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Milk Train

Oct
27

You see what they’re doing, right?
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That’s Glory Bee at the head of the line. You can see Pumpkin’s little legs on the other side of her. Pumpkin’s sucking on mama. But so is Moon Pie, behind her! And Moon Pie’s calf Gingersnap behind Moon Pie, sucking on Moon Pie!
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It’s like….a milk train. A milking sandwich! A milk cow cluster—!!!!!
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MY COWS SHOULD BE SO ASHAMED!!!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn | Permalink  

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Raising Chicks In the House

Oct
25

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My new chicks have arrived! It’s a batch of up and coming layers–Brown Leghorns, Silver-Spangled Hamburgs, New Hampshire Reds, White Rocks, and Speckled Sussex. Just a few of each. It’s fall, so that means it’s too chilly to keep chicks in the barn unless I use a heat lamp. My barn is 100+ years old. Old wood and lots of hay around in there. I don’t feel comfortable using a heat lamp in the barn, so I’m keeping them in the house.

Chicks need five things to thrive:

1. Food.
2. Water.
3. Warmth.
4. Clean environment.
5. Enough space so they’re not over-crowded.

(6. A little love doesn’t hurt either!)

I’m using large plastic tubs. I drilled holes in the top for ventilation. (Sometimes I take the top off completely, depends on where the cat and pup are at the time, and if I’m available to supervise.)
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I have two of them right now, and I’m cleaning them out twice a day–I just switch them to the other tub, back and forth. I took these pictures right after I put them in the tub. Afterward it occurred to me to put towels on the floor under the tubs, so I have the towels down now. I was concerned the floor would be cold.

I like using clear tubs because it’s sort of like a chick aquarium.
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Buttercup likes it, too.
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And so does Precious.

As they grow, I’ll end up splitting them into two groups in separate tubs, and probably even to a third tub before they’re feathered out enough to move to the chicken house.
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The Brown Leghorns and Silver-Spangled Hamburgs will lay white eggs, while the rest of them will lay brown ones. The young Araucanas that are now in the chicken house will lay blue and green eggs. I’m looking forward to a colorful assortment of eggs in the spring!

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  1. img_8774

    October 17, 2016 - Tips For Training the New Milk Cow

    Cows are not innovative trailblazers motivated to leap tall building or climb mountains, risking life and limb and stability to conquer new lands or reinvent the wheel. They’re steady, solid, dependable, stable backbones of family farming, born to graze here in the morning, graze there in the afternoon, chew their cuds in between, and vote for Charlie Brown every four years because they know it will work out eventually. They’re patient like that…. Continued…

  1. img_8610

    September 28, 2016 - A Boy for Blossom

    I was running water for the cows yesterday morning after milking–which is a lengthy process with big tubs and dry weather that has the cows trying to drink the water even while you’re filling the tubs–and kinda zoning out from boredom while making sure the cows weren’t knocking the hose out of the tubs, when I noticed a tan-colored calf wobbling in the midst of the big cows. I thought, vaguely, I hope Gingersnap … Continued…

  1. img_8538

    September 22, 2016 - Let Sleeping Pigs

    Let sleeping pigs….

    ….make friends with the chickens….

    ….show off their bums….

    ….and look ridiculously cute because when the pigs wake up, they root around the yard, turn over every stone (literally, like in a rocked wall garden), and generally tear everything up.

    So. An effort was made to block their escape path, which … Continued…

  1. diagram_edited-1

    September 16, 2016 - Why Milking Machines Suck, and Should

    My friend Jerry dropped by the farm one day and I showed him my new milking machines. He’s interested in mechanical things, so I showed him how they all go together–the inflations and lines and so on, describing how they’re attached to the cow or goat, and bringing out my old Surge milking machine also to compare the machines. I explained that the Surge was the first milking machine that brought it all together … Continued…

  1. IMG_8415

    July 12, 2016 - The Easy Way to Milk Goats

    In the days following the recent massive flooding in West Virginia, I was milking goats the hard way, by hand with a flashlight in the barn. To call that process challenging would be tantamount to calling the rain we had here on June 22 a light sprinkle. Boy, did I ever miss my goat bucket milker! But, without power (the generator was being used to run fridges and freezers at the house) … Continued…

  1. IMG_8319

    June 20, 2016 - The Birds and the Bees and Glory Bee

    Traffic pileup outside the hay stall in the back barnyard.

    Babies in the way! Here comes one!

    Gingersnap, Moon Pie’s baby.

    How many different ways can I embarrass my cows? That’s Blossom, with her girly unders exposed to the world, AND she’s peeing. AND–does that look like she has … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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