This little Pearlspotted owl alerted us to his return to the farm with a very sad sounding ‘piee, pieeee, pieeeeee’.
He was gone for the winter but has now taking up residency in an acacia tree just outside the kitchen.
While most owls get social at night, this owl is ‘pieee-ing’ 24 hours a day. While his calls sound rather sad, he looked terribly offended when Keiran took a photo.
We’ve spotted this guy, along with his girlfriend, around the house for the past 6 months. At first they kept their distance, but now they like hanging out around the pool. As food and water become scarce, more wild animals start moving in. While we don’t want to fiddle with nature, we do enjoy the Klipspringers. They now have a water drum (I’m sure the pool water didn’t taste very good) and a salt block, which they visit every morning and evening.
They also reinforce my hopeless romantic ideals. Just like Steenbokkies, Klipspringers mate for life. They look out for each other too. One is always scouting for predators while the other eats/drinks. In a world full of who-cheated-on-who TV programs it is nice to know someone is getting it right.
I recently swapped Wit hoender for a more productive Grys hoender. When we started with the chicken keeping, the deal was that chickens that don’t give eggs, give meat. While I still believe in my girls earning their keep, I couldn’t kill the previously disadvantaged white chicken. She deserves a luxurious retirement. So we did a chicken swap. Alister took the white chicken, hoping to breed fatter, meaty chickens with her, while we took a gangly yet energetic grey chicken of his. The grey chicken is doing well and lying eggs like a champion. Now we get 3 eggs every other day.
While herding cows through the veld, Philemon found this impressive Kudu skull. He wanted to sell it to the local skin and horn buyer – kudu horns are big business – but we asked if we could buy it instead. It’s rare to see such big horns, still attached to the skull and in such good condition. While we are not quite sure where to put Mr. Kudu, we do know that if Philemon sold to the skin guy, he would have lost out. The skin guy regularly buys animal skins from farm workers for as little as N$8.00 each. He is a fast talker and a money maker. Good for him, bad for anyone selling to him.
Anyway – we thought that these horns might be trophy sized, so measured them and calculated. It turns out they do not even meet the minimum requirements of Roland Ward trophies. The Roland Ward system, for Kudu, takes into account the width of the horn at the base as well as the length, running along the seam of each horn. This is all very interesting but the big drawing card for this set is the distance between the horns. We have a lot of kudu and quite a few impressive kudu bulls around here, but we’ve never seen such broadness. It seems like a great oversight not taking the distance between horns into consideration.
We don’t know how the kudu died, but it seems likely to have died of rabies. During last year’s drought, an unusually large percentage of Kudu died because of Rabies across the country. Rabies is easily transmitted from kudu to other animals and that is why we vaccinate our cattle, horses and dogs religiously.
This beautiful white Brahman heffer, JMA 4.12, will not be going to the show this year. She has the looks, build and growth but her colour is wrong for this years show string. The rest of the show animals are all red Brahmans and this madams' whiteness just doesn't fit.
Call us racist but we are hoping to show her off next year, along with other promising white Brahmans.
Chickens are very sensitive about their rank within the coop. Some fight to stay at the top while others accept their fate. Introducing a new member can lead to a lot of fighting, biting and feather plucking. I know this as I recently introduced a baby red chicken (a gift from Natalia) to the other girls.
Much to my disappointment, Baby chicken survived the initial bullying and flew up the ranks to become a bullier herself. The golden, black and red chicken regularly fights for the title of top bitch, while white chicken has now become everyone’s bitch.
I’ve been working on a monthly newsletter for the Brahmans. The idea is to let fellow breeders know what we are up to, showcase the quality of our breeding and highlight the latest showstoppers. One of our recent showstoppers is JMA 15.12 (on the image above).
We are taking him to the WHK show and hoping he does well. His growth, capacity and correctness is wonderful to see!
We finally got around to upgrading the hoender hok. The original coop (old dog transportation crate) has been upcycled, yet again, into a chicken mansion. With individual nesting boxes, a sky light and perching spots – these chickens never had it this good. The chickens seem happier, even the fatter than ever white chicken although she struggles to ascend the ladder with her full bodied figure.