Monday, March 12, 2018

Livestock Guardian Dogs

 This is Titus. Our Livestock Guardian Dog and he takes his job very seriously. When we lived on the big farm I felt our goats especially needed protection as coyote came in close. As well as Mountian lion sightings get closer every year. Black bears have been commonly seen now. So we got 2 LGDs Titus was one of them. The other had to be rehomed. Titus on the other hand went to work immediately at not even 3 months old. He took very little training and is an amazing dog.
 He is calm and loves his animals. He lives in the barn with his goats. I plan on getting him a partner in the next year or so. Because if he came up against a threat that was more than he can handle he would have to bluff big time. As it is letting him out to mark fterritory and his big bark seems to keep the would be predators away. He is young still just turned 2 last fall.
 Livestock Guardians dogs are amazing farming partners. They are independent thinkers and not a dog that needs commands to work.
  Titus knows the basics thanks to my youngest daughter. Thats all that is necessary. Usually instincts kick in after that as far as guarding.
 Titus is a cross of a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd. I am finding he is very laid back but aggressive enough with threats to get the job done. Thankfully he respects the electric fence.
 We feed him raw bones occasionally and a dog food that is based with 2 meats and has no corn,soy, wheat or gluten. All of our dogs do amazing on this food. Rarely any worm or external parasite issues.
 I am a firm believer Livestock Guardian dogs are a huge asset to any farm for predator control that allows farms and wildlife to coexist. Llamas, alpacas and donkeys at the end of the day are prey animals that will run when the threat is to great leaving smaller animals like goats and sheep exposed to predator threats.
I am forever sold on the help of good livestock Guardian Dog. And should we be blessed with our own place, I plan on having up to 3-4 dogs to patrol our herd and farm.
 If you plan on having small stock may I suggest research into how to protect them from predators and find a dog suited to your farm.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What Makes A Farmer?

  I recently was blasted on A Facebook group that I was Not a farmer due to the fact that I didn't have a "regular" barn. If anyone has read my blog you know my animal shelters are built primarily out of cattle panels and Billboard tarps. They keep them warm and dry in the winter and shaded and dry all other times of the year. They have worked well for us due to the fact that we have always rented and have never actually bought a farm yet.

   This Rodeo clown(Yes, a rodeo clown and a rather well known one here in Missouri) on a large Facebook farm group told me I was cheating the government out of money and that I was a fake. I don't know this man but I  really didn't appreciate being called a fake...
   So it got me to thinking....
              ☆What makes a farmer?☆

  I was raised in the country almost all my childhood except for one year my dad owned a service station on the edge of town. My grand parents were dairy farmers at one time and in retirement years they had beef cattle as did several other family members. My other grandparents raised their own meat and gardened like so.many others. So did my great grands as well.
   My parents were like a lot of other country people raising our own meat with a couple of hogs and steers occasionally, always having chickens for eggs or to process. We had rabbits, sheep and a wide variety of other animals growing up. Never for income just to have or for meat.

  Fast forward to when I was about 26.. By this time I am married with 3 kids of my own living on 60 acres and my parents lived on the other side of it. My mom started researching goats and brought home a little Nubian doe or nanny as we called them then and a little Boer buck or billy, 2 bottle babies. My dad had cows on the 60 acres but goats were just starting to pick up in Missouri and proving to be profitable.
   My girls of course thought they were the best things since sliced bread. So that is how this crazy goat lady got started! By the next spring I had 2 goats of my own. 2 grade Nubian does named Sunshine and Tulip. I had built fence, shelters and read every book the library had. Information was scarce on the internet at the time. But I read all I could find.
 The next January I bought 7 more does and a buck. I loved the Nubians! I learned so much in those first few years and I still am learning. I have had as few as 2 and as many as 50 plus.  I can talk goats at the drop of a hat. My girls when younger would be like we will never leave because mom is talking goats. I enjoy having them. I do raise other animals, chickens, ducks, and small breed pigs... but goats are my thing.

 So does a proper barn or anything that is set as normal by society make me less of a farmer because of the way I shelter my animals is not the normal? I dont think so. I think there are many ways to farm.
   Just because my ways don't line up with another's preconceived ideas or vice versa doesnt make it right or wrong. Just different.  And that is okay! It's okay to think outside of the box. Who wants to be stuck inside of a stuffy old box anyway?

   So Mr. Rodeo clown I beg to differ.. Not that he will ever read this or if he does, even think he could possibly be wrong because he was so set in his ways and was going to use my comments for "material". So if you hear a rodeo clown making jokes about a "goat expert" that is so redneck that she can't build proper barns but puts her goats under billboard tarps and cattle panels.      
   Kindly tell him... I  am a hillbilly not a redneck( I married a redneck). But we make due with what we have rather than going out and building what we can't afford and losing it all when times get tough. I had a friend tell me it's creative and smart.. So I will take that and be okay with my creative farming. :)


 So if you have shelters built from things like tarps, pallets, panels or fancy barns built out of metal and iron.. Either way do the best you can with what you have and don't be afraid of the person that thinks a cattle panel should only be used for fencing....

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Been A While.....

 I haven't posted in over a year. The last one was when my goat herd queen, Sunshine, passed away... Life for us got to be a whole bunch of crazy after that. The big farm didn't work out for us. It was a risk for us to begin with. But you never know till you try. It didn't work and we learned what we don't want... again... lol
 In the mean time Grand baby #2 was born in June. A sweet little guy named Justin joined his big brother Jackson and wrapped Mawmaw and Pawpaw around his sweet little fingers...

   We had to move..... again.... we downsized all our animals until we can get a chance to buy our own place, Lord willing... We currently are being allowed to keep our 13 goats, 3 pigs, 3 cows, 27ish chickens, 3 cats and 4 dogs...
   Our youngest daughter has plans to move to a farm she is working at in about 2 months and will take cows,dog's and cats with her.
   The middle daughter is working on figuring out exact plans but also plans on moving soon. When that happens, Kyle and I will be true empty nesters. We are proud of our girls and the adults they are growing into...

   So that brings me to our plans...
We are hoping to but around 10 acres hopefully without a house so we can build to our specifics. We are going raise our goats and continue with the small Kunekune and American Guinea hog cross pigs as well. They mix well with the goats.
 In the mean time I am going to be having classes about goats.. I have one scheduled for January. Our friends and local feed store has offered to let me have classes there when the weather warms up. I am excited. Because one of my favorite things to is talk goats and help others learn how best to care for their goats.
We are also coming up on kidding season starting around January 4th and have a sow due Dec 27th. We are ready for babies.
 So now that I have figured out mobile blogging maybe I will get back to regular blogging.
Merry Christmas!