Archive for Animals

Buying a Cow

Did you know that many of our animals we did not set out to buy? They sort of just happened at the right time and place (seller). Guess what? We bought another cow. Yes, another cow. Heifer actually since she has not yet had her first calf. It’s an investment really. You see, Eclipse (a.k.a.) Miss Moo is struggling to carry a calf. We are pretty sure she’s been successfully AI’d (artificially inseminate) twice now but has lost both calves early in pregnancy. We AI’d her again last Tuesday with a Dutch Belted cow (oreo cookie cows! :) ). Due to the trouble we’ve been having with her, I’ve been in touch with the farmer who had Miss Moo before the man we bought her from last spring. That farmer, farmer J, has been very helpful and resourceful in answering my questions and giving me more of Miss Moo’s history. When I reached out to farmer J a few weeks ago after Miss Moo’s most recent pregnancy loss, farmer J shared she was about to put Miss Moo’s daughter up for sale. This cow has the same calm temperament, is purebred Guernsey and is just going on three years old – due to calf in September with a Guernsey/Jersey cross! This cow wasn’t even been named yet so B got to name her Comet. Comet was delivered to our farm on Friday night.

FFR Comet 041214

Another reason to buying a cow (or another cow in this case) is because when you have more than one cow it is easier to document their heat cycles. Now B has been very good at noticing Miss Moo’s cycles but with our less than stellar success rate in getting her bred/carrying a calf, another cow could help us in that process. Plus, we’ve wanted a calf from Miss Moo and this guarantees we have one, in case we continue to fail in breeding Miss Moo. We have a nice retirement plan in place for Miss Moo if that happens.

Things we look for when buying a cow:

- Temperament is the most important to us. Yes, even more than production at this point. If our children are going to be the ones handling 1200 pound animals they’ve gotta have a calm disposition.

- Udder. We look at her udder. Though in Miss Moo’s daughter’s case, she hasn’t produced milk yet but B will want to check her teats etc. to see how she looks and will be like to milk. Otherwise we would try milking her to see how well she stands etc. We missed seeing Comet has a fifth teat, but that won’t affect her milking since it is behind all the rest. This would be important if she was being showed, but she won’t be.

FFR Buying a Cow 041314

- Body condition, though we didn’t know anything about this when buying Miss Moo, I didn’t suspect it would be a problem since she is coming from a good farm. But we are still learning about body condition for heifers so what do I really know?

- Halter and leading. We halter Miss Moo and lead her with a lead rope. Comet has not been led or haltered so we had an interesting time of it on Saturday the day after she was delivered. I was quickly reminded why I was so hesitant to buy a young heifer! Comet has not been handled much at all since birth as she was put out to pasture with the herd until she was bred and ready for sale. I am happy to say she is slowly getting better.

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Week #17 Saturday Top Five Laughs

Saturdays Top Laughs dentistmelsbbutton-11

Getting back on track with our Saturday Top Five Laughs and joining Mel over at The Mommyhood Chronicles for week #17 (for us) in the Saturday Top Five Laughs of the week. I’ve gone back to trying to keep track of little things that happen each day so I don’t forget so many of them. I lost a couple of pieces of paper over the last two months when I neglected to put them down right here on the blog!

5. Padfoot was gun shy of water in his inflatable pool. Go figure. Yet Pumpkin, one of our cats, was discovered in Padfoot’s pool one afternoon!

4. A couple Mondays ago, in the evening, our 30 year old horse showed off 2 year old antics!

The girls say he’s obsessed with Miss Moo. The girls took the cow in first and Blaze was whinning up a storm. So while one of the girls was in the hay loft getting hay, the other girl starts yelling get back here because…..guess what Blaze did? He took off running in a canter around the house, down our road, then turned west down at our crossroads, turned aroundd waited at the gate on that road, which is locked. The girls think he was showing off for the cow. He’s going on 30 but think he’s 2!

The cars drove on the opposite side of the road. One guy stopped to see if the girls needed help, laughing all the while.

Apparently he got past O when she was closing the gate to his pasture.

Thankfully he’s ok and we can all laugh about it now but sheesh! Certainly didn’t expect him to ever do that!

FFR The Ford Expedition

3. We bought a used Ford Expedition nearly a month ago and the children nicknamed it “Hulk” because it’s big and green. Our eight year old daughter calls it “Hunk”! ;)

2. The photo below speaks for itself. ;)

FFR Goofy three year old.jpg

1. For some reason my husband either threatened or took dessert away from our three year old last night…..what does Jr. do? He blackmails us with/about pull-ups . He stalked off and said he wasn’t using his potty he was going to put on a pull-up and he did! Hubby forgot to put the pull-ups out of reach this morning or last night! But our son is a little stinker! What he didn’t realize is his daddy still wouldn’t give him dessert.

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Oberhasli Goats – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Goats 032914

Goats like to climb. Our two Oberhasli goats are no different. They love to climb on a concrete pile the previous farmer left by the barn. It’s not a secure area so they have to be watched as they bounce and flit hither and yon.

FFR Oberhasli Goats 040914

We are working on getting their pasture fenced. While we tried working, the goats enjoyed spending time in their new pasture as we moved cow panels to outline where we want the fence lines. Right now the panels are just propped up against the old fencing, which is partially useable but far too low – the goats would jump over it. It was fun watching their antics but they definitely distracted from our work!

What did you do today?

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Cow Trouble – Wordless Wednesday

Loony Acres Miss Moo 032914

Yes, we’ve been having a bit of cow trouble. Some might thing our cow “honeymoon” is over but that’s not really the case. Though we have the following cow trouble, we still adore Miss Moo (a.k.a. Eclipse).

Cow Trouble

Head stuck in a gate/stall. Very serious but by the time the vet got here she was perfectly fine. Figures, right?

Mites or else she’s rubbing the hair off her neck when she puts her head through her gate.

Getting out of her stall.

Getting into cat food….eeeewww! Not exactly what I want to eat via her milk. :0

Getting out of her pasture through the little bungie gate. It’s electrified but she was getting out. We think it was being ground out somehow. She’s been good this week but we will be shoring up that gate to prevent her from getting out anymore.

She lost another calf two weeks ago. :(

Yet we love her.

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Alcott Adventures Inflatable Pool for Pets & Giveaway #DogsLoveAdventure

FFR image for posts

The weather is s-l-o-w-l-y warming up here in the Chicagoland area. It’s actually suppose to be 60 degrees today! Yesterday we were outside as a family hanging out, doing a bit of yard work but mostly just enjoying watching the animals and being together. So much for productivity in the work department, eh? We were all on one of the hay racks and I saw Padfoot just sitting in the backyard watching us. That’s when I suggested that he really should be with us while we were outside. B voiced her concerns over Padfoot getting her goats but I assured her he’d stay by us. How did I know that? I didn’t for sure but felt pretty confident he’d be content to play, be petted and hang out with us. And I was right. He chased the ball for the children. He took a run with B and generally sniffed around marking his territory.

FFR Padfoot Alcott inflatable pool

Padfoot is half Newfoundland, a breed of dog bred for water rescue in icy water, so he has triple layer of skin to protect him from the cold. This means in the summer time he really minds the heat. He needs lots of water, shade and to be cooled off, if he’ll let us. He’s not a fan of the water hose unless it is to drink from it. We’ve never taken him swimming, though we want to, so I thought reviewing an inflatable pool for pets would be a wonderful relief to Padfoot during the hot summer months. I also purchased the cooling bandana as well, just to try it out and try to keep “pup” cool this summer.

I was very thankful the weather was suppose to be warm today because I had been putting off messing with water hoses and cold water during freezing temperatures, especially since we’ve been sick with this horrible chest cold for the past two weeks.

Alcott Adventures Inflatable Pool Review

Alcott Adventures Logo

Padfoot actually barked at me when I was finishing blowing up the pool and then was shy about getting into the pool. We had to coax him into it with treats. I don’t think it’s hot enough to warrant him being interested even with his Newfie blood.

I had to blow the pool up by hand (mouth really) because we don’t have a pump and I doubt any store does at this time either. I wasn’t about to waste a beautiful day hunting for a pool pump. The valves had to dry before they stayed shut. Other than those challenges the pool will be a keeper for Padfoot this summer. If he doesn’t use it, the geese will, if he doesn’t burst it before then.

About Alcott Adventures:

  • Alcott offers dogs and their owners a complete line of gear and accessories to turn everyday walks into extraordinary adventures.
  • Alcott reinvented sizes for dogs to make it easy on their humans. Generally speaking, if you buy a medium collar, you’ll also use a medium in all the other Alcott products.

What’s interesting about Alcott’s websites is you can shop Alcott online in two ways: either by category or by adventure. The Alcott store locator is available at: http://alcottadventures.com/apps/store-locator


Alcott Adventures $25 Gift Code Giveaway

Do you have a pet you’d like to gift with an item from Alcott? Enter our $25 gift code giveaway below. Giveaway ends 4/6!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Week #16 Saturday Top Five Laughs

Saturdays Top Laughs dentistmelsbbutton-11

I knew once I missed on Saturday Top Five Laughs, it would be hard to get back to getting them done, but we are getting back on the bandwagon and joining Mel over at The Mommyhood Chronicles for week #16 (for us) in the Saturday Top Five Laughs of the week. Granted most of them are about the animals!

5. Our goats got out of their stall this morning. They have been working on this for three weeks and finally succeeded! They wreaked havoc in the barn and made more of a mess than our cow or horse has ever done! That was a few weeks ago and they’ve had a lots more escapades! Thankfully due to their trust in B and O the goats are fairly easy to catch….most of the time.

4. We went to see a heifer (young female cow who has not calved) yesterday and while we were visiting with her and her owners she sniffed around a pile of manure then proceeded to do her business on top of that! I looked at her owner and said, “You trained her well.”

3. Jr. took a red marker and put these red lines on his feet and said he was Iron Man. (He’s very into super heros.)

2. Jr. one evening this week had a pen and paper. First he said, “Mommy, me love you sooo much.” Then he said, “Dear Mommy, Dear Daddy, Me love you soo much!” Heart throbs!

1. We were all outside today since it was warmer (in the 40′s) and sunny. So we all gathered around one of the hay racks our hay guy left in the field. We were just sitting there shooting the breeze, petting the cats and dog. I was giving the dog some lovins and B was next to me with one of the kittens. Padfoot wasn’t doing anything but enjoying my petting him and Freckles wigged out and scratched Padfoot on the nose! Padfoot yelped, then offended barked but backed away and came to my other side for love. Previous to this, Badger, our black and white kitten, had royally hissed at Padfoot for simply looking at him! Guess Padfoot probably deserved it for all the times he has tormented them, but still he was being a good dog today.


What has made you laugh this week?

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Wellness for Pets #checkyourbag #naturaldogfood

This is a paid post.

Did you know….

  • Pet ownership in the U.S. has more than tripled from the 1970s, when approximately 67 million households had pets, to 2012, when there were 164 million owned pets.
  • According to a Packaged Facts survey, 83% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family.

We love our dog. Padfoot always seems to have a “smile” for us. You know what I mean. Some dogs just genuinely seem to be happy all the time, that’s Padfoot. He truly does offer us unconditional love and is very eager to please us, especially now that he’s a bit older…he’s turned two last month!

We enjoy taking him for walks, playing with him and he loves to spend time with us. We also love rewarding him with dog treats. As you know, we feed Padfoot pretty much a natural diet. What about you, do you feed your dog a healthy, natural diet?

Wellness for Pets

Did you know that a diet formulated with wholesome, natural ingredients could help your dog live a longer, healthier life, but that most dog foods aren’t made up of natural ingredients?

Why are natural dog food diets so important anyway? “Natural products go far beyond just basic nutrition,” says Dr. Al Townshend, staff Veterinarian at Wellness® Pet Food. “Natural diets are designed to provide the very best nutrition and can have significant benefits.”

In fact, according to Dr. Townshend, “natural diets offer ingredients with some important health benefits such as probiotics, those good bacteria that are essential for a healthy immune system and digestive tract; glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health; omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils for heart and kidney health; and added digestive supplements to enhance digestibility to get the very best benefits from quality proteins and fats.”

Wellness Natural Pet Food for Dogs and Cats

As a leader in natural pet food, Wellness uses natural, high-quality proteins and fats in their dog food recipes. They also include fruits and vegetables for natural vitamins, minerals and other benefits, especially antioxidants that occur in blueberries, cranberries and some vegetables, which help make their dog food products some of the healthiest options in the marketplace.

Wellness recipes do not include added artificial colors, flavors or ingredients, and they’ve even created a helpful “Check Your Bag” website that you can use to compare their natural dog food to those from some competitors who claim to be natural.

Some of the biggest benefits to Wellness® Complete Health® Recipes include:

  • Live Active Probiotics – Added after the cooking process to promote a healthy intestinal tract and overall digestive health at guaranteed levels

  • Omega 3 & 6 Mix – Offering guaranteed levels of essential fatty acids for cellular function and healthy skin

  • Essential Vitamins & Minerals – Designed for cellular health, immunity and disease resistance

  • Fruit & Veggie Antioxidants – A proactive step in improving your pet’s nutrition

  • Rigorous Safety Testing – A Quality Assurance program that maintains strict standards for food safety

  • Excellent Nutritional Standards – Every batch of dry food is tested throughout the entire manufacturing process, from its basic ingredients to the finished products

While Wellness might not be as widely-known as some of the more mainstream brands of dog food, their devotion to quality and natural, high-quality ingredients makes their food safe, wholesome and beneficial to pets’ health and wellbeing.

To pick up a bag of some of this high-quality, natural dog food, you can order it online or stop by one of the retail locations listed in the Wellness Store Locator.

But be sure that you also connect with their Naturally Well Pet Community, a free online program that provides exclusive savings offers, fun contests and helpful tips about keeping your pets happy and healthy.

And consider following their Facebook page and Twitter feed, where you can join in on the fun with a huge group of fellow animal lovers who share heartfelt, funny stories, entertaining photos and videos of their pets.

If you’re at home as you read this, it’s a good bet that your dog is sitting right next to you, watching your every move. Take a quick moment to tell them about the importance of eating a natural diet, then watch the look on their face… we promise they’ll still love you!

You can visit Wellness Pet Food for a store near you.

Check out this No Artifical Preservatives video….very cute dog is featured! Video – 15NoArtificialPreservatives


What do you feed your dog?

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DIY Goat Stall from Wood Pallets

You all know we are on this farming journey. Well, it is not yet a profitable venture, so we try to conserve, save and reuse. Someone suggested a DIY goat stall from wood pallets. Usually wood pallets are easy enough to find and many times are even free. Gotta love free stuff! There’s a subdivision not far from us on a busy road, which we pass all the time. One house has had a pile of wood pallets there for what seems like years. My husband decided to drop buy and ask if he could have some….just a few days before the goats were due to arrive home! To our delight the man said yes and gave them to us for free! I don’t remember how many pallets my husband and son brought home but they’ve built two stalls so far and have a couple more yet to build. These photos are not the greatest since our barn is so dark but it gives you and idea of how hubby did it. It was our oldest son’s idea to have the goat stall gate swing two ways to save on building another gate.

DIY Goat Stall Gate with Wood Pallets

We just found another source for free wood pallets and we are hoping they still have some left! With the warmer weather coming this weekend (we hope!) it would be nice to get a little pasture fenced off for the goats, another stall done for the sheep and ?????

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White Chinese Geese

We were given a pair of White Chinese Geese on Friday. They came from the same farm as our goats. We wanted to try having geese as they are good watchdogs or sentinels. We thought they would announce anything on the west side of our barn, as well as help alert the hens to hawks. So we shall see.

The children call the geese Mr. Squak and Mrs. Squeek! :)

About White Chinese Geese

They are very loud, as you will note from the video above, which we took in January at our friend’s farm. They were announcing our arrival.

Like most geese they stay with the same mate for life.

Their eggs are edible. They can lay 40-100 eggs per year. Our female goose already laid an egg but due to the low temperatures the other night, it exploded. :(

This type of goose is good for weeding. When I found that out I tucked the information away in my mind to use once we have our garden done.

White Chinese Geese are on The Livestock Conservancy watch list so we will be helping increase their numbers if we allow our geese to raise some goslings.

Geese can be quite aggressive and have very strong wings. This is a bit of concern with young children so right now we have the geese in a stall until the ground thaws enough to put fencing up for them. As it was, over the weekend the male goose (gander) hissed at my husband when he was freeing Annabeth (goat) in the next stall from getting her head wedged in her stall gate.

Our geese upset our whole barn with their honking. Not sure if the other animals have got used to them or not.

Just another interesting animal addition to our farm!

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Cats Riding a Horse – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Cats on Blaze 031114

Om our third oldest daughter caught Freckles (left) on our horse Blaze yesterday. Badger (right) was ready to jump up so she put him and Selene (middle) up there too. Ever see cats riding a horse? Neither have we.

By the way, I was wrong on the kittens sex. Freckles and Badger are males! Aw well, what can I say, I haven’t had cats or kittens since I was a child! Ha! I’ve been told they are hard to sex when they are small so that made me feel less of a fool. So the battle of the cat sexes are even at three and three!

The children tried putting our Tom cat on Blaze too but he was too scared and jumped off! Or so they say. ;)

I thought Om captured this photo very well.

Do you see the straw hanging from Badger’s mouth? ;) He was having fun rolling in the hay!

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