Brownie, our Boer breeding doe, dropped fraternal twins on St. Patrick’s Day. The kids came into this world outside, under full sun, on a beautiful spring afternoon. It was the first time I have been able to watch part of the dropping in person, with a whole new set of lessons in how to stay out of the way of a goat momma taking care of her new babes. My doe is an expert mother, carefully cleaning the afterbirth from each kid as she checked them over to make sure all was well. I helped a little, pulling off some of the afterbirth, and checking eyes and teats, hooves and tails for any abnormalities. Then the clouds started to form above, so I gabbed the kids and led mom back to the barn where fresh straw bedding and grain awaited. Brownie took a moment to figure out that I was holding the babes, but when she got it, we all moved quickly under cover before cold could affect the vulnerable young ones.
I know the kids need access to mom’s colostrum in the first hour of life, so I watched anxiously as the newborns began lifting up their heads and trying to stand. Brownie encouraged them with gentle bleats and nose nuzzling. I got in the way, trying to show the kids where the teats were. It was getting too crowded for the goats, so I finally stepped back and let them figure things out together. Sure enough, both kids began nursing soon after, and Brownie was happily eating her grain while her kids got their first milk. I’ve named the new additions to our herd after a pair of siblings from the Irish Pantheon. Bran is our male kid, with a brown saddle spot on his back. Branwen is our little female, with a dark brown spot on her chestnut mantel, and another spot on her rear right leg. Both kids are bright and active, seen in the photo above with mom enjoying their first full day of outside time since birth.
Leafhopper Farm is planning to phase out Bore Goats in the next year. These are the last kids we will breed. Our buck, Rex is currently for sale, and Brownie will be listed next fall, after her kids are fully weened and sold. Our other goat, Antigone, will be butchered in a livestock processing class. The Boer goats have done wonderful work for Leafhopper, and will hopefully live on in other herds to do more good clearing of bramble. If you are interested in any of our Bore stock, please contact us in the comment section.
Another fun update is the expansion of our mealworm production. We’ve been feeding our chickens these tasty and healthy bugs as supplement to their feed and pasture time. After documenting a full year of mealworm growth and reproduction, the farm is broadening our production with the goal of feeding our chickens more worms. If we can, extra worms will be sold or traded to other chicken farmers in the area. The bugs are easy to care for, and require little input for a big output of nutrition. This means less work and more bug for our buck!
These worms are placed in a new container home with fresh organic oats and apple. The fruit is enough moisture to feed the bug all the water they need for a month. It is possible that these insects can solve drought challenges around the world if people could only overcome the gross out factor.
Think of how much water goes into an almond tree; you can make flour out of these bugs after dry roasting them. Look at cricketfloures.com for more info on bug based foods entering the consumer market right here in USA. Though our production here at Leafhopper Farm is still small, we hope to continue producing worms, eventually branching out into crickets, and maybe even stick bugs!
Finally, an update on our recent fire: The damage has been repaired and a new batch of Ayam Cemani chicks was ordered last week. We will raise these babes with other local varieties in the garage on a heating pad. With the weather warming up fast, these little babes will be safe and dry in an indoor space without the threat of fire from a stray heat lamp. No wind or hot bulb will compromise this flock. Below is a picture of our repair work, which looks even better than the original window with added rustic trim. Today, a new railing for the back porch will be constructed. Look for an update on our new chicks once they arrive!