Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We've Got the Slows

Dog days of summer.  And chicken days, sheep days and alpaca days.  This is the season where the days come in two parts: Before the Scorch and After the Scorch.  Midday is just too hot to do much at all, so we take it easy indoors.


The chickens got to free-range again after a two-week coop incarceration.  We had been losing too many birds to the area bobcat, so I cut off his buffet for a while.  Hopefully, he's moved on down the creek and found sustenance elsewhere.  The chickens really seemed happy to be out, and sought out the coolest places they could find to rest.


The lambs are about two months old now.  I picked up Moses to show the playgroup who visited this morning, and discovered that he probably weighs about 25 pounds now.  That's just a guess, but in any case, he's growing like a little piggy.


It's hard to see here, but up close you can detect the beginnings of little scurs on top of his head.  Scurs are sort of pseudo-horns - they grow in funky ways, not firmly attached to the head.  This may point to Itzhak being his father.  Itzhak is also his uncle, but let's not press that point.  Itzhak has squirrelly scurs that sometimes get knocked off, but always manage to grow back again, weirder than before.  Time will tell what will happen to Moses.  The lambs' fleeces are baby soft, and I hope they stay that way.



Phoebe is hanging in there.  She's not looking any more pregnant than before, so perhaps I overreacted and she's not in the family way after all.  That would be just fine with me.  We've had enough lamby excitement this year.


I realize I haven't shown you the puppies lately - and today is just a peek.  I'm not sure why they insist on both shoehorning themselves into that dog crate when it's so hot, but they do.  In the next week or two, whenever I can get an appointment, they'll be going one at a time to the vet for the Big Snip.  At that time, they'll finally, finally be separated into their permanent pastures.  I've put this off because I'm a wimp, and because life has conspired against me getting Vanni's pen built in the alpaca pasture.  But I'm seriously behind schedule on the babies' training, and it can't be put off anymore. 

They are both so sweet you could overdose on them.  They both know "sit" and they know not to jump up on me.  I'm working on getting them to come when I call, or at least to get their attention.  Vanni's back is about 2-3 inches above my knee.  I can't wait to see what he weighs when we get him to the vet.  Tella is much more dainty in stature, but she's smart and quick.  I need to keep her respect, because she may be a flight risk - she's been an escape artist since she was a tiny baby.  She hasn't gotten out of the puppy pen, but the big pasture is another matter.


Ruthie reigns in the alpaca pasture.  She greets every visiting playgroup and scout troop with poise and benevolence.  She's just as much a Nana to the little kids as she was to the newborn lambs.  It's a mutual love fest.  I've brushed out about two pounds of undercoat off of her as the heat increased, and she seems to be doing fine, moving from one shady spot to another as the sun moves across the sky each day.  Always, her kind and stately demeanor set the tone for the whole pasture.

Judah's doing fine, too, but he hangs out under the rock trailer and makes it really hard to get a picture of him.  His coat is not nearly as fluffy as Ruth's, and so he doesn't take nearly as much grooming.


The good news is that the new little chicks are growing by leaps and bounds.  It looks like we have two Ameraucanas and two.. um... other kinds of chickens.  The Ameraucanas are recognizable by their slate colored legs.  These, if they're girls, will be green egg layers.  Always a favorite.  Now I'm just praying that they're not roosters.

The bad news is that the little guinea keets just up and vanished.  The third day they were here, they just, weren't here.  I have no idea if they were taken or escaped, but they're gone.  I'm really bummed.


The new hens are laying pretty well, though the heat has now slowed overall production again.  I'm not sure how many chickens we'd have to have, to keep us in as many eggs as our customers could use.  Anyone who has an interest in raising your own layers would have customers flocking to your door (pun intended).  Fresh eggs are a hot commodity.


In the heat of the day, it's only the white alpacas, whose reflective coats keep the sun at bay, who venture out into the pasture.  


The dark alpacas prefer to sit it out in the barn under the fans.


The Jacobs take everything in stride, alternately grazing and chilling in the shade.


We're definitely in full summer mode.  It's going to be like this for a long time.  We'll just hunker down and make the best of it.

2 comments:

  1. I agree about the egg customers! We had no idea how fast they would sell. We went from 20 to 50 and now to just over a hundred chickens....and we STILL can't meet the demand. Amazing.

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  2. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Cindy, thanks for the nice long post with all the pictures. Your blog, Susan's blog and the itty bitty kitty committee blog all keep me sane during the work day!! (IBKC is a woman in Seattle/Tacoma who foster's kittens for the local humane society and man can she take some really great kitten shots.)

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