Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring has sprung!

Spring is finally here!! The trees and plants have been trying to bloom and come back to life, and a round of thunderstorms this week with a good soaking rain gave everything the extra boost to look especially green and bright! This is our second spring on the farm, and our first one where all of our animals are mature enough to reproduce. Love is in the air, and we have had several new additions in the last couple months! The first was our set of Rhode Island Red chicks. It was our first attempt at breeding with our chickens (we've had success with the ducks already) and we weren't really sure what to expect. We chose our favorite and most friendly hen, Miss Loretta, and paired her up with our rooster Big Red. He stood watch over her for the whole time she was brooding, and on March 15th eight chicks hatched out of her clutch of ten eggs, a great success in our book! Miss Loretta is an excellent mother, and the chicks are growing so fast. I'll be sure and give an update on them later.
Miss Loretta strutting her stuff :) She's been extra proud and protective since her chicks hatched.

 Being a chicken mommy sure is hard work! Eight tiny chicks is a lot to keep up with.
It amazes me how all eight of them fit themselves under her wings, four on each side. This little sweetie was peeking during nap time.

Those sweet chicks were just our first exciting birth of the season. Dustin's parents have two female Nigerian Dwarf goats that were bred by our Nubian bucks Ricky and Bobby. Crossing these breeds results in what I've always seen called a Mini Nubian. The mini's keep the adorable floppy ears of the Nubian, and the smaller stature of the Nigerian Dwarfs. The best of both the breeds. Unfortunately, one of the female goats, Dixie lost her kid at birth a few weeks ago. This setback made us even that more anxious as we awaited the birth of her sister Pixie's kids (I was positive she was having twins because of how HUGE she was!). On April 5th I got a call from Dustin's mom saying that the babies were here! I raced up to the barn and was greeted by two of the sweetest little babies I have ever seen! Twin boys! Both boys were out and being cleaned up by mom by the time I got to them.
Pixie and her kids! We had a scare at first with the little white one. He was a lot less eager to nurse than his brother who was born first, and he seemed much weaker and wobbly on his long and lanky Nubian legs.
We decided they could use some supplemental milk just to make sure they got off to a good start, so I rushed off to the feed store to buy some powdered milk with colostrum. Dustin's parents are feeding them here. I was mixing bottles and supervising. :) Pixie didn't mind that we were helping lighten her workload.
Then we had the hard task of deciding on names for these little guys. When I was home later, I thought back to their dad's names (Ricky & Bobby) that came from the movie Talladega Nights..and tried to think of other unique/funny names we could pick from the movie to keep that theme going. Then it hit me. Ricky Bobby's sons were named Walker and Texas Ranger!! (If he had wanted them to be sissies he'd have named them Dr. Quinn and Medicine It was perfect! We decided Walker would be the little white one who was weak and had trouble walking, and Texas Ranger would be the strong guy with the white star (his ranger badge) on his head.

Texas Ranger aka "Tex"
This little guy is Walker. Walker makes me think that their dad is our white goat Bobby since he is basically a clone of him! He is solid white except for his moon spots just like Bobby had when he was little, and since that trait is inherited I'm betting he is their daddy :) 
Nursing from mom.

So far our spring is off to a great start here on the farm. It's a busy time with new babies, seeds to sew for the garden, and time to build more chicken coops since we are planning to expand our flock.