James Hill Goats

Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats for milk, pet or show


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The chicks arrive...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (31)

  The chicks arrived on time after a month of eager waiting. They arrived with no casualtys but, one poor chick had an extreme birth defect. He arrived with a serious crook beak.  Mom had to humanely dispatch the chick because, he would die of starvation.  The crook beak wouldn't allow him to eat.

I ordered 18 chicks, 6 each of buff laced, gold laced and silver laced Polish.  The gold laced are my favorites.  I am hoping to get at least one nice breeding pair (or trio!) of each to start my Polish project.  Later, I intend to add a frizzle.  Those crazy feathers just crack me up! 

The rest were uninjured and arrived safely.  Or brooder set-up is simple:  a large plastic tub with a wire cover, with a brooder light on top. We have use a bright 60 watt bulb to keep them warm on cold fall nights.  After a week of so, we will change to a 40 watt bulb for two weeks, followed by a 25 watt red bulb.  The red color helps keep them from pecking at each other as they will do when they get a little older.  

Soon they will become larger and more active.  One day they will be bred to produce newer, brighter, richer color feathers, and add white eggs to the color spectrum of eggs in our basket!

A new chapter begins...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 13, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Those who follow us have already met our son, Colt.  He is active in most of our farm activities, but enjoys the chickens most of all.  For his 4H project this year, he asked to have his own particular breed of chickens.  He chose the Polish breed for their wacky good looks and clownish personality.   

The shipment of day-old chicks safely arrived last week from Ideal hatchery.  At his insistance, the brooder boxes are set up in his bedroom so he can keep a close eye on the chicks and their antics.  As part of his project, he decided to keep a weekly (or more frequent) blog of the trials, tribulations and rewards of being a small scale poultry farmer.  So keep an eye out for his upcoming posts (this is sure to be entertaining, and perhaps even informative!) 

Fall is in the air...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

There is a definite snap in the air, even here in the deep South.  Fall is on the way!  Crisp orange and red leaves raked into a pile, ready for jumping in. Warm apple cider with a sprinkle of cinnamon to warm you up when you finish up the evening chores.  Pumpkins and gourds and scarecrows...a riot of color and texture!  

To dress up the house a bit, we always decorate a grapevine wreath for the season.  While wandering a thrift shop and yard sale or two (or three or four...but who's counting?), I found all the materials for this years wreath.  A mass of flowers in fall orange and red, acorns and corn.  A smiling scarecrow.  A showy orange and gold scarf.  Perfect!  And all materials were less than four dollars (including the wreath).  It looks perfect on the split level railing, overlooking the dining area:


New chicks...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 12, 2013 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (51)

Colt chose the Polish breed as his 4H project chickens.  We ordered from Ideal hatchery.  All 18 arrived alive, and all are eating and drinking well.  Look at those little poofy heads!


Good help is always appreciated...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 12, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

While we were building on the chicken complex the other morning, someone stopped in to visit with us.  He's been to our place a few times, and knows his way around.  He was more than willing to lend his services.  Now he's just not physically capable in the hammer and saw department.  But he was eager to jump right in...to a mouse burrow and help root out those little demons!


And not to be left out...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 8, 2013 at 12:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I sure didn't want the goats to feel left out of the proceedings this morning.  So my first chore of the day was to worm the entire goat herd.  (Not exactly what they had in mind, but any attention is good attention, right? :roll:)  We have a few 5-6 month old does that we have decided to sell to make room for the planned breedings this fall.  

James Hill Sierra Leone (her dam is very petite, and one of my best milkers).

James Hill Cinder Ella (left) and James Hill Nightshade (right).  (I had initially planned to keep Nightshade, but am keeping both her dam and her sister.  It makes sense to let her go...but she needs to go QUICKLY before I change my mind again!) 

First trip outdoors...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

To get them accustomed to the heat, I brought our new batch of Olive Egger chicks outdoors for a couple of ours this morning.  Needless to say they were a bit hesitant to strike out on such an adventure:

But they were more pleased with the idea once they realized that breakfast was to be served in the new establishment:

Of the six B/B/S Marans/Ameraucana crosses we set, we hatched two of each color: blue, black and splash.  We are still unsure of the sexing on some, though.  Those pea combs are the devil to determine early, and I'm no good at vent sexing.  We'll just have to wait it out!  I'm hoping the splash chicks are both girls.


The chicken "complex"...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 8, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We were out early this morning, putting the finishing touches on the additions to our chicken housing.  Trying to beat the heat and finish up by noon.  Hubby started with making the gate for the new 8' x 8' run.  Maybe I pushed him out the door a little TOO early...he looks as if he could stand another cup of coffee:

All in all, I think we have been making good progress.  I am particularly happy with the larger free range area.  It gives the chickens a place to scratch and peck during the day, while seeking the safety of their runs and coops at night.  The structure is mostly complete, and I'll landscape with chicken friendly plants next week:

I think the chickens are impressed, too.  One of our Ameraucanas laid this for us while we were busy cutting and sawing:

So far, it's been a pretty good day! 

Whew, what a busy day...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 8, 2013 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (345)

It has been a very (HOT!) and busy day on our homeplace today.  After any early trip to the feed store, we jumped straight in to building an addition to our chicken pens. Hubby says I can no longer use the word "pens" to describe our chicken housing...he says I must use the term "complex"! I must admit there is more than a little truth to his perception.  Today we built an additional 8' x 8' run, and doubled the free-range area.

What brought this all on was the purchase of a new trio of both Black Copper Marans and Black/Blue Ameraucanas.  They are the next step in our "olive egg" project.  We settled on those two breeds exclusively for the OE project, and passed our Salmon Faverolles, Penedesenca roo and EE's on to a friend who is starting her own OE/EE adventure.

 And speaking of olive eggers...did I mention we had a 100% hatch on the seven OE eggs we set?  6 of them are Marans/Ameraucana crosses, with the 7th being a Penedesenca/EE cross.  It was our first hatch with our new Brinsea incubator, and I can't recommend it highly enough.  Incredibly easy to use, just set it and go!  Clean-up was simple too. We have a second batch in it now, with 13 days to go (Jubilee Orpingtons, the only other breed we are now keeping). 

   Well, those adorable fluffy OE chicks have GROWN like WEEDS, and are in need of permanent housing outdoors.  They are currently sharing our son's bedroom, and now that they are getting older, louder and smellier, he is ready to issue an eviction notice. We should have the run construction finished up tomorrow, though they will have a temporary coop until I can complete their permanent house and landscaping in the free range area next week.  If my camera doesn't melt in this Louisiana heat, I'll post some pics of the newest additions to our flock tomorrow! 



Summer is fading away...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 1, 2013 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (47)

To me, biting into a cherry tomatoe is like biting into summer itself!  The last of our tomatoes are ripening now.  What better way to enjoy them than with red onions and a delicious goat cheese?

I got the recipe for this cheese from a book given to me by a cherished friend.  It is a mild, soft cheese that requires no aging.  After forming, I rolled it in herbs de provence, wrapped it in olive oil soaked fig leaves, and allowed it to refridgerate overnight.  Amazing flavor!  And isn't this dish almost too pretty to eat?