The good vitamin

A couple of days ago I noticed Connie walking really low on her front patterns. I posted some pictures on FB and the consensus seems to be that she is likely suffering from vitamin D deficiency. 

Connie’s walk

We give six monthly ADE injections to our llamas between the ages of 6 months and 2 years on vet advice but obviously we should be doing more. Also it turns out that some people give 3 ml of a product containing 500,000 IU per ml of D3 whereas we were giving 2 ml of something containing only 50,000 IU. So maybe our her just isn’t getting enough.

We were also feeding a fortified feed but again, maybe not enough.

So the plan is now as follows: 

1. Everyone will have Livamol (powdered vitamin supplement) as free choice in the paddock plus sprinkled on their chaff. 

2. I have injected everyone with 2 ml of the lower concentration stuff today as I wait for the other product (hideject) to come .

3. I have ordered another product (Cophos) for them to get. Each animal is meant to have 5 ml of this. 

4. Connie received the injection today and is due for weekly injections for 4 weeks though I may give her one every couple of days until the hideject comes then start on the 4 week treatment. 

5. I am thinking of doing the same with Carol (Connie’s daughter) as she has been walking funny since giving birth.

6. I will jab everyone again, including Milton with the hideject when it comes… NOT looking forward to it!

7. We will then start a six monthly regimen for the whole herd. 

As a note. Spot, Connie’s son was very keen on the Livamol.

I may also inject the goats with vitamins, will check with FB page.

I am waiting for the vet to call me back to run this plan past her.


Swirls on a rainy day

it was a rainy day yesterday so we decided to make some soap … And bread and cake!

We used our milk and honey soap recipe which worked well in the past but decided not to add the oatmeal as we wanted a smooth soap.

Milk and honey soap

1.8 kg olive oil 
6 cups raw milk (236ml x 6 = 1416ml) from our goat 
1.13 kg organic coconut oil
680 g sustainable palm oil
473 g lye
4 Tbs honey- we used raw honey
Purple and green micas
1 cup ground oats- we didnt use this time
50 g essential oil – we don’t use this time 

I say WE as I had some valuable help from my little one who was keen to help me with our first ever swirls.

In my last supply order, I got some micas and really wanted to try swirling, but since this recipe makes 5 kg of soap we decided to only try the colours in part of it in case it didn’t work. 

I had previously weighed the milk and frozen it in a glass Jar. My thinking was that with such a large container I could just add the lye without worrying about scorching the milk and turning it yellow.   

Bad idea. As the surface area at the top of the jar was small, after a bit of milk had melted the lye didn’t get to the frozen milk below and it started to scratch the milk.

the liquid milk on top is going yellow

To help with this issue I had to pour the milk out to be able to put more lye on the frozen milk below. I had to repeat this a few times. I put the container with the milk and lye in the fridge but the concentration of lye in there was huge and the milk turned bright orange. Luckily when I then added it to the rest of the milk it turned a more acceptable shade of yellow and it is actually pretty light now that it has dried off a bit.   

fresh milk and honey soap

BUT it took ages to mix the lye in so I think freezing the milk in bags then putting it into a bowl is a better option.

As for the swirling, we put about a teaspoon of colour in a small bowl and added a ladle of soap. It worked well but it was way too much for our small test batch.  

fresh swirls

So we made two extra little colourful soap cupcakes with the leftovers.  

soap cupcakes

Now for the long 4 week wait before we can use the soap… 

Smooth and crunchy 

I tried making hand lotion today. I picked a recipe without water so that it would not require a preservative. This is the recipe I followed. 

  • 2 parts olive oil (or other soft oil)
  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax

i got beeswax from our neighbours who have hives. I was surprised to see how crumbly and seemingly impure it was but when I dissolved it in the double boiler with the other ingredients  it dissolved almost completely. I just strained out the rest.

I was pretty happy with the end result given how easy and quick it is to make , but it is very hard so I started re-melting it and gradually adding more oil until a reached the final ratios as follows:

  • 4 parts olive oil (or other soft oil)
  • 1 part rice bran oil
  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax

I can add or subtract one or two olive oil parts to make it softer for winter and harder for summer.

Clean up is best done with boiling water!

first ever lotion attempt
I also made ciabatta bread with left over whey from the last time I made cheese.  


my boomerang ciabatta… i bent it to fit it in the oven. This recipe makes 2
I have made this recipe before and love it. It always amazes me how you can make crusty bread in a conventional oven. If your Italian is up to it, you can find the recipe here . Basically you take :

60 ml warm water

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 dose of dry yeast

Mix them together in a cup much bigger that 60 ml and wait about 10 minutes until it is all frothy… If your cup us big enough it won’t spill right away!

Add the frothy yeast mixture to :

500 g of bakers plain flour

Salt to taste

315 ml of water ( or whey in my case)

Knead and let it rise until double in size. Then form it into a loaf and let it rise again for about 30 minutes. Finally split it into 2 or 4 smaller loaves and let it rise for another 90 minutes. 

Make sure it is well sprinkled with flour at all stages.

Put into a very hot oven for about 10 minutes and… Try to leave alone until cool… Or eat it hot!

New veggie patch

we finally started the much dreamed about new veggie patch today. It is right outside the big pen when it’ll get the water from the duck pond.

We are running two experiments here: straw bake gardening and huelgelkulture

For the first one I am starting super small with 4 bales in a squadre. In the Middlesbrough i have put old lucerne straw, llama manure and potting mix so I have a spot to plant into right away we’ll see if this  causes issues with the bale. 

the huglekulture is just the metal ring we had, filled with wattle and some pine off cuts. We’ve topped it with the lucerne straw and we’ll add poo soon too… Let’s see if it works 🙂 

Once we fix the swirl filter and get some gravel, the quaquaponics beds will also go here. One day we’ll build a huge hoop house around it all! 

Move it baby

i moved the goats again with the electric netting today and they seem pretty happy with their new location. It took me about an hour and I did it all on my own, so I am liking the netting so far as I was looking for something I could move alone. Only issue is, if the ground is hard the posts won’t go in so it can only be moved after rain.  


Larry also got moved in with the girls and started courting the right away and giving them treats. Well done boy! 

The girlsi also seemed pretty happy to have him. 

It’s cock-a-doodle-doo again

since out Roger died I have really been missing the cock-a-doodle-doos even if they were often at 4 am.

Today I am happy to report Larry has arrived at Tatum Hills. Larry is a six months old Maran rooster who was attached by a more dominant fellow at his old place and needed a new home. He is supposedly placid and well mannered so hopefully he’ll work well for us. 

Larry, the new Maran rooster

Edits free losing my beloved Roger I could not bring myself to get another look-alike so I decided to get a different breed. Looking at my current flock, and given that I’d rather not get a whole bunch of new hens, I decided to get a Maran as I have 3 girls of the same breed and they are pretty and good layers. I am not aiming to have enough fertile eggs to sell them, I just want a few pure breed eggs to put under my broodies.

The good the bad and the ugly

Let just leave the good for last so we finish on an up or we’ll just go looking for a bridge to jump off!

The bad:

Milton has lost some weight today. He seems OK though he is never bouncy and happy like the other 2 babies. His tail is up, which we’ve decided it means his tummy is not sore, and with a lot of encouragement he nearly finished his bottle. 

Milton aka Squidget

He is drinking from mum and having a great go at the hay. I am going to assume that my digital bathroom scale used in the paddock is a less-than-accurate method of gauging his growth, but it had so far served me well so I am a little concerned and annoyed at this loss. We’ll make sure we offer him milk several times a day still and hope we reverse the trend soon.

As a side note I also want to note that my favourite chook Amy has been slowing down over the last couple of week and I think she’s on her way out. Very sad! 

 The ugly:

The last of our peachicks (baby peacocks) died. In a very fun podcast I have been following, the guy has a Hard Lessons Learnt segment in each episode. Well this last death certainly is a hard lesson learnt for me. 

baby peachicks

 When our peahen Luna nested in January, we tried everything to protect her from fox attack. Peahens nest on the ground and become easy pray to foxes. I was acting upon another hard lesson we learned a couple of years ago when our beloved first peahen Aurelia (our Jamie peacock’s soulmate) got taken by a fox while sitting on a clutch. But neither enclosing the nest, nor moving Luna and her eggs to a safer location helped and she ended up leaving her eggs. In two occasions, we put the eggs under 2 broody chicken hens we had at the time. MISTAKE! I had vowed to never create these mix matched families as I thought they’d just be trouble down the track. Of course I was right but the lure of saving some half incubated eggs and of having cure little peachicks got the best of me. I now feel beyond guilty as my vanity and stupidity caused the death of 5 gorgeous little ones! One died about 24 hours after hatching and the other just all died quickly at around the age of 3 months. We have no idea why. They were all good weights and well feathered plus still had mum to go under for warmth. After the first couple we thought they perhaps weren’t getting enough protein so we started feeding the rest up with mealworms  a few times a day. Still they died. All I can think of is that there’s some disease in the pen that they are very susceptible to, whereas everyone else is resistant. Or just that not having their proper mum means they are not looked after the way they should be. Either way, I think next year we’ll make a big frittata out of the peacock eggs!

And the lesson? Follow your gut feeling and not your vanity and DO NOT make un-natural families. 

The good:

About time hey? The new baby llama (name still under discussion) is doing great. He seems to have slight weakness in his rear right leg but he is jumping around and running like crazy so I think he is fine.

Lost of fun to watch!