Welcome!

Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.

Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Goat in Town

  Our goat milk situation was looking rather bleak. Our only two goats in milk right now are CAE positive, and this disease just destroys a goat's milking ability. Josie is down to one pathetically small milking a day, and Thea, despite being a Saanen, only gives us a little over a quart a day. The younger girls are not ready to be bred yet (not that we have a buck to breed them around anyway!).

  Big Onion and I had just started talking about looking for a new adult goat to add to the herd when an ad popped up in our of our facebook groups for a LaMacha doe for sale who was IN MILK. She was a reasonable price and just a little over an hour away from us. The owners said she was just a little too big and headstrong for them to handle.

  We packed up my Element with the usual livestock moving gear: a tarp covered with hay and shavings and an x-pen set up to keep the animals from trying to climb into our laps or knock out the back window and headed out to meet this big doe.

 Her owners had a small, family farm with sheep, goats, cows, and kids. Many of their goats had kidded recently, and it was time to thin the herd a bit. They had a bunch of adorable little nubian-eared kids running around! I swear I didn't once try to sneak one under my shirt and into the car...really!

  Helen, the LaMancha doe we had come to meet, had just had quadruplets a month before. Two had already been sold and the other two were being bottle fed. After a great visit and some minor goat wrangling, we loaded the big girl into the car and headed home.

 We have learned the hard way that quarantining any new animal that comes to the farm is very important so Helen spend her first week or so here living in the backyard pen away from the other goats. Her previous owners had already wormed her the day we picked her up, otherwise we would have done that as well to kill any worms she carried and keep them from spreading to our herd.


  The only problem with the backyard pen is it has no milk stand. Helen surprised us by jumping right up onto an old cart we had in her pen and being a perfect angle for milking from the get-go. Boy does she make more milk than our current girls! She is also very sweet and people oriented. She loves being around us and getting lots of scratches.


  Although she was great for milking, she is definitely one headstrong goat. She does not lead by the collar well and if she decides there is some place she wants to be, she just goes no matter who is in her way. She is also very wary of the dogs. I thought she was just afraid of them until she gave poor Rialey a serious headbutting! Don't worry, the puppy is fine and even gave Helen a good nip on the shoulder (her first grip!) in retaliation not long after!

 

   Helen is a pure bred LaMancha with those silly still little 'mancha ears and no horns. I think this makes her look like she has a tiny alien head. Right now we are trying to decide whether to change her name. Helen seems like much too polite and demure a name for such a big, tough doe.

I'm leaning towards Nancy or Eleanor. What do you guys think? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Long stays are boring

Luna and Rialey practicing long stays out in the pasture. 

Rialey thinks long stays are boooring!

Gwen, on the other hand, has mastered the art!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Outside duck processing

  A couple weeks ago we made the hard decision to give up our poultry exemption that allows us to legally butcher and sell our our processed birds here on the farm. It was a tough choice for us to make because around here we make every effort to assure the our animals have very happy lives to the very last moment possible. The idea of putting their deaths in the hands of others was one that we did not make lightly.

  Unfortunately, Big Onion and I only have so much time. We found that we were putting off and dreading processing days. They ate up hours of our rare and valuable weekends together. Time that could be spent on projects to improve the farm. They also left us drained both mentally and physically.

  We are very lucky to have a facility just the next town over that specializes in processing ducks and chickens. We have been buying some of our duck parts from there to make our raw ground duck pet food for over a year now. We have a very good relationship with the people who run this facility, and they were kind enough to give me a tour and walk me through every step of the process. The facility is immaculately clean and all processing is done under the constant supervision of a USDA inspector to ensure not only that proper procedure and food handling rules are enforced, but also that the welfare and safety of the animals is kept a high priority.

  With all of this in mind, we decided it was high time to part with some of the drakes (male ducks) in our flocks. The last batch of pekins that we raised was over half male. We also had a number of older boys that tended to be rough on the ladies come mating season. We sorted out all of these males using exercise pens and Luna and put them in Buzz and Bonnie's old pen over night.

  Bright and early the next morning I packed them up in crates and brought them over to the facility. I was lucky that I got there at just the right time. Everything was set up and ready to go and our birds ended up being processed as soon as I dropped them off.

  We were able to pick up beautifully packaged, vacuum sealed bird two days later that we didn't have to pluck ourselves (that's the best part!). We ate one ourselves, the dogs got the few older birds, and a some of our regular egg customers snapped up the rest!

~~~

Special thanks to all our customers who purchased these ducks from us! I hope you enjoyed them as much as we did ours!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pillow fight

See all those white spots in the pasture?

Those are all little white feathers. 

I think it's pretty clear that our birds have been molting.

That or someone has been having pillow fights 
in our pastures after dark and not inviting us! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

What's the Buzz!

  Everyone keeps asking us, "How's Buzz?" "How's that poor little sheep who got stuck in the fence?" I've been meaning to update everyone on the "little" guy, so here's the buzz with Buzz...

Friday, March 21, 2014

By the hairs on her Gwenny chin-chin


Our little Gwen is becoming a Lady!

Look what just sprouted on her chin!


  Her mother, Josie, has a pretty fantastic beard. Not all breeds of goats have beards, but we were hoping Gwen would grow one herself some day. We try not to make too many teenage boy with new whiskers comparisons. She is less than amused by that kind of talk.  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blaze





Our barncat is a goofball, but I have to say that we have not found any evidence of rodents at all since he came here! Thanks Blaze!