Wednesday 28 May 2014

Small owls and large ears

As I drove up to the farm in the early morning cold and rain today, I came across a small owl sitting in the lane.  He was very cold, soaked to the skin and looked utterly miserable.  He couldn't fly and so had clearly fallen or been pushed out of his nest during the night.  What to do?  I couldn't leave him in the lane and it seemed silly to put such a tiny frozen creature back into the undergrowth where he would just die or become foxy food so I took him up to the farm with me.

We quickly rigged up the metal goat cage with a cardboard box and some straw.  We plugged in the infra-red lamp in at one end and put him inside the cage. 

As he dried out and fluffed up, it became apparent that we had a tawny owlet on our hands.
I shredded some raw goat meat that we had in the fridge and he snapped it up eagerly as I held it in front of his beak.  Warm and with some food inside him, he soon perked up and began to try and climb out of his box!
We are fortunate in having Swale Wildlife Rescue not far away from us and a quick telephone call to a lovely lady called Ingrid saw me on my way to her with my little owl secure in his box.
Ingrid was absolutely delighted to see him and has taken him in to be looked after with a few other owlets that she has there.  She will keep him for a few weeks in her aviary and when he is fit and well, she will come back with him to release him back into the woods near the farm. Hopefully it will be a happy ending for the little chap!
And talking of little chaps .. I managed to get a quick (not quite so blurry!) pic of that little Nube with the ridiculous ears this morning .....

Monday 26 May 2014

A goatie birthday party

Well, as you remember, it was Betty and Wilma's 10th birthday last week.  Our lovely goatie helper Anita was not working with us on their actual birthday and so she arrived this morning with some belated birthday treats for our girlies.

Anita had gone to a lot of trouble to design a special birthday platter for the girls.  How wonderful is this?! 

Piles of delicious fresh fruit and some specially baked goatie biscuits (made of goat-friendly ingredients of course!)

Betty and Wilma had invited a couple of close friends to their party as well.  Tammy and Thelma are the only other two of our 10 and 11 year old girls left now and they came along to share in the treats.

Everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' as Anita brought in the goodies ..

but it didn't take long for everyone to tuck in!

Tammy was particularly partial to the strawberries ..

Everyone had a lovely time and went back into the barn with tums full of fruit and biscuits.  Thank you Auntie Anita!

And just in case you were wondering how 'little' Humphrey is getting on ... here he is. 

The most beautiful horns ..

What a handsome chap!

Thursday 22 May 2014

Happy Birthdays Betty and Wilma!

Our first two goatie sisters Betty and Wilma had their 10th birthdays yesterday.  A momentous day .. 10 years ago yesterday, David and I knelt in an Essex goatshed and gazed lovingly at the two newly born tiny creatures that were to become the founder members of the Ellie's Dairy herd.

And after they were both so poorly last year, who would have thought that they would have made it through to their birthdays this year!

Betty wandered round to the back of the milking parlour to collect her banana

before letting herself out for a little birthday wander to find some yummy fresh grass

Whilst Wilma had a bit of a lie-in and waited patiently in the barn for her banana to arrive:

 Those babies are getting very big now!  Look at the size of these!

David, Anita and myself spent a very tiring and hot Monday lifting, weighing, ear tagging and weaning the first group of kids.  Those who passed all the tests were moved into a new area where they no longer have access to milk.  Just hard feed and hay and water.

Poor babies.  The noise on Tuesday was just incredible as they all complained about having no milk.  I try to explain to them that only babies have milk and that they are all big and grown up and don't need milk any more.  But they don't listen.... 

However, they were soon distracted by the arrival of one of our resident rooks who decided to have a bit of a trot around their feeder;

There are a lot of rooks in an area to the side of the goaties field but recently, they have started to come into the barn to find food and water.  I spotted one walking up and down Beamish's back this evening but sadly did not have my phone with me to take a pic.  It would have been excellent!

And our lovely bull Frederick has gone back to his own house now as our own Gracie Moos have been put out to grass again for the summer.  As usual, they walked out of the trailer and started eating immediately!

Nice to be able to see them out of my bedroom window once again.

So a weekend of markets and events lies ahead.  I have my usual Farmers Markets as well as an extra Food Fair at a local(ish) pub on Monday.  Jane the Cheese is hugely busy with 3 days at Chatham Dockyard Food Festival, 3 days at Ashford Designer Outlet Food Festival and a day at the South of England Showground Best of Food and Drink.  Busy lady!   Keep your fingers crossed for nice weather please!

Wednesday 14 May 2014

A day away

Surely not!  Oh yes indeed .... I am away for a day!  In Leicester ... But it is related to goatie business as I have headed up the M1 to attend the spring Goat Veterinary Society meeting tomorrow.  Get the chance to meet up with lots of interesting people and listen to some great speakers on all kinds of subjects goatie.  Should be a fantastic day.

Next week is David's turn as he heads off to Stoneleigh for a 2 day exhibition on Grassland and Muck.  He knows how to have a good time!

As you may realise, we never go away together any more as one of us needs to be at home with all those goatie girls and boys.  However .... we did have a day off simultaneously last weekend when we left our goatie helpers Mel and Anita in charge for the whole day as we had a wonderful time helping our dear friends Mark (he of the enormous motor home!) and Frances celebrate their wedding.  This is the first time that David and I have had a 'day off' together for around 8 years!

It was so nice to meet up with old friends again - particularly Simon and Jill (in this photo).  We all used to go motor racing together for many years but haven't had a chance to catch up for a long time.  Happy days!

The goaties have been making the most of the nice weather and have been spending lots of time out in their field.  They are strange creatures though, as I have said before, and tend to loiter at the entrance to the field for quite some time before they finally decide to go out.  Almost like they have to have a meeting first.

In the middle of evening milking on Monday, the sky went very black and it suddenly started to rain.  Many of the goats were right down at the bottom of the field and everyone started to hurry back in to avoid getting their ears wet.  A few of them were too busy fighting in the gateway to notice the weather ..

The quickest way to get your goats back into the shed is to bring on the rain!  By the way - the noise you can hear in the background is the milking parlour running ..

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Kidding comes to an end

So, it would seem that kidding may well be over - for the moment at least.  Minnie has produced a fine young man to end with and I think I may well be able to start sleeping back at home with Marmite later this week!

Our little poorly black girls are doing really well.  After a very bad end to last week, they suddenly turned a corner and even the tiniest one is now feeding well and shouting for her breakfast when I walk into the barn in the morning.  It just shows that you can't give up on them ...

Both of those girlies are Beamish daughters and you may remember that our handsome Beamish tends to throw kids with very characteristic faces.  This little chap is the spitting image of his dad!

And one of Cleo's little men seems to have developed the most ridiculous ears.  A bit blurry but you get the general idea.  Looks like one of those Gremlins (from the film).  Totally ridiculous and seem to get more so every day.

The oldest kids are now 2 months old (doesn't time fly?!) and they are getting quite large.

One especially handsome chap is Cassie's son Caesar who will be going to Somerset to work as a stud male.  Look at the size of him!