Thursday, May 18, 2017

Field Trip

We don't have BIG field trips very often. We usually have smaller groups of 4-12 kids plus adults. We have a wonderful friend that teaches at a nearby school and she was almost desperate for a fun field trip for the grade level.

It's always stressful for me to have that many kids come! She had about 160 children in her grade. We can only handle about 80-90 at a time as we rotate through stations, so they split the group in half. One half visited a historical site while we had the other half going through rotations on the farm.

The previous week (the entire week) was spent cleaning stalls, picking up winter debris, and looking around closely to see if there was anything that someone might get hurt on.

One of our sweet volunteers with Princess, the spoiled goat kid.

Each smaller group of 6-12 children started at one of the stations and rotated through.
One of our volunteers was in charge of blowing the conch shell every 15 minutes so we knew it was time to switch stations.

Station 1
Lamb and Wool

The children got to learn a little about lambs (he's not in the photo)
how to clean wool and get it ready for spinning,
and how a spinning wheel works.
*     *     *     *     *
Station 2
Felted Soap

The children learn how to wrap wool around
a bar of soap and felt it.

The children had a great time,
and it's always fun to take home a souvenir.

*     *     *     *     *

Station 3
Chickens and Ducks

One of our hens hatched a single chick.
She's in a rabbit cage so the visitors can see them, but not touch them.

We had volunteers of all ages!
The little boy in the green shirt is teaching the other children
about the chickens.

Well-behaved groups had the chance to go inside the chicken pen
and hold a chicken, see where they lay their eggs,
and see what their food looks like.
I'm pretty sure the ducks are hiding under the chicken coop!

*     *     *     *     *
Station 4
Feeding the Goats
Before the children were allowed to feed the goats
they had to pick up a rock that filled the palm of their hand
and put it in the old cement irrigation box at the back of the pasture.

The volunteers at this station had to finally put Scout someplace else.
He kept herding the goats into the stalls
which meant that the visitors couldn't feed or pet them!

If I had to guess....
I would guess that this was the favorite station.

One of the benefits we get from so many visitors is that
the goat kids learn that people are nice.
They are generally a lot more friendly after so many visitors.

 *     *     *     *     *

Station 5

"If you can hear me, touch your ears!"
One of the stellar chaperones!
This guy kept these children under control
and helped them learn a lot!

Fifteen minutes isn't enough time to show children how to milk a goat,
so the process was explained.
They learned why we feed the goats and the cow grain, not just grass.
They learned why we wash the udders well,
and they learned a little bit about how we give medicine when a goat or cow is sick.

They had the chance to explore a milker and feel the suction
as they covered the holes on the inflations.

Last visit at this station is getting to pet Echo.
What a sweet cow!
She stayed down for all the visitors, only getting up on her feet when everyone was gone.
This gave the children a chance to pet her,
and feel her horns and head.

*     *     *     *     *

Station 6
Honey Bees

Bees can sometimes be frightening,
but hopefully after our volunteer finishes teaching them,
they learn that real honey bees are nothing to be afraid of.
Our beehives are empty right now so it
is a perfect time for the children
to get a close look at the inside of a hive
as well as protective clothing.

*     *     *     *     *

We didn't have a station for the turkey and her chicks.
The children all got to see her wandering around the property.

We couldn't have had the field trip without our wonderful volunteers! They were here for almost 5 hours! They were cheerful, helpful, and we love them!

We hope you had a wonderful time!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lots of Questions!

Welcome back!

This is your last post for the school year. I'll keep posting during the summer if you want to stop by and visit the blog to see what is going on.

I looked through all the questions you sent and picked some that I haven't answered yet.

We only have one cow. Her name is Echo. We've had other cattle (that's the fancy name for cows) but they were all steers, Echo is our first girl cow.

This is my favorite picture of Echo.

Remi is the dark steer on the left.
You can read a little more about Remi here.

We had to bottle feed Remi when he first came to us because he was so young.

This is Dinner and one of the goat kids.
He loved hanging out with the baby goats!
You can read a little more about him here.

*     *     *     *     *

This is Darcy. He died a few years ago.
He was a very sweet bunny and we took good care of him when he got sick.
We don't have bunnies any more.
If you want to see what happened to Darcy you can read about him here, and here, and here.

*     *     *     *     *

Yes! We have fun in the fall. We work hard in the fall, too!

This is what we like to do after we rake the leaves.
Sometimes we just like to be silly!
That's fun, too!
*     *     *     *     *

I don't know! We might get a girl sheep if Stew dies or goes to a new home. We usually only have one sheep at a time. They have to be friendly so people can pet them.

Stew is happy, and friendly. He likes hanging out with the boy goats.

This is my favorite picture of Stew.
You can read a little more about Stew getting sheared here.

*     *     *     *     *

We don't know exactly how old Clover is. We got her when Matt was in 5th grade. She showed up in front of our barn with two goat kids. When we found out who owned her we told them that they should make their fences stronger because Nubian goats LOVE to figure out how to get out of fences.

The nice man asked if we wanted to keep her so he didn't have to fix his fences.

We did, and we've been so happy that she has been part of the herd! She has been part of the herd since 2006. She was at least 4 years old when she came to us. That means she is about 15 years old.

This is Clover a few years after we got her.
Ginger is the other goat. She died a few years ago.
We still miss her.

Here's a funny picture of Clover.
She's a silly goat!
*     *     *     *     *

Thanks for stopping by this year. We had a lot of fun sharing our animals and our farm with you. I hope you enjoyed it, and that you learned some new things.

I hope you get to visit some fun places. Here's a post about Flat Stanley when he came to visit our farm a long time ago.

You can visit the blog during the summer, too. If you have questions you can type them into the comment box and I'll answer them.

Have a great summer vacation!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Goat Kids Love to Play

Welcome Back!

You know that baby goats are called kids. Do you know why human children are called kids?

Because you like to run and play just like goat kids!

*     *     *     *     *

We have new babies on the farm! They aren't ducklings. These babies were a surprise!

There were 11 turkey chicks that hatched.

The mama hen turkey hid her nest under the truck.
We had no idea she was there!
We thought a dog or other animal had eaten her.

 I moved them all into the barn so they would be safe in the stall. Turkey chicks aren't very smart. They wander around everywhere. They don't know how to follow their mama hen around so she can keep them safe and warm.
Quin and Xander love to hold chicks!

This chick looks like he's yelling!
Xander was really gentle, there's no need for the little chick to worry.

*     *     *     *     *

Here's an interesting egg! One of our chickens laid an egg with no shell.

If you soak an egg in vinegar you can take the shell off the egg so it looks the same as Quin's egg.

See how squishy it is?
*     *     *     *     *

Here is my egg count for this week:

  • On Friday April 21 I collected 12 brown eggs, 9 green eggs, and 2 duck eggs.
  • On Saturday April 22 I collected 4 brown eggs, 7 green eggs, and no duck eggs.
  • On Sunday April 23 I collected 9 brown eggs, 6 green eggs, and no duck eggs.
  • On Monday April 24 I collected 7 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and no duck eggs.
  • On Tuesday April 25 I collected 9 brown eggs, 5 green eggs, and no duck eggs.
  • On Wednesday April 26 I collected 8 brown eggs, 5 green eggs, and no duck eggs.
  • On Thursday April 27 I collected 7 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and no duck eggs.

I think the ducks are done laying eggs.

Here is the way I keep track of how many eggs I collect each day.

Some years I collect for more weeks. Here's a link to a few years ago.

How many dozen chicken eggs did I collect over 2 weeks? I'll post the answer below.

Here's my graph, does it look different from yours?

The answer to my question about how many dozen chicken eggs I collected is:
17 1/2 dozen eggs.

It's important for us to keep track of how many eggs the chickens lay, and how much food they eat so we can see how much it costs us for eggs.

A bag of chicken feed is about $20 depending on where we buy it, and if it's on sale.

$20 ÷ by 17 1/2 dozen eggs = $1.14 per dozen.

We don't get many eggs in the winter, and we have to feed the chickens more. We get a lot of eggs in the summer and hardly have to feed the chickens much because they love to eat bugs and grass. We think it all evens out over the year. This year our eggs cost us about $1.14 a dozen.

Sometimes eggs in the store cost more, sometimes they cost less. Chicken farmers have to count things like their cost for electricity, repairs on the barn and coops, equipment like feeders and waterers, cost of new chicks and raising them, how much they have to pay workers, and how much they pay for feed and water. They also have to pay for egg cartons, and to truck their eggs to the store. They have more costs to count than I do.

Math is really important for farmers. We have a lot of costs to keep track of, we need to know how much it costs us to have all these animals! 
We need to know how much to feed them, and what to feed them. 
We need to be able to figure out how much milk a baby goat needs if we bottle feed them. (If we feed them too much then they die! If we don't feed them enough they die!)

I hope you are working hard on your math, too. I don't know any adults that don't use math. 

I'll answer lots of questions next Friday! 

Have a great week!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Let's Count Eggs!

Welcome Back!

Every year we spend a few weeks counting how many eggs we get every day. We figure out how many eggs we get from the chickens, and how much money we spend on food. It gives us a good idea of how much our eggs cost. I make a graph to see which color eggs we get the most of, too.

Here is my egg count for this week.

  • Friday, April 14 I collected 11 brown eggs, 23 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs
  • I found a nest in the hay shelter AND a hidden nest in the horse trailer!
  • Saturday, April 15 I collected 10 brown eggs, 6 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs
  • Sunday, April 16  I collected 10 brown eggs, 11 green eggs, and 3 duck egg.
    One of the ducks was hiding her eggs and I found her hiding spot today
  •  Monday, April 17 I collected 1 brown egg, 2 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs.
  • Tuesday, April 18 I collected 8 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs.
  • Wednesday, April 19 I collected 6 brown eggs, 6 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs.
  • Thursday, April 20 I collected 7 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs.

Quin's mama duck is sitting on a nest of eggs.

I'm not sure when she started sitting on her nest
so I'm not sure when the eggs will hatch.
She built her nest in a safe spot under an old fence. I'll keep you updated if I see ducklings!

We also have one grey hen who is sitting on eggs. I kept taking her eggs away, but she keeps sitting in the same spot. I decided that I would let her hatch out some eggs so I let her start sitting on them yesterday, April 20. Her eggs should hatch about May 4. If everything goes well I'll show you pictures of chicks in 3 weeks!

Did I answer your question, Ellie?

*     *     *     *     *     *

There are lots of cats who like to drink running water. Our new cat, Bubbers, loves to get a drink of water from the bathroom sink.

Look closely and see how he drinks.
He scoops the water with the back of his tongue! 

Chickens scoop the water into their beak
then they have to lift their beak into the air so they can swallow the water.

Goats, cows, and sheep suck the water into their mouth
the same way you suck through a straw.

*     *     *     *     *     *
We took the goat kids' sweaters off this week. It's warm enough and they are old enough to run and play with only their white fur coats.

We also had to 'disbud' the kids last Friday. That means we make sure they don't grow horns. They have black spots on their heads this week. It takes about 4 weeks for the marks to go away.

The kids are fine, but they look odd when their heads look like this!

*     *     *     *     *     *

No, we don't have butterflies.
A few years ago Quin hatched butterflies at home.
It was a lot of fun and so exciting to see the butterflies come out of their cocoons.

No, we don't have fish right now.
I usually buy some goldfish for the little fountain in the flower bed.
I'll show you a picture when I get them.

We have 6 baby goats right now, and it seems like we should have lambs, too!
We only have one sheep, his name is Stew.
Sometimes we have bottle lambs in the spring, but we don't have one this spring.

Thank you for all your questions!

I'll answer more of your questions next week! Have a great week!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Goat Kid Update

Welcome back!

I hope you had a nice Spring Break. As promised, there were kids born.

Serenity had 3 kids.

River had 2 baby goats. Misty had one baby goat.

It's been busy around the farm because Misty's baby needs to have a bottle. Misty isn't making much milk so we use the extra milk from River to feed Misty's baby a bottle.

Misty wasn't feeling well so we had to give her some medication. The pill is in the end of the long, blue tube. There is a plunger so once the tube is far enough down Misty's throat Matt pushes the plunger, and the pill goes right down without much trouble.

It was snowy and cold!

I'm sure the little tree is very happy to have more water!

It was cold when the kids were born
so JJ made herself a little nest in the hay.

*     *     *     *     *

We have a chicken that is blind in one eye. It's a little strange to have a chicken that is blind in one eye, and friendly.

We aren't sure how her eye got infected in the first place.
She still lays eggs, and she's friendly.
She doesn't mind people petting her.
This is what her good eye looks like.
She's a very pretty chicken. She still lays eggs, so she gets to stay on the farm!

*     *     *     *     *

You'll be happy to know that Mr. Turkey is out of Time Out.
He hasn't wandered off the farm since we let him out.

*     *     *     *     *

I don't have many pictures this week because of all the work with the new goat kids. We've also been cleaning the barn and the farmyard so we can be ready for lots and lots of visitors. We want to make sure everything is safe for the people that visit the farm. We also need to clean up after winter because winter always leaves a mess behind.