The last few weeks have taught me one thing well: I am woefully under – prepared for my animals.
Here’s the thing – I am a worrier. I worry about my kids and my animals. I am that person that wants to grab the chickens and the goat and the llama and bring them all in the house with me whenever the weather’s not right. And these past few weeks? It’s been rainy, cold and more rainy. We are expecting something crazy like 2 inches of rain tomorrow. That is bad. Not because I don’t like a good rainy day, but because the shelter for my four – footed babies is leaking. And the other one that was storing one giant hay bale leaks as well, meaning that we have one giant wet hay bale. Oh the wasted money right there…..that hurts. Every day when I brave the mud to feed them I worry. Are they warm enough? Are they staying dry enough at night? Do they have enough room?
Given the situation I’ve decided to hold off on acquiring any more goats for now – I’ve not got enough shelter for them and should my little Milkshakes give birth I have no decent place to keep a kid warm or to milk little Miss Nanny Goat. Fortunately she is content enough with Mr. Jerry the Llama (that name still kills me……) and he is happy with her as well. Soon I’ll have to have him gelded (castrated) since he is about 2 now and on the brink of “maturity”. I don’t want him attempting to breed a certain tiny goat when she goes into heat (yes, they do try…..that’s why they say to geld them if you want to use them as guard llamas).
Therefore, I need a barn. Not a huge barn, but a barn big enough to shelter some goats and a llama and have a spot for milking when the time comes. Because eventually, I’d like to have enough that I can milk them and make cheese. Mmmmm yummy goat cheese.
Rather than attempt to clear out enough flat land (HA! As if we had any real flat land here – we’d have to flatten it with equipment) to raise a barn I am thinking it would be easier and wiser to buy a larger property that already has a barn on it, or at least an outbuilding of some sort suitable for my needs. A plus would be if that property came with an old farm house. Something with history, and if it has things that are falling apart or in need of replacement it will be from age rather than sloppy craftsmanship.
Of course I am in no real position to do this right now, given the state of the economy and the housing market. I’m just giving y’all a heads up (notice the southern thing there? Even a true blue yankee like me can’t help it once in a while).
One thing I WILL be doing soon if I can manage it is working on my hen to rooster ratio. My one Rhode Island Red hen, Mabel (above) , has been giving me an egg roughly every other day since Sunday. I re – homed all of our Barred Rock Roosters except one – he who was formerly called “Jemima” (our other RIR hen, Nellie, is very much attached to him) and Emily has been calling “Jemi-Man” (I call him Jim). Today I put “Jim” and Nellie into the pen out back with Mabel and her main man, Barry. Hopefully I can order some chicks for the spring so we’ll have more girls. The bad part is that the earliest chicks available to order right now are delivered in March – that means no eggs until end of next summer from them.
This whole egg thing is killing me, people.
Anyway…..lest you think I’ve been shuffling about complaining and bitching all day (tempted to, but no) I will say that I did a whole lotta cleanin’ (not nearly enough with these kids!) and I am working on some holiday type stuff. I’ll let you in all all of that next time, once I’ve gotten a bit more done and I have better pictures. Just know that I’ve been using a lot of ideas from The Alabama Stitch Book. I looooove it!
I’m with Nellie; that Jim is a total hottie.
Take heart! These country adventures never go as planned. I was thrilled when we bought the new-built house on a few acres but that meant there was a totally blank slate to work with… no fence, no out buildings, just a bunch of trees and shale.
Of course I brought home critters before we had a proper place for them and thus had baby goats living in the house (which was way fun). Then we bought a calf hutch which was a great little shelter for a few baby goats for a few months. We eventually bought a small pre-built barn and built the fence ourselves.
I know it can be stressful but it will all work out 🙂