A Busy Time on the Farm

We have had quite a lot going on these days, with new arrivals, baby goat cuteness and, of course, some cage building, our days have been very full. Let’s start with Valentino, our new family member,  a blind rooster from Miami.

Valentino the Roo

Blind Rooster rescue

Valentino was fortunate to be found by a kind soul in Miami. She could not keep him due to neighborhood regulations nor could she find anyone locally to take him. Luckily she found us and she found a wonderful animal transport group who was willing to bring him to us. He is doing fantastic! He is on meds and is able to find the food and water on his own. We’re working on designing a coop that will work for his special needs.

A New Home for Old Goats

Alfred & Ginger enjoying their new digs
Alfred & Ginger enjoying their new digs

We are just loving the recently added Alfred & Ginger. They have delightful personalities and are enjoying farm life, however, they don’t really like staying with the other small, younger goats. So Alfie & Ginger have a new enclosure where they can be near the other goats, but they have their own space. The amazing thing is, this enclosure was built entirely from donations! Thank you to everyone who has helped, we couldn’t do it without you.

 

Handsome Alfie
Handsome Alfie
Cutest underbites ever!
Cutest under bites ever!

Baby goat Cuteness

And of course, the kids. Not much cuter than baby goats. We have taken down the fences, neutered the father and the whole tornado goat family is living together in the goat equivalent of domestic harmony 🙂

 

Does and Kids
The does and the kids

 

Does and kids
Wilma, Kade Mae, Domino and Jo Jo

 

It’s not easy being a goat mother…

 

Again, thank you

None of this would be possible without all the caring people who help us help these animals. God bless.

 

Goats on the Ground

Our trio of tornado survivors welcomed their babies into the world this weekend. It started with Butter, who had one lovely baby girl that looks exactly like her. Not to be outdone, Wilma gave us twins, two little black goats, that look much like their father. Congratulations girls, Kade and Steve would be very proud of you.

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Welcoming Ginger and Alfred to the Family

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Ginger and her son Alfred, two Boer goats from Fort Myers. They are greatly loved by their previous owners and, when they could no longer care for them due to health issues, they choose us as the new caretakers. It is great to see people putting the health of their animals before their own gratification. So many times we receive animals that have been abused through neglect or dumped off in inhospitable locations, all because their owners would not look for a better alternative. This is an example of true love and caring, although it hurt them to let go, by re-homing these goats their former owners gave them a chance at continuing to have a wonderful life.

Welcome home Ginger and Alfred.

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Tornado in Duette

goat-graphic2We lost some good neighbors this weekend.

Sunday morning Duette was hit by an EF-2 tornado with winds of about 125 mph. It destroyed our neighbor’s home, killed the residents Steve & Kade, and sent their son and four grandchildren to the hospital. Here’s a link the article.

They left behind many loved and well cared for farm animals and this is where we come in. We are helping to maintain the existing livestock on their property and have taken several goats into our home. In fact, two of the goats are pregnant, one about to birth any day now.  The other is a male (who will need to be neutered). We are so glad to have the opportunity to help these animals after such a traumatic experience and hope that Steve & Kade know that their animals will be well cared for.

Thank you, to all the people who have reached out to us and our rescue during this sad time. We are very grateful for your support and kind wishes.

 

2015 Wrap Up

It was a tremendously busy year at the farm. After the flood we regrouped and rebuilt. We have launched a website for our non-profit here: FloridaRescueFarm.org. Please take time to visit and see the other side of our homestead. In this capacity we have adopted some wonderful animals, photos below.

Introducing Ralph and Alice, found living by a dumpster.
Introducing Ralph and Alice, found living by a dumpster.

 

George and Bou, two of the four new poults
Our new adorable youngsters, George and Bou, two of the four new poults.

 

Batty & Billie, mother and daughter, a wonderful pair of rabbits.
Batty & Billie, mother and daughter, a wonderful pair of rabbits.

We are very happy to have these in our life, but lets not forget, the goats who came to us last year at this time, Jelly & Peanut…

Good Luck Dr. Hines – A Great Vet Trying to Protect Our Freedom of Speech and Information

Dr. Ron Hines is an amazing vet. Whenever I search online for advice regarding our animals I always end up at his website, www.2ndchance.info. After much unwarranted abuse at the hands of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners he is taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Check out the article here.

And Good Luck Dr. Hines!

Flood… Again

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The chicken, duck and goose cages have been evacuated since mid-July due to high water

 

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Fortunately the water stopped before it flooded the goat and cow shelters

 

It has been raining since June; the pond burst its banks in early July. Needless to say it has been a struggle to keep everyone healthy and alive and not always successfully. It has been 5 consecutive summers underwater. We were much better prepared this year than previous because we anticipated and moved many cages to high ground. Our shelters and animal village remained somewhat dry but muddy in spots. The chickens had to be moved to the porch in July and have been there ever since. We are hoping for some dry weather to get everyone back in place.

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The ladies on the porch
*not to fear, the chickens with no feathers on their necks are Turkens, a special breed which never grows feathers on their neck area

 

 

We are milking Maybee twice a day, the calf takes the two front udders, and leaves the two back udders for us. The milk is outrageous. If you never had raw cow’s milk or its products (cheese, buttermilk, sour cream and butter) I highly recommend seeking it out.

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Maybee and Miracle

 

Miracle has grown fast on her mamma’s milk. We know common knowledge is to separate the calf from its mother to optimize milk production, but we have no regrets. Miracle is an incredibly healthy, active and happy calf and I am so glad we could give Maybee the chance the raise her child naturally. It is amazing to see her take care for her calf. When Maybee arrived on our homestead we promised her she would live and die here and that her children would never be taken from her. Caring for these animals has given us an understanding and connection with the natural world we never would have experienced otherwise. We cannot put in words the well of understanding and knowledge these creatures have, which many people never see. Our lives have changed, our heart has changed, and our soul has been renewed because of them.

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Miracle and Norman

July Farm Update

It’s been a busy month. We have been blessed with a beautiful calf and have been learning the art of milking, cheese-making and butter-making. The baby ducks and chicks are growing at a rapid rate and we are starting to prepare the gardens for fall planting. Below is our farm in photos…

Jersery-Hostein Calf
Gypsy and Miracle with Gwendolyn and her chicks in the background
Jersey Calf
Miracle’s first day out
Jersey Heifer and Calf
Miracle and her mama Maybee
Jersey Cow and calf
Miracle and Maybee Pondside
Moscovy and brood
Gwendolyn and her babies are doing great!

 

Toulouse Geese
Dilly and Dally have grown to be beautiful adolescent geese

 

Asain Game Hen and Chicks
Papita and her babies are thriving

Moscovy Chick

That’s all for now, we have to go milking 😉

Curing Bumblefoot Without Surgery

Bumblefoot is one of the toughest poultry injuries to treat. During our homesteading we have encountered bumblefoot several times and treated it sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Until our most recent case we have treated it by cutting open the foot, removing the mass, and administering antibiotics orally. This time we tried something different.

The first and most important thing, irregardless of treatment, is catching it early. Be very alert to any of your flock that is limping. Not all limping is bumblefoot, but it is a good indicator and worth checking. Often you’ll notice the leg is swollen and the tell-tale indicator is the ball on the bottom of the foot is significantly larger than normal. That’s bumblefoot. It’s an infection similar to an abscess which fowl get from stepping on something sharp. The infection takes root in the foot and will spread eventually killing the bird. Traditional treatment involves opening the foot, removing the infected mass and treating with antibiotics. Also soaking the foot in Epson salts helps.

We noticed our White Crested duck, Yin, was limping. Sure enough, checked the flipper and she had bumblefoot. Luckily it was very early in its progression so we tried something new. For the next 2 weeks we would clean the foot, cover it in Ichthammol (a drawing salve), and wrap it loosely in a bandage. During this time we also kept her confined in the duck cage which we kept covered in clean hay, and gave her antibiotics twice a day. Gradually the bumblefoot diminished. After 2 weeks the ball on her foot was back to normal and the swelling in the ankle was gone. We stopped the antibiotics and allowed her out without the wrap. It is now one month later and she is doing great!

This has been our most successful and least invasive treatment of bumblefoot. I would recommend Ichthammol even if you catch it late and have to operate to cut out the infected mass. The Ichthammol will help draw out the infection and hopefully save your bird.

Free-Range Brooding

GEDC0002There is much talk today about free-range poultry as people realize that a more natural life is better for their flock and for them. However, when it comes time to raise a clutch many people abandon this approach, either locking the bird in a brood box or gathering and incubating the eggs.

Free-range brooding allows the mother bird to choose her nest site and have the eggs as nature intended. It decreases stress and encourages birds that would not normally breed to do so. We have also found the offspring tend to be stronger and more resistant to predators.

Our first experience with free-range brooding was with our hen Papita. She was a rescue and we believe she is an Asian Game Hen. She moved into the palmettos by the house and started sitting on a nest. We were hesitant, but let her go with it. About 20 days later she emerged with 14 chicks. We gathered up Papita and her chicks and put them an available coop. The strange thing was these chicks were unlike anything we had seen before. They were survivors; they grew fast and quick and were much wilder than others we had raised before. Was it their natural nest or their badass mama – we still don’t know, but suspect it’s some of both.

Our Midget White heritage turkeys, Phineus and Phranny were rescues. Once on the farm they tried to have a nest, but it never worked out. She would lay eggs in the coop, but not go broody. When she went broody Phineus would try to set on the nest and break the eggs. It just wasn’t working. Then Phranny moved into the palmetto forest and started nesting. We were scared for her (she is a large white turkey) but let her do as she thought best. About 30 days later she emerged with 7 beautiful poults.

Since then we have had many successes and some heartbreaking failure. Papita is with her 3rd free-range brood, this one lived in the wild for the first 2 weeks of their lives, they have just moved into a coop. But it was their decision. The main and obvious downside is early predation. When a bird is on a nest she is vulnerable. Phranny was on a second nest when she taken by a predator. It was terrible, however we have more successes than failures and our flock is stronger because of generations of free-range brooding.

This is not for everyone, but consider this. They know where they feel safe and nature has provided our animals with amazing instincts. Give your flock a chance to amaze you, and they will.