Posted by: LittleDragonFarm | February 22, 2012

Ocelots, camels and lemurs..oh my?

We have firmly established that our farm- which we have finally closed on!!!!YAY!!! will have none of these animals present regardless of who offers them to us.  We closed on the farm this past Saturday and by Sunday someone had given us a flock of chickens, a few goats, rabbits and more chickens.  It has been amazing the out pouring of animals and help that are manifesting this week in order for us to get up and running.  We are not for certain as to why this is happening but we have noticed that many of the animals are coming from older farmers that are just happy to see younger (although not by too much) folks coming into farming even if it is primarily for our families.  We are ever so grateful for their concern and support too, I’m hoping that some of them can turn into mentors as well.

So with the farm we bought a nanny and a billie pygmy- Phinneas and Mocha.  We brought them home and they were quite bright and healthy but Phinneas started coughing and stopped eating in 3 hours he was gone.  We took Mocha to the vet so she would do better, a weeks worth of antibiotics and eye ointment she is much better but I never expected to have a baby goat living in my room at night!

In the last week I have learned more about goats then I could ever learn from a book.  For one baby goats are a touch and go lot of babies.  They can be perfectly fine one minute and gone the next- both the vet and a long time goat farmer confirmed this.  However once they are grown they are a fairly hardy lot of animals and very curious.  As for our little nanny- Mocha, she has taken to following us around outside like a dog so they are also quite  social as well and it doesn’t have to be with another goat as she loves the cats as well and likes to play with them.  She has been a great goat to learn with and she will have a few friends shortly because a goat farmer heard of what we were planning and has offered us a  billie, now named Billie Bonner and a mamma nanny about to kid for next to nothing. So we now have a mini herd and one that will be in milk by the summer time.

All of this coming at once has given us the incentive to finally make some decisions on what next. So the next thing is to start clearing where the houses are going to be as well as the animal shelters and barns. We decided on several smaller ones rather than one large barn as each animal tends to have a preference for the hows and whys of its shelter. The chickens like to have a good place to roost and one to nest in, the goats, a place to get out of the weather and to play or climb around, the rabbits like to have a little variety in their levels as well as being well protected from predators a trait in which they all share. We are going with “pallet” housing for all the animal shelters. In this concept you recycle wood pallets into the walls and floors of the shelter or house even combine this with the cobb concept and you have a well insulated study structure for animals or humans. Plus the pallets are usually free, we are also buying whatever materials we need other than screws or nails at Habitat for Humanity’s restore, ours does not typically carry screws or nails unless they get a donation and then those tend to go for their latest build as they should.

Reuse-recycle and reduce seems to be the major plan of things. So far we seem to be doing that with flocks of chickens as well. Either way at this time we have collected cement blocks for a smoke house, used tin roofing for the animal shelters, many, many, many bricks from a fire hall that was built in the 10920’s that was torn down, a small stack of lumber from an old farmstead from the 1800’s- all sorts of neat things to use in building that will give the homes and shelters some character. It really is amazing what you can find when folks know that you are looking or what you can pull off freecycle or craigslist and where that may lead when you talk to the person you acquire the items from, always an adventure but only safe if you take a friend with you to pick stuff up- never go alone.

Well we start building next week and the first thing up will be a bath house and then a goat shelter followed by chicken coop and then we start the housing bc we can live in a tent just as well as a house.

For the housing we found this book: http://www.permaculture-media-download.com/2011/07/cob-builders-handbook-you-can-hand.html it is a free online eBook and the rest of the site is a great treasure trove of links and resources.

I hope to post pictures soon as we start building and the hows of what we are doing as well.   I expect there will be a lot of trial and error learning going on as well.

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