Monday, 5 October 2015

It's spring time in Scottsdale, and with spring comes lambs.

Here are Jonesy (plain) and George (speckled) with their Mum, Molly. Mum only has one side to the udder so George was adopted out to be bottle raised. I'll get a current pic of him soon.

This is Jonesy now at 8 weeks old.

Little Pocket, daughter of Min. 
Pocket was premature and nearly died at about 3 days old.

We found her nearly unconscious and cold right through. 
Here Geoff is warming her up so she can be bottle fed.

Me feeding her in the paddock. 
She spent her days with mum and nights with us.

She and I spent a week or so sleeping on the lounge.

After contracting an infection in one knee (joint ill) which required antibiotics and pain relief, she had bleeding in the joint (haemarthrosis) which required a splint and pressure bandages, and then an abscess above the knee with more bandaging and dressing ... 

Finally Pocket is nine weeks old and seems to be nearly healed. 
She has gone from 3 kg to 15 kg and is the ringleader of the lambs. 

This is Teddy, son of Emmaline. He is a big soft 8 week old. 

Cleo had twin girls, Snip on the left and Pippi on the right. 
Both small as is usual with twins, but bright and bouncy.

We lost one little fellow. Bella is a first time mum who didn't know what to do with her lamb (here with Geoff while the infamous Pocket hogs the cat's bed) and we took him in. He lived for 36 hours and then died suddenly. It's always sad to lose a little one, but it's worth trying.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Newbie on the Farm

Jaffa, our angus x dexter has had a lovely little calf.

Yesterday at feed up time I noticed Jaffa laying down looking really suspicious. Her due date was apparently "March or April" but we've been waiting on Twiggy as she has been bagged up and swollen all week.

Well, Jaffa had only about an inch of goo, but I didn't want her in with the young bull trying to calve so I put her and Heidi (black dexter) into the paddock with the sheep shelter. Luckily they both happened to be standing right by the gate and the bull was a long way off. Just as I closed the gate I saw she had the waters showing.

Twenty minutes from bubble to calf on it's feet and looking for milk. Textbook thank goodness because I was here by myself.

So, a little red heifer (or maybe dun). She's dexter x angus mum and dexter dad I think. Jaffa kept wiping her off the udder and walking forward to graze, didn't even lick her off properly, and I was starting to worry. But the little girl was so determined to get those teats, she figured out at 15 mins old if she went in behind she could walk forward when mum did and not get wiped off !

Her name is Scully and here she is at approximately 20 hrs old.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Goings on in the Henhouse

It's all happening at the Scottsdale chookhouse. New arrivals, renovations and chickies !

First, the chickies. The black hen was set up in her new fancy coop and duly hatched four chicks from six eggs. The remaining two eggs were infertile.

Antonia is holding three of the four chicks, teeny tiny little bundles of fuzz !

They have been on a diet of pellets, grains, milk and scraps plus all the bugs they can catch. The little black hen has been a great mum, very careful and caring. She has raised them well and they are nearly as big as her now.

It is likely that the white one with brown wings is a rooster, the plain white one is probably a hen, and the jury is still out on the black one and the barred one.

As the days shorten the rest of the chooks are laying fewer eggs. Some are moulting and some are responding to the lessening of daylight. As crossbreds their laying schedules are varied. It was time to spruce up the chook house, both for warmth and for the arrival of some new girls to boost the ranks.

The palings cladding the walls could be up to 40 years old and are more of an optical illusion than a weather protection.

After pulling off the old palings the frame needed a few extra supports, but wasn't in bad shape considering. Martijin, a HelpXer from the Netherlands, worked alongside DH on this job.

You can see the new walls at the front and the older section still awaiting work at the back. It's weather tight and tidy, I am well pleased with the result !

A shot of the inside showing the new bracing.

The cladding was completed just in time for the arrival of seven new pullets. More crossbreds of no particular breed, but raised under hen and already free ranging and foraging. They have settled in well and are easy on the eye too. It never hurts to have variety in the flock.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Visiting Critter

A friend of mine is moving from southern QLD to Branxholm, a village close to Scottsdale. She came to visit and loved the area so much she decided to move here, and I think the time span from first visit to arrival was twelve weeks.

Her waler gelding, Reuben, has been delivered a couple of weeks early as there was a racing carnival on the week they were moving and no room on any horse trucks anywhere.

Reuben's transport coming down the road

Offloading from a truck worthy of him

Meeting the crew

Reuben is running with the larger cow herd and has settled in comfortably. However, I think he will be vastly relieved to see his owner arrive.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The black hen has been sitting on eggs for a few weeks now. Hen eggs take 21 days to hatch so we had to hustle to make a hutch for the hen and any lucky chicks to live in for the first week or so. The hutch will keep the chicks safe from crows and quolls.

Antonia, a HelpXer from Barvaria, and Geoff put together an A-frame hutch and nest box.

Starting the A-frame :

Cutting boards for the box:

Drilling pilot holes:

Assembling the box :

Working on the A-frame :

Ready for a floor and roof :

Stapling on the mesh :

The finished product and successful carpenters :

The hen checks out her new palace :

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Catching Up Yet Again

It's been a few weeks and I have some more posts to do over this coming week to catch everything up, but here are a few pics from around the farm to hold you for the moment.

Alvin loves the old farm ute. If you even open a door he comes running. He expects to go for a ride every time it leaves the farm and he's more than happy to just camp out and make sure it's not lonely. I also suspect that he likes to chill out in the ute because Poppy won't climb in without help !

Cow owners can go to great lengths to keep weaned calves away from the milk bar. Fifi's bull calf, Taurus, is now eight months old and quite old enough to have been weaned for a while. Since he sees things a little differently we purchased an udder support just in case we need to have them in the same paddock.

Originally designed to hold up old udders or ones with broken down ligaments, they are also useful for keeping calves at bay. Fifi is a little jumpy, but Blossom will do anything for food, so we tried it out on Blossom to get the straps all stright in our heads before trying to wrangle Fifi into it.

One of Trina's friends and I dressed Blossom because I had the experience of designing and fitting Molly's short lived udder cover, and the friend is tall enough to reach over Blossom's back.

Somehow I don't think she is hugely impressed ? That's Fifi in the background looking even more doubtful.

Lee left the little Fergie with us for a few days and showed Geoff how to use the slasher. There weren't any land speed records broken, but he did a good job of the little paddock next to Trina's house.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Introducing Helios

Flora has given us a little bull calf. Named Helios and known as Hilly Horse (see his long legs), he is half jersey and half lowline. His father is Tironui Om Joskin, a New Zealand jersey AI sire.

He is much longer in the legs and slighter in the body than Erg and Macey, pure lowlines. He also started off a soft dark grey colour instead of the lowline chocolate. He is browning up now though, so he may end up standard issue lowline black. He will also be polled even though his father had horns, because the poll gene from his mother is dominant.

This is his dad :

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

For the first time ever in my farming career ... we are making hay on our own land ! Here is the recipe.

First you leave a paddock ungrazed for a couple of months. Here you might do perhaps a September to December lockup.

Then you find a good hay guy. Ours was Scott Auton from Auton Agricultural

They come and mow it ...

And then fluff it ...

And rake it ...

And bale it !

And then you find some willing helpers to load, cart and stack ...

What turned out to be 500 small square bales and 14 small rounds !