Archive for February, 2011

postheadericon Building a Small Business and Killing Some Trees

As many of you know (and our new readers will soon learn), we’ve recently joined the ranks of “backyard chicken farmers”.  I mentioned my initial desire to have about six chickens in order to provide enough eggs for us and the immediate family.  Well, the hubby and the Dad decided if six was a good amount then NINETEEN would be a GREAT amount of chickens to have.  Men!

Well, all of this has led to a MAJOR over-abundance of eggs and the addition of “farm fresh eggs” to the things that we are starting to sell here at MoonCat Farms.  I am trying to get completely organized and making sure that everything is legal and by-the-book.  One of the first things I started looking into is insurance coverage

It is amazing how much information is out there and just how uninformed I am!  I had no idea the different types of insurance I could or can’t get for our little operation.  The green things we grow are covered in one area and the birds are a completely different ball game.  I’ve learned things I could never have imagined ~ or wanted to imagine knowing.  So for instance, do you know that along with credit scores there are also insurance scores?  (I found an informative guide to insurance score in case you didn’t and would like to.)  Needless to say, I’m doing more homework than anything else right now.

I’ve been filling out so much paperwork lately that I’m afraid I’m responsible for at least two trees being killed.  I’ve always known that agricultural pursuits are highly regulated, but OMGosh!  I have permantly cramped hands from filling out forms in duplicate and triplicate..blah blah blah… I’m nowhere near done either.  Still have banking to go…

On a good note, we have happy chickens who are happily producing lovely eggs.  LOTS and LOTS of eggs.

Have a great Wednesday my friends.

postheadericon Wedgie’s Week of Woes

Wedgie had a lot of firsts this week – he was FINALLY weaned from his mama, he got his first big boo boo, his first haircut AND he had his first hoof trimming.  All pretty much within 48 hours.  Little guy’s world was turned upside down.

 

We had planned on weaning him a couple months ago, but the unbelievably wet weather the last two months made it difficult.  We didn’t have any spare stalls or inside pens that were dry, so the pasture was the best place for him and his mama.

 

Walking the Wedge
The use of a “butt rope” laid loosely around his hindquarters helps teach Wedgie to walk forward while being lead with the halter.  This is a very common training technique we use with foals.
He was actually taught to lead and accept a halter when he was just a few days old.  He was then turned out with his mama and the other mares in the pasture where he was allowed to just be a baby. (The photo above shows him getting a reminder to go forward when led.) 
He’ll be worked with up close in the barn for a few weeks again while he’s completely weaned and then turned back out to pasture to continue learning how to just be a horse.  He’ll now be out with the rest of “the boys” instead of the mares.  At two years old, he’ll be brought up again and start very light training to be ridden.  Their leg bones are still maturing up to about three years old, so heavy riding at too young of an age can actually be detrimental to their development.  He’ll probably be gelded at this point as well.

 

Boo Boo wrapped in blue
Wedgie’s boo boo.  He cut himself on the ankle when he was having a tantrum over being separated from his mama.  We put them in side-by-side stalls when weaning, but he still managed to have a fit and bang up his little leg on the wall.
**On a related note ~ Horses tend to find numerous ways to hurt themselves.  It’s a full-time job trying to keep them safe.  For instance; if you have a mile of fence posts and only 1 has a tiny nail sticking out, the horse will find that 1 tiny nail and cut himself on it.  I think you could put them in a padded cell, cocooned in bubble wrap and they’d still manage to do something!  It’s part of their nosy nature and part of life with horses. 
Wedgie’s 1st trim
Wedgie received his first pedicure or in equine terms: hoof trim.  A lot of times this is a very difficult task as the babies don’t like their legs and feet messed with and lifted off the ground.  This first trimming was made much easier because we got him used to us touching his legs and looking at his hooves when he was just a few days/weeks old.  The more they’re handled when young, the easier it is to do the necessary tasks as they grow.  He was a perfect little gentleman while Dad trimmed his hooves.  He won’t actually get his first set of shoes for another year or so.
Wedgie’s 1st haircut
This photo was more of a snarky comment by my husband on the similarity of Wedgie’s wild forelock and mane and my wooly head.  It was pretty foggy that day and with a lot of moisture in the air comes lots of curls and frizz in my hair!  So yes, the Wedge and I both have naturally out of control locks.  We did manage to trim what is called a “bridle path” for Wedgie (not me).  It is a strip of about three inches of his mane right behind his ears that we trim down to the base.  It makes it much easier for the halter to fit snugly and secure.  It’s also more comfortable for him as the halter won’t be sitting on top of a wad of mane and pulling his hair.

So that’s pretty much Wedgie’s traumatic week.  He’s doing fine and starting to enjoy being in the middle of everything at the barn.  He has already learned to pull the lid off of the grain bin as he goes by and tries to snag a mouthful of hay when passing the bales.  One thing is for certain, Wedgie will be in the middle of things on a regular basis.

postheadericon Pippi’s Opinion

Pippi, aka Peepers, Rodent, Rat Dog, *&#@(&^, etc. recently shared her opinion of Mr. MoonCat while occupying the couch with him.  I told him that it is unclear if she was commenting on his breath or his attempt at whistling.  Could be a combination of both…

 

What ARE you doing Daddy?

 

Ewwww, what IS that?

 

Make it STOP!!!

 

Just a note, Mr. MoonCat CAN NOT whistle.  It is a major cause for amusement around here as Pippi is demonstrating above.  I have to call/whistle for the dogs (or he has to yell for them) because when he tries to whistle, the dogs all just look at him with their heads cocked to the side as if asking “Why is the air escaping from Daddy’s face while he turns blue?  Why doesn’t he just have Mom whistle for us?”