19 October, 2012

Dairy Goat Profiles: Friday is for spotty goats!

Continuing catch up, I’d like to introduce Skinny Lane Lilliana, who is known more familiarly as Lily and Lil and “Lil Bit” (which is a joke because at 185lbs, she is the largest goat in the herd by 40lbs).

The cool thing is that she looks a LOT like Queen May, although as far as I know they are not related, except she has SPOTS. Glorious, glorious spots. Also adorable little wattles, and really elegant ears with a delightful flip on the end. Oh, and a lovely profile that has the characteristic Nubian look without being extreme. Observe!

A profile head shot of Lily, showing her Roman-nosed profile, her adorable wattles, and her chestnut coat accented with cream facial stripes and also SPOTS that start on her neck.  Her ears are a frosted with white and have an amazing upflip on the end.

Lily is a really adorable goat, very sweet and mellow. She’s taken over as Queen May’s second in command, and the two ladies are often to be found side-by-side, affectionately scratching their heads on each other and having a cud while they watch the smaller goats get up to shenanigans. She’s also dried off nicely and is about to be bred for spring babies. I can’t wait to see her kids, and I seriously hope they get her sweetness and also spots.

17 October, 2012

Dairy Goat Profile: Wednesday is for baby goats!

Continuing my theme of playing catch up, here is Sophie (Esk’s baby). She is a really adorable little thing who is totally testing my commitment to selling excess goats and keeping the herd size under 10.

A head shot of Sophie, who is sitting in my lap. She has a black face with brown stripes running from eyes to nose, a white patch on top of her head, a white splodge on her nose, and two white streaks on her chin that make her look sort of like she has vampire fangs.

She recently discovered her ability to leap into and out of human laps without assistance. Given the hardness of the heads of even very small goats, this means that sitting down in the goat pen is a high-risk occupation and may result in receiving a ballistic baby goat to the face. But like all kids, she is adorable and sweet and wants to suck on your fingers and if you hug her enough, she will eventually settle down for a lovely cuddle and nap.

15 October, 2012

Monday is for kitties!

Here’s a picture to brighten up your Monday morning: Clementine and Crispin, two of the kittens that we placed, one year on. As you can see, Crispin has inherited the “There’s a camera! Quick, stick your tongue out!” gene that most Manor Cats carry.

On the left, Clementine, a grey and yellow and white fluffy girl, who regards the camera with a calculating look.  On the right, Crispin, a flame-point boy with blue eyes who is sticking his pink tongue out at the camera.  Because cats.  They are cuddled up together in a bed looking adorable.

4 September, 2012

Introducing Frankie Four Feet

Yes, well, I’m a fan of the movie Snatch, what can I say?

Anyway! In the wee early morning hours of the 31st of August, 2012, Annabelle presented us with this young gentleman:
A teeny tiny three pound baby goat rests in some straw.  He is mostly white with patches of red-brown, a leetle black nose, and startling blue eyes.

Mother and baby are doing swimmingly well; Annabelle is a dedicated (if over-anxious) mother. Frankie Four Feet is an adventurous young man now that he’s reached the great age of four days old, prone to tearing around the yard as fast as his teeny, teeny legs can carry him. This drives Annabelle nuts and she follows him around trying to lick him and yelling at him to be careful and don’t eat that and don’t touch that and OMG YOU ARE DIRTY AGAIN! I JUST WASHED YOU.

Because the next questions will be about his future:

Frankie Four Feet is currently for sale. If, however, no one speaks up for him in the next 4-5 weeks, he will be wethered (neutered). At that point the odds of someone buying him drop drastically, and anyway wethers don’t eat much and don’t really need grain at all. So either he gets bought as a buckling (registered with the AGS, make me an offer!) here in the next month, or he will probably stay around until such time as I have a doe for sale who needs a buddy to go with her.

At any rate, the next big event in his future will be disbudding, since he did not have the luck to be born polled. Need to call and schedule that.

And happily, my barn arrives day after tomorrow, so very shortly we will have things set up so he can meet the rest of the herd and learn to be a real goat. And also the dogs will get the back yard back.

3 June, 2012

May is a Texas Longhorns Fan

May, a golden-red goat with long floppy ears and beige racing stripes on her face, looks into the camera with her head tilted slightly sideways in a fetching manner. She is wearing an orange and white baseball cap backwards, with the legend HORNS visible on the adjustment strap.

It’s a little-known fact that dairy goats love collegiate athletics.

22 March, 2012

Poor lawnmowers, excellent edgers!

All right. So I did pick up two tiny adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats, and then as things do they kind of got out of hand and I picked up a pregnant Oberhasli mix doe who is a year old. This way Daniel and I will have milk and cheese this spring, summer, and fall, and the little girls get a chance to be a year and a half old or so before I breed them, which I think is better for all concerned.

Things I have learned about goats:
They make very poor lawnmowers. Well, I knew that from my reading and talking to other goat owners. They do, however, make excellent edgers. They’ve been living in the backyard while the goat fence got installed, and during their free-range time they have been working in a very dedicated fashion to clean up the dead leaves piled along the fence and also the dried grass stuck in it. What good goats. But what you actually wanted was goat pics, right? Right. Let’s see if I can make this work.

Two tiny goats, not more than knee-high, stand with their heads turned looking at the camera.  The one in front, slightly smaller, is white with orangey-red spots, while her sister is mostly white with a pale creamy red stripe down her back and patches of the same color at her knees and ankles.
That’s Eskanazi, affectionately known as “Esk” in front with the spots, and Annabelle in back. They’re the Nigerian Dwarf does I picked up last Friday evening. Esk loves people and loves to be petted, while Annabelle is a little shy.

A close-up of the face of a doe.  She is mostly a russety goldeny red-brown, with a black muzzle and black stripes at her eyes and on the front of her face.  On top of her head is a perfect halo of russety goldeny red-brown surrounded by black.
And this is Josephine, who should give birth towards the end of April or beginning of May. She’s an Oberhasli mix. Oberhasli are an alpine dairy breed whose milk is mostly used to make cheese. I am so looking forward to home-made cheese!

23 October, 2011

Hatchapalooza Three concludes successfully!

So all I’ve been doing this weekend is staring at eggs as they turned into actual chickens. I wound up having to help three of them because I’d opened the incubator at one point to get a picture, dropped the humidity, and shrink-wrapped them (that is, the inner membrane around them toughened to the point they couldn’t get through it without help). One chick who had pipped died because I didn’t help soon enough, which I feel guilty about. Well, and guilty about opening the incubator for a picture and shrink-wrapping some of the little guys.

At any rate, here’s a pic from above showing the inside of the brooder with the 10 of them who made it! There’s Lavender Splits (they are not visually lavender, but carry the gene for it), a couple blues, a black, two adorable porcelains, one buff, and one partridge. Then there’s the one random bantam from one of my eggs and Lord only knows what color he will turn out to be! Probably black, though, by the look of him. The others are all silkies, hatched from eggs I bought from Catdance Silkies that were shipped to me. Nine of the 18 eggs I got from Catdance hatched, which is EXCELLENT for shipped eggs. Only one of the eggs from my chickens that I stuck in there hatched, which is terrible. I think I need to trim the cushions on my porcelains (their butt feathers can get in the way of mating) and have a pep talk or two with Kemuel the Modern Game Bantam rooster about doing his duty and fertilizing eggs.

Oh, right, I was going to post a picture. I got a little font-happy, but then I love fonts almost as much as I love chickens.

Hatchapalooza 3 Class Picture: ten baby chickens from above.  They are in shades ranging from gold to black, and one has racing stripes.  Next to each is a bit of text naming its color or in the case of lav splits, genetic heritage.  At the top of the frame is their waterer and food dish.

28 September, 2011

Daily Poultry: Zombirella and One

Zombirella I believe I mentioned here as the young pullet who got the back of her head pecked off down to bone. It turns out chickens are startlingly resilient; we moved her into the house, got her antibiotics and kept her safe from flies and infection, and these days you can’t even tell where the pecking happened since the wound closed up and the feathers are growing back in. She’s become a favorite of ours, since spending those weeks in the house she has decided that people are definitely her friends and comes running to be petted whenever we go out to the Big Chicken Pen.

One is, of course, the first chick ever hatched at the Manor. I swear he’s a cockeral, Daniel claims he’s a pullet. I guess we’ll find out who’s right in the coming months as he finishes growing up!

Zombirella and One step around the corner of the chicken house to regard the camera-wielding thumb monkey.  Zombirella is a leggy young bird dressed in multiple shades of brown, with willow-green legs and no comb to speak of.  One is equally leggy but his legs are bright yellow and he has a small, pink, wrinkly comb.  His head is turned in profile, showing off the beginnings of wattles as well as the lovely dark auburn of his head and the sides of his neck, the front of his neck and his breast being black.

One is actually colored just like their daddy Blackbeard. I should probably bet Daniel money that One is a rooster-to-be, because I am that sure of it. One of these days, One is going to go roostertastic — probably about the time we move Mad Mel the Magnificent into a pen with some beardless silkies in case I want showgirl chicks.

27 September, 2011

Daily Poultry, dog update

Kemuel, a black Modern Game Bantam rooster.
Kemuel stands with his body three-quarters to the camera to the right, and his head turned so his face is three-quarters profile to the left.  His black feathers are sort of shabby looking and there are bare spots; this is par for the course with extremely hard-feathered birds like MGBs when they moult.  He has very long, elegant legs with three inch spurs curving off his heels, and a long, elegant neck.

Our latest worry on the dog front is Beowulf, who is not only developing a wide variety of lumps (Dobermans, particularly gentleman Dobermans of a certain age, are prone to fatty lipomas, which are benign but sort of weird to feel when you’re petting your dogs) but has also developed a deep, hacking cough that is going to require a vet visit. He turned seven this month, so he is kind of getting up there for a Doberman, passing out of middle age and into “of a certain age” since a Doberman who lives to 10 is doing well and one who goes past it is living on borrowed time.

But he is still a sweet, steady, and dependable boy, if one who is starting to slow down from his adventurous youth, when he and Tink spent many an hour zooming ferociously around the yard. He is still determined to protect us from squirrels, those tiny yard-pirates with their suspiciously fluffy tails. We’re looking forward to years with him yet, just need to figure out what’s going on with that cough and make sure that his latest crop of lumps are, in fact, lipomas and not something more sinister.

26 September, 2011

Let’s try something new!

For a while now over on Google+ I have been doing Daily Poultry, featuring portraits of the chickens who call the Manor of Mixed Blessings home. So I thought I might try Daily Poultry here, and add little blurbs about the rest of the Manor while I’m at it — we have been busy busy busy and my blogging time has been regrettably short. I feel like I am neglecting my Gentle Readers!

So here is Daily Poultry to cheer up your Monday! Melchior, the child of our Easter Egger hen Ayinnanku and our blue showgirl rooster, Mad Mel the Magnificent.

Melchior, who looks kind of like a tiny blue football that has had a naked chicken head and neck stuck on one pointy end.  ANd of course, chicken legs stuck on as well; Melchior's are feathery.  Actually, he looks kind of like a tiny blue vulture.

Weekend before last we hit up Gilmanor, a huge semiannual chicken and livestock (but mostly chickens) swap down by Richmond. There I was fortunately able to sell off all 13 extra tiny roosters that we had, which means I will not need to feed them for the winter! Hallelujah! Extra roosters are sort of the bane of the chicken-keeper’s existence, because pretty much everyone who wants roosters has all the roosters they want. But an older man who just likes tiny roosters bought ten of mine, half for him and half for his neighbor, who also likes the sound of roosters crowing. Two of the nicer silkies went to someone who had come to Gilmanor looking for nice bearded silkies (there weren’t many there, I see an opportunity!) and one of the hatchery silkies went to a lady whose son loves the neighbor’s silkie.

I also managed to only buy three chickens at Gilmanor, a trio of black Modern Game Bantams, who are elegant, long-legged, tiny chickens. They are also molting right now, which means they look like someone decided to eat them, got halfway through the plucking stage, and gave up.

This past weekend, we picked up a new house for the Big Chickens at the Fredericksburg chicken swap sponsored by Pet Chickens of Virginia and I accidentally bought two baby silkies, a paint and a buff to keep him company. Ah, well, we’re still down 8 tiny roosters, which means our feed bill has dropped precipitously.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »