Monday, December 14, 2009

December Does

Nia is in heat and Zuri ( tail tucked on the right) is not.
I took these photos a couple days ago about midday. This is about how light and bright it is getting daily. The sun will not shine on our land for another month. The day light hours are so few that I look forward to day break, I get out, visit and watch the animals. I look out the windows and enjoy seeing the snow, the trees covered in frost and chickadees at the feeders. It is almost like I forget what I am missing until I have it again. By mid February I will be ecstatic about the sun hitting the house and coming in the french doors. The kids and I will take advantage of every ray coming in the windows, migrating as the sun moves through the house, shining on floor, blankets and the couch.
Nia is mounting Zuri while the girls try to enjoy their breakfast. Rose is the white doe. Nia is her daughter. They are both completely obnoxious and vocal when they are in heat. I am not breeding either doeling as they were born late in the season. They are about eight months old and are far to small for breeding. They were born in April and May. Last year we didn't breed our doeling either and now she is almost bigger than anyone, and looks so robust and healthy. Unfortunately she completely hides her heat cycles and I can barely get her to stand still to look under her tail.
This is Xanadu. I am excited about our coming kidding and milking season together. I miss milking Xanadu. I try to give her attention but I deffinitely don't handle her as much as the does I am milking. Last winter we thought she was bred but come time to kid her udder never filled, nor did she kid. Fortunately we didn't really need the extra milk. This year Xan has filled out and is looking good, she moved from bottom of the pack to leader. I bred her in September and was looking forward to some early kids but she came back into heat on Thanksgiving. So we bred her again but now we probably won't have kids until April. I was looking forward to February for once. Early kids would be nice for several reasons. We'll try again next year. Both Rose and Xoe are also bred to kid in April. Yin is the only doe I've yet to breed, and I think she might be going into heat tonight. If Xan has a doeling we will definitely be keeping her!
This is a nice picture of Xan and the doe's covered area. The feeder on the left has since been lowered. You can see their door on the left has a flap in addition to a plywood flap that is latched in the upright position- but I can lower and close it to keep them in if I need to. Last winter we had a wolf scare and for a couple weeks I screwed plywood over the flap every night and then took it off in the morning. On the far right there is a plywood gate into a future pen so we can move does easily. The mineral and baking soda feeder is on the back wall. Notice how much hay covers the ground. Magic was my horse of eleven years and she ate every speck of hay every feeding her entire life. I am so not use to such hay wastage especially at the price we pay for hay, which I cannot bear to go into at the moment (future post). Someday we will build a more efficient covered hay feeder which will help. We use hay for bedding. Straw is a better insulator so makes for a warmer bedding. Straw is almost as expensive as hay so we just use the old hay that they don't eat. I toss the leftovers in their stalls daily and it builds up becoming quite warm and soft by mid winter.

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