ANZ's Farms

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Donkeys as Herd Guards

Donkey (left) and Elsa (right), two of our herd guards
Elsa is my jenny who guards the meat goats. She was feral when we got her, but we won her over with carrots and a curry comb. Now she comes to me and lets me love on her ... most of the time. One of the things I love most about donkeys is their hee-haw, which Elsa bellows about 3 am each morning and when we are late getting outside for morning grain, as well as sporadically during the day. Whenever the donkeys call, Scott and I look at each other and say, "They're playing our song!"

We chose donkeys over Great Pyrenees guard dogs because of the prey in our area. Bears and foxes have been sited on neighboring properties, and there are tales of coyotes as well. It just seems to me that donkeys are a better match for these creatures that might want to  make a meal off our livelihood livestock.

Of course it is important for the herd guard to be gentle with newborn animals. My heart has delighted to see how Elsa responds to the baby goats. For whatever reason, the kids try to nurse off Elsa, even though she looks nothing like their dams and her belly is way higher than they could ever reach. Nonetheless, the babies congregate around her legs and nibble at her hocks. She lets them know -- in no uncertain terms -- that they are barking up the wrong tree, but she is gentle as she moves them aside.

I have also observed Elsa herd the goats. I assume she perceives a danger and wants to move them to safer ground, which is usually up by the fence next to the house under the huge birch tree. She circles around them as they saunter where she wants them to go. Then, she pins her ears back, lowers her head and chases any stragglers who have been too busy grazing to notice that the herd is on the move.

One last behavior that endears her to me as a herd guard ... she places herself between humans and the herd, staring them down until they move along. My sister (with whom she is not familiar) and I went to check out distress sounds coming from the lower fence. Fortunately, there was not a goat hung in the fence, but we walked the fence line to make sure. Elsa stood tall and intimidating between us and the herd, and never letting us out of her sight until we were out of their harm's way. Good girl!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bucklings for Sale

We currently have 2 bucklings for sale, with more to come as they are weaned.  We are retaining all our does to build the herd.

Nigerian Dwarf/Spanish cross buckling
First, a Nigerian Dwarf/Spanish cross born 9/21/2014. His dam is a registered Nigerian Dwarf whose granddam is a 2-star milker. She is our original goat and the best goat in the whole wide world -- also a great milker with a fabulous disposition. His sire is a Spanish from the Baylis line. The Spanish breed, also known as a "brush goat", adds hardiness because of its ability to thrive on low quality browse. This buckling is intact and has horns.

Nigerian Dwarf dam with her newborns, the buckling on the right

Spanish sire

The second buckling for sale is a Kiko/Boer cross born 10/14/2014. His dam is pure Boer and his sire is pure Kiko. He has interesting black coloring with a white thunderbolt marking on his forehead. Boers are traditional meat goats but, as a breed, suffer from parasite issues. Kikos are parasite resistant and have an added benefit of not needing hoof trimming frequently. This Kiko/Boer cross will make a great herd sire with these blended characteristics.

Kiko/Boer cross buckling with lots of black and a thunderbolt marking
The Kiko/Boer cross buckling with his dam

Monday, January 5, 2015

"I Can Do That!"

Those words are both dangerous and exciting. I remember the first time I said them to myself ... when Scott and I bought our first foreclosed home to flip. When I saw what our real estate agent did (or more accurately, didn't do), I knew I could do that. I could be a real estate agent, too. So in 2004, I took the courses, passed the exam, registered my company with the real estate commission and began a new career.

I found myself saying "I can do that!" again this weekend. I discovered the Casserole Queens, two friends who started a business delivering casseroles to homes and families as a way to promote old-fashioned values.
The queens even dress up in 1950's outfits -- pearl necklaces, dresses with fitted bodices and flouncy skirts, aprons tied at their narrow waists -- when making their deliveries. Not only are casserole comfort food for the modern generation, they are a focal point around which families can gather at the table for conversation and time together.

Many meals have been brought to our home during my illness. They were a huge blessing and the hands that prepared them were ministering angels! Now that I am feeling better, I want to be on the giving end, rather than the receiving end, of the casserole delivery service. I don't know if the LORD would have me do this as a money-making endeavor; I will be praying about that. It seems a good twist on the farm-to-table movement. Most of my ingredients would have the benefit of being farm fresh and organically grown. But in the meantime, I plan to be a casserole angel to those God brings in my path, starting with an acquaintance who just had her fourth child by C-section. I am sure she could use help with a meal or two!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Year

It is a new year indeed. I have been given a new lease on life. In August 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and given two months to live (without treatment, or with treatment that did not work). Now, six treatments over four months later, the cancer is under control and treatments will no longer include chemotherapy that kills good cells (I will continue receiving treatments that target the cancer cells, but these agents don't cause fatigue, hair loss, peripheral neuropathy, impaired taste buds and all the other issues that have made the last four months unpleasant). Extreme fatigue has kept me from almost all activities, most especially farming. But I look forward to renewed strength in the new year. On the right is a picture of me this fall loving on a baby goat. She was orphaned at five days old and my sister, with whom I was staying, allowed her to come live with us so that we could care for her, including bottle feeding her every six hours. What a great boost to my spirits to have a precious doeling as a companion.
What has facing death taught me? First and foremost, my faith in eternal life with Christ has been tested and validated. Peace that surpasses understanding has been mine the whole time. I know without a doubt that once this life is over, I have a home in heaven purchased with the blood of Jesus. Second, God still performs miracles today. He has lavished them on us, both big and small. And lastly, I have learned to live each day to the fullest. I believe I have always been grateful for life and my blessings, but I can't say that I have made the most of each day. I have let "the cost" of things overshadow their worth. Cost, not just in terms of money, but in other ways as well. So I will be splurging more in the days to come!
One interesting outcome of this season of my life is being inspired by Food Network to pursue new culinary adventures. I haven't had TV since the early 1990's, but my husband got DirectTV for me to help pass the time during my illness. I have watched many cooking shows and learned a lot. Now, I want to put those lessons to good use. I anticipate future blog entries will chronicle the successes and failures of these endeavors.
I will leave you with a few pictures of the newest members of the farm ... meat goat babies born in the last couple of months.
Scott and Adelaine's buckling

Scott and Buttons with her buckling

My grandson Isaac and Doll Face's doeling

Flip and Blondie

Thunder, Pretty Girl's buckling

Teenager and her twins, a doeling and a buckling

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dairy Goat Babies 2014: Sr. Does

The senior does have kidded. So the first goat babies have been born on the new farm. How wonderful to have all the barn space and separate stalls for mom/baby bonding!

Sandy in labor,
keeping warm under a wool blanket
Sandy kidded first, on January 28th (day 140). Although she came early and on a snowy afternoon, her twins are doing great. (PS -- notice the cot in the background. I spent 3 consecutive nights in the barn. Can't recommend this cot highly enough -- a Coleman SmartComfort. Slept well, no sore back! Lightweight and easy to carry. And the pad is covered in plastic, a must-have feature for the barn.)

Sandy's doeling and buckling.
Both are SOLD.

Here are Sandy's twins, just minutes old. A doeling and buckling. Had the white kid been the doeling, her name would be Snow White. However, he is a buckling so his name is Prince Charming. Her doeling is a brown buckskin with white splashes. Due to the white on her tail, I have named her Tipper. This is the only good picture of the doeling that I have been able to get. She is a spitfire ... always springing around and loving life, never posing for a picture. They are eligible for registration. Prince Charming is $125 as a bottle baby. Tipper is $200 as a bottle baby.

Prince Charming

AnnaBelle delivered 4 bucklings just before dawn
without a human attendant (me!).

AnnaBelle was the next to kid on February 1st. She surprised me and kidded when I was not there, even though I had checked on her at midnight and she showed no signs of delivering soon. This is the first time I have not been there to catch every kid born on the farm. However, she did a great job and had them just about cleaned up by the time I arrived for morning chores. Her 4 bucklings are of good bloodlines, but not eligible for registration. $75 each as bottle babies.
AnnaBelle's buckling Texas -- SOLD
AnnaBelle's buckling Fric (SOLD).
His twin Frac looks just like him.
Tiny Tim, born 2.5 lbs at birth, half the size of his brothers -- SOLD

Mamma Goat delivered a single buckling on February 2nd, Ground Hog day.
Mamma, who holds the record of 6 healthy kids in a single
birthing, had one big boy this year.
Mamma's buckling -- SOLD.
His new owners named him O G Darkness

Bella, our herd queen, was the last of the senior does to kid. She had twins on February 3rd, a doeling and a buckling. Her kids are of good bloodlines, but not eligible for registration. Doeling $150, buckling $75 as bottle babies.
She was so big and uncomfortable prior to kidding.
Bella's doeling and bucking look just alike too.
Her buckling is pending sale.

Our first junior doe due to kid looks like she might deliver by the end of this week. Her kids have dropped and she is beginning to bag up. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Big Move ... more than Name Only

A view of the doe pasture from the barn at
ANZ's Farm

We have moved. The changes are more than location. We aren't an urban farm anymore -- we live in the country on 45 beautiful acres. We aren't primarily a dairy farm anymore -- we have added meat goats and herd guards. So with these changes comes a name change as well. Introducing ANZ's Farm.

The Move. This picture shows Betsy, piled high with the first of many loads.We looked like the Clampets, just without Granny in her rocking chair on the top of the pile. Our neighbors even took pictures. We aren't completely settled yet, but have made tremendous progress and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We downsized from a 2800-sq ft house to 1100 sq ft, a welcome exercise in being less materialistic. We have learned that the key is to use every inch of space wisely and modify space that does not fit our needs. Scott tore out a wall to turn a small, narrow closet into additional pantry space for all my canning, cheese making and kitchen necessities. The 3rd bedroom has become our home office, resulting in the loss of my "blue room" bedroom. And now I only have one bathroom to keep clean ... that's a plus!

Our Nigerian Dwarf goats enjoying their new home
The Dairy Goats. Our Nigerian Dwarf goats seem so small in the 5-acre pasture they now call home. But they love it. Room to graze and browse. Fence lines with tasty weeds. Sunny spots for chewing their cuds on cool days and the shade of huge oak and black walnut trees when it's hot. Because of extenuating circumstances at their adoptive homes, we got back six of our spring kids, so all the extra room is nice.

Our intact buckling Dynamite resides across the back fence from the does, with his companion The Mixter (named for our favorite previous next door neighbor) and herd guard Donkey. He is the happy sire to our adult does, due late January/early February 2014.

The Meat Goats. We have expanded into meat goats. We have a 100% Kiko doe (front left in the picture) with twin Kiko/Savannah kids who are 4 months old. We have a Kiko/Savannah "teenager" (the beautiful girl in the center of the picture), the doe's kid from 2012. We are in search of a herd sire, preferable a Boer mix. Also pictured with them is their guard, Wilbur, my daughter-in-law Jess's donkey. What a sweetie he is!

The Donkeys. As our area of the country has coyotes, bobcats, black bear and other large predators, we chose to get donkeys instead of dogs. We have been on a huge learning curve about donkeys, to say the least! Without going into all the details, I will report that we have gone from not being able to get near them to not being able to get far enough away from them to take a good picture :)! Donkey, a young jack who still has his puppy fur (pictured right), guards the bucks. Wilbur, pictured above, guards the meat goats. And Sweetheart, pictured below, lives with her mom Elsa in the doe pasture.
This young jenny was anything but a sweetheart when we first got her. Scott named her that, hoping the spoken word would be prophetic. For example, in her frenzy from being separated from her mom, she got her hoof wedged in the stall door. Fortunately, before she broke her leg, we were able to free it, but not before she bit me. But Scott was right and she is living up to her name.
I am blessed that all I have are bruises to show for taming our feral donkeys. For anyone in a similar situation, our secret weapons were patience, carrots and a curry comb!

One of the barns on the property and our first harvest of hay
Barns and Hay. Nothing says farm more than barns and hay. There are 4 old tobacco barns on the property and a newer, 6-stall livestock barn. The only unfenced part of the property is a 10-acre hay field, located in some bottom land between the pond and the creek. A neighbor baled it for us the first week, since we haven't invested in a baler yet. (A side note: this same neighbor lived less that a couple miles from our first home in Raleigh. We got composted horse manure from him for our garden on Weaver Drive. Small world!) We got 17 4x5 round bales. Scott borrowed this same neighbor's spear to move the bales to storage at one of the barns. It feels good to have the barn full of food for the animals going into the winter months.

The Pond. We looked for just the right farm for over 3 years. My wish list included either a pond or stream ... some type of water. God, in His infinite goodness, allowed us to have both. The southern border of the property is a flowing, year-round creek. There is also a pond, which we are told is stocked with fish. Other issues are more pressing, so we haven't verified that yet, but one day we hope to relax by the pond with poles in hand.

The Chickens. Bless their hearts, they are still in Raleigh being cared for by our wonderful neighbor Wilma. Scott will bring the 2 young roosters and the 1-year old hens to the farm this week. The rest will be dinner for one of Wilma's workers. We have 6 chicks here that I have been caring for under the heat lamp. They are now feathered out and ready to go into the coop, which was transported from home and placed at the former owners hitching post area.  I cringed a little when we cut down her aromatic cedar posts to make way for the coop. However, I don't ever see us getting into horses, so we modified the space to accommodate our needs. There is a spigot there for the automatic waterer, so it was really a no-brainer.

Everything Else. I was belated getting my fall garden planted. Pictured here are its meager beginnings. This little plot by the carport is fenced, so hopefully it will keep deer and other nibblers away. I have transplanted 5 blueberry bushes from our urban farm as well as a fig tree. I have planted lettuces and spinach in the area where the cold frames will eventually be built, Lord willing. I have a spot in mind for the grapevine, but that's as far as I have gotten with that. We will begin again and plant fruit trees in February, so I still have time to decide where they will go.

Monday, March 4, 2013

2013 Goat Babies for Sale

It's kidding season! That wonderful time of year with new life, frolicking kids with springs on their hooves and high-pitched baaaas. And time to make the hard decisions about which goats/kids to keep and which to sell. Below are the ones up for sale (all are purebred Nigerian Dwarf):

Daisy x Diego
Daisy is Mamma x Katmandu 2012 doe. I am selling Daisy -- a one-year old, first freshener in milk -- together with her buckling, born February 27th. I am in the process of getting her registered with ADGA. The sire of the bucklings is registered, so they will be eligible for registration as well. She is a good mother and good with people/human kids. $350 for Daisy alone; $150 for her buckling alone; $450 for both.
Daisy and her two bucklings -- SOLD

Daisy's Buckling #1 - SOLD

Daisy's Buckling #2 -- SOLD
Mamma x Katmandu
I am selling Mamma's kids born February 27th, 2 doelings, 2 bucklings. All but one of the kids I have retained in the past are Mamma's, because she is such a fabulous goat. But I need to diversify my bloodlines so I am selling all her kids this year. I am working on getting Mamma registered by ADGA. The sire is registered, so her kids will be able to be registered as well. Doelings $250, bucklings $150

Mamma's doeling #1 "Patches" - SOLD
Mamma's doeling #2 - SOLD

Mamma's buckling #1
Mamma's buckling #2 -- Pending Sale

Bella x Katmandu
Bella had 3 doelings, 1 buckling born March 2nd. Bella is Mamma's daughter by an unregistered, but purebred sire. Doelings $150, bucklings $75. Bella's #3 doeling "Peanut" SOLD. Surprise Koral! :)

Bella's doeling #1 -- Pending sale
Bella's buckling - SOLD

Bella's doeling #2 - SOLD
Sandy x Diego
Sandy is a 2012 doe of Mamma x Katmandu. She delivered a buckling and doeling on February 25th. Her buckling will be eligible for registration. $150
Sandy's buckling - SOLD
This doeling (pictured with her dam Sandy) may be retained.
Sandy's doeling - RETAINED
AnnaBelle x Katmandu
AnnaBelle delivered 3 doelings March 8th. More pics soon. These will be unregistered, $150 each.
AnnaBelle and her 3 doelings - SOLD
call/text 919-418-4109 or email Thanks