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!):







Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - M

M is for Mouse

    
       These little furry creatures are an unwanted and unwelcome animal that comes with running a ranch or farm. Mice have made their appearance in more than one of our barns but, that is why we have the cats. The cats job is to keep the mice under control. They do a decent job at it.
     I had a picture of one of our cats eating a mouse but, I can't find it right now . . . oh well, not much more to say about mice.



UPDATE: My daughter found the picture of the cat eating the mouse! Kind of nasty but, that's life on the ranch!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - L

L is for Llama


    We have had a few llamas run through this ranch. The first was a $40 male llama that we bought at the local auction house. It turned out that he was more of a show llama so we sold him and got another one named Ranger.
         Ranger was a big male llama that was used to running on 40 acres with goats. He was a presence out in the 40. Sometimes he would come back at night and hang out with the goats but, at other times, he would remain a mysterious presence out in the 40. It was a little freaky to hear a branch breaking behind your back and turn to see a big llama staring at you.
      There was a trio of llamas that Granny bought us one year. Well, we ended up selling Mr. Bill, the male because he was a little out of control. We kept Peppercorn and Salty. In the fall of 2010, Peppercorn began to slow down. We weren't sure at first if it was due to a possible pregnancy and impending delivery date or what. As the days went by (and we researched online) we realized she was sick with something. We treated her, hoping she would pull through. Unfortunately, she dropped as we were bringing her back from pasture one night. Suspecting that she was bred, we did an emergency c-section on her in the hopes that we might be able to save the baby. We did find a baby but, he was preemie and not ready to live outside the womb yet.
     We still have Salty and her baby (Peppy) that was born here in January of this year. It was quite the event to watch - a baby llama birth. It has been interesting to watch Peppy grow up with the sheep and goats. Now that he is about 10 months old, we have watched him try to attack strangers that go into the sheep and goat yard. I am hoping that he will continue to be a good guardian for our livestock.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - K

K is for Kids


    K is for kids. We have lots of kids around this ranch. There are 2-legged kids and 4-legged kids. The goat kids are fun to have around. The bottle babies are some of the best to have as they are very playful. 
    With 26 goats bred right now and about 30 more to go, we should have lots of kids next year (Lord willing).
     Here are just a few pics of the kids that have been at our ranch:


    These are some special pics of a little buckling that was born here. He was MINIATURE for sure!! We named him Tic Tac and he is still here at our ranch.




     These are a few pics of a recent emergency c-section we had to do on a Boer doe. Unfortunately, we lost the mother but, we were able to save the buckling (Fighter has become his name).


Friday, October 21, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - J


31 for 21 - J is for Jack & Jenny
         
      Well, has anyone guessed the animals for J? How about Jack and Jenny? You got it! That's what a male and female donkey are called. We have had several Jacks and Jennies pass through our ranch gates. At the moment, there is a Jack and a John (a fixed Jack) living in a pen across the street. 
        We also have a Jenny that hangs out with our sheep and goats. They are suppose to be pretty good gaurdians. Some of us saw her get bred by the Jack just a week or so ago so, we might end up with baby donkeys in a year or so. They are usually referred to as a baby jack (for the boys) and a jennet (for the girls).

    Here are Jack and John:

     Here is Jenny:

      

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Various Events


31 for 21 - Various Events

Well, I missed a post again yesterday . . . we have been having internet problems and I was tired by the time I remembered that I had forgotten! My original plan was to get through all 26 letters of the alphabet with my Ranch Animal Alphabet during this month for the 31 for 21 Blog Challenge. But, that isn't going to happen since the month has flown by! For today, I will just do a few pics of some of the recent things that have gone on around this ranch. Hopefully, the next  letter will come tomorrow!
    Here we are on our way to the last soccer game and a soccer pic:



Here is a pic of some of the last special zucchinis that came out of the garden down by my nephew's place (just across the street):

 Here is my son holding 2 of the zucs up to give us a size comparison:

 One of my daughters with her bottle baby lamb:

 Dynamite, the new Boer buck:

 One of the new kitties that has made it's way to our farm. This one is living inside the Mini Lop bunny barn at the moment:


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - I

31 for 21 - I is for Ichthus


       I bet some of you were trying to figure out what the Ranch Animal for I would be, huh? Well, it is Ichthus. Although we don't have a place for any ichthus right now, I do want to make a place for them someday. When we first bought our property, there was a pond here that had ichthus in it but, it was not set up right and it turned into a muddy, stinky mess. After a few animals we had got sick from the yucky water in it, we drained it out. I hope to have my nephew come in with the bulldozer someday and dig it deeper and set it up right. It would be great to have a stocked pond full of all kinds of ichthus. As someone that wants to be running a ranch that is self-sufficient, ichthus would just be another animal that we could catch and eat. Here are a few pics of a recent trip the kids and I went on to a friend's pond to catch icthus by the name of catfish: