Friday, October 15, 2010

Chickens and Goats and Dogs and Teen Agers!

Girl and boy decided to test me a bit. Their bus arrives at the corner at 0755. The kids should be out the door no later than 0750. Yet the battle to get them out the door wages on daily. Yesterday they scrambled out the door at 0753!
So...I instituted a new program...for every minute past 0750 they go out the door, they get up 10 minutes early the next morning. That meant that this morning they were roused out of bed at 0630.
They are not pleased. Currently, Girl is brushing her hair and muttering on the couch. Boy took his shower and ate his breakfast. Girl, I suspect, will indicate her displeasure by ignoring the breakfast sitting on the dining room table. We'll see.

AHA! Brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal won the day! Girl grudgingly ate her breakfast and actually SMILED! Didn't hurt that I used my grandmothers trick of sprinkling bacon on top of the oatmeal (Try it! Works great with brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal or maple syrup oatmeal) Boy had his favorite...breakfast burrito with cheese, eggs and bacon.
Before I got here, it was usually cold cereal or nothing. Something to be said for a good breakfast before you go out the door. As a teen, I was always RAVENOUS. I ate breakfast every morning. Usually fixed it myself as I got up pretty early.
The kids went out the door at 0749.

This week we had an addition to the chickens...the feed store had a lovely young hen that had already started laying---left over from their crop of chicks they were selling a few months ago.
She arrived yesterday, courtesy of the Darlin' Man.
She was christened Beatrix.
So, currently, we have: Big Red (the rooster in residence), Gertrude, Miss Priscilla, Matilda and Beatrix.
I added oyster shell to their feed and the chickens seem to like it quite well.

Our goats are doing well, and we are picking up a pregnant doe this weekend to add to the herd. The two does we already have are pregnant (I think). I am trying to *gentle* the goats by sitting in the pen for an hour or so a day, feeding them snippets of carrots and other goodies.
One of the  does practically climbs in my lap to get her snacks, lol!
I hope I can get them gentled sufficiently by the time we have to start milking them!
(Any suggestions on gentling them more GREATLY appreciated!)
I am looking forward to having goats milk for drinking, cooking, yogurt, cheese, soap, etc.

Edited to add:
OOPS! Forgot about the dogs!
Kali (soon to be gone) is back with her original owners.
Siona (soon to be here) is now, finally here!
She and the Darlin' Man's dog, Andy had a few problems at first, but they worked it out and Andy understands that Siona, although smaller, is very much THE boss.
Andy, being only 8 months old now, still has a lot of *puppy* in him. Unfortunately, chewing and shredding things is part of the *puppy* stage. The first month I was here, we would wake up to find any and every thing left in the living room area absolutely shredded to death by Andy. The trash can, shoes, sofa cushions...sigh.....
Then Siona arrived. Siona is most assuredly NOT a shredder/chewer...unless it is a doggie treat or a bone.
After her arrival, I woke up one night to hear her snarling and growling and barking up a frenzy. I peeked out of the bedroom door.
There was Andy, cowed and cowering on the floor, next to a partially chewed sock. There was Siona, standing over him, doing her best *vicious angry dog* impression. When ever Andy moved, Siona darted in, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and snarling through a mouthful of his fur, snarled and growled her fiercest!  After a few more minutes of this, Siona allowed Andy to get up and and go to his dog bed. She followed him and stood over him a few minutes, hackles raised and softly growling. Then she stalked off to her bed.
Nothing more has been chewed up since that night!
Siona is spayed (Please spay or neuter your dogs and cats people, if you are not breeding them!) and has never been a mama...but she sure was acting like one tough dog mama towards Andy!
Siona (so glad she is here!) has curtailed a lot of Andy's bad behaviors. Training him is going easier as he watches HER and takes his cues from her behavior. Sit, Stay and Come are all but mastered by Andy now.
The other day I was trying to train him to *Stop* (his barking) and he just wasn't "getting it" despite my liberal use of treats for rewards. After about 15 minutes of efforts, Siona (who had been watching from her perch on the couch) came over and stopped Andy's barking by nipping him gently on his ear. Andy stopped in mid bark in surprise and got his treat. A bit later Andy was barking again (even a bird flying close to a window will set him off!) and Siona wandered over again...just as I said "Stop"!, she nipped his ear again. He stopped.
And, he "got it". He figured it out! Now, a curt "Stop!" ends his barking frenzies.
He still looks around after he stops and looks to see where Siona is,!


  1. keep doing what you are doing with them lamb.. also once they start taming, start petting down their legs and working toward the udder.. if you have a milk stand set it up early, give treats and do the leg touching and udder massage,,, it will calm them greatly and make things much simpler when the time gets there.. sounds like yall are doing great... happy for you

  2. I agree with dilli, Lambykins. The goats can be tame as kittens as far as accepting treats, but that doesn't mean they would welcome you trying to milk them later. We used to raise Paint horses and always worked with our foals from the day they were born so that we could touch them ANYWHERE. If they get antsy about a particular spot, you use advance and retreat and gradually work them up to not caring where you touch them. Most critters have a special spot THEY like to be scratched. We call it the sweet spot. Might be a different spot on each goat. But if you find their sweet spot, you have a friend for life. You have an easy reward for good behavior and an instant calming agent if they are unsure about something.

    Working with them this way will make it easier when you milk them but will also be a great help if you ever have to doctor them for an injury.

    Good tactics on the teenagers. Bet they're learning not to mess with Lambykins!

  3. I had to LoL at the "getting up earlier" rule with the teens- It's actually a BRILLIANT idea.

    Have a great day!


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