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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry

26 Sounds that Chickens Make and What they MeanFeatured

Written by Gail Damerow of Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens Chicken Talk Researchers have shown that there are at least 24 different sounds chickens make and maybe as many as 30. While chickens don’t have nearly the vocabulary that us humans have, and their chicken brains don’t allow for abstract and deep conversations, they are still a very vocal and conversational critter.  And if you pay attention, you can learn to understand and speak their language too. Baby Talk Pleasure peep-A soft, irregular chirp that says “I’m here and all is well.” Pleasure trill-A soft warbling sound often used when…

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in Blog, Farmlife, Goats, Livestock

A New Baby Goat

  Babies!!! Finally the baby season has started. Usually we have babies running around as early as January, but this year it seems everyone wanted to wait until the weather warmed up a bit.  The long awaited baby of last year’s most adorable baby, Aurora, has finally been born.  She’s so cute and tiny I can barely stand it! It was great timing too.  A waldorf school teacher with an upcoming field trip came by for a tour and after seeing this adorable face, how could she not be super excited about the trip?  I can only imagine what the…

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in Blog, Geese, Livestock

2015 Cotton Patch goslings are here!

There is no happier day on Flip Flop Ranch for me than when the cotton patch goslings hatch.  This year started good with a nice amount of eggs in the incubator week 1 and so far has continued good with many pipped eggs. As of right now, three goslings are out of their eggs and every single one is healthy. It has been a struggle over the years for us to get the hang of hatching goslings.  It’s nothing like hatching chicks which is basically just toss the eggs in and let the incubator run.  Goslings are sensitive and need…

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in Livestock, Sheep

What you don’t know about your pregnant sheep may kill it

Twin Lamb Disease Last night one of our sheep refused to stand up.  This is a big deal with sheep and indicates something is very wrong.  Worse, the saying that a sick sheep is a dead sheep is very true.  A quick look told us this was one of our very pregnant ewes and a quick feel told us that she had lost significant weight recently.  Unlike the other livestock, it is too easy for a sheep to lose weight without any notice.  Their puffy wool makes even the skinniest animal look fat and without feeling through the wool, you…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Prepping, Sheep

Winter is Coming-8 Tips for preparing your farm for winter

This past storm that blew into the desert may have come and gone, but  we can be sure another one is coming with even colder temperatures.  It’s easy for us desert rats to forget how harsh the winters here are after the extreme heat and sunshine of the summer.  Sure it’s not a Vermont winter, but it can still be tough on both farmer and farm animal. Batten down the hatches While ‘batten down the hatches’ is an old shipman’s phrase referring to covering grated openings in the ship’s deck (hatches) with a tarp secured by wooden strips (battens) to…

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in Blog, Chickens, Food Preservation, Livestock, Poultry, Prepping, Published in Daily Press

How you should store your eggs

I lived in Ireland for a few years and one of the things that shocked me the most was going to the grocery store and seeing unrefrigerated eggs sitting on the shelf. I thought it was almost barbaric and I couldn’t imagine how many people got sick from such a backwards practice. Now I know better. Salmonella on My Eggs Although I didn’t know at the time, salmonella was what I worried about when I saw these grocery store shelf eggs.  Salmonella is almost ubiquitous in eggs.  It is a bacteria that comes from chicken feces and can make us…

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deep bedding chickens
in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

The Deep Litter Method

A good friend of mine prides herself on how immaculate her chicken coop is. Granted she only has about five chickens, but it seems as though the droppings have only barely hit the floor before they’re cleaned up. She cleans it morning and evening and it’s so clean you can eat off the ground (okay, not really). Then there’s my coop. We have a little over a hundred chickens and I clean my coop once. No, not once per day. Once per year. Disgusting you say? Healthy is what I say back. What is the Deep Litter Method The Deep…

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in Blog, Livestock, Sheep

How to Shear a Sheep

Nobody shears sheep in the High Desert where we live.  Well at least nobody I could find.  And the summer’s are excruciating so when I first got sheep, they HAD to be sheared.  I decided, like so many other things, that I could just do it myself.  Well, let me tell you, shearing sheep is NOT easy, but it can be done. What you need to shear a sheep Muscle It takes a lot of muscle to hold the sheep and maneuver it around so the very first thing you need is muscle.  If you only have a few sheep…

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock, Published in Daily Press

Handling the Summer Heat

Heat Coping Strategies For You and Your Animals Yikes!  It’s 85 degrees at 7:00am and it’s not even officially summer yet. There are many things I like about living in the desert, but summer is not on the list.  It wasn’t so bad back when I spent my days inside an air conditioned home, but now I am outside most of the day working with animals, mucking pens, pulling weeds or, if I am inside, I am hovering over a hot stove cooking caramel or jam to sell (which is delicious by the way). Heat Coping Strategies For Your Animals…

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in Blog, Bloodhounds, Farm Dogs, Livestock, Published in Daily Press

Farm Dogs

Dogs have always played an important role on the farm from helpers, to protectors to simple companionship.  And the breeds are just as varied.  There’s no wrong breed for the job of farm dog, but each dog has special and unique abilities. The dogs of Flip Flop Ranch At my farm, we have two different breeds of dogs: Bloodhounds and Brussels Griffons.  The hound personality just seems ideally suited to farmlife-easy going, but willing to work hard when asked.  Hounds of all varieties are fantastic for hunting, but our’s are actually trained to hunt people.  We work with police departments…

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