|Posted by Fluffy on January 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
The horses were a little overdue for having their nails done, but actually not much so. A farrier was previously booked for November, but was a no show. For some reason, it is impossible to get a farrier to come out for only 2 horses. Perhaps they do not make enough money to realize a profit with a small number. The going rate for a trim is $30 per horse and when the farrier has to travel some distance, they usually also charge mileage on top of that. Most horses need to have their feet done every 4 months, but it appears these Canadians do just as well with twice yearly trims. The farrier will come back in 4 months anyhow, since that will be about the time that the horses are released to forage for themselves.
Willa, the mare, was bred young and gave her all to the pregnancy and then in nursing her beautiful foal. After having every recommendation one could think of to fatten her back to her good condition, it was decided to feed her whole oats and hay - that is it. The farrier, who sees many horses, was pleased with the condition of both horses saying it was at least equal to that of her own at home. This is very pleasing! Willa and Zeb will continue to get their oats and the all they can eat hay bar daily, plus 9 gallons of water between them. Of course, Willa drinks more than Zeb and the water is hauled on a toboggan in buckets in the winter, so it is just fine for now. Willa was excellent for the farrier, with a little preference being shown for her left side. Zeb had not had his feet done before and was quite jumpy, but she was patient and spoke softly to him and soon he settled down and in no time, she was finished. We had a tour of the farm and all in all, it was a very pleasant day, the warmest sunniest one we have had all winter. Zeb is a boy, but he gets his nails done...go figure!
|Posted by Fluffy on January 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
It was above zero today and sunny. The waterfowl and chickens were out of their pens and enjoying the warm sunshine, along with the entire farm crew. Everyone took a nap in a favourite spot and slept without care. Such peace and splendour to behold made me feel humble. Winter can be very hard on the animals when it is cold without any sunshine or warmth. There have be a few who have succumbed to the harsh days of December, sadly. Today, though, was such a day, a day to warm the spirit and the heart. Glorious!
|Posted by Fluffy on January 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
There are only so many pens with shelters on the farm. The sheep were separated for breeding 2 days ago. Most were wormed at the same time and many hooves were also trimmed then. The pot bellied pigs are for sale because their space was needed, but they did not sell, so they are cohabiting with the Icelandic sheep.
The Icelandics are tough sheep, not the largest of breeds, but are quick to bash things in their way or that they do not want around them, like the pigs. I have figured out that if the pigs are fed dog food, the sheep will not touch it so for the next while, that will be their staple, but everytime they come anywhere near the sheep, they head butt them back to their shelter. A separate shelter has been erected for the sheep and the pigs have been relegated to their shelter or the area immediately around their it. The pot bellies do not like the snow and are not willing to forge a new path to the food and water, so they keep trying to get by the sheep and continually head butted back to their own place. Eventually the sheep will be resting and not care much about the pigs, but the water will likely have frozen by then. At least they can eat snow for a few days, but that is not totally adequate. The dog food is eaten and it is assumed that the pigs are doing so since the sheep are not interested in it at all. In the meantime, I am feeling sorry for the little piggies being bossed around by those mean Icelandics. Poor piggies.
|Posted by Fluffy on January 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
It is with great sadness I write this today. Two days ago, The Fat Ewe Farm acquired Flemish Giant rabbits, a buck and two does. Robbie had already started desensitizing for the rabbits and I had seen little agression towards the rabbits from the other dogs, particularly none from Harley, who is about as close to perfect as a dog can get. Robbie was in the house or tied in the morning so what happened had nothing to do with him.
Yesterday when I gave the does their rabbit pellets, Ofcharka did try to put his big paw out to see if he could glean any from the side of the shelter. The shelter is a large hoop coop enclosed with chicken wire over livestock panels, then tarped, half covered with straw bales and tarped a second time. A second door panel was used and the door was secured tightly, plus a fairly big piece of wood put in front of the door. None of that was touched. I found Harely being agressive to Robbie and wondered what he was protecting. It was one of the female rabbits, lying on her side. There was no blood, no visible teeth marks and no apparent broken bones. I picked her up and put her in a dog kennel in the back of the pick up where she would be quiet and safe. She did not move so I assume there must have been internal injuries, or I have read, that rabbits can actually die from stress. I thanked Harley for protecting the rabbit. Since Robbie was not a culprit and neither was Harley, that left the three puppies, Ofcharka and the Maremma sisters, to be the culprits. The second doe is nowhere to be seen, but there is no trace of blood or fur or a struggle anywhere I have looked. Perhaps she was able to escape through the fence, though Harley can jump fences like they were not even there.
I suppose I will never know if the rabbits liberated themselves by chewing the wire or it was Ofcharka's big paw that broke through or the little puppies who chewed their way in. I am greatly saddened by the loss of the does. They were so sweet, soft and cuddly. I love bunnies, of course, who doesn't? The hit in the pocket book at $200 per rabbit will not permit me to replace them at this time. This was not a good New Year's Day, not one bit.
|Posted by Fluffy on December 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
The baby polar bears are so much fun to watch. They love the snow of course, and are often seen outside in very cold weather, sleeping on the snow. The fur of a polar bear is hollow and transluscent taking the sunlight through it to the black skin.
The Maremma puppies are similar. Thye have black skin, but white fur and have a polar bear shaped head. The similarity is remarkable, don't you think?
|Posted by Fluffy on December 30, 2012 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
Welcome to the Fat Ewe Farm three Flemish Giant Rabbits. These are peidigreed rabbits wtih the buck being imported from Holland and recently having won the best in show for all rabbits shown. Already huge, they will grow twice as large wtih an average weight of 40 pounds for the buck and 30 for the does. Of course they are meat rabbits, however; their pelts are very beautiful and inquiries have already been made for the tannery prices. But they are not here primarily as slaughter animals. Instead, they are breeding stock. The thing is, not every rabbit is breeding quality and bucks are not as valuable as the does, so there are always extra bucks. The bucks may be sold as breeder to enhance the quality and size of Californian or other meat rabbits though.
Robbie's first reaction to the rabbits was typical, really exactly as expected....gotta chase em, gotta get em, oh they are fast...this is exciting! But that was not my intention so everyday we are going to do rabbit training where he is required to stay still and let the rabbits explore him while he ignores them for the most part. This was not so easy, but being highly intelligent, after the second day, he understood that 'chase 'em' was not permitted. Now would I trust him alone...not for another 5 years or so...maybe.Welcome to the Fat Ewe Farm, Piet the buck and Heidi and Helga the girls, big Flemish Giant bunnies.
|Posted by Fluffy on December 29, 2012 at 8:10 PM||comments (1)|
Ofcharka is officially 1 year old and what a beautiful BIG dog he is and I mean big...maybe 130 pounds. I certainly cannot pick him up. He is still very much a puppy though. Oten large breeds take longer to mature. From his shyness and subservient behaviour, it can be determined that he is nowhere near the dog he wil become one day, even though he is large and a year old. Just lately he has begun to challenge Robbie, the border collie, who is a third his size, but when Robbie sticks up for himself, Ofcharka cowers like a baby and rolls over as he did when he was little. I am quite sure he has no idea he is not LITTLE. One good thing, well, in a way, is that people are afraid of him simply because of his size. Currently, if anyone would so much as raise a voice, he would be running away to the house for safety. It is a good thing strangers do not know that. No one enters the gate unless they have been here before. In the spring, once the ground is thawed, that gate situation will have to change so it is easier for the bed and breakfast folks to come and go and not have to worrry about the dogs. I have an idea.
But Ofcharka has started burying his food. Yes, it is the dead of winter and the ground is frozen solid, so he covers it with straw instead, usually using his nose to push the straw away from his body over the food dish. After all the dogs and cats have filled their bellies, if there is food left in the dish, Ofcharka, who is usually the last to eat, covers one or both dishes. Either the cats are not hungry enough or too dumb, but they never uncover the food. Instead they look at me and meow for more. I wonder what people see in cats. They are useful for rodent control, um...that is about it. Sally still sleeps with Ofcharka, though once he has covered the food, it is usually quite invisible and he often lays somewhere near to watch over it, in case it goes away. Silly puppy!
|Posted by Fluffy on December 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
These two little ladies are the cutest tiny goats you will ever see. They are sisters, well, sort of. Pippin, the miniature one, is actually the only living daughter of Serena, who died from worm infestation, though she was wormed regularly. In my ignorance, I did not realize that she had become resistant to the wormer and it was no longer effective. Barber pole worms attach to the stomach and suck the blood, rendering the goat first anemic and then finally, dead. I had no idea this goat was pregnant even, but she birthed twins somehow. The boy died the night of his birth, but I fed Pippin with an eye dropper, she was so tiny. For three days, she was fed ever hour and then the next goat was ready to kid and I was able to graft Pippin to her new mamma. Since then, Pippin and Sherry have been inseperable. There was also a beautiful brother born to the mother and she was raising triplets, but being Nigerian Dwarf, a dairy goat, she had plenty of milk, until now that is.
The little girls would not be weaned. Mother goat, Daphne tried to kick them away, but every time she was up, one of the little girls was attempting to nurse. Finally, Daphne was worn out and I had to separate the babies from mamma. They are 5 months old, well old enough to be on their own, but with Pippin's rough start, I left them with the mother longer than normal. Mother is run down and with the cold snap, she was struggling to stay warm. The babies are together in an 8 x 10 shelter with a straw bale house and as of today, they have Mat the Flemish giant rabbit to keep them amused. The shelter was originally designed to give the dogs a place out of the wind, but they only played in it and so when the goats needed a place, it was available. I sure hope the rabbit and the goats get along. Aren't the little doelings just darling?
|Posted by Fluffy on December 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM||comments (1)|
The Fat Ewe Farm started with two kittens, female sisters, in the spring of 2011. It was cold at night, and although the kittens were outside born and raised, these little girls got to stay inside. It is natural for cats to use a litter box, so training was not even necessary. The problem though, is I am allergic to cat hair (and rabbit). It is OK if I am outside and so is the cat and handling is to a minimum, but inside creates problems. So Sally and Minka lived inside for much of the spring and then were relegated to the outdoors. They slept with Josep, the rough collie, whom all the animals loved dearly, as did I. He and his wife, Anna, were taken by the highway the following year, sniff, sniff, and I still miss them dearly. But, back to the cats.
Poor Minka met her demise when a wheel of a car ran her over. For some reason, when the car started she did not move. I was saddened deeply at her loss, but not nearly as much as her sister. So, Barbie arrived. Barbie was much more independent than Sally, by far. She was a great mouser too, even at a young age and did not demand to be picked up. She was aloof, but friendly, to me, the perfect kind of cat. Somehow, poor Sally got herself pregnant and had 4 healthy little ones in the old chicken coop on insulation. Daughter rescued them and gave them a blanket and a box for their comfort. After they were about 4 weeks old, I brought them to the front of the house, where they lived in a dog house. All were given away except Jane, who got to remain due to her endearing personality. She was good with the big dogs, too, something that is so important when one mouthful could end her life.
And finally, an orange male cat showed up, obviously a house cat that once belonged to someone. He is very good with the dogs too, which is why he is alive today. A different orange cat came and lived under the horse shed until he starved to death, poor guy. He was petrified of the dogs, though, and would not come out to eat or drink, so what was to be done? Anyhow, Alex is fitting in nicely, but does try to get inside every chance he gets. He gets a gentle lift with a big boot back outside and hopefully he will get the message that on this farm, cats stay outside. The other cats, all being female, quite like having him around, but he is not much older than Jane himself. I did post an ad hoping his owner would claim him, but I get the feeling he was dumped here because people seem to know that I would care for an animal. I am. But Alex is a boy and the other cats are girls and you know what happens....so Alex cannot stay or he cannot stay a boy. And that is the lowdown on the Fat Cats.
|Posted by Fluffy on December 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM||comments (1)|
Well, with the terribly frigid weather, the get up that this farmerette dons is quite substantial, however; it works! I stay warm for 4 hours, which is just long enough to complete the chores. I give up on trying to straighten the picture out. I reversed it right and then left and it still will only load this way...sorry.
I dress in layers, from the inside out...of course, undergarments, but unless the temperature drops below -30, the long winter underwear stays in the drawer. Then of course the pants and shirt, which is always a turtle neck and the pants jeans of some sort. Socks are thermal, usually wool. In the winter boots, that are rated to -60, I have real wool insoles, courtesy of my lovely daughter as a Christmas gift. The pants are tucked into the boots. At these temperatures, I wear a felted wool vest with a deep hood which envelopes my face well enough to provide refracted heat, but under the hood goes a toque. In the wind, a light balaclava is also necessary, and the wool vest changes to a wool jacket with sleeves.
Then the coveralls, the most important of all are donned. In the pocket is a hammer for smashing ice out of buckets and dishes made of flexible rubber materials. They do stay flexible in the winter, but I have created a hole by hitting a frozen bucket a little too hard, so I am careful to tap all around now to crack the ice, rather than try to dislodge it in one piece. Oh yes, and the gloves are insulated rubber gloves. Until I found these, because I haul the water in buckets, my hands would always get wet and then cold. Fortunately I have the body type with warm hands and feet, so once I begin the chores, my body heat keeps both warm. I can remove my gloves for a few moments to untie twines or whatever needs doing and put the gloves back on without getting cold fingers. Oh yeah, in the other pocket of the once piece insulated coveralls with a hood, there is a knife for opening feed sacks and cutting twine from bales. So that is how to stay warm on a cold and frosty afternoon according to this farmerette!