|Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM|
The cover is on! High Tunnel 95% complete. Its been an incredible challenge. One we agree to never undertake again! We were waiting for a day with no wind. (Rare in these parts.) Of course, the miracle day happens while family is visiting. Nevertheless, we headed out. It took a little over three hours to pull the cover into position and secure it. The accomplishment was fulfilling.
The livestock are enjoying the rapidly growing grass. Thanks to the recent rains. We are about to wean the fall calves. They are growing well. In seven months, they’ve gone from tiny wobbly babies to 500lb plus youngsters.
The goat kids are putting on a show. Racing around in the pasture, jumping, and being just plain silly. They’ve all put on enough weight that we no longer worry about hawks. The Nannies are enjoying tender oak leaves, and spring browse. When we call them in, they happily waddle to the pen and lay down to chew their cud. Goats, like cows and sheep, are ruminants. They have four stomachs – the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum-each with a different function. Goats swallow their food practically whole as they graze, sending it to the rumen, a critical chamber where bacteria and protozoa break down fiber. Later, at rest, a goat will regurgitate the broken-down food to its mouth, mixing it with salvia and chewing what’s at this point called cud.
Lambing is on the horizon. So, we’ve been performing health checks on our ewes. We check their hooves and trim overgrowth if necessary. We check their eyelids to make sure they are pink and healthy. (Pale eyelids are an indication of parasites.) Then we shear the ones who have matted hair to be able to gauge their weight better. Dorpers are hair sheep and shed naturally, but sometimes need a little help. So far so good. Bring on the lambs!