Cappuccina-the-doe kidded at the beginning of March 2019, just a few days after Giselle. It happened all by itself When Edward-the-farmer came to the farm in the morning, he’s discovered two new baby-goats: a girl and a boy .
Cappuccina-the-doe and her newborns.
Edward-the-farmer was so happy – there was a girl finally!
“It’s a girl!”
We named Cappuccina’s kids Vanilla and Milkshake. The coffee family! They were so beautiful and sweet! ❤️
They both inherited the white coloring from Yonkel-the-buck. But the shape of their bodies and the type of their horns were similar to Cappuccina’s.
Yonkel-the-buck, Milkshake-the-kid and Cappuccina-the-doe.
Vanilla and Milkshake have developed very well. They were very gentle and friendly, and started to play with other two kids Castor & Pollux quite soon.
Vanilla and Milkshake became very shy young goats. They liked being pet and were not afraid of people at all. At some moment they even asked to be taken on hands. And when we wouldn’t do that, they would stand on their hind legs, and start nibbling our cloths.
When Castor and Pollux seemed to inherit the leadership skills from their mom Giselle, Milkshake and Vanilla most likely inherited their shyness from Cappuccina.
Milkshake. Such a funny face!
At the end of July 2019, when all goat-kids grew up, all three boys left to another farm. Goodbye Milkshake, Castor and Pollux!
And Vanilla stayed on our farm ❣️
As you know already, last winter our both ewes lambed. And … also … our both does kidded (no kidding ☺️)!
Giselle-the-doe kidded at the end of February 2019, at the same night as Roza-the-ewe.
Edward-the-farmer and Faya-the-guide were lucky to see it. It happened very fast, just a few minutes after Roza-the-ewe and Cheburashka-the-lamb were taken care of. Giselle kidded with two male kids, somewhat 10 mins apart.
New-born babies Castor and Pollux
Padric-the-ram has calmed down by that time. But what about Yonkel-the-buck, Yonkel-the-father? He was the most innocent creature when all of this was happening, indifferently chewing hay in his pen as if those two little baby-goats had no connection to him at all! Oh, these new fathers! But no worries – he became a very good and caring father just in a couple of days.
Yonkel with his favorite wife Giselle and two kids.
The baby-goats were adorable! They were exact copies of Yonkel-the-buck! We named them Castor and Pollux as was suggested by one of our customers. Castor and Pollux were very active from their first days. They drank very well Giselle’s milk and seemed to be very strong.
Play time in the barn
They developed very fast, and we started to take them to walks during our Winter Farm Tours for kids (here the word “kids” means human kids).
Children liked to carry the little goat-kids while being on a walk. And the goat-kids liked being carried by human-kids as well!
On the walk during the Winter Farm Tours
On the walk during the Winter Farm Tours
Castor and Pollux moved to another farm in summer 2019.
We have three adult goats on the farm: two does and one buck. They all are three years old, like the sheep and Ava-the-dog. We got the does two years ago and the buck a year ago. Each one of them has a very distinct temper.
- Giselle is an Alpine female goat. She has a bit of attitude and she is the leader of our herd.
- Cappuccina is a beautiful and very friendly brown Nubian doe. She loves people and people love her too !
Cappuccina with hay
- Yonkel is the last addition to the herd. He was very shy, calm and fearful at the beginning, but now he started to show his real character of a friendly, active and curious Saanen buck.
We also have a few baby-goats.
A baby goat
What do they eat? The goats eat weeds, bushes and leaves in summer. In winter they eat hay. They also like grains, veggies, apples and roots.
Where do they stay? In summer they stay outside during the day, and go to sleep in their summer barn at night. In winter they have morning and evening walks with Edward-the-farmer, the sheep and Ava-the-dog, and stay inside the barn for the rest of the time, together with sheep and chickens.
How do they behave? The goats are very curious and inquisitive, sometimes they fight with each other and with sheep to establish or reconfirm their position in the herd. They all like to be petted.
Giselle and Cappuccina in summer
Yvushka-the-ewe lambed at the middle of March 2019 with a girl Becca and a boy Bublik.
Bublik and Becca on a walk in March. a few days after their birth.
During her first days, Becca was very slow, she didn’t follow her mother Yvushka and didn’t eat well. Edward-the-farmer thought that Becca is sick , and was helping her to find her mother’s udder and drink Yvushka’s milk. It took Becca a few days to heal. And then she became a very sweet, funny and gentle female lamb. Becca enjoyed being carried when she was a little baby. But then she became heavy and we could not carry her anymore.
Becca with Ava
Now Becca likes people, likes being pet, she knows her name and comes when you call her. She inherited the black spots on her nose from her father Padric-the-ram. Edward-the-farmer loves Becca so much ❤️, she is his favorite animal on the farm, and it looks like Becca knows that!
Bublik is a very cute and gentle little male lamb, with a curly tail, shy character and good behavior. All three lambs – Cheburashka, Becca and Bublik – would spend a lot of time together, playing and jumping all over the place.
On that day when Cheburashka ran away, Bublik actually ran together with him , but he returned just a few minutes later – such a good boy!
Both – Becca and Bublik – are very attached to their mom Yvushka, but they would spend some time with their dad Padric as well.
Last winter our both ewes lambed. Roza lambed at the end of February with a baby-boy.
It was one of the coldest days in February . Edward-the-farmer came back home after his evening routine on the farm, and told Faya-the-guide that Roza-the-ewe is in pain, and it looks like she is delivering. We grabbed a blanket, hot water, paper towels and flashlights (as it was already dark) and rushed to the farm.
When we entered the barn, a little lamb was standing there at the common area, he somehow got out of the isolated Roza’s pen. We still don’t know how he did it.
Roza was screaming, calling her baby, but couldn’t reach him. Chickens were clucking, ducks were walking from one corner to another. Padric-the-ram was walking around, nervous and confused. It seemed he was asking a question: “what is going on here?” Faya-the-guide placed three hens on his back, and Padric calmed down a bit.
The little lamb was numb, he didn’t move and didn’t know where to go. Edward-the-farmer grabbed the little lamb, gave him to Roza, covered him with a blanket, helped him to find Roza’s udder and waited patiently till the little lamb started to warm-up.
Roza with her son
He was so beautiful ❤️, our first baby on this farm! We named him Cheburashka. Why did we name him this way? Cheburashka is a character from a Russian cartoon who has very big ears . When our Cheburashka-the-lamb was born, he had such big ears too!
Roza-the-mom and Cheburashka-the-son got attached very strongly to each other. When Roza couldn’t see him for a split second, she would call him right away. He learnt to walk a big distance very soon, and we started to take him on a walk during our Winter Farm Tours for kids.
Our Cheburashka ran away when he was just 4 months old.
We had a hope that one day he will return home, similar to a legendary New Zealand sheep Shrek who ran away and came back home 6 years later covered by 30 kg of fleece!
And indeed. One month later our big boy came back. Everyone was so happy!
Cheburashka on the way home
Back with his herd
First day after being away
Most of our sheep are Polled Dorset breed. We have three adult sheep: two ewes and one ram. And we have a couple of baby-sheep.
Each one of them has a very distinct character.
- Roza is a very shy and fearful ewe. Sometimes she behaves very independently that is not common for sheep.
Our ewe Roza
- Yvushka is a friendly and calm ewe. She knows her name and likes kissing Edward-the-farmer.
- Timbit is the last addition to the farm. He is a different breed, very small and shy. It took him some time to establish his position in the herd.
Our ram Timbit
What do they eat?
- In summer the sheep eat grass, herbs , bushes and leaves.
- In winter they eat hay. They also like special grains, veggies and roots.
Where do they stay?
- In summer ☀️ they stay outside during the day, and go to sleep in the barn at night.
- In winter ☃️ they have morning and evening walks with Edward-the-farmer, the goats and Ava-the-dog, and stay inside the barn for the rest of the time, together with goats and chickens.
Sheep on a walk
How do they behave?
- The sheep are calm and shy but stubborn.
- They are followers in their nature but they can run away during the walks and this is where we need the help of Ava-the-dog to bring them back home.
- Ewes are very good mothers.
When in the winter all our chickens live together in a barn, they form families.
Chickens in the barn
Roosters sing their songs, and hens get attracted by the sound. Hens choose the cock that they like. This is how a chicken family starts to get formed – one rooster and several hens. They stay close to each other during the day. At night, chickens from the same family sleep on perches next to each other.
Chickens on perches
We noticed that on our farm the hens of one breed usually stick together, and they choose a rooster from another breed.
Sometimes it happens that a rooster can chase a hen from another family, and even mate with her against her will. But this does not mean that this hen goes into that rooster family. The hen herself decides which family she belongs to.
By the spring the families are completely formed. When Edward-the-farmer moves chickens into summer coops, he ensures to keep the chickens from one family together at the same coop. Usually, it’s one rooster and 4-6 hens.
We try not to introduce a new hen into already formed family. Why so? Because hens do not like strangers, and will attack the new hen. Sometimes the rooster really likes ❤️ the new hen and he will protect her. But he cannot always protect her. Some hens are very persistent in their rejection of other hens, and continue to attack the new hen endlessly. Hostility and attacks in the family cause stress in all chickens living in the same coop. Just like people, right? ☺️ Under stress, hens cannot lay eggs.
Hens, as a rule, do not like stranger chicks . But some, especially old hens, who no longer lay eggs, accept foreign chicks and take care of them quite like their own mother-broody-hen. These hens can adopt even very small, 2-3 day old chicks. We call such hens “aunties” or “grandmothers” or even “golden” hens. Those are very-very rare.
“Golden” hamburg hen with her chicks
Chicks raised by mom (broody hen) are stronger than incubated ones: they seem healthier, learn faster, behave better and adapt better to the outside world. The first 5-6 weeks after hatching chicks from the incubator spend time without supervision of an adult chicken. But the hen-raised chickens are taken care of from the first day of their life.
This is why sometimes Edward-the-farmer tries to “convince” a broody-hen to adopt incubated chicks. But you need to know how to do it. Mother-hen knows her chicks, and rejects others: she can attack them and even kill them. So how to “convince” her to adopt others, and not of her chicks?
First of all, the time ⏲️ of hatching of eggs on which the hen sits, and the eggs in the incubator must be the same. When Edward-the-farmer notices a hen ready to sit on the eggs, and this is the right time of year for incubation, he begins a new incubation.
The world is not perfect. Sometimes chicks in an incubator hatch first. In this case, Edward-the-farmer will place the chicks from the incubator in a cage with a heating element. He will wait until the eggs under the hen start to hatch. One day later Edward-the-farmer will move incubated chicks to the hen. But sometimes chicks under the hen hatch first. In this case, broody hen will accept other chicks during only two days.
In both cases, chicks are introduced to a hen at night ☪️ when the hen does not see them. And she takes them all! We are lucky that the chickens do not know the math: a broody hen can not compare the number of eggs on which she sat, with the number of small fluffy chicks surrounding her now!
On the photo you can see a black banty hen Julia. She was a perfect mom . She had a record for eggs’ hatching, and took an amazing care of her own chicks as well as the adopted ones. Her chicks were always very clean, well fed, healthy and good behaving. Julia was killed by a mink-predator with all her last hatched chicks at the autumn of 2017. R.I.P. Julia!
What happens when little baby-chicks hatch from eggs? New hatched chicks need heating available any moment.
- After being hatched, they stay in our house for a couple of weeks, in the rabbit cage, with a heating plate installed there.
Little chicks in the rabbit cage with a heating plate
- When it gets warmer outside, we transfer them to our backyard to chicken coops with a heating lamp.
- When they become 5-6 weeks old, they don’t need heating anymore, and we move them to the farm.
Usually, when on the farm, one of the adult roosters become their “teacher” who keeps them warm on cold nights. He also teaches them basic chicken skills and safety behavior such as how to scratch the earth and find insects, not be afraid of humans feeding you, to run away from a predator when it approaches you, and so on.
The teacher and his young students
When little chicks grow up, approximately at the age of 4-5 months, the young roosters start to sing and sometimes to fight with each other and even with their “daddy-the-teacher”, young hens start laying eggs (very small at first), and that’s the sign that their childhood is over .
They get split the same way as other adult chickens on our farm: the hens are kept together with one rooster to 5-6 hens, and the rest of the rooster are relocated to the “roosters only” coops.
We name some of our chickens.
- Harry, Ron and Hermione trio was one of our first attempts to hatch chicken eggs in incubator.
- The trio hatched in spring 2016.
Harry (black), Ron (white) and Hermione (brown) as baby chicks
- They lived in our house in a rabbit cage together with a rabbit who loved these baby chicks.
- Once, when we were feeding them, Ron ran out of the cage, and started running around the house. It took us a while to catch him and place back in the cage.
- When the trio grew up and was introduced to the chicken flock, they stayed together and kept their friendship.
Harry, Ron and Hermione as teens
- Harry, pure ameraucana blood, died at young age (no dark magic involved!).
- Ron, the mix of a white-laying hen and an ameraucana rooster, was the most active chick in this trio. He became an alpha-rooster of the entire flock by the end of 2016.
- Hermione became a nice brown-ish ameraucana hen.
Harry, Ron and Hermione as young adults.