Isn't that the cutest thing? Most people don't truly understand the charm of a goat. But baby goats - it goes beyond charm - they have a cute factor that most other animals don't quite have. Chad and Chrissy get asked often why they take the baby goats from the dams and bottle feed them. Well, it adds to the charm of the animal when they are bigger. Now I'm not going to get into the argument about whether it's cruel or not - I don't think it is, but they really appreciate the adult animal that is created by bottle feeding the babies. Those babies associate food with Chad and Chrissy (and the kids), and as they grow, they will come running up to them in the field, even when they are grown. The bottle raised goats on this farm will come up to them and want head rubs, and generally just enjoy being close to them when they are out there. The dam raised goats (of which there is only one at this time) isn't quite as friendly. He's not mean, just a little more skittish than the others. Not something Chad and Chrissy really like. But aside from ending up with sweet adult animals, it also helps keep the milkers healthy. Dairy goats (like dairy cows) produce way more milk than the babies can eat. And if the babies eat it all, they can get sick. An underfed (slightly) baby goat is more healthy than an overfed baby goat, especially early on. The other issue is with the goats (and cows) is the lack of cleanliness around the udder when babies are constantly drinking. Mastitis in cows and goats comes from the introduction of bacteria into the udder from the environment. That can come from the ground (when they lay down) and from the mouth of the babies when they drink. The processes used when milking the animals is much cleaner and protects the cows and goats from mastitis.
So, that is why they take the babies.
Anyway, the freshening of goats means that goat milk will be available soon. Stay tuned for updates.
Pork will also be back in a couple of weeks. Lots of pork. Be sure to contact us if you want pork.
The family was so saddened at the loss of Sybil. But even before she was taken from them, they had plans in place to get a new puppy. Fitz arrived prior to Sybil's departure, and she had really taken to him. But, she was the kind of dog that loved all creatures, great and small. She was such a gentle giant with Fitz, and seemed to love him much. But while looking for Fitz, Chad tried to convince Chrissy to look at a different breed of dog. Great Pyrenees, as beautiful as they are, and as well as they do protecting livestock, have some vices. One big one is a propensity to roam. They tend to expand their territory as they see fit, and many times even the best fencing can't keep them home. So far keeping Paisley home hasn't been a problem. She tends to stay close, but they fear she may take off at some point and be lost for a bit. So they continue to improve their fencing around the farm to make sure she continues to stay home. Fitz is still a little guy (though he's growing FAST) and he stays in the same paddock as Paisley day and night. At the moment, all of our pregnant does who are imminently due to kid are in that paddock with them. Aiyla is also with them. She's the new puppy, an Akbash, who Chad ordered and had delivered from Michigan. Believe me when I say, it wasn't nearly as expensive as it sounds. Cause if it had been he wouldn't have done it. But the breed is hard to find, and after doing some research he really felt that breed would be a great fit for the farm. So far, so good. Fitz and Aiyla were born on the same day. That makes things easy(er). Fitz and Aiyla have taken to each other, and love playing with each other and chasing goats (until the goats get tired and take control by head butting the puppies). Paisley, still being a puppy, also likes to play with them, but being that she is closing in on 100 pounds at 1 year old, she sometimes gets a little too rough, and the puppies let her know. She backs off, and then goes back for more.
There's a lot of cuteness right there. Aiyla is the solid cream and Fitz has the markings on his face. These two are tight.
In other news, there are three goats traipsing around the farm that are past due. Yep, they are holding those babies hostage. Chad and Chrissy tend to get a little nervous when animals go beyond their due date, because babies in the womb grow at their fastest rate in the last couple of weeks. So the longer they go beyond their due date, the higher the chances of them having a problem during delivery. They are hoping for the best, and monitoring them constantly. Which isn't ideal for being productive in other areas. But they do what they must.
Stay tuned - there will be an update on goat babies once they arrive. Until then - the hostage standoff will continue.
I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. -Psalm 81:10
There are times when God fearing folks doubt their faith. That happens on this farm. Chad and Chrissy are believers; they believe the Lord works in all things and through all things for His glory, and for the good of humanity. But they struggle with their faith, as many folks do.
But over the last year, they have seen the Lord work in miraculous ways. This week marks the one year anniversary of the lock downs beginning, businesses being forced closed and people learning to live with a "new normal" due to the worldwide pandemic. There is no doubt that the last year has presented challenges, and we have managed to migrate them just like everyone else - the best way we possibly can.
When this chaos started a year ago, there were two pigs and a cow at the processor that were raised on this farm. Within a couple of weeks of the shut downs, there were reports of farms (large farms that supply the commercial industry with meat) having to slaughter market ready animals, and simply dispose of their carcasses because they couldn't sell the meat to restaurants. Chad communicated with one of these farms and considered purchasing some of their pigs at a very low price (because the pork they got back sold FAST). But, there were two big problems. First, the concern about biosecurity. Meaning you never know what other animals might bring to the farm - what parasites, bacteria or other germs (everyone was hyper-focused on biosecurity for a long while - and continues to be today). Second - processors for producers like this farm were booked out months. What used to be a simple phone call a couple of weeks ahead of when you wanted to take an animal for processing turned into months out, if you could even get in at all. The last thing they wanted was to bring pigs here that they would have to feed and care for and not be able to get them processed. So they decided to forgo purchasing these pigs and just focus on working the plan to provide the highest quality product they could.
When they began hearing about the backups at the processors, Chad called their beef processor to get an appointment before the end of 2020. In March (mid-March), the earliest thing they had was Labor Day. So he took it. But, the steer would only be about 18 months, and there was concern that he wouldn't be quite ready. So he called back two weeks later to get an appointment, and the earliest thing they had was February 8 of 2021. Chad kept both appointments, which proved to be a wise decision considering the dairy cow that didn't calve when expected. Thanks to an unexpected cow in the beef pipeline they were mostly able to meet the demand of pork and beef during the craziest times of 2020, they saw their customer base grow for milk, and purchased a second dairy cow to replace the one they had to process.
Though their feed costs increased significantly in 2020 (due to moving all animals except goats to a locally sourced, non-GMO feed), they maintained their pricing across the board while providing a much higher quality diet for the animals. It was certainly a year of provision - at least for this little farm.
As 2021 steamrolls past, there is excitement to see how things will shape up. They anticipate seeing the Lord continue to work, and they look forward to seeing the results.
Buckle up. 2021 is looking to be a fun ride.
Things have been slow around here since about mid January. It's always interesting to see how things ebb and flow on this farm. Prior to January, the cows were in milk. That was the tale end of the busy season for these guys. In the fall, the goats were in milk and changes were being made to the chicken's run and the garden. Earlier in the fall, there was prep for a goat show, milking goats, milking cows twice a day, and the closing of the gardening season. In the summer, it's full bore around here. The garden is in full swing, milking cows and goats twice a day, cleaning milkers, making sure jars are ready and available for the next milking, the list goes on.
Everyone around here enjoys the slow season. It gives the folks time to recharge, and the land time to rest - even if it is being drenched with rain.
There is much to do to prepare for the busy season, which has already began in earnest with plant starts. Three pigs are being taken to the processor next week (and pork is for sale - send a request if you want a half or whole hog). More pigs are due to arrive (via transport from other farms due to the loaning out of the boar for breeding purposes) and (hopefully) through the sow having a litter. Goats are due to begin kidding in the next week or so, and there is work to be done to get stalls ready for the onslaught that will inevitably come from kidding goats. Cows are due in late April, gardening will begin in the next few weeks - lots and lots coming up very fast. But while the slow season is nice, the busy season is what keeps things on this farm operational.
So, while each year is different, it will be interesting to see what this year will bring.