Spring babies

A discussion that was on-going all winter long was if our “mamas” would have difficulty delivering their babies and if both mama and baby would survive due to the lack of green pasture.  We were fortunate enough to be able to purchase supplemental feed (which turned into daily feed, nothing supplemental about it), and we have access to water for the animals,  Between our well, pump, and water holding tanks, plus our newly finished ponds that are spring fed in the front and the back of the property, we did not have to worry about getting water to the animals. Some of our neighbors had difficulty with both water and feed for their animals.

We heard horror stories about cows abandoning their babies due to no milk, of birthing difficulties and mamas and babies dying.  One neighbor had sheep lambing and vultures attacked moms and babies because they were so weak they could not defend themselves. One farmer expected 125 lambs and only had 25 born. It has been a tough year for people with animals.

BUT… we were most fortunate that we had minimal issues with our mamas and babies.  The sheep started  lambing at the end of August.  We have about 50 babies with just less than half males.  Most are black with a few white markings here and there.  Megan is breeding for color rather than white.  We have managed to dock tails, castrate , and ear tag our new lambs.  They are adorable to watch jump and play and run about in a group. Here are a few playing king of the hill.

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Our lecharas were really huge and for almost a month we kept saying they would burst any day. When they finally began calving in September, it was not the ones we expected to calve first  who calved first.  We had one born, then a few days later another, then one in the morning and one in the evening, then a few days later another was born.  The two largest cows who waddled because they were also the biggest around, we the last of the group to calve.  We have eight babies frolicking in the field with 4 more to arrive in a few months according to the vet.  We have six females and two males so far.

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The Normandy calves are up and running about within moments of being born.  Our mother lecharas are very attentive and keep close to their babies.

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Here is Jon walking around touching all the babies to get them use to being handles.

While we have rabbits and chickens being born and being sent to freezer camp on schedule, I have no photos to share.

But we have been keeping our eye on our geese and ducks.  They began nesting almost a month ago.

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Just today, we had our first set of gosling hatch!


This mama took her little group on a walk about and another goose stepped up and is sitting on the rest of the eggs in the nest.  We have seven geese and one duck sitting nests full of eggs.  It will be interesting to see if the duck stays sitting after all the geese hatch because the duck eggs take longer to hatch.  Another learning experience.

We are not a fast food establishment

We were slowly loosing baby feathered things.  We were not sure why, but oh well, this is a farm and we are bound to loose some animals.  Well, today we found a reason.

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The iguana eats bird eggs and baby chicks.  He found a nice place to find dinner.

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He will, regretfully, no longer need to eat dinner.  Our babies are safre. If we could have convinced him to forget all about us we wouldn’t have had to take permanent measures.


We have only a few ducks. We started out with more, but as seems to be the case for non-chicken fowl, we’ve lost a few. First of all, we didn’t realize that muskovy drakes fight over territory. So there went three. Because we only appear to have enough territory for one. We lost a few ducks to predation as they kept flying out of the secure night enclosure. So we have only a few left.  They have each laid clutches of eggs, but the last set did not hatch because there were goose eggs too.  The goose eggs hatch in less days than the duck eggs.  The mama duck got off the eggs early, so no babies.  This duck, with this set of eggs, sat the entire duration and hatched out  18 ducklings.  They are so cute.


Here they are taking a walk

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We’ve lost five to predation so far. Not bad, all-in-all.

And in case you would like to see the size of our geese population, they hardly look like babies anymore.



We once again have goslings.  We have a years worth of experience plus a little more research and a lot more conversation.  So when our friend Graciela called and said she had some goslings and were we interested, of course we said yes.  So off we went with a cage in the truck, not a cardboard box like last year.


We collected a few more than expected and they were a little older, but not by much.  We brought the brood to the farm and created a section in the goose yard for the babies to stay and everyone could get accustomed to everyone.

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(Yes, that is our ever purpose dog crate to act as shelter for the goslings.)

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The adult geese were very interested, as were the babies.  About five days later, we opened the enclosure.  This is the goslings first excursion out of the enclosure.

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They wander the campo as a flock and the adults are very attentive to the goslings.

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And while they are adorable to watch, they have discovered the front patio.

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And now I get to scrub the patio and walkway every afternoon to get rid of what they left behind.

And even though there are no pictures, we have seven newly arrived goslings just today.  We had just taken down the enclosure for the goslings and were dreading putting it back up.  But as we took the cage out of the car, all the geese and the babies were hanging about making noise as were the new arrivals.  We set the cage down, opened the door, and the little ones went running to the flock.  The adults adopted these little ones right away.  What a pleasure to not have to do anything.


Bathing Geese

We had thought when we purchased some geese a year ago that we would be building a pond near the front triangle of the property.  The said pond would have an island and the island would be adequate protection from predators as a home for the water fowl.  In the meantime we made an enclosure to keep the birds safe from predators at night.  Well, the pond in the back by the olives has been an ever on-going project so the front pond is being rethunk.  It is a good thing we made our temporary enclosure out of posts sunk in cement and wire sex feet tall, temporary has turned into semi-permanent.  This is our home-made pond out of a large animal watering trough, and the geese and ducks love it.  Because it all still works and the birds come in every night to get the door closed, we did something right.

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Morning Bath Time

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Three clean geese out for their daily wander.


I just had to add this photo of Resi standing on the porch watching the geese.  (The geese honk and hiss at her so she leaves them alone.)  Then kitty noticed the geese and begins to stalk them, when the geese turn and honk at her, kitty takes off running the other way and Resi takes off running after the kitty.  The geese just go back to nibbling on the grass.

geese Resi and Kitty

Next up, ducklings.

A month or so ago a couple of ducks decided to go broody, so we quickly had the guys make nest boxes and threw in some straw.  The ducks promptly started filling up two nest boxes with eggs with one mama sitting on a clutch. The other nest box was a little slower to have a mama sit and warm the eggs.  Then, the third next box began to fill up with goose eggs!  We have no idea whose eggs are whose, but once this little duckling hatched, the geese protected it fiercely.  Hissing and batting wings with the three geese lined up in front of the next box and the mama duck and baby tucked into the corner.  A week later, another duck had her brood hatch, five in all.  Now the geese were really territorial about the enclosure and changing water and putting in food is a cause for caution.  The geese will come running from across the pasture to scold anyone who looks like they are even getting close to the babies.  And now we have a goose sitting on a clutch of eggs.  Needless to say we are currently short of cute yellow duckling pictures.

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It will be interesting to see how the geese handle all these babies. And if it gets any easier to change out the water and give grain. We’ll try and keep you updated. But not at the expense of our knees.

Goose(s) on the loose

Our geese (or, as my parents like to remind me, my geese) had a rather traumatic start here on the farm – we started with 10, and after a fox attack, have only 3. (Yes, I am indeed ignoring the original 10 which were an absolute disaster). We moved them into a very well secured night enclosure and a larger plastic mesh fenced day enclosure. Everyone told us that as they were young we only needed to keep them contained for 30 days or so and they would ‘learn’ home. This was in January. I didn’t believe them. But I’ve been having a devil of a time keeping their day enclosure fence in place. So I decided it was as good as time as any to test if the geese do indeed know where home is. (Yes, it is August tomorrow. 7 months longer than the experts say it should take. Don’t laugh.)

Guess what? We have gooses on the loose.

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Those experts really do know what they’re talking about.

I let them out in the morning, and by golly, they really don’t wander far. As we just cut the pasture in the front pecan grove they are absolutely loving the short grass to eat. And it’s not all St. Augustine, which makes them even happier. And at night? They walk themselves in to bed.

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And yes, I am entirely aware that they are very few geese in these pictures compared to the number of Muscovy ducks. The ducks are equally as intelligent. But I don’t choose to let them wander as much as I have chosen not to trim their flight feathers. So they essentially come and go as they please. They do appreciate the newly created doorway. But still, independent little feathered urchins. But by night I have just as many ducks as I have in the morning. So far, so good.