Precocious udder

5.13.13

Over the winter we noticed that Leeloo had developed walnut-sized lumps under each teat. As spring came these lumps grew into a cantelope-sized udder. Since all three does have recently tested negative for CAE and CL, we ruled out those diseases. The udder is a firm, but even and not hot and she seems to be in otherwise good health. The likely explanation (and our vet agrees)  is that she has developed a precocious udder – an udder filling with milk even though the doe has not been bred. This is typically caused by an imbalance in hormones, usually in goats that come from high milking stock. For now we’ve opted to let it be and not milk her. Hopefully she will eventually reabsorb the “milk” and be a good milker once she is bred, kids, and begins a true lactation next year.

We are taking the gals to the Northeast Dairy Goat Classic at Altamont for their first show this weekend. Hoping to get more opinions on Leeloo’s condition from more experienced breeders while we’re there.

New fence

The new fence is finished and the gals got to explore their new area a bit this past weekend. We still have a little clean up to do before they can run free, so for now they’re enjoying the expanded space (and yummy trees) next to the barn.

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Turkey hatch results

5 (out of 14) Barred Rock chicks, and 7 (out of 16) Midget White turkey poults hatched.

5.9.13b

The Buff Orpington is still sitting on 9 Buckeye eggs due Friday. And our guinea hens are still working on building a new clutch in the barn. 23 eggs so far, not counting the 7 that were stolen by crows earlier in the week. Hope they start sitting soon!

Bad week for Guineas

Our guineas started a clutch outside in one of the old temporary chicken pens off to the side of the house. They were doing great and amassed close to 21 eggs in a shared nest. Then we saw a crow coming out of the unattended nest house carrying an egg in it’s beak. I went to check on the nest and found only 14 eggs left. I moved the remaining eggs into the barn, hoping the crows wouldn’t find them again and that the guineas would accept their new nesting spot. We got lucky. The crows returned to the old chicken pens, but flew off when they didn’t find anything. The guineas found their new nest when the came back to the barn in the evening and have been laying there since. Hoping they’ll start sitting soon and raise some keets.

Our fence installer started work on a 5-strand high-tensile electric fence for the goats this past Monday. He’s been doing a great job and hopes to have it finished next week. Unfortunately, he brought his dog with him on Friday and it got loose and attached one of our guinea hens. She has pretty bad bite wounds and is missing skin and feathers on one half her back. I used 50/50 warm water/peroxide to flush the wound just the first time I cleaned it. In addition to sanitizing it, the fizziness really helped bubble all the dirt and other junk out. Then I treated her wounds with an iodine wound spray and coated with neoposrin. We also started her on antibiotics. If she doesn’t have any internal bleeding, and doesn’t get an infection, she should recover. In the meantime, she’ll be recovering in the basement (away from flies and mating guinea cocks) for a few weeks.

Chicks, chicks, & more chicks

We had intended to move the older chicks into the barn at the beginning of the week, but fence work postponed the move until Thursday morning.

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I expected the chicks to take a little time to get used to their new digs (& guinea neighbors,) but they immediately settled in. It was getting a bit crowded in the brooder box, and they’re enjoying stretching their wings a bit.

The move occurred in the nick of time as the Barred Rock eggs in the incubator started cheeping and pipping on Thursday night. I quickly gave the brooder box a good scrubbing, set everything up, and by Friday morning we had 3 chicks hatched with more on the way. In addition to the 10 Barred Rock eggs, we also have 16 Midget White turkey eggs in the incubator that are due to start hatching by Monday. We’re hoping the slightly older chicks will help train the poults where to find food and water.

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We had 9 more Buckeye eggs in a second incubator (due to hatch next weekend,) but one of our Buff Orpington’s FINALLY went broody so we took them out gave them to her to finish hatching. The Buff growled and fluffed up a bit when I pushed her off her nest to replace the wooden eggs with real ones, but she hopped right back on and hasn’t budged since.

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You may recall that we unsuccessfully tried to give her some eggs last year. She’s sitting really tight now, and only has to sit for a week (vs 21 days due to pre-incubation,) so we’re hopeful she will stay on them this time. I’m really looking forward to seeing some mother hen/chick interaction.