Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Tina To The Rescue.

Posted on | October 31, 2013 | 4 Comments

We follow old school rules around here.  With winter approaching and forage decreasing, anyone who can be eaten or sold will be eaten or sold.  OJ went to the flea market.

He was a friendly rooster but he enjoyed taking the hens all the way down to the end of the driveway.  We have sacrificed enough ducks and guineas to the road.  Laying hens are too valuable to waste.  Besides, he was a bit overzealous in the mating department.  When the hens started getting bare shoulders, his days were numbered and the second-in-command was promoted.  Welcome Michael, our Cuckoo Maran/Delaware cross, to the top of the pecking order.

Tulip found a new home at an Alpine/Oberhasli dairy goat herd.  I hated to lose the gallons and gallons of milk from her prolific udder.  But I won’t miss her shoving her bulk through gates and fencing.  Tulip, no!

The Jumbo Cornish Cross chickens went into the freezer.

Hey, quit looking at my breasts like that!  😉

Despite Brianna’s attempts to break into the buck pen, she wasn’t bred.  At 10 years old, she is ready for retirement.

I’ve already chosen her retirement home (a farm without any bucks) but right now she’s providing milk for the pigs’ breakfast everyday.  Whose days are also numbered.  By next week, the pigs can be used to turn under the frost-killed summer crops in the garden.  Then it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the girls….

or some of these guys…..

make it into the freezer next.

But there’s someone who just guaranteed her spot in the barnyard until spring.  Tina.

You see, Julia and Carmen failed to kid as planned this October.  Either they were never pregnant or I aborted them when I gave everyone a dose of ivermectin to stop ear mites that were running rampant in the barn and resisted all my herbal and organic methods to stop them.  The goat literature is conflicting on the ivermectin/abortion issue and goat pregnancies around here are never really confirmed until a kid hits the ground. So it’s hard to know exactly what happened.  Although, lots of people at last week’s farm party wanted to know when Carmen’s kids were due and if I thought she had more than 2 kids in there since she was so big.

Really, people, how rude.  You don’t hear Carmen making comments about your waistline, do you?  Some of us wear our maternity jeans a little bit longer than others, OK?  It’s completely normal.  Absolutely fine.  Really, why would you ever give up jeans with an elastic cotton panel in front?  Shouldn’t you always have a pair of those in the closet?  Like, for emergencies?  Or Thanksgiving?

Regardless, no goat kids arrived this fall.  Which was a bummer because Julia and Carmen were supposed to provide milk for our family through the winter months while Brianna and Tina were dried off and went to new homes.  We already decided that Tina could never be bred again.  Her legs were really too weak to support her when she was pregnant.  And her first kid was also born leg weakness.  I was planning to find her a home at one of the local farm preschools.  A gentle place with lots of petting and lap sitting and treats.  But no more breeding or milking.

However, as it turns out, Tina will be providing our family’s milk until kidding starts again in February.  Turns out that the weakest member of the herd is strong enough to provide for all the rest of us.

Sure, Vixen, one of the Nigerian Dwarf goats, is contributing, too.  But she only had one kid this spring so she wasn’t a heavy producer to begin with and she is threatening to dry up any day now.

So it’s Tina’s overflowing Toggenburg udder that is really filling up the milk pail and keeping the kids in breakfast cereal.

It can be hard to secure your place on the picnic table at a working farm.

No one expects the weak or the crippled to make the cut.

Lucky for us, sometimes they do.  Sometimes, when the best laid plans fall apart,  they even come to the rescue.  So make room for the underdogs, people.  They might just end up being top dog!  Thank you, Tina!


4 Responses to “Tina To The Rescue.”

  1. Lin
    November 1st, 2013 @ 4:57 am

    HOORAY! Not only is it a Tina update…but she’s a powerhouse in the farmyard!!

    I love you, Tina. I wish I didn’t live in the city…I’d take you home for my very own.

  2. Jill
    November 1st, 2013 @ 7:27 am

    picnic table shot is awesome!

  3. Laura
    November 1st, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    Love this post. Every family needs a Tina.

  4. Jennifer
    November 2nd, 2013 @ 4:38 am

    Go Tina! We’ve been rootin for you all along!

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