JDiary for each year beginning 2001
Quite a few things have happened since last December'
On my trip home from Melbourne I called in to see a man who breeds Miniature Cheviot sheep. I bought 3 ewes and 1 ram. Now I am excitingly waiting for them to lamb possibly this month. Then we called in to see Christine Stanley in Cranbourne South. She breeds Australian Heritage Angora goats . I made arrangements to lease a buck and a doe from her as I need some new bloodlines in my herd. Looking forward to the kids this season.
From there we travelled to Lill and Rogers farm where we looked at her Australian Heritage Angoras. Very hilly country. I have since obtained a buck from them. We did a swap. She took one of my bucks in exchange for one of theirs.
A very sad time as Conchita is no longer with us. She had a premature foal born about 2 months too soon. It was dead. Then Conchita got an infection. After many trips from the vet she finally had to be put down.
Now there a no donkeys on the farm
December already I can't believe how the time has flown. Picasso the donkey foal has been sold and gone to his new home. I only have Conchita left to sell. She is on the Donkeys for sale page. Jack and Fidget my 2 older donkeys have gone to a donkey sanctuary. I have sold off all my Dorper sheep except one which is due to lamb soon plus a Dorper ram lamb which I intend to eat.
Shortly after Xmas I am going to Melbourne for a couple of days to stay with my daughter. It will be a nice little holiday for me as I haven't been anywhere for quite a long time.
Hasn't the time flown. It is now winter and it is freezing. We have had tomuch rain and my place is saturated. The goats are walking in mud and water.
My donkey foal is now 8 months old and he has been weaned. He is still for sale but he hasn't had a lot of training. He will tie up and have his feet trimmed. I have four does that are pregnant and due to kid in September
I'm back again with more news. Our new foal is growing nicely. Annoying his mother a lot now and she gives him a kick occasionally. I told her you are not allowed to smack your children these days but I think animals have a bit more sense. He will be for sale when he is weaned at 5 months and won't Mum be pleased. I have had lots more silkie chickens and six more baby quail have just hatched.
I have been busy weaving and crocheting. I have put those items on my for sale page.
I have so much grass I have had to have the property slashed. Too much long dry grass for the fire season.
We had a few days of heat wave conditions and it was so hot all the leaves on some of the plants just dried off and shrivelled up. Another hot day coming up today.
My kids fleeces are looking lovely. I plan on shearing on the long weekend in March.
I didn't intend to breed this year to try and cut down on the amount of work I have to do. But it has been passing through my mind that I might just breed a couple. That wouldn't be too bad as pregnant does need extra feeding, especially over the winter when there isn't so much feed around. There is also talk of a drought so it is not a good idea to have too many animals. I got a nice load of lucerene hay last week. Nice and fine. If the stalks are too coarse the goats only eat the leaf and leave the rest which is a waste.
Any one reading this blog of mine must think I have disappeared. I seem to have run out of time.
But I am still here, but just a bit slack at writing things up. I intend to update my website in the near future also. But that is going to be difficult as my brain doesn't work so well sometimes. Lots of things have happened over the last few months. Our weather has been terrible lately. Gale force winds, rain and freezing cold one day and hot the next. Today is a beautiful day. I've had lots of babies. Six Angora kids, three silkie chickens, six baby canaries, three baby quail and a baby donkey. All very exciting. Hopefully I won't leave it so long before I write again
All animals are well except for the donkeys. Too much grass for them and my donkey jack got foundered. He was in pain for a week. Had to give him lots of pain killers and put him into a bare paddock. There is a lot of grass about but not as much as last year, then again it could be because I have sheep as well now. They eat a lot more than goats.
Check out this website: delladownsangoras.com.au It belongs to friends of mine who bought Angoras off me a few years ago.
One more doe has had twin doe kids which is terrific but I am still waiting for the last doe to kid. she is enormous. I hope she doesn't have triplets
Weaned the donkey foal today. Put him I with his grandma who is 18 years old.
I've got 3 full blood Dorper rams for sale only 4 to 5 months old and one 16 month old ram. All are registered with the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia. I also have 2 unregistered ewes for sale.
I will probably consider selling more Dorpers at a later date as I don't want too many sheep either. They have lambs on them at the moment.
I have also converted my book on Australian Heritage Angora goes to an eBook which is available in iPad format only. The content is exactly the same as the existing book. You can purchase the eBook here in iPad format. If you want to preview any of the content, or you wish to purchase a regular book, you can do so here
I had 3 little kids born just last week. One doe and two bucks. I am waiting on two more does to kid. If anyone is interested I am selling one 2 year old buck and I will sell one of the does after she has weaned her kids. I only intend to keep a small herd.
I've still had more lambs from my Dorpers. They don't seem to stop
My donkey foal is ready to be sold. I'll put a photo on the donkey page shortly
The months certainly fly. I'm afraid I can't keep up. We have had the most beautiful sunny Autumn weather. Today it is raining though. It is winter after all.
I am getting my remaining four young Heritage angoras in kid this season.
My Dorper sheep have been having lambs. Five so far and one ewe had twins
I have a new donkey foal who is just gorgeous. He loves to come up for a pat.
There is still plenty of grass about, a good start for the winter
I am finally home from Hospital. Had my second operation and slowly picking. Not much else to tell except I have an awful lot of grass. I will have to get all the paddocks slashed.
If you are ever in Bairnsdale ( One hour from Orbost), my daughter has opened a B and B there. It is lovely a swimming pool and all. She takes workshops in mosaics and has studied in Italy. She also has mosaics for sale. You can take a helicopter ride to wineries or the high country. Her web site is www.ciaomosaico.com
The months have got away again. I've just decided that I can't keep up. A lot has happened. I have been in hospital for over two months. I have had a shoulder replacement and I get the next one done in September. I can walk but not able to use my hands and arms very much. I have had to sell off my pregnant does as I couldn't look after them. I am now down to four twelve month old does and two bucks. Hopefully I can start breeding again in twelve months time. My dorper sheep have had eight lambs since I have been in hospital. A bit sad not being home for that exciting timeI I bought a llama to run with the sheep and he must have done the job ok as I know there is a family of foxes living near my top paddocks and I didn't loose any lambs
Boy how the months fly. I am now down to 12 Angoras. Just a nice little handful for me to manage. I still a lot of grass to be eaten and I had to think what I could get in that would do that job nicely. I decided on Dorper sheep as they don't have to be shorn and supposedly very easy care. They still have to be drenched though so I will have to get someone in to do that job for me. Also eartags with the PIC number on has to go in the lambs ears. So they aren't totally no care. I have got 3 lambs so far. Two little ram lambs and a ewe lamb. Rather cute.
Well I think every body is sick of the rain and we haven't had as much as other people.
I've just noticed that I mostly seem to start off my little bit of gossip with "well"
I've been cutting down on the numbers of Angoras that I have to lighten up the work load and I am really enjoying not having as many hooves to trim and not as many to drench. I don't have any more Angoras for sale at the moment and the good news is there are now more than three breeders of these lovely animals. So with a bit of luck they now won't die out. Read the latest Town and Country magazine, " Living History in the Genes". The importance of preserving the old breeds and pure blood lines
Well it has been the coldest and wettest winter for quite a number of years. The shearing was delayed which unfortunately caused most of the fleeces to felt up a bit. Some of the does had started to shed. The kidding went off well except 2 died because of the cold and wet. I've just discovered that three more are due to kid in a few days time. Not very pleased about that seeing as I am trying to cut down on the numbers. Just as well I made a note on my calendar that Andre had got in with the young does, otherwise I would be trying to remember which buck did the dirty deed.
Well I've been a bit slack with writing up my notes for the year. We had a really dry year just like everyone else. and then it decided to rain in September 100.5ml for the month. More rain in October and some in December. Enough to keep the grass growing. More rain in January and a lot in February. Grass up to my ears and my dam is full to over flowing.
A good kidding season. Most had twins and one had triplets,
Our Autumn weather has been perfect. In the high twenties for a couple of weeks.
I have written a book this year on the Australian Heritage Angoras. How to look after them from wo to go. When I figure out how to do it I will put a link on here so as you can look at some of the pages. I had it printed on premium paper as the goats are so beautiful they deserved the best paper. and all coloured photos as well . I hope you will like it ok. If you didn't know how to look after goats before you will know after you read my book.
I'm still cutting down on goat numbers. Only breeding 6 does this season.
I have a new interest. I am breeding silkie chickens. I have an incubator and at the moment I have got 7 little ones just a few days old. They are gorgeous. They think I am their Mum. There's a black one, a ginger one, a grey one, a light grey one, a yellow one and two are a sort of browny colour. I've just put 16 more eggs in to hatch. It's quite exciting.
It's 21st June today, the shortest day of the year. Hasn't the year flown. Very little rain since January but my grass is green even if short. The cape weed is lovely & thick & green also. I've spent the last 2 days, or two good half days anyway spraying in three paddocks. Hopefully it will die, have to spray while it is still small.
We have had a beautiful Autumn, weather wise. No rain but lovely warm days and no wind. Perfect for gardening. I got quite a lot done. Yesterday I picked the last of my tomatoes. I have had them up until May before but this is the first year I have had them until June. the mornings have been cold down to 2 c but yesterday and today we got up to 19 c
Plenty of grass around at the moment and my dam is full.
I have sold off a few more Angora to some very keen new breeders .Hopefully this will help keep the breed afloat. I have reluctantly cut down numbers as I am finding it difficult to keep up the hard work..
The problem I have found with new breeders is that quite often the they loose interest, but hopefully that will not be the case this time.
Well the grass is actually growing. We had some beautiful rain in November, 174.25ml in total. Most of it in the last two weeks of November. The ground is still lovely and moist and my dam is about 3/4 full.
There is only one problem, I now have to mow the lawn.
Still hardly any rain to speak of. The grass is green but there is no growth so it looks like a bad summer coming up. The only hand feeding I am doing at the moment is to give some hay occasionally. I am nearly out of hay so it is rationed.
When the paddock feed is scarce I make up a mix of lucerne chaff, oaten chaff, steamed & rolled oats, goat pellets, bran, a goat mix which contains molasses, seaweed meal & some dolomite lime. Then I mix up some Vitec Min-Kel ( a liquid containing kelp & added minerals) with some Vitec Apple Cider Vinegar. I then stir that into the chaff mix. It looks & smells delicious. The goats love it & I put out enough to give each goat about half a litre each. I feed this about twice a week when feed is scarce. They also get either lucerne hay or good quality grass hay most days.
It is very important for goats to get extra minerals in their diet as they are naturally browsers but generally are forced to eat just grass which has not got enough mineral content. I put out an iodised salt block (we are an iodine deficient area) a sulphurised salt block and also a piece of pink rock salt. I put out seaweed meal separately once or twice a week if not given in the chaff mix. An easy way to feed a lot of goats or put out seaweed meal is to put it out in an old piece of spouting.
An interesting thing this year was that because it was costing me so much for extra hand feeding. I concentrated on feeding the pregnant does really well with the mix I make up & making sure they had plenty of seaweed meal & the Vitec Min-Kel in their diet. Their fleeces when shorn were beautiful but the young does who missed out on the extra feeding and minerals had a shorter fleece & it contained a lot of dandruff. They mainly got hay to fill them up. Dandruff is a sign of stress ( very little feed) and mineral deficiencies. So guess what I will be doing next time.
Vitec Min-Kel, seaweed meal and apple cider vinegar are available from Vitec Australia Pty Ltd. Click here to go to their site. They have lots of interesting organics products. I am about to try some of their new products, apple cider vinegar & garlic, Vitec Omega cod liver oil, and D.E (Diatomaceous Earth.) I had only read about the D.E in the US web site I have listed on my links page. I didn't know it was available in Australia. It will be great if it gets rid of the goat worms.
Sign up for the Vitec online newsletter, it is full of helpful hints.
More good news is that I have now got 2 more couples who have bought some does & bucks between them. I'm down to the bare bones now so I won't be selling any more at this point in time.
It's been interesting reading each years write-up and the changes in the weather each year.
My kidding this year was in August which is usually a reasonable steady sort of month. But not this year. the does decided to kid in the coldest & windiest days they could have picked. It was freezing and of course the cold wind is the killer. I lost one set of triplets and one set of twins but also seventeen live kids which included 1 set of triplets, 2 singles and 7 sets of twins. All doing well so far.
We have had the lowest rainfall this Autumn & Winter for quite a number of years. I have been hand feeding for several months which isn't good for the pocket. Also as I haven't been feeling a ball of muscle this winter myself, hard decisions have had to be made. I will be cutting my herd down to just a bare minimum.
It has been an excellent year here.
Lots of rain. The kids have grown well and the does are in
excellent condition which means the mohair is of very good quality.
I am particularly pleased with my third shearing this year.
I'm a bit late updating this time as my kids are now nearly 6 weeks old. I've had 4 sets of twins, 4 singles and 1 set of triplets. All doing well as I have a nice lot of grass so far.
We have had some very welcome rain this month. It has been very dry up until now. I've been busy spraying all the weeds that have sprung up & the new grass seed I planted has just sprouted. Quite exciting.
October 2006: Lots of nice rain and plenty of grass. Better than a lot of other places in Australia. It's been a good kidding season. Two does had singles and the rest had twins. One doe still to kid. I've got 21 kids, 8 buck kids and 13 doe kids. A fox has only got one so far. Looking at 2001 where I thought 6 kids were just a nice bunch to handle. I think I have gone a bit overboard this year so hope I manage the extra work. My mohair has been been in such high demand from craft workers both here and overseas that I have nearly run out. If all these kids survive for three shearings it will give me a nice supply of mohair to have on hand. The first 3 shearing are the best and some of them still have an excellent fleece the following winter, their fourth shearing. It is pretty similar to the third but not quite as curly
January 2006: We have had an excellent season. Grass up to my knees. Had to get it all slashed this month..
My mission is to encourage the breeding of the purebred Australian Heritage Angora goat. It would be a pity to lose these wonderful genetics, as I can't go on forever, no matter how much I would like to.
Click large photos to view photos of my white Angora goats. It will take a little longer to download.
July 2005: An excellent breeding season. I had 9 does in kid and they have produce 17 kids between them. Two does had singles, one doe had triplets and the rest had twins. Ten doe kids and 7 buck kids. A pretty good average I thought. They are just over a fortnight old now and I must have fixed the fox problem. I had a shelter shed built in a small paddock near the house with a small yard attached. I locked them up in the yard each night with one of the alpacas & let the dog have the run of the paddock. So far so good anyway.
2004: Not looking good at this point in time as the does
have been returning to service. The effects of the drought
we have been having. The does & buck not in good enough condition.
November 2004: Good and bad news. the good news is that 4 does actually
got in kid. I had taken the buck out in disgust in June,
after the does had returned to season 4 times. Two does had twins
and two had singles.
2003: Kidding season 2003. What a change from 2001, the ground is like a rock. It has been so dry and our drought hasn't broken. Luckily we had a bit of rain early spring which brought some nice green grass. I have had a good kidding season too. I have 23 kids at the moment. I bought two alpacas, having been told how good they are at keeping foxes at bay, so they must have done the trick. Although I lost 3 kids to the foxes and two to crows.
2002: Kidding season 2002 is a write-off. The foxes got most of my kids.
2001: Well my kidding season is over for this year (2001) thank goodness. The does could not have picked a worse time to have their kids. We have had the coldest, wettest & windiest winter for at least the last 8 years. It is now spring and it is still raining. Just as well the goats are tough. The ground is like jelly. I'm glad I have goats with clean legs. I pity the ones that have mohair down to their hooves. It must be a shearers nightmare also. I only bred from my old does this year and have 2 doe kids and 4 bucks. Just a nice small handful. I am starting to get a few too many goats to be manageable by myself so will have to cut down.