Animals and Chores

Life has felt pretty crazy in the past few months. Jeremy and I jumped into cows and meat chickens, but then our goats turned into a whole lot of extra work and money. Now everyone seems to be healthy and slowing down. We don't have meat chickens anymore (they're all in the freezer). We don't have any bottle babies anymore. So chore time takes about 10 minutes now and the boys can do it by themselves.

Gideon feeds everyone over the fence so that he doesn't get bowled over and Esmond fills the waters every morning. Then Gideon walks down to feed the pigs while Esmond feeds the cats, and then it's done.

We were making four bottles a day for the bottle-goatlings, and up to six for the bottle-calves. We were moving the chicken tractor every morning and hauling water over there for them. We were feeding everyone in separate stalls so that we wouldn't get pushed over. It was taking all of us 45 minutes to do the chores. Morning and evening.

Now we can breathe a little again.

Our pig set up is really nice. We're getting faster at moving them, but we only have to move them every two weeks. So far, we've only had to fill up the water barrel when we move them. It holds enough water to last. I imagine the pigs will drink more as they get bigger, but it won't turn into an everyday chore.

We've parked the chicken tractor for the year, and right now we've got a giant compass set up in the field for Eowyn's science work. (The grass needs to be mowed, obviously, but that's in the plan for later this afternoon.)

Then the goats. Goats do a number on my salvation. They annoy the tar out of me, but then they get sick and send me to my knees. We're hopefully going to sell most of them off because goats have just become pets around here. They aren't producing meat or milk for us, so we're paying to feed them and take care of them. We had Gracie go down with mastitis, and then a few weeks ago all six of them got sick. Jeremy was cutting bushes in the yard, and threw the clippings over the fence for them. He didn't know that azalea is HIGHLY poisonous. And sure enough, a few hours later the goats started throwing up.

Have you ever seen a goat throw up? It's gross. And pitiful. Everything we read and everyone we talked to said they would all die. And they were so, so sick. But we still fought and prayed. We gave them olive oil, charcoal, as much vitamin C as they would take, electrolytes, Mylanta, cedar and pine branches, lamb and kid calorie supplement, and MFO to the two who went down from weakness. It took three days, but they didn't die. And then we slowly put them back on grass and now they are back to normal. The Lord preserved us.

The cows are doing beautifully. Irene has declared herself Queen of the field. The goats tried to fight it, but she won. This is also one of the reasons why we are careful about going in the fence. She hasn't challenged us, but she's pretty demanding about getting attention and rubdowns. Quite frankly, she terrifies me. Curdie, on the other hand, is much like Ferdinand. He's gentle and sweet, but his bulk is getting large enough that nobody can push him around anymore. He worried me to death when he was bottle feeding. Sometimes he would feed, sometimes he wouldn't. But he's doing great now. And his coloring is turning so dark! Irene's turned lighter, but his is dark chocolate now. I love it.

Now I have time again to take pictures and I'm not covered in animal gunk all the time. It's nice to finally be slowing down and finding our new rhythm.

1 comment

  1. Wow! Those goats have put you through the wringer haven't they? Glad you're all well (critters too.) I am nearing the end of canning season and looking forward to slowing down a bit too. Isn't autumn lovely?


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