Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pigs in the Pond Pasture

     Well, one of my sons let his mama pig and her piglets into the pond pasture that the goats are in yesterday. I'll post a few pics of them - don't really feel like getting much done on here as a bad stomach bug has been making it's way through our house and finally got me last night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feeding Frenzy Number 2

   The other day, I did a post entitled Feeding Frenzy - that one was about our sheep and goats devouring a hay round in a week flat. Well, this time, my daughter got a few pics as I went out to the chicken and duck yard this morning with a bucket of scraps. Check these pics out - here's how to get 75 to 100 birds to follow you anywhere!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Peppy Update

    I thought I would just put a few pics of Peppy up. He is quite the fun llama to have. he stays with the sheep mostly (and his mom). I think that he thinks that he is a dog. Many times he can be seen chasing the ranch dogs around trying to play with them. He has also turned out to be a good guardian. Apparently he has charged the neighbors dogs if they are at the back fenceline and, he has been known to jump on the backs of strange guys that come into our goat yard!

 Hugs for Peppy from my son!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feeding Frenzy!!

   Here is how to go through one round bale in a week flat!! And, this is just the goats on attacking it . . . there are still 40 or so sheep that have access to it also!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Legalized Horse Slaughter

   Obama has shocked me, that's for sure. With his decision to legalize horse slaughter on November 18, 2011, he has gained a brownie point in my book. I know some folks out there will be freaking out about eating horse but, think about it for a minute . . . since when did you want the government telling you what you can and cannot eat? FREEDOM is what America is suppose to be about and part of that freedom is being able to live in a country where we have choices in regards to our life. If it tweaks you out to think about eating horse, then don't but, please let those who want to eat it go ahead and do so.

      Here is a little article about it from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/horse-slaughter-for-human-consumption-now-legal-in-the-u-s/  :

       "The five-year-old ban on horse slaughter for meat in the U.S. has been lifted by members of Congress who dropped a provision in a spending bill that barred funding for the inspection of slaughtering facilities.
On November 18th, President Obama signed a law, allowing Americans to kill and eat horses. This was despite the fact that 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter and he made a campaign promise in 2008 to support an end altogether to horse slaughter for human consumption.
       Sue Wallis, a horse slaughter plant proponent said that entities are already considering opening plants in Oregon and possibly Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Georgia and Missouri. Between 120,000 and 200,000 horses are expected to be killed for human consumption per year."

     So, I say, WOOHOO . . . let's have the freedoms we are suppose to have in this country!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rastus, the New Boer Buck

   A few weeks ago my son got a new Boer buck, named - are you ready for this - Buttmaster Rastus!!  Here are a few pics of him for now,  since I need to get off of here and help in the kitchen - it is PRE-THANKSGIVING time in the kitchen!  I am hoping to do the next letter in the Ranch Animal Alphabet tomorrow - the letter T is what I am on next!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rainy Days

     It has been nice to have a few rainy days over the past few weeks. The storm that is going on right now is not that cold of a one.

      We had a storm a week or 2 ago that brought with it some temps that were in the 30's. All of these are just a reminder that winter is around the corner. With the storms comes the desire (on my part) to make sure that all of our animals are set-up for the cold. There are a few "winterizing" projects I would like to see get done.
      One big blessing that we are aiming for (thanks to Granny!!) is a new 30'x50' barn right out back here behind our house. We are hoping to expand our goat milking area. One of the best parts about it will be the ability to just have more protection for some of our animals. The goats in milk will be able to stay close during the cold storms which will make it way easier to get them on the milkstand. Plus, we have about 60 does and 40 ewes that will begin having babies around the beginning of February!! It will make for some crazy times around here if the Lord brings it all to pass!
      As some of you may remember, this past summer was soooo hot that we barely got anything out of our garden. Thankfully, some of the local stores have been having pumpkins on sale. So, we have bought up a few and will cook them down so we can make pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter and whatever else we can think of.
  And no, I have not forgotten about the Ranch Animal Alphabet . . . maybe I can finish it up this week and next!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - T

T is for Turkeys

 We were first introduced to turkeys a few years ago when someone gave us 4 white ones. We learned with those first 4 that turkeys can be difficult to raise - one drowned in the pond, one fell in a bucket and drowned, one died from the summer heat and the last one I sold off.
        Well, try number 2 came last year. We were given 4 Bourbon Red turkeys along with their tractor (a portable house for them). They lasted for a while and, we even got some eggs out of the hens. We were able to successfully hatch 2 poults (turkey babies) in our neighbor's styrofoam incubator. I decided that with all that is going on at our ranch that the turkey breeding program was just a little bit too much for us right now. It is an idea whose time has not come yet. Someday, I would like to raise heritage turkeys so, I'll keep you posted.
      Here is a pic of the Tom that I had shortly before we sold him:

I can't find the other pics right now . . . maybe I can add them in later. Enjoy your THANKSGIVING!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - S

31 for 21 - S is for Sheep
    Hard to believe that the 31 for 21 challenge for 2011 is over already. Doesn't it seem like it just started? I had great intentions of getting through all of the Ranch Animal Alphabet posts (especially considering there are only 26 of them and 31 days in the month!) but, that was not to be. With internet failures, a busy life at times and my own human failure to remember everyday, here I am at the 19th letter of the alphabet. Oh well, I will try to keep on posting over the next week here to finish it up.
    The letter S is somewhat of any easy one because of the many sheep we have been running through this ranch over the past year or so. Sheep are one of the dumber animals in existence yet, some of them also have sweet personalities. We started with 2 Katahdin sheep added in Painted Deserts and some Finnsheep plus, a handful of others. For a more complete look at our sheep adventures, you can go to our sheep blog and check it out - Little Hills Sheep Ranch. Here are a few pics of some of the sheep we have at the present moment:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - R

31 for 21 - R is for Rabbit

   We have been raising rabbits for about 9 years. When we started, we did not know hardly anything about them. We picked up a bunch of mutt type rabbits that we were going to raise for meat production. As it turned out, those rabbits were Mini Lop. My oldest daughter took an interest in them and began doing some research. Soon, we were into raising Mini Lops for show. She also took an interest in the color genetics of the Mini Lop rabbits. Her knowledge and rabbitry increased. Soon she was bringing rabbits in from WA, Canada and other far away states. We also began to transport and ship rabbits to other states and eventually even another country (Yes, she had a lady come from Finland for some of her stock!). You can go to my daughter's website to read more about the Mini Lops - Hoppin Herd of Hares .

      Now, you may be wondering what my part in the rabbits is - well, my daughter and I have contemplated raising meat rabbits since our CA days. Once we got set up here in Oklahoma, we managed to bring in some of the best commercial rabbits out there (as far as I am concerned!). We started with just one Production White doe and one buck about 18 months ago. We now have close to 20 does and hope to increase that just a little bit more. We have enjoyed having the meat rabbits because we are able to have quite a bit of fresh, home-grown meat. At the same time, we have been able to sell off enough stock to buy the feed for the rabbits that we keep.
    The stock that we raise were originally from Texas A&M. They are a commercially bred New Zealand White rabbit that we call a Production White. I like them because of the following reasons:
1.  Nice big rabbits 
2.  Handle the heat here well.  
3.  The babies grow out well. Most of the fryers are 5 pounds at 8 weeks of age.
4.  Dress-out is easy and fast. Just a few minutes per fryer.
5.  The feed conversion of these rabbits is incredible. The does only eat between 1/2 to 1     cup of feed a day.
6.  They are pleasant rabbits to deal with, nice personalities and easy breeders (most of the time!)

I'll try to add a picture or 2 later, I have to get out door to a soccer game!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - Q

31 for 21 - Q is for Quail
     Oh, yet another animal to incorporate into our self-sufficient ranch someday! Check out the info below the pic! Thanks to How to Raise Quail for the statistics.

Incubation period: 18 days

Humidity for incubator: 50 - 60%

Move to hatcher/stop turning: 14 days

Matures at: 8 weeks

Benefits of raising: Fast-growing, easy to raise and the largest of the Coturnix varieties. These birds make great meat production birds or egg-layers. The eggs are more round in shape and can be hard to fit into quail egg trays, however.

Size/Weight: 14+ ounces

Breeding Ratio: 20 females to 5 males in one pen seems to be a great ratio.

Special Needs: Very few, these are fairly easy, laid-back to birds to raise who are hardy and seem to have very little problems.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - P

31 for 21 - P is for Pig
     We have had lots of pigs pass through our gates since living here. Everything from boars to gilts to barrows to domestic to wild pigs. At the present moment, we have one mama sow that has 9 piglets on her. She is a Duroc pig. Here are a few pics of her and her piglets:

   My sons are also involved in trapping wild hogs with my nephew. Here is one wild piglet that was caught.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - O

31 for 21 - O is for Ostrich
      Do you really think we have an ostrich? NOPE! Not yet anyway! I have contemplated the idea (of course!) as ostrich farming is suppose to be somewhat profitable. There is a group of ranchers that is trying to make ostrich farms bigger than cattle ranches . . . probably won't happen in America. Although, with the present drought in TX, who knows . . . maybe ostrich farming will take off. Besides, we would only have to crack 2 eggs to feed our family (the same as 48 chicken eggs!)!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - N

N is for Nubian & Nigerian Dwarf
     The very first goat we owned was a Nubian named Mama. She was a big Nubian that had a very well used udder! She would give us about a gallon a day. Sometimes she would stand on the stand but, at other times, it took several of us to milk her because we had to hold her feet still. We sold Mama before we left CA but, we have a few of her daughters in our herd to this day so her genetics have been carried on. Here is Mama:

    Since then, we had many Nubians come and go. We do have several that have been with us for years now. They are great milkers, have personalities of their own and do well in just about any setting . . . whether it is the dry desert of Southern CA or the humid and moist enviroment of NE Oklahoma.
     This is Vanilla - she is one of Mama's daughters. We have had her from our CA days. She was one of our first bottle babies. She is a strong goat. 

    This is Prissy. She is a Nubian that we brought down form WA to CA. She has also made the trip out to OK with us 3 1/2 years ago. She is one of our best milkers.

    Here is Rhia. We aquired Rhia from a breeder in KS. She has lost alot of her teeth so she gets grain twice a day. She is older but, is a sweet goat and has a funny personality.

   We can't forget the main Nubian buck we have at the moment. Here is Hershey:

    Of course, Nigerian Dwarf also starts with N so, here is Barry, our resident and small Nigerian Dwarf buck. We use him in our Miniature Dairy Goat breeding program.

    And, one last one of ma with a Nubian (Prissy again!):