Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mutant Goats, Space Quail and other oddities

It occurs to me that I have been remiss is introducing readers to the interesting menagerie that we have here at the farm this spring.

In April, we had some Guernsey goats born from Sassy, an 'SR' level doe who came from Stump Hollow. Pippa was the first one out- and she was so small, about 2 lbs., but she was up in about 2 minutes- and I noticed something very strange about her. She had only one eye and no tail!

She had a normal brother and another 'sibling' of indeterminate sex- this is what happens sometimes if you breed a polled goat to another polled goat. This other sibling had very strange body parts, but both little extra kids have left the farm.

Pippa does not run- she hops! She boinks around like a little bunny rabbit and for all her disability, she has more agility than many other baby goats have at her age. She will never be a big doe, and most likely she will not breed, but she is a pet and a good will ambassador for the Guernsey goats here- along with Wilbur and Bo, she'll get to go out and meet folks at fairs and displays.

Now here is something completely different- Guineas. The neighbors call them 'Space Quail' and that's just as good a name as any- those 'deely-bobbers' on their heads make them look like they want us to take them to our leader, which in itself is interesting since they say that to anyone who will listen- Rosie says that hers run around and periodically wonder how they got there in the first place and just where did they put their car keys!

If you want other weird fowl stories, here's one: We were sitting on the sofa last week and heard this strange 'GRONK!" noise outside- Dory got up and looked , but thought it was down the driveway. When I got outside, Dory was standing over behind the milk shed and said , 'Mom, there's peacocks in the woods!' Since she's been wanting a couple of male peacocks for their feathers, I'm thinking 'oh my gosh, the Universe has up-chucked and here's the results.'

She set out food to see if they would come out of the trees, but no. And the next morning, when Deb and Cavey were here, I heard them again and this time they were below the pen. There were three of them, two males and a female- obviously done in after a night of partying, and waiting for their limo to arrive- 'We thought this was a quality establishment....', or whatever their pea brains were thinking. they have not been seen since......

This is 'Wake-y Wake-y', our senior rooster- he sits in trees and yells 'Wake-y, wake-y' at 4 am most days, to which our Border Collie, Flora, 'woo-woo's' back at him for several minutes. she must think she is a chicken......she is 12 years old and well bred- her father in a TV star on Animal Planet- Breed All About It's Pete, owned by Stan Moore of Philadelphia, TN. Sometimes Wake-y Wake-y yells out 'Can you hear me?" and we all say 'YES!'

Here is Pip and one of the Space Quail hens- we noted very early on that Pip's tail has one small vertebrae like a Manx cat does, so her spine will not open up later on and she has control over her sphincter muscle.

Here are two FB Guernsey kids, Iris and Bo, who found a nice cool spot under the shed and just wanted their picture taken......

This is the largest Wolf Spider we have ever seen here on the farm! she decided that she needed to live in the house to have her babies, but we said 'absolutely not!' and promptly took her outside and far away from the house to release her.

And lastly, here is Ms. Sneaky Blacksnake, come to our hen house during brooding season. Dory was cleaning out the hen boxes last week and found her in there- with a nice large lump in her belly that looks about the size of three or four just hatched biddy chicks. I do not begrudge her a large meal, Mother Nature is not pretty sometimes, but she needed to go someplace else to live, so we took her off into the woods and set her free, a mile or so from the house as the crow flies. Doubtful she will be back this way anytime soon......

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