Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bee removal

Hello all you bee lovers out there!

I rescued a small colony of bees from a water meter box today and put them in one of my extra hives. From the size of the comb they had not been there for very long. Definitely a secondary swarm from a large colony, or a swarm from a small colony to begin with. They were calm considering the circumstances. They were small too which leads me to believe they have more European genes than Africanized genes so hopefully they will stay calm for a bit, but even if they don't living and aggressive is good too. I did not spot the queen specifically but they were more than happy to stay in the box while I was finishing up scooping them out of the meter box so hopefully she is there too. Here's the pics:

The cover, you can see a worker emerging to gather food and I also saw a few bringing pollen back as well. Before opening I knew they had comb. So this wasn't a swarm, they were already moving in.

The small bit of comb they had built already on the underside of the cover. That's about one fulls day's worth considering they have been pinned down due to rains here the past few days that was pretty good. They were bringing in some nice bright orange pollen from wildflowers already.

 Inside the meter box. This is what remained in the hole after I've already shaken the other half of them into the hive:

 Closer. No queen in there!:

 Once in the hive they stuck around one of the corners, hopefully around the queen:

 Is this thing on? (Me wondering if the camera is working...)

It took me about half an hour to open it, get them into the hive and close up. Not bad. Now hopefully they will live! I'll have to feed them for a bit to get them off to a good start. Tonight I'll douse them again with sugar water. Tomorrow I'll give them a feeder with sugar water, and two days later I'll let them out. They have bits of comb to get them started and if they like the box, maybe they will stay and join the apiary.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kidding Season 2013 wrap-up

Hello all of you who like cute pictures of goats!

This is the wrap-up post for kidding season this year. Although it happened back in April we were super busy with house stuff, soap making, woodworking and everything else that happens around here. Sorry for the delay but here it is for all those who wished to know how it went.

It began with Sassafrass. This is our spotted goat who we are very pleased with as a goat and a mother. She had 2 kids, one male and one female. Without any help from us, and 2 days early. Sassafrass is also polled, meaning she genetically has no horns so typically her offspring will also have no horns. This has been true in the past but this year her male had horns and her female did not. This was a first for us and since we did not expect it we did not disbud him in time and he now carries horns. We do not keep males so this is not a real problem, it's just funny it turned out that way. Anyway his name is Brick since one day Emiloo picked him up and said "he's as heavy as a brick!", and that's how he was named. The female we call Dahlia after the flower. We had discussed different names but there aren't that many flowers that are black and it evolved into Black Dahlia since she is all black except for some accents. She is not spotted like her mom, bummer, but we will keep her just the same. The boy however is spotted like crazy so that should up his price a bit because peeps are crazy for spotted goats lately. Here's their pictures:




Next up is Peach. She had 2 boys, but one was stillborn. Actually we didn't think she was pregnant at all, but the day came and there they were. The surviving boy was small, and in the first few days seemed like he had some breathing troubles, but after a week they cleared up and he is now a handful. We named him Pi, because that will make his registration papers read "Peaches Pi". Get it? I'm sure that you do. He has red and white markings and is coming along just fine. Here the pics:



Next up is Plum. Plum, as well as Peach, was one of our first full blood goats. Her countenance appears on our logos on Facebook, and our soaps, and anything else we make in the future probably. She is indeed a pretty goat, but not a good mommy. She has never been a real good mommy. If you go back and read previous years you will see what I'm talking about. Her typical behavior is to have the kids, clean them up, let them suckle and then she rejects one in favor of the other. Or like the year before last she will pick one and kick two to the curb and refuse to feed them. This is how we end up with 'bottle babies' and have to feed little goats from a bottle. This year was really no different other than I sat with them for those first few hours to make sure she was accepting both. Well she did it again. She had 2 kids, one boy and one girl. And for some reason she chose the boy as the goat she was going to take care of and started butting the girl away anytime she wanted to feed. We held her to let the girl feed but that was the only time she would let her eat. I'm a tad miffed at this behavior and how consistent it is. Anyway we started supplementing the girl with bottles and whenever possible we would hold Plum so she could get it directly from mommy. After a few days we noticed that she would only let the girl eat when the boy was eating, of course the boy could eat anytime he wanted to. Since it did not appear as though she was getting enough milk I began bottle feeding a few days after she was born. Sigh. If plum weren't so pretty and had such good looking goats we would get rid of her, but alas she is a good milker and a good breeder so there it is.

The kids themselves are healthy and all but the boy has a defect. He has a wicked overbite which we are hoping he will grow into and not cause any feeding issues. So far it has not caused any and he already eats grass and hay like a champ. However, I am not sure we would be comfortable selling him as a breeder because of the potential to pass on the defect. I told him the other day we were probably going to eat him, he didn't seem to care. Because of his upper lip we call him Baron Overbite (riffing on The Venture Brothers 'Baron Underbite'.) He is mostly black with white spots. The girl we have named Daisy because of her personality. She is always happy to see us, most likely because we mean 'food' to her, but it's more than that. She is cute and bubbly and to take a line from 'You've Got Mail' "Daisies are the happiest flowers" or something like that. So that's how we named her. And onto the pics:


Baron Overbite:

Daisy, and Plum (She, Daisy, was also in the video post before this one):

 And last but certainly not least is Lily. Originally she is Plums daughter, and turned out really nice. I also think she was the one Plum took care of, or if memory serves me she was an only child. Anyway she had 2, a boy and a girl. The boy is red and white, and the girl is black with a white flash circling her torso. They are both in great shape, and we are pleased with Lily as a mommy.  She is a decent milker as well so all around that is a really good goat. The boy was named Browner because he was more brown that Pi, and in a group of small, new goats sometimes that's how you get your name and since he is a boy we weren't tethered to naming him a flower or plant name. Her name is Day Lily, after her mom. Here's the pics:


Browner: Oops I have no pictures of Browner yet but really he is browner than Pi...

Day Lily:

Well that's it. 7 Kids total, 3 girls, 4 boys. We did not breed Iris and Fern as we did not want that much milk this year, and to give Fern a year off after last years 'fistival of horror'. We will breed those two next year probably, we'll see. We also did not breed the yearlings from last year, or the year before because we need a new buck and everyone else is related to the one we have now.

As per usual we will keep the girls and sell the boys. After weaning we will be awash in milk and Emiloo will be making cheeses again. I have no time for such things and will continue building on the house.

More posts coming up soon, why not sign up to follow the posts as they occur? What a grand idea!

That's all folks!
Thanks for stopping by, take care!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cuteness with Daisy the goat

Hello all of you who would like to be able to read posts regularly!

Well it has indeed been a bit of time since my last post. We have been working on many projects including woodworking, soapmaking, house building, and goat topics.

To make it up to you I'm posting a video of one of our goats.

Thanks for stopping by!

PS I'll make those other posts soon...I promise.