They walked into the milking parlour one at a time. Lady A first, as usual. Elsie waiting patiently.(They come in through the door on the left of your screen – just out of sight – then turn sharp right and into the Milking Parlour).
I had their feed ready (onions, oats and molasses yesterday) they strode confidently to the feeder, I attached Daisy’s clip to their new collars then brushed them all over as they ate, rattling chains and shifting things about talking and singing so they began to get used to the noise of the area. (It is a bit like breaking in a horse – you introduce noises and movements in increments over a period of time so the animal does not shy). After a thorough brushing, which included their underbellies – me crouching down beside them so they begin to get used to that too – I unclipped the chain, pulled back the metal gate that holds them in place and led them out the next door into the field.
Everything went so well, until, with two cows hesitantly following me, I tried to open the next gate that took them back into their own field where their hay waited. FROZEN SHUT! I heaved and shoved and lifted and pushed but that gate would NOT budge.
“Bugger. ” I said. The cows looked at the hay, then looked at the gate, then looked at me. Who knows what they said.
So we all turned and I led them back into the milking parlour through the two barn doors and back out onto the concrete pad, where they had begun, so they could go out the back gate to their field and their hay.
I need a thaw! It was MINUS 11F (-23C ) yesterday morning. Though this morning is not as bad. We will call it only very cold. But Come ON March!
The kittens are as happy in the barn as they are posing in an Easter basket in the house.
I hope you have a lovely day. Today my friend from up on the ridge and I are going to go over to look at some baby goats. Not to buy yet you understand. YET! Just looking. JUST LOOKING! (so hard not to put a crate in the back of the car – just in case- oh yes THAT would be a bad move!) I am Still doing our research. Today I am looking at the American La Mancha goats. (You know how I like to Buy American). These are reported to be the only breed of Dairy goat developed (in the ’50s) in America. They have tiny, tiny ears and are known for their sweet natures and high milk production. I am thinking that if I am going to milk goats I may as well milk a goat that gives Lots of Milk.
Still researching though. She says hopefully. And I am thoroughly enjoying my life of research and farming! It took me a long time to reach this particular en-joy-ing stage in my life.
3.30 AM I am afraid we have had a disaster with the chicks. For 19 days they have been sitting on the table incubating and there must have been some pipping combined with a cat getting in and a door being left open maybe the dogs reacted to the noise but the whole incubator was knocked off the table with a crash. Every egg but two were compromised, some broken right open. Some cracked with shell chipped off like a half peeled boiled egg. They were cold. Most are dead. A few were chirping in their compromised shells. One hatched completely out and was laid apparently lifeless on the floor. We were alerted by the dogs racing into the bedroom and quickly put any eggs, that appeared kind of whole, back into the incubator and turned it back on but I think it is a long shot. Every shell but two has been broken or chipped off and there is shell everywhere. Even the whole ones will have been badly shaken up by the fall. What a disaster. Once more with the learning. I should have shifted them into the coop earlier.
4AM The little chick who I was sure was dead has started to revive. He might make it though he was very cold when I found him. At the moment he is chirping loudly and lurching about the incubator, warming up. I really really hope one more manages to survive so he has a mate, but I don’t hold very high hopes.
5.AM The little black chick is still alive, though he had a wee sleep and I was convinced he was dead. I will not open the incubator at all though, it has to stay warm and moist. There are three eggs rocking and chirping. But they are barely covered in splintered shells and the membrane. But they are still alive and beginning to slowly chip their way out.
5.15 AM Two of the eggs have little holes appearing in the top. But the membrane around the ones with really compromised shells is drying up from the fan heater in there. That may be a good thing or a bad thing. Nothing to do now but watch. Keeping the humidity high is critical now.
5.46 AM One of the chicks is definitely breaking out, chirping and pecking its little hole bigger and bigger. Two more are rocking but the eggs are mostly membrane. So they will surely be able to break out of that unless it dries onto them. The little black chick has a white chest and is drying out. Asleep again. If I go in and break these last two out the humidity will drop terribly and our wee baby will get chilled and the emerging baby will be compromised. Everything in me wants to let the rocking ones out of those broken shells now. But it might kill the ones with a better chance. Triage.
605 AM Number two is almost out of her shell.
I cannot imagine how the little black one is still alive but he is.
Dammit. After all this time. Human error. If everything had proceeded according to plan we would have had a goodly number of chicks hatching. Fingers crossed we might have two.
But life goes on doesn’t it. At least it was my fault. I can fix my faults.
Love your friend on the farmy.