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Calf Update

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 18 Feb 2023...

Hey Y'all! We published another YouTube video:

Good morning and Happy Saturday! It was a beautiful, sunlight sparkling off of the ice crystals on everything, 24 degree morning when we went out. The sunshine will warm things to the low 50s today and it will stay above freezing for the next few days. The top pic is Shelley and I with the hogs and the Jeep. Some icy mornings, the side-by-side refuses to start. Occasionally, the choke cable freezes in place and if we forget to pull it out the night before, by morning we cannot pull the choke. Sometimes it will still reluctantly start, but not this morning. The Jeep is more comfortable anyway, it has a heater! Shelley picked up the tractor part yesterday and we almost finished our tax prep. We called the accountant and early next week will work, so we delayed that trip. By the time Shelley returned with the part, we didn't have the willpower to fix the tractor so that moves to the top of the list of things to get done today. We also made 1 1/2 gallons of yogurt yesterday. I realized that I haven't said much about our Guinea Fowl, so I added a couple of pics of them today. Notice how the camera had a hard time focusing as their feather pattern confuses things. With the exception of the guardian dogs, the Guineas and ducks were the first animals on the farm. They both arrived in the mail after being shipped the day they hatched. Guinea babies are called keets and are considered wild birds not domesticated...and I believe it. We have had chickens in the past and assumed all farm birds are basically the same. Not exactly for Guineas, they are quite fragile their first two weeks of life. The hatchery's minimum order for Guineas was 30, so that's what we ordered. 33 showed up in the mail and within 2 weeks, we had 17 left. Looking back, we're ok that half died, as 33 Guineas is way more than double 17! We kept them contained in ever larger pens until finally after about a year, we let them roam free. They have done a great job staying around the farm and pecking through the pastures with their eagle-eyes finding all manner of ticks, bugs, and such. We can't prove that they reduced the tick population, but they certainly can't hurt. A couple of months ago, we had a particularly nasty possum that took 10 of them within a couple of days. We trapped the possum but we are now down to 7 Guineas. We're not sure if we will get more if/when these are gone. They really are that loud and it is fitting that a group of Guineas is called a "confusion!"

The orphan calf that we moved in with the dairy cows refuses to drink milk. She is a bit over 6 weeks old and the rubber nipple on the plastic bottle is a big no-go for her. We then tried just pouring it in a bucket...surely she will drink it that way. Nope again. We finally opened the nipple a bit so that milk would trickle out and held her in place and slowly trickled the milk into her mouth. She doesn't love it, but she is swallowing the milk. This morning she struggled less and swallowed more. In order to wean a calf early, it is important to get them to eat some grain to get their rumen jump started. She has a partially developed rumen and has been eating hay for a few weeks, but it is not developed enough to sustain her on only grass/hay. The grain we offered is a non-GMO complete dairy ration for the Jersey cows and the calf isn't interested in that. Picture feeding a toddler a sugar-free granola mix. When Shelley makes a pork/egg/milk delivery to town today, she will stop in and buy a sweet-feed so we can try to get the calf excited about eating the grain. Once she gets excited about eating something, we can let her out of her small enclosure and she can mingle with Stella the Jersey calf and the two Jersey cows. Interestingly, Happy (the Jersey that lost her calf) seems very concerned about the calf. She may try to adopt her...

I promised a YouTube video of our cattle wrangling escapade in the "Flexibility" blog and we stayed up last night until we finished editing it. We posted it this morning. It's another comedic look at #FarmLife . At least Shelley and I laughed as we made it and each time we watch it. Check it out, subscribe to our channel, and share it on your social media sites!

Shelley's YouTube Short for the day stars Dixie the "not-farm-dog" enjoying the wind in her hair, hanging out the window, on the dirt roads.

Local Farm Report for 17 Feb 2023:


26 Chicken eggs

9 Duck eggs

4 1/4 Gallons of milk




Rich & Shelley

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