Since we are stuck waiting for the ground to thaw to begin building the earthship we are taking the opportunity to improve our day to day processes and prepare for our first lambing! We anticipate Tulip and Blossom will lamb by mid-March, potentially sooner so Grant made a milking stand (in a day)! He never ceases to amaze me. Can’t wait to begin milking!
Backing up a little, we brought home two Angora does last weekend. I’m so excited to learn all there is to about their beautiful soft locks of fiber. They are calm and now taking treats out of our hands, which is great. Cinnamon and Muffin, the Nubian goats, are not very friendly and do not like to share food or space. Ramazoid, the East Friesian ram, needed to be separated from the ewes, because they are giving off hormones that make Ram think they are in heat, when they are already bred. Unfortunately, Ram also can’t be with any of the female goats as he tries to mount them. He is much too large and we are not interested in experimental “geep”. The Angoras and the East Friesians get along thankfully! We figured since the ewes are nearly four months along, and with the restrictions between some of the critters to upgrade the living arrangements. We ended up making four pens all side by side so they can still interact with there neighbors a little. The two Nubian does are together. The Ram and Sputnik, the Nigerian Dwarf buck, are together. The Nora and Rora, the two Angoras are together and that leaves Blossom and Tulip in the last pen.
There are many benefits to separating the ram and buck from the does. For one, they don’t need more than a nice grass hay. While the girls, at various times, will need higher protein alfalfa hay when pregnant or nursing/ milking. Another benefit of keeping the males separate is so you can plan their breeding schedule. This is helpful if we want to have milk year-round. I haven’t gone as far as to plan yet for milking, but imagine we will have a better plan for next year to keep the milk flowing consistently. This year, we will just let them breed when they are in heat. At this point if the goats are bred they would kid in the fall. I think the best time to breed goats is in December/ January so they would be born at the beginning of summer. Having it be plenty warm is one less thing to worry about! So everyone seems pretty happy except Ramazoid and Sputnik are testing each other. It hasn’t become harmful to either party yet, but we are keeping an eye on it. I also believe they both are slightly stressed to have been separated from their ladies, but that should calm down with time.
We added rain gutters made of pvc pipe cut in half because that is what we had on hand. Why not collect this precious water dripping off the roof?! Now there are gutters dripping into three of the four water buckets. Any plan to automate daily tasks is welcomed here! I’m grateful we got animals before building a barn, only because we were able to learn with them on the easiest way to complete chores for them and us. By the time we get to building our barn we will know exactly how to set it up for maximum efficiency. How much we have learned already from and about the “hoof clan”! They are so fun.
We just got some surprise news today from our rabbits, Nibbles and Carrot, that babies were born! We have now spotted two kits probably around a week old; one black like dad, and the other tan like mom. We are worried either the rest didn’t make it or perhaps they are just slower to come out of hiding. The picture may be too hard to see, but Grant tried to snap a shot of them hiding in the sheep fort.