Hemmingway Goes to Boy Scout Camp

By on Aug 16, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Hemmingway, a yearling Scottish Highlander, went to “summer camp” this year. I mean real summer camp. He was at Griswold Scout Reservation in Alton where he was brushed, walked, hugged and loved by the boy scouts for eight weeks. The camp has a farm program which included sheep, goats and, of course, Hemmingway. In July I got a call from Townsend Carmody, the camp’s farm program coordinator. The heifer she had arranged to bring to camp was too wild so she asked if we had any Highlanders to loan. Hemmingway was the answer. Hemmingway was born on Halloween last year to one of our most gentle cows, Missy. All winter he would escape with his partner in crime, Rowdy who was about four months older. The two hung out together, played together and escaped together. We use charged wire to keep our cattle in the pasture but in winter, with heavy snow, it’s hard to keep a good charge...

Saving Two Piglets

By on Aug 7, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Lucky’s first litter started with nine live piglets but now she has just seven. The two missing piglets aren’t dead or missing, they are living on my porch with Tazzy our Yucatan mini pig. I had to remove these two from their mom to save their lives. At 6 AM on Friday three weeks ago Lucky, a black Hampshire sow, was in labor. By 9 AM she had given birth to nine piglets and two more that were born dead. From the beginning, Lucky was a good mom. She didn’t squish any of her tiny babies and all of them were nursing and healthy. A week later I noticed two of the babies were smaller than the others. At two weeks they were half the size of their bigger, porkier siblings. One of the little pigs, named Napoleon by our AirBNB guests, had scabs on the sides of his face from bites by his siblings when he tried to nurse. Then I found Napoleon wandering as if he were blind...

A New Calf At the Farm

By on Aug 3, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The Scottish Highlander calf showed up Sunday morning about 6 AM. I found her an hour later already on her feet. Even at 7 AM, it was hot and flies were buzzing around the still wet calf. To avoid fly strike we carried the baby, with mother cow following, to the holding pen where it was cooler and almost fly free. Flies are abundant in the grassy fields but not so much in dirt paddocks and the holding pen. Wet babies are the usual victims of a condition called “Fly Strike”. The larvae from flies will eat dead skin, creating more dead skin until the calf is overwhelmed with maggots and dies. Death like this is ugly and can happen in hours so it is critical keep summer calves fly free. Calves born in cooler weather are safe. An AirBNB guest who was staying with us the day she was born, named the calf, “Ryder.” The calf had a name and was now safe from fly strike but then my next fear...

Bucky, the Boar, Takes Charge

By on Jul 26, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The piglet was stuck under a fallen tree branch squealing to be released. Bucky, our seven hundred pound boar, was doing his best to lift the branch off the unhappy piglet but with only his snout to work with was not having success. For the past month, Bucky has been the leader of a bunch of ten-week old piglets who adore him. This is unusual because at best boars ignore piglets, at worst they kill and sometimes eat them. Bucky is a gentle boar who takes a real interest in these fourteen piglets who are his offspring. We had weaned the fourteen piglets several weeks earlier and kept them separate from the bigger pigs. That worked until one day I forgot to latch the piglet’s pen door. All fourteen piglets, about fifteen pounds each, escaped through the open door. I found them hanging out with Bucky, their dad. Not only were all the piglets alive but Bucky seemed to like their...

Removing Porcupine Quills from a Cow

By on Jul 19, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

The quills were firmly stuck in Zeena’s face as we loaded her into the stock trailer for the trip home. Zeena, a cow, was in one of our remote Barnstead pastures when she was attacked by a porcupine. We had to get her home where we had the tools to remove the over 30 quills plastered on her face. How did she get all those quills? Would a porcupine attack a cow? Not likely. More likely is that Zeena, fascinated by a waddling porcupine, got too close to the beast and it whacked her with its tail. Cattle are curious creatures. Lie flat on the ground in a pasture with cows and within minutes they will be standing around sniffing your head and feet. They won’t hurt you or step on you, they’ll just sniff and wonder what this thing on the ground is. Not to fear, they won’t step on you, they’ll just sniff. That’s the thing, most livestock will go out of...

Piglets Learn from their Mothers

By on Jul 13, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

Chipmunk, the sow, jumped to her feet, growled and grabbed Herman tossing him into the corner. Herman, a piglet injured at birth, had been away from his mom while he recovered from a birth injury. The skin on his back had split during birth but after four weeks under the care of a nine-year-old 4H girl, he had only a small scar on his back. He was a fully recovered, very active four-week-old piglet ready to rejoin his litter at Miles Smith Farm, or so we thought. Every farm animal has to learn appropriate etiquette when they are young. Baby calves learn how to approach older cows, chickens learn the “pecking order” and piglets learn not to pester their mothers or chew on her ears which is just what Herman did before he got tossed. Without animal basic training the babies will not survive in a larger herd. Babies that are bottle fed by humans are the biggest offenders. When fed by...