My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Goatie and Chick Questions

We had snow last night. Again. Our baby goaties are settling in. The first time we put them on a leash to take them to the outside goat pen, they balked and stubbornly refused to move more than a foot at a time. The second time went much easier.... they only balked a little but once they realized where they were going, they practically ran! Hawkey and Honey do love their outdoor pen. Along with some hay and a bucket for water, we placed some big rocks in there so they can take turns playing "king of the hill". And they have a great view of the countryside, seeing as we're on the top of a ridge.

We moved the rabbit and quail into the workshop/barn yesterday.... in between huge gusts of wind. Interesting to see the angora bunny putting her butt into the wind because her eyes got covered with fur. She quickly turned around and put her nose into the wind, smoothing the fur against her bod. Quite a treat for the little critter that stays indoors 99.99999% of the time! After all, she IS an albino, and can't tolerate sunlight.

Updated 4/27/10 with answers from neighbor goat/chicken lady in red:

Goat questions:
-There are a lot of "landscaping" rocks, just slightly larger than pebble size, all over. We didn't scrape them from the pen area before placing down the hay. Should we have? They like to pick the rocks up in their mouths and try to eat them, but I don't think they actually do because we don't hear their teeth crunching. They just eat rocks. That's who they are.
-They also like to lick the big climbing rocks in the pen. We gave them goat minerals but is that not enough? Or is it a sensory issue? Same answer as above.
-Before I remembered reading to feed only once or twice a day, I placed the food bin with a handful of goat pellets in their indoor kennel. They take a nibble and leave it alone for quite a while after. After being with us for only 1 1/2 days, between the two of them they only ate about 1/2 a cup of pellets. We do intend to take it away and just offer it once or twice a day but meanwhile.... is that enough eating? They do eat hay all day. They will eat when they are hungry, and will eventually learn to eat other things like weeds, bark, veggies and so on.
-It appears that they, especially Hawkey the wether, likes to nibble on our clothes and hair! What's up with that?! I realize they want to experience different tastes and textures but by yesterday afternoon, I had to leave their pen because my shirt was getting holes in it! Just experimenting.
-They also like to jump up on us... kinda like a dog. They get on their hind legs and put their front legs up on us as high as they can reach. Begging for attention (like they don't get any!)? Asking us for something? We decided to (try to) not pet them when they do that to not positive reinforce that behavior but sometimes it's hard. They will probably do this as long as they are able. They are goats. They climb and jump. If it gets too irritating, tug a little bit on an ear while commanding "stop". Not that it will stop them foreve, but might give them pause.

We are supposed to get our baby chicks this coming week ... 5 black australorp and 5 auricanas. Day-olds, I believe. For the first few weeks of their lives (?), they will live in a yellow kiddie pool in our garage. Mostly because of the weather and that the electricity goes off from time to time. Plus we'll be checking on them more often than the rest of the critters.

Chicken questions:
-Hay or sand under their coop? The one in the workshop/barn already has sand and rocks as the floor but should we spread hay down too?
-We got a chicken waterer, and marbles to put in it so they don't drown. Will we need to warm the water? Will they know how to drink or will we need to help them/show them? Our baby chicks will be a day-old when the feed store gets them and THEY will show them how to drink and eat. Not necessary to warm the water unless they were outdoors.
-How much chick-starter-feed to chick-grit ratio do we put in the chicken feeder? Do we leave the feeder in all the time, or place it in for an all-you-can-eat-fest several times a day? I read both ways. Leave the food there at all times for baby chicks, and mix in a little grit. Chickens instinctively know when they need to eat grit. Trust them.
-I assume that at some point, we scatter the feed on the ground as opposed to giving it in a feeder. Right? Yes, especially since we're going to do very little pellets once they are outside. Just scatter the whole grain, vegetable peelings, etc. which will give them something to do!
-When do we graduate from the chick waterer to a water bucket or trough or ??? When they outgrow the brooder. Earlier if we find something that works better than the marbles/waterer thing.
-Brooder: Is our plan to use a kiddie-pool ok or should we start with a box inside a box with styrofoam sheets in between a better choice (at least to start)? No matter what we use, we still need to shred some newspapers (or sand or hay??) for the bottom, and keep adding as time goes on. OR we have some rabbit transport-hutches that we could use! Got out a 2-section rabbit hutch/transporter and placed 2 layers of paper towels in the bottom of each section. Then the waterer and feeders, in opposite corners. Each section will get 5 chicks. Plenty of room till they get their feathers and can be moved to the coop.
-How long will the chicks stay in the brooder, and how soon can they go outdoors? The estimated date of last frost here is Memorial Day (May 31) and the chicks should be born probably today, April 26. Will 4 weeks be enough in our garage? All 10 chicks in a box? As above, when they get all of their feathers, they will be ready for outdoors. Should coincide with the last frost... weather should be quite warm.
-We will be moving them to a permanent outdoor coop when they are ready (or the first of June, whichever is last). To prep for them, I'm sowing some seed in that spot today: amaranth, mixed greens/mesclun, and clover. It will be right next to the outdoor permanent goat pen that will have the same mixture plus sorghum. Think that will work? We realize it will be eaten up right away, but thought we'd give them 5-star accommodations to start! Sounded good.
-I read about placing a roost (stick or dowel rod) in the box right away so the chicks get used to sleeping on it and not on the litter. This will prevent them from sleeping in nesting boxes later on. Anybody do this? Special technique? Good idea. Still need to find an appropriate-sized stick.

Guess that's it for now. I'm sure I'll have more questions as time goes on.

Hmmm... it's nearly 8 a.m. and I haven't heard even a peep from the goaties on the baby monitor. (blush). Yes, we have it set up, and listened to them bleat last night and finally settle in.

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Update at 9:36 a.m.: We just got back from feeding the goats. Had to wake up the Kid first! And all the critters were just waking up too. We gave Honey and Hawkey more pellets, a little oats, checked the water and hay, then sat to play with them for a little bit. I sat on a folding chair while the Kid squatted and boy! Honey decided he was a rock and jumped up on his back. After about 15 minutes of her getting on and off, Hawkey decided he was missing out on the fun and laughter and jumped up too! The Kid and I laughed so hard, we, well, I cried.

I hadn't taken my camera but I did have my cell phone and snapped a few pix. Now if I can just figure out how to download them!

= = = =

Please plant a nut or fruit tree today.


Leslie said...

We picked up our ten chicks on Friday!!

They sure are cute. Ours are "Chantelcler," a Canadian breed, bred for our winters, and are supposed to lay all winter long.

Ours are also in a turtle pool, but they were awfully close to jumping the sides, and they were drafty... so hubby rigged up an enclosure int he pool (pics on my blog, if you're interested.)

We put shavings in the pool, and then covered them with paper towels, so that they wouldn't eat the shavings... they pulled thme up, and tried to eat it anyway. Then we dumnped the shavings, and just put paper twoel... started eating the paper towels. Right now, they're in the pool without any shavings.

The pool is in the basement, on an old piece of carpet. They have a bird feeder full of their food, and a waterer, with marbles & small rocks in it. Thye went to the watered right away, no problems.


Vikki and the Kid said...

Thanks, Leslie. Saw your blog and got some good thoughts from it. I am starting with paper towels on the bottom but if it gets too eaten, we'll take it out. Put their setup in our kitchen... only 10 chicks so shouldn't get too stinky! Hmmm.. wait, only 10?? When I pick them up today (or tomorrow) I just might have a couple extra slip into my pocket! Vikki

Leslie said...

My Husband added shavings to the pool last night. He said it was hilarious watching them try to figure out what it was, and what was UNDER them!