New Housing

Finally, the new shelter for the hogs is finished. The automatic waterer was moved so it is inside the shelter and the shelter was divided into two sections – with a hog nipple accessible from each side.

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Another hog panel divides the area behind the shelter and each section is set up with a drip for a wallow. Once the pasture gets fenced in “spokes” I’ll be able to rotate hogs in different sections of the pasture and will have the ability to keep hogs separated if needed.

Bok Choy is the pig in front and Hoggle is the smaller hog. Here is a close up of Hoggle.

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Quibeyn Chai

Chai is the last doeling out of Joey. My intention had been to breed her in June this year, but she, like Thyme, had other plans. Chai kidded out on June 21 with a single buckling. Last night I separated the two and put Ash in with Garfunkel, Thyme’s buckling, and left Chai in the doe pen. This morning I put Chai on the milk stand for the first time. She needed a little assist to get on the stand, but once on it she stood quietly and let me milk her.

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Chai is small but her teats are a decent size and she was easy to milk out. She gave me a very respectable 1 lb .3 oz on her first milking.

And More Milk

I was expecting Nougat to kid last week, but she showed no signs of pending labor. The past few days she wasn’t eating with her usual enthusiasm but I attributed that to her size (enormously huge) and the fact that she didn’t appear to have a lot of room for food. I bought her as a first freshener in January 2014. She had given her previous owner triplets – all doelings. In May 2014 she gave me triplets – also all doelings. Given her past history and her size, I was sure she was going to have at least triplets again this year, and I was hoping for doelings.

Just before 5 pm today I went out and found her cleaning a kid off. I went back in to finish a job and came back out about 15 minutes later to find her cleaning off a second kid. Chai and her buckling got turned out of the lambing jugs, as did Garfunkel, and I cleaned out the lambing jugs. Chai and Ash were rounded up and put in the doe pen and Garfunkel (who had latched on to his mom for a quick meal) was caught and put back in one section of the lambing jugs. I then moved Nougat and her two kids into the other section of the jugs. I weighed both – the first-born was a male, just over 5 lbs, and the second was also male, and just under 6 lbs. Try as I might, Nougat was still so huge I couldn’t get my arms around her to “bounce” her to see if she had another kid inside. I made a quick run into town and checked on Nougat when I got back. . . still only the two kids and no signs of distress so I’m assuming that despite her huge size, two is all she’s going to give me this year.

Nougat and her two bucklings - Smoke and Spark.

Nougat and her two bucklings – Smoke and Spark.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention (or Experimentation)

It is incredibly hot here . . . we don’t normally get a lot of days over 100 and have already had more in June than we usually have all summer. So because I had an extra day this weekend, and really wanted to make soap, I used a method I had not tried before. Previously I have only made soap using the Cold Process method but turning the stove on to heat and melt oils had no appeal. All of my soaps use Coconut Oil and most also use Shea Butter, both of which are solids under most circumstances. The Coconut Oil I use is solid up to 76 degrees and since room temperature in my house has been running in the high 80s the Coconut Oil is currently a liquid, but the Shea Butter while softened, was still a solid. As with most things, there is a learning curve with the Room Temperature method of making soap so the first batch – a shampoo bar using beer – didn’t turn out as well as it could have.

Shampoo Bar with beer and spearmint/eucalyptus essential oils

Shampoo Bar with beer and spearmint/eucalyptus essential oils

The second batch of soap – lavender and oatmeal using goat milk turned out much better.

Lavender and oatmeal goat milk soap

Lavender and oatmeal goat milk soap

And Life Goes On

I weaned Thyme’s and Spice’s kids about a week ago so now am milking twice a day to develop their udders as both are first fresheners. Thyme is giving me a respectable amount of milk, especially given her age and that she only had a single kid. Spice is exceeding my expectations for a first freshener and I have hope that she will be as good a milker as her dam. Chai will go on the milk stand for the first time in the next few days. She is still nursing her kid so I’m not expecting a lot. I’m drying off Nutmeg. She should be bred and if so, will be due the end of September. I could keep her milking for another month, but she has been in milk for over 11 months now and I have plenty of milk (more than enough) so taking her out of the milk schedule makes my life a little easier.

A short while ago I put Thyme up for sale as well as the three weaned kids. A couple of days ago, Spice’s twins went off to their new home.

Looking pretty pleased with their new digs

Looking pretty pleased with their new digs