I've been working with Eleanor for the last 2 weeks or so to train her to the milk stall. Her little boy, provisionally named IRS, is a voracious feeder, and I was keeping him up in the milk parlour to lure her in. Sometimes it worked, but usually not. Yesterday, I actually ignored her completely. Daisy May stepped up, I fastened her to the wall, cleaned her udder and started milking. Eleanor looked in from the lower barn, but when I straitened up from squatting under Daisy May, she skadaddled so fast she slipped and nearly fell. Tonight, I did the same, but she was waiting with Daisy May in the lower barn. When I opened the gate, Daisy May charged in to her stall, head in the feeder. After clipping her in, I turned around, and Eleanor was in her stall, head in the feeder ! I walked around and clipped her in too. Easy as pie. Walked past the 2 calves milling around in the lower barn, June shot outside, but I managed to pull the door down before IRS made his escape too. Herded him up into the milk parlour, he knew the routine and went to his little corner where he warily watched me approach. I blocked the entrance with a box, and manoeuvred his bum into a corner, swung my leg over his head to hold him between my thighs, but he lay down. Easier actually, I removed the halter I'd put on him 2 days ago when I was tying him in the stall so Eleanor could feed him, and shoo'ed him out. After milking Daisy May, I milked Eleanor, and she stood still, didn't even try and kick the milker off, another first, plus, and this is probably the best of all, SHE DIDN'T POOP OR PEE IN THE MILK PARLOUR ! I poured fly pour-on both of them after milking, plus I bought those 250 hr wrist bands and put one on each of their collars to try and keep their faces fly-free.
Yesterday, while I was watering the fruit trees and new berry bushes, a chicken came out the woods with a brood of chicks. Have no idea where she hatched them out, but there they were. Today she brought them to the front of the house, and I counted 14 chicks ! Hope she can keep all of them alive. Found another clutch of eggs in the hay pile out back under the tarp, so hoping the mama chicken will hatch those out too, and then another one is laying in the lower barn, on her 2nd lot of eggs as Eleanor trampled her first lot. Then there are 2 girls sitting under the gas meter, next to the airconditioner unit. This is great news, as I can't seem to get the incubator to hold a steady temperature. Have been checking in twice a day for the past month, and no 2 days is it the same. Too hot, then too cold, not a nice steady 100 degrees.
The day before yesterday, a black Swedish duck brought her 3 ducklings up to the house, and then I found another 4 hatched around the hay bale pile and added them to her lot. Yesterday, found another little one on the back lawn, carried it down to the pond where the 4 adults and 7 ducklings were swimming, but they all scooted out the other side away from me, then waddled up to the house. Manda and some of her kids were here, so I put the newbie down on the path, and it found it's way into the pond where it was swimming all by itself. We all herded them back to the pond, but later that same day, I saw the one little one still swimming on its' own, and I didn't go out and check them today as the milk cows are in the lower barn enclosure, I didn't have to go fetch them. The sheep got out again this morning, busted through the electric fence into the chicken enclosure to eat their grain. Fortunately, they all follow me, or rather the grain bucket, back to their yard.
I have the first bucket of yoghurt brewing after a few months without. and we have fresh milk. The herdshare owners are back into the routine of collecting their milk, so all is well here with that part. The egg laying is down, probably due to the heat, and the fact that some mamas' are hatching out theirs. So far there aren't any goslings. The grey Toulouse gave up sitting on hers, and I need to go chuck them as they're smelling but a White Chinese goose has taken over part of the window well and she's sitting. I don't want any more White Chinese geese, but she is fiercely protecting them from me and hisses and bites when I get near.