters- they are just so funny to look at!

frolicnfibers said...

What a busy day! Too much to take in at once! Have you been feeding your donkey too many twinkies? LOL! Well, then she may be pregnant. What a surprise that would be! Love the chicks and all their fancy hats. Take care of that eye!

Jennifer said...

I loved this post, the pictures were so fun to look at! Loved the young chicks with the topnots! Sorry to hear about the hoof in the eye, not fun! Of course the fact your goats only saw you bent over in pain as a good opportunity to jump on your back was kind of funny, only because I know my goats would do the same thing!

Amy said...

What a fun post! Your chooks look so cute. Dontcha love the awkward teenage phase? It will be interesting to see how they turn out (the mixed breeds). The differences in the two lambs' wool is very intriguing. I didn't realize there could be so much variation in wool.

AKColleen said...

Glad to see your eye is doing better!
If I remember right from 4-H, the tight, curly wool is better than the looser wool. Its also better the more even it is on the sheep. (ie, stayes tight and curly all the way to the tail, and not getting much looser). Don't have much experience with them, though, I hope you get a more educated answer!

Flartus said...

Hi Claire; coming late to the party, but I have to remind you how much I LOVE your chick pics!! I, too, thought the red birds looked like RIRs as I remember them--oh, nostalgia!! They look like teenager chickens to me, hee hee! You certainly have a barnyard full.

I have absolutely no knowledge on your other questions, though rest assured I am burning with desire to know whether you've got a burrito on the way!