Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winter coat

Since three days it is cold outside. It always suprises me to see that animals, inspite of a lovevly warm Autumn, develop their winter coat. The goats start to look like polar bears again and also our daughter now wears a warm winter coat.

Not in love

The pigs we keep will end on our plate. They arrive in Spring and leave somewhere in the Autumn or Winter. In the mean time they keep our farm and campsite free of organic waste and therefore unwanted pests and smells. We now have one big boy left which will be slaughtered when the weather is cold enough to make sausages without have to put them in the refrigiator. So somewhere end november or december. He is noisy, smelly and likes to destroy things for his own pleasure. He broke out of his pasture a dozen of times before we decided he would have to be confined in a smaller pen. There he demolished his shed so now only a simple corugated iron roofing sheet is giving him some shelter. Being (crossbred) Mangalitsa or Woolpig cold or rain don't harm him but he likes the comfort of a dry place to sleep. As a living being he deserves a good treamtment but thanks to being smelly, noisy, dirty etc, we are not in love with him and no tears will be shed when he leaves to his final destination.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

End of a long and warm summer

Yesterday it was ten degrees Celcius warmer than today. It seems that a long and warm summer has ended today. Weather forecast for the end of this week predicts snow! Hard to believe, but yesterday we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. So we will have a five day autumn before winter starts next weekend. Because of comming cold and especially wet weather we have taken our goat lambs out of the sheep pasture to join the adult goats. Now all goats (16! incl billy) are together. During the days they are completly free and at night they sleep in an open stable. If it rains they can go into any of our stables. The sheep will (have to) cope with bad weather without shed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Black billy

In case that our young imported Saanen billy named Driekus would not yet be up to his job we got a young half nubian billy goat. We got him by exchanging one of our billies this spring. Luckily we did since most of our goats got back in heat after being mated by Driekus. It seems that Driekus was indeed to small to be able to do his job properly. This black billy wont stay so he didn't get a name, it then is easier to sell or eat him. We do not mind to eat goat meat but to eat 'Sarah' or 'Bep' would be very difficult.... It is hypocrite but it is how it is.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Free range food

Warm and wet autumn makes free, healthy and delicious food grow in our fields.

Goats vs Sheep

Goats have (taken) their freedom again. Since we have got permission to graze the Alfalfa field next to our meadows and they don't run away we are fine with this. Milk production has almost doubled! They walk great distances browse a bit here and there and enjoy being free-goat. Our sheep (and goat lambs) are still confined. They seem to accept this better than the goats. As long as they get their daily new pasture, fresh water and the weather is not to bad - sheep don't complain.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big bellies

We stopped milking our sheep the 10th of September for several reasons. Grass was getting dry and did not grow anymore. We wanted to mix our lambs and ewes so that we only had to graze one field. We could also use the time very well since we had a caravaning group of 40 people staying on our campsite. And last but not least our sheep are young (18 months) already given birth at 12 months of age, lactated for six months (with really good productions) and most were in lamb again. So they could use some rest. That second week of september we both had enough rain and nice warm weather. So at the end of September and now even at the end of October we have plenty green grass again. So our sheep are looking glorious! Bellies are getting bigger and we do not (have to) feed concentrates. And even the this year lambs are getting in heat. We hope that severe cold will not arrive till end of December (wishfull thinking) so we can keep feeding our flok on (free) grass till late pregnancy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Upgrading - goats 2.0

Our Slovak local dairy goats are very robust, do not need to be fed cereals, have no problem with hot or cold weather and are never sick. On the other side they are off course far less productive than Saanen, British Alpine or Anglo Nubian goats. We would like to improve them a bit on the production side without changing the way we keep them. Therefore a billy goat lamb named Driekus was imported. He seems to have had some problems adapting to the harder Slovak conditions ... he has not yet developed the way he should. However he mated most of our older goats last weeks. We are really hoping this was succesfull.