Meet Apollo

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So we dropped off the goats Lulu, Leia, and Pixie-Rey. My heart was broken the entire car ride. Lulu, being used to transporting, took the car ride with stride. Pixie and Leia, who are only ten months old, were compliant, but clearly cautious. Being together, I think, was helpful.

But let’s backtrack this process some. Friday night we took the kids to my husband’s parents for a sleepover. After dropping them off, my husband took me out to dinner at one of my favorite places–ever. We had sushi at Cafe du Japon. If you’re ever in Daytona Beach, Florida and you love sushi, you have to go there. If you want hibachi, don’t go there. They don’t serve it and they have no inclination to help you out other than to recommend you go somewhere else if that’s what you want. I love going there. It was very nice to go out, especially knowing the next day I was going to be dropping off my three favorite goats.

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My worries immediately diminished the moment we arrived. There is abundant space and nature to devour. Lulu got off the truck. The puppy we ended up picking walked over to her to greet her. She immediately headbutted him. He backed away calmly and no one charged at the goats. I knew she was going to be fine and she was going to keep watching the girls. There were two puppies to choose from. Both puppies were already working with chickens, goats, and cows. One puppy chose to kind of do his own thing, the other was a little more involved, choosing closer distancing within the herd. I chose the more involved one over the more aloof one.

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So, here’s Apollo. We plan on getting his younger sister from the next litter.

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LOOK. AT. THAT FACE! We took him home and gave him a bath. He was pretty stinky from being hard at work. When we got home we took him to briefly meet the ducks, geese, chickens, goats, and mini donkeys. Everyone responded with caution, except for the chickens. Apparently they have zero instinct left in them. The donkeys did charge at him, which was expected. Some clever placement and finger snapping kept their focus more on me and what I wanted them to do. They did respond to me if I was displeased. Apollo, wanting no trouble, just stayed away from them. The goats stared at him, but didn’t respond much other than that. The pilgrim geese hissed at him but he ignored them, pretty much like everyone else on the farm. He’s 11 weeks old and obviously can’t be left there alone by himself. He won’t be trustworthy until around 2 years of age. Exposure, training, and consistency are key.

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While investigating the back, Apollo found the duck pond. I researched this breed extensively. I never thought to look into water. Apollo jumped right in… We watched to make sure he was safe and could find his own way out. It didn’t take long; Apollo got out and imiddiately regretted his decision. That had to be cold, even for a pyrenees.

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So the baby got ANOTHER bath. And we took him out. I know I’m someone out there is going to disagree with our decision.  He went to PetCo to get a tag, my husband’s parents’ to surprise the kids and meet their dog, and out to dinner. The majority of his time will be spent at home, but we don’t want him to hate people. We have people visit the farm and I know routine will help him adjust to that. During his time in the field, the only attention he is getting is from training. But it is my belief, for him to be my working partner, he needs exposure to me as well and I don’t mind forming that relationship with him.

Sunday morning rolled around. After breakfast, I took Apollo out to see the animals through the fence and I did a perimeter check with him. Then he sat on the porch with me while I enjoyed my coffee before the human family woke up. Ghost, our husky, tried to get him to play but Apollo just ignored him. I figured once he gets over this mellow stage and wants to actually romp he’ll  appreciate Ghost’s enthusiasm. I’m told he also may not. Which is fine because so far Apollo is pretty good at just walking away. Ghost just gets his heart broken everytime Apollo ignores him.

We took Apollo to Tractor Supply because we learned on his first night he can escape the gate to his pen. His pen is set up next to animals without any direct contact. So they can see, smell, and hear each other, but can’t touch. The chickens will fly in there on occasion. Which is stupid on their part because they’re a prey animal, but I still love them. We put Taz, our Weimaraner, in the pen with him. Taz has zero issues with the animals. He doesn’t chase them or anything. He’s also very calm and friendly and figured that would be the best doggy role model for him on the farm sicne he’s our first Great Pyrenees and doesn’t have another one to learn from. So, we got the pen ready for the two new residents. And it rained–all day. It was annoying. We finally got the chance to bring him to the animals and it started to pour. At the downpour everyone–including the puppy and all farm animals–ran for cover. So we found out the donkeys may hate Apollo, ubt not near as much as they hate rain. Every animal we have hates the rain except for the geese and ducks.

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Their first night in the pen was a successful one. Apollo was not happy about me going to work after our morning perimeter check on Monday. He’ll have to get used to it. My husband informed me that day he did well.

We’re looking forward to seeing the dog he grows into. In the meantime, we’ll be updating his training on the blog and our Facebook. Does anyone else have experience with these giants?

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Trading on the Farm

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Hi, everyone!

I want to be a little informal today and honest. I can’t stop thinking about goats. This is our first year using our own bucks to breed our does. And I’m so excited! We don’t show goats and we own mixed breeds. The purpose of our goats is to have a supply of goat’s milk. So we have mixed dairy breeds (Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Lamancha, and Toggenburg).

We had our first goats born on the farm in February of 2018. Buttercup had four kids. One buckling (who looked like the sire) and one doeling (who looked like Buttercup) didn’t make it. The other buckling (Snoopy) and doeling (Leia) were very lively and healthy. Lulu had three kids–two bucklings (Darth Vader and another one we sold) and a doeling (Pixie-Rey)–who were full of energy and still very healthy. Out of the five goats born, we sold one.

We do plan on getting a cow in the future. So after much consideration and tugging on the heart-strings, we have decided to sell every goat except for the two Nigerian Dwarf does. I may get one more Nigerian Dwarf doe, but I’m still on the fence for having a buck. If I have a male on my property at all, it’ll only be one–and a small one at that.

Cow aside, we’re also working on the greenhouse. In that greenhouse I’ll focus more on making my oils, tinctures, and soap (it’s going to be an impressive structure). We’ll be growing plants year round, mostly hydroponically.

Saturday, on December 1, I posted the goats for sale. I cried a little, too. I spent a lot of time with them Saturday and Sunday. I loved getting my nuzzles and kisses in. All of our goats have amazing temperaments. My boys, Vader and Snoopy, are the most affectionate on the farm. They always were. Over the weekend we were able to work out a deal with another homesteader. It’s a really beneficial trade and I’m a hot mess right now with sorrow and excitement.

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Photo by Shane Kell on Pexels.com

It’s a good deal for the goats, too. All of the does are going to live on one homestead in exchange for two Great Pyrenees puppies. We’ve wanted this working dog on our farm for quite some time now. I’m going to miss my goats, but I kept as many together as possible in exchange for something else we truly needed on the farm. And I can’t really complain about it. I love trading. I love being able to provide something that someone else needs and be able to get something that I need in return. So much middle work is eliminated in the process. We’re getting a male when we drop off the girls on the 8th. I’m working on a couple of other deals for keeping the boys together, if at all possible.

Oh, and the kids don’t know about it. They know we’re rehoming some goats, but they don’t know about the puppies. They’ll have to get used to the idea that the dogs stay with the farm animals as we do have three pet dogs that stay in the house (and no more after these three).

So in the next two years, we’ll get to document our livestock guardian journey on and off with everyone. Maybe I’ll get start actually using videos.

Now I get to do one of my most favorite things to do with new animals: think of names.

What are some good male/female combos? I was looking at names from Beatles songs, but doesn’t Artemis and Apollo sound cool? What do you guys think?

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