Sunday, June 13, 2010

Elkhorn Ranch Updates

Sam has often spoken of his desire to have goats on his property. Until living in the place we are now, we've not had enough property to have something like goats, so it has always been something fun to talk about but not actually reality. Now we live on a 6 acre piece of land, and Sam has fenced the entire property and sectioned off the back and side pastures. This spring he built a couple of small buildings to use as animal shelters. We were all set up but still waiting.

I believe I've already told the story of the goats here on the blog, but here are the original six:
The donkey (Sky), arrived the very next day--after the coyote attack which took two of our goats.

A few weeks later, my darling husband and his friend drove out to the middle of nowhere, TX which holds a weekly goat auction. He took one male to sell at auction and came home with three more female goats (from the auction) and three baby goats (that he bought from a lady he met AT the auction).
The babies were a few months old at the time and they are just the sweetest things.
Two of the three babies let us pick them up, pet them, do pretty much whatever we need to with them. The third is shy and will follow the other two around, but will not come all the way to us.
A few weeks after that, Sam brought home even more goats! The camp that he works at uses goats for an outdoor education program that runs during the school year. At the end of the year they sell the goats at auction and Sam happened to hear about that at just the right time. So we now have 12 goats of various ages. At least one of them is likely pregnant (won't that be interesting!) and we plan to breed them all eventually. Yikes! What have we gotten ourselves into??? :)

Another fun thing we were introduced to recently was a farrier. When we brought Sky home she was three years old and had never had her hooves trimmed or touched. Donkeys are notorious for being unruly when it comes to having their hooves trimmed, so we weren't sure quite what to expect.

Our friend Matt is a farrier and was willing (though not particularly excited) to come out and check out her feet. Sam had noticed a nail in the bottom of one of her feet and the back two were quite overgrown. He got right to work, holding her front leg between his legs to file it down to a proper shape. See how her leg is twisted back and sideways? She just stood there without protesting through most of that! I thought it was fascinating to watch him work.
Eventually she started swinging her head back trying to hit Matt, so he suggested we tie her up to a tree so she couldn't hurt him. He was easily able to work on the rest of her hooves, and the whole process took only about 20 or 25 minutes. Sky really tolerated having her hooves filed quite nicely. Even Matt was pleasantly surprised that she is so incredibly gentle. God was so good to provide her for our family. We've not had any experience with a larger animal, and He knew we would do best with a calm, gentle, sweet little donkey. :)
We have also recently acquired a rabbit. Henry has been wanting one for quite some time and looks at them longingly every time we visit the farm and ranch store in town. He even decided that he was saving his money toward one and was well on his way! A few months ago, Sam decided he would get one for his birthday, as a surprise. He built a rabbit hutch, telling Henry and the other kids that it was a 'chicken hospital' in which we would keep sick chicks that needed to be quarantined from the others. ;) Henry bought the story and didn't suspect a thing. It was a wonderful surprise and he picked the most adorable rabbit that they had. She's a little ball of fluff and calico colored, if you ask Henry. He named her Carrots, and he gives her one every single day. :)
That's all the news from the Elkhorn Ranch. I'll be sure to keep this updated as we have fun changes out here in the country!


Heidi Jo said...

what a fantastic life~ goats and all.

Shanygne said...

this is so great... wish we could come visit!