Friday, April 14, 2006


No little goatlings yet, but from the sound of the moaning and groaning in the barn last night, you'd think there'd be a bunch this morning. I'm posting this because I've received messages asking if we've had any kids yet. The herd wattled out to the pasture this morning to get in some munching before the rain.

The goslings, on the other hand, have begun to hatch early. Two are already cuddling together in a temporary cardboard box brooder in the old farmhouse. They are much too delicate to join the Slobovian ducklings out in the real brooder in the chicken house. Ducklings (or baby dumplings, as I call them) peep excitedly when I come in because they know I'll give them yet another quart of WATER! Yay!

Dumplings guzzle the water and play in it, so I've decided to dole it out during the day. They go through about six quarts a day, and there are only six of them. The result is a slushy mess around the water drinker. One task for today is to get in there with a flat dustbin and scrape it out and add dry wood shavings. I'll give the goslings a couple of days to get oriented to the world before introducing them to wet duck world.

Ducklings have that sly half-smiling look they give you. They are little cynics who love you for what you give them. Goslings, if you are the first being they spy upon hatching, consider you the object of their affection, and whistle and vocalize when they see you, whether you are bringing food and water or not. I'd never "help" chicks or ducklings out of the shell, but goslings are different. Their shells are so hard and the lining so rubbery, that after 24 hours, I often chip away parts of the shell to help them stretch out and get out. I firmly believe that mother geese do the same.
If anyone remembers my ATV shopping and cares: I finally bought a Kawasaki Mule utility vehicle. It is like a tiny truck or a golf cart on steroids. The little bed holds nine 6-gallon buckets. So far, I've used it to drive down, and especially up, the hills to open and close pasture gates; checked out our trails through the woods; haul cuttings to the fields; etc. This morning, while tending to the livestock, I raked up nine buckets of top wasted hay from the goats to the chicken house. Then, I went back with the empty buckets and filled them with manure, which got dumped on new asparagus beds. The nice thing was being able to back right into the barn so that the buckets didn't need to be carried a long distance. That is what tires me out.

I believe I'll be using a lot less gasoline if I use the Mule instead of a full-size pickup for farm work. So far, so good.

1 comment:

Leslie Shelor said...

The mule sounds like just the right thing; an ATV with a wagon has taken up residence in my barn for gardening work.

Lovely to read about the little geese and ducks!