Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More Animals, More Frustrations

Saturday we went to a giant swap meet. This swap meet is held three times a year, and it is huge. I couldn't guess the number of vendors there. I can tell you it took us all day to walk through the whole thing. There was everything there from horses to junk lawn mower decks. We were looking for animals; particularly goats, a pig, hens, and perhaps a ram.

Struck out on the ram. There were hardly any sheep there, and none were Suffolk. No luck on pigs either. Papaw was looking for a sow for Miles. Remember he asked for a pig for his birthday. There were some pigs there, but they either didn't look very good, or were overpriced, sometimes both.

Didn't have much luck with the hens either. We were looking for Rhode Island Reds. There were lots of chickens there, but not many Reds. We missed them. Instead we decided to buy a dozen half grown hens. We brought them home in a pet carrier.

Here is the frustration. The first night we left them in the carrier. The second into the coop. With new poultry we leave them penned a few days before letting them free range. The idea is to make sure they know where home is. That was the plan anyway.

Yesterday morning I went out and they were all gone. There was a gap in the fencing we didn't see. We couldn't find any of the chicks. I was pretty mad. Mad that we missed the gap, and mad that we spent money for nothing.

Later in the day, one showed up near the house. She hung out there all day. Kellen caught her in the afternoon, and put her back in the pen. (and plugged the gap) A few hours later another came back to the pen. I caught her, and put her in.

Kellen and I searched in the woods. We found three dead. So, five are accounted for and seven MIA. I'm glad two were found, but losing 10! UGH! Chatter box has been nesting about three weeks now. Hopefully she hatches out a nice group of chicks.

Now goats, there were lots of Boer goats. We got two nans. Mamaw and Papaw got another three nans and a billy. Two of the nans are full grown the rest are weaned kids. We bought the nans, all five, from the same vendor. It was quite the comedy trying to get all of them back to the stock trailer.

Imagine the scene. There are already nine people; Mamaw, Papaw, Eric, Tim and I, and our four kids. Add into the mix a double stroller, and five goats with make do twine halters and leashes. We had to "walk" these goats clear across the swap meet. The adults were fairly cooperative. The kids (goat ones that is) were not so much. Once we got moving they would pretty much follow the adults, except this one who kept being stubborn. There is always one isn't there? Needless to say, we stopped traffic walking through the grounds.

The goats are doing what we wanted them to do; clearing out the thickets. They are chomping down on the Greenbriar. Maggie wasn't too sure of them at first, but seems to have adjusted and be happy to have some company.

It was hot and dry at the swap meet. We were all coated in dirt from all the dust that got stirred up. We did have fun though. It was a long day. When we got there the place was packed, but by the time we left:

In other animal happening, the other two does never kindled. We've bred them all again. There is still hope for Kellen to have market rabbits for the fair. The 4-H advisor recommended feeding the doe and kits grow feed to try to get them up to weight in time. They have to be three pounds for the fair. We should have another litter in about a week and a half. We'll see what happens.

He also said that others are having the same problems we are. That made me feel better. Not that other people are having a hard time, but just knowing that it isn't just us.

I mentioned Chatter Box nesting. Now one of the ducks is nesting too. She just started a couple of days ago. The hens put their eggs in the same nest, but it looks like just the one is sitting on them.

I think that is it for animal updates. Not much happening with the cows and horses. We should have another calf soon though.

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