Random Farm Photos

The chicks turned 6 weeks old on Monday. I started opening up the pop door to the outside run for the chicks this past weekend and they have been having a grand time with the extra room. I had bought a Hen Hydrator which is a 5 gallon bucket that hangs with nipples for the chickens to drink from because I was tired of having to clean out the trays on the ground waterers. It plainly states it is not for chicks, but I went ahead and lowered it to chick height and  the chicks have been happily using it for the past few days.

The bantam chicks are noticeably smaller than the other chicks

 

The frizzles look like they stuck their beaks in a light socket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmos, the youngest buckling, does not quite understand the proper way to go down a slide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids are three weeks old today.

 

 

 

And here is Fix – who is starting to mature into a very nice looking dog.

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Warm and fuzzy . . . NOT

I had bought two does exposed to bucks in May. Just Charmin kidded out a week ago this past Thursday. My absolute least favorite part of owning goats is disbudding. I have tried using a paste, which produced hit and miss results (heavily weighted to the miss), and banding, more successful IF bands are replaced promptly when they break. Last year I finally ordered a disbudding iron. The first one was damaged when I opened the box and by the time the replacement arrived it was too late for a successful disbudding of the kids. I should have disbudded Charmin’s kids, or at least the buckling, no later than Monday morning, but he was so small I put it off. Then the usual number of things happened so it wasn’t until last evening that I managed to disbud both kids and give them CDT vaccinations to guard against tetanus. It was a miserable experience for all concerned and I am hoping that it was successful and we didn’t all go through the trauma for naught. Evidently from what I’ve read and heard, Nigerian Dwarfs are the hardest of all the dairy goats to disbud and the bucklings are the hardest, with most developing scurs even at the best of times.

This came on the heels of the second doe, who never bagged up so I wasn’t sure she had been bred, suddenly going into labor Thursday late afternoon. Luckily I was home as I ended up having to pull a kid – which was stillborn. Buttons still isn’t out of the woods yet so I’m hoping I don’t lose her as well.

I enjoy the farm and the various animals. There is nothing cuter than a goat kid sproinging about. However, there is a downside to breeding any animals — the very real likelihood of not only the loss of the offspring but also the dam. WHO estimated that in 2015 303,000 women would die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Actually, I’m always surprised at the low number of complications I’ve had with my sheep and goats over the years when one considers all of the things that could go wrong.

 

Farm Dog 101: Place Command – Part Three

Once your dog will “place” for at least two minutes with you moving around the room, you are ready to progress to Step Two – teaching your dog to travel to its “place.”

Step Two: Place your mat or rug one step in front of your dog. Toss a treat on the mat and tell your dog to “go place”. When your dog steps onto the mat and eats the treat, Praise and Release.

Duration: Gradually increase the length of time the dog remains on the mat before the Release.

Distance: Once your dog is able to leave your side and go one step to the mat without assistance and remain there for 2 minutes, you will start to increase the distance away from the mat that your dog is sent one step at a time. Each time you add distance, reduce the length of time the dog remains on the mat and gradually increase the time again. Until the dog is successfully completing a “go place” at two steps without physical assistance you will not move further away. Each increase in distance should be one step at a time. Continue until you can send your dog 20 feet to a mat and the dog stays until Released.

Distractions: Reduce the distance you stand from the mat back to one step and have a distraction ten feet away. If you have been working without a leash, make sure you put a leash back on your dog so that you can prevent him from going to the distraction. Send your dog to the mat. When your dog is successfully ignoring the distraction, move the distraction one foot closer and repeat. Continue to move the distraction closer only when the dog is able to successfully ignore it.

Difficulty: Once your dog is ignoring a distraction and able to “go place” from one step away, start increasing the distance you send your dog one step at a time and begin with the distraction ten feet away again. Continue to vary the distance you send the dog, the type and location of distraction and duration of the stay on the mat.

Much larger treat than I normally use but I wanted it to be visible.

Fix moves onto “Place” when told “Go Place”

Fall = Hunting Season = Deer . . .

on my property. I see deer on and off throughout the year. However, during the fall I see a lot more deer. The other night when heading to the chicken coop to move the chicks into the brooder for the night I surprised a buck close to the chicken coop. He bounded off before I could count points on his rack. Yesterday morning heading out to water the hogs I saw a doe (deer not goat) in the horse pasture.

Last Saturday as I headed into town I was just about to the bridge over the Rio Grande when five Javelina or feral hogs ran out of the Bosque on the north, across the road and disappeared into the Bosque on the south side of the road. I say “or” because I’m still on the fence as to the species. Javelina are not pigs although the physical resemblance is strong. If my weight guesstimate is accurate, these were too large to be Javelina, but I’m not the best at estimating weight. Given it was 10 a.m. and broad daylight, I’m leaning towards feral hogs. Either way, knowing that both Javelina and feral hogs inhabit the Bosque is the primary reason I no longer walk dogs along the river.

Farm Dog 101: Place Command – Part Two

To recapitulate, the first step in teaching a “Place” command is to teach the dog to remain in a designated spot until released.

To teach this you will need the following:

  1. Something to use as your designated spot – a bathmat, rug, elevated dog bed, etc.
  2. Leash
  3. Treats (optional)
  4. Release word

Step One: Put your dog on leash. Put your mat or rug in front of your dog. Help your dog step onto the mat as you say “place”. Do not repeat the command but use the leash as necessary to ensure the dog steps completely on the mat. Your dog may sit, stand or down but may not step off the mat until you have released your dog.

Duration: build on duration first; start with five seconds and increase the length of time you require your dog to stay on the mat before being released.

Distance: once you have built up to a one-minute stay on the mat, reduce the duration back to five seconds and start to move yourself further away from the mat, one step at a time. If your dog tries to move off the mat, use the leash to prevent the dog from stepping off the mat, without stepping back into the dog. When you are able to step away leash length (6 feet) for five seconds, gradually build up the duration again, five seconds at a time.

Distraction: once you are able to move six feet away from the mat and your dog can stay for one minute, start adding distractions. When you add distractions, reduce the distance you are standing away from the dog and the duration of the stay. Again, use the leash as necessary to ensure the dog does not move off the mat until released. Start with mild distractions and work up to heavy distractions. As your dog learns to ignore the distractions, gradually build up the duration and distance again.

Difficulty: once you are able to move six feet away from the mat and your dog can stay for one minute with heavy distractions, you are going to increase the difficulty of the exercise. While your dog will initially still have a leash on, you will no longer be holding it. Start moving around the room, being prepared to pick up the leash to enforce the “place” if necessary. Vary how far you move, how long the dog must stay and the level of distractions.

Fix staying in “Place” with 6 foot distance and distraction

Ready to move on to Step Two

2017 Naming Contest

Everyone who suggests a name in the comment section will be entered into a random draw for a bar of goat milk soap.

Sire is Blunderosa Country Thunder and the dam is Blunderosa Just Charmin’

Kid #1 is a buckling (ignore the bit of beard from the doe)

Kid #1

Kid #2 is a doeling

Kid #2

Since I bought the doe bred, the breeder’s herd name and not mine will be used , so the names will start with “Blunderosa”.

Use the comments for your suggested names. The random draw will be done September 30th.

Farm Dog 101: Place Command – Part One

A Place command is incredibly useful. Put simply, a place command involves teaching a dog to travel to a specific spot (I like using bathmats as mats are portable and easy to travel with) and then to remain in that spot until released. It is easier for most people to teach than a solid stay because the dog isn’t required to remain in either a sit or a down, but as long as the dog remains in that spot, can sit, down, stand, turn around. . .you get the picture.

So in keeping with my resolution to actually start training Fix, I decided a Place command would be a good addition to his education.

Fix practicing a Place on an elevated dog bed

TRAINING A “PLACE” COMMAND

This exercise consists of training two separate exercises and then combining the two into a single exercise.

The first part involves teaching the dog to remain in a designated spot until released. The second part involves teaching the dog to travel to the designated spot.

In training this exercises, as with all exercises, the Four D’s of Training are employed. These are:

  1. Duration
  2. Distance
  3. Distraction
  4. Difficulty

Remember, you want to build on success, so your goal in training is to set your dog up to succeed, not fail. Be sure your dog understands what is required before making the task more difficult.

To begin, you need a RELEASE word. This is a word which you will consistently use to let your dog know it is free to do something different. For example, in this case, once you have told your dog to “place” your dog should not move from that location until you have given permission; i.e., a Release. It is important that you use this word to release your dog following every command. A Release word is not the same as praise. Praise should be given while your dog is performing the action (sit, down, etc.) so that you are praising the action and not the dog’s behavior after completion of the action. A Release word simply means your dog has your permission to do something else and should not be followed with praise.

 

I don’t usually

stray from farm topics on this blog. However, yesterday evening Fix and I spent an enjoyable hour or so with friends at a relatively new brewpub in Albuquerque – Hops Brewery.  It is on Central in the Nob Hill district and has an outdoor patio which is dog friendly (Fix gives it a paws up.)

The brewmaster is a friend and he has done a fantastic job with the beers he brews on site. I can highly recommend the Tipsy Cow (a milk stout) and one called Warm Scottish Nights. My friend was highly complementary of the Honey Wheat she had.

I wasn’t thinking ahead so no picture of Fix hanging out on the patio, but I’m sure we will be back in the future.

So if you like GOOD beer (and the food is pretty good too) I would suggest dropping in at Hops Brewery.

New Arrivals

When I returned from vacation in May, Fix and I traveled to Tularosa to pick up a doe in milk. We ended up coming back with that doe plus two more does that had been exposed to bucks.

I have been waiting to see if either doe had indeed been bred and about three weeks ago one doe began to bag up. This afternoon when I went out to check on her, I found two very small kids under the new shelter. A trip to the barn netted alfalfa for the hay net and wheat hay for bedding. After setting up the kidding jugs, I moved the two new arrivals and the doe to their new, temporary, surroundings.

The kid in front is a doeling – just shy of two lbs – and the kid behind her is a buckling who weighed in at 2.5 lbs. And of course they elected to move to one of the stalls I had not bedded down.

Better pictures to follow. And these will need names. The sire is Blunderosa Country Thunder and the dam is Blunderosa Just Charmin’.  I’ll put up more photos and a naming contest in the next couple of days.