Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Greensboro, North Carolina. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food. We are currently not producing any products for sale.

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.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sick Kitty

Our poor little barn cat Hunter. Since we got him as a kitten, it seems like he has had one problem after another. As he grew up, he developed a habit of wondering off the property, getting in fights, and coming in terrible shape. We were constantly pulling ticks off him. He once came back with a wound on his hip so bad that we had to put him on antibiotics and drain and flush it daily. He still has a lump of scar tissue over his hip bone. All the wondering and fighting had to stop, so we decided to have him neutered a little earlier than we had planned.

 It wasn't long after he was under the knife that he started feeling bad. He was acting lethargic and picking at his food but we just figured he was mourning the loss of his "boys." A week or so went by and he didn't perk up. I finally decided to bring him in to the vet when he noticed that his gums were pale, his lymph nodes were swollen, and he was extremely dehydrated*.

I brought him into my vet's office. She took one look at him and said he was so anemic that he probably should be dead. We ran blood work and initially my boss thought he might have developed lymphoma which would have been crazy for an 11 month old kitten. After more discussion, she and I decided that a tick borne disease was the more likely cause. We started him on antibiotics, vitamin K, and sesame seed oil to try and bolster his blood counts.

After just a couple days of treatment, the little guy was perking up. His appetite improved, and he started following us on our walks around the property. We had kind of forgotten what a quirky ever-present little guy he was while he was ill.

These pictures were taken just a few days after we started him on the meds. I was actually out taking pics of the sheep with Hunter in tow when he wandered off into a little thicket of trees and brambles.

About 15 seconds later, he wandered out with a giant vole in his mouth.

Doesn't the little dude look proud of his catch?

We are just really glad that our kitty is on the mend and living up to his name! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ugly Betty

  Betty first came to our attention when she was still a little chicken, barely feathered out. She had a deformed or maybe injured beak that made it hard for her to eat normally.

  Despite looking very odd, she never let this get in her way. When she was young, she would fly up and into the hanging feeder so that she could have her own private meals. When dinner was too slow, she would fly up onto one of our shoulders to hurry us along. 

  As she got older, she developed a habit of jumping right into the bin of chick food, standing in the crumbles, and filling her craw by repeatedly pecking at the mounded food at her feet. Every day she would be the first out of the coop and escort us to her feed bin. She'd fly up on the edge and "bawk bawk bawk" her impatience with us. Every night she would be the last bird put away. She would start her dinner as soon as we went out for evening chores, and when we were done feeding birds and milking goats, we would scoop a now stuffed chicken into our arms and carry her to the coop to tuck her away with the other birds for the night. 
  You can imagine that we got a bit attached to this quirky, tough little girl. When we had visitors, we would always scoop up Betty for a greeting, our goofy looking chicken emissary. She even let small children stroke her soft, if often disheveled, feathers on many occasions. Of all the poultry we have out there, Betty found a way into our hearts, and I know both Big Onion and I thought of her as a beloved pet. 

  A couple of days ago, it was getting close to time for evening chores and the Big Onion and I were puttering around the front yard, checking on the raised garden boxes full of new veggie plants and seeing how some of the fruit trees fared the winter. Normally around this time Betty would wait for us at the back gate so that she can escort us to the poultry house for her dinner. Big Onion was just telling me that the evening before Betty was waiting up on the gate for him when we heard one loud squawk. We looked at each other and hurried through the lanai to the backyard where we found a chicken just taking its last breath. I rushed over and sure enough it was our Betty. 
  I guess she got impatient waiting for us to come out and decided to fly into the backyard with the dogs. In her defense, Betty grew up with Luna running around and herding all the birds but her so she had no reason to think she would be in danger. Although Luna and the other shelties are safe being surrounded by chickens and ducks and geese out in the pasture, a bird flying into the backyard with four loose dogs is a whole different story. 

  I scooped up Betty's now lifeless body, and it was obvious that her neck had been broken. It had happened very quickly. As I lifted her up, something fell onto the grass at my feet. It was a small, soft, half formed egg. Big Onion and I had always assumed that Betty would never lay due to her deformity and her small size, but it turns out she was one of the chickens producing the small eggs that we consider little treasures since we have to save all the larger ones for sale. Betty had been making eggs for us. 

  It was rapidly getting dark so we brought her body out to the poultry house and laid her on top of her feed bin while we got everyone put away, fed, and milked for the evening. Luna stood vigil by the body. She is always so upset when any of her charge comes to harm. I took a few of Betty's pretty wing feathers and hung them on the poultry house door.

  After all the chores were done, Big Onion, Luna, and I grabbed a shovel and a flashlight and buried Betty right next to Mrs. Duckie another of our pet birds that met a sad end.

Goodbye Betty, we're really going to miss you!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Duck, duck.....

If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. How much should I ask for this couple of ducklings? Can I charge extra for cute?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oh Rocky!

Meet Rocky, our new buck! 

   Rocky is a tall, dark, and handsome Nubian boy that we got about a month ago in order to breed our three full sized girls, Josie, Thea, and Gertie. We decided on a Nubian because they are supposed to produce very high fat milk. We are hoping that he and Thea, our Saanen, will produce a doeling or two that will eventually produce large amounts of higher fat milk that will be great for cheese making!  

 We picked up Rocky from a nearby farm and transported him in the back of my Honda Element. We were a little nervous about moving a large and potentially stinky buck in the car, but we were pleasantly surprised when we picked him up that Rocky really didn't smell at all, and he was very polite and easy to handle. 

 The boy is all legs and for the first week he was here, the girls all beat him up. He would actually run and hide behind us if a girl came too close. We were sure he would never man up and get the job done. I even took to calling him a big old sissy baby to his face to try and shame him into being a big tougher. We started joking that he was named Rocky not for Rocky Balboa, but Rocky as in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh Rocky!

 I think Big Onion was just happy to have another man around the farm. 

 Then one day Josie started flirting with him. After a couple days of flirting with no real action, I locked him and the three girls in the goat yard with strict orders that no one was getting let out until I saw some funny business!

  Well, I got my wish and then some! Josie and Rocky sniffed and nuzzled each other. She wagged her tail at him, and he stuck his tongue out at her (this is actually a compliment in goat-talk apparently). There was a lot of finagling and shifting around and pawing and then they both just stopped. Rocky looked up at me like, "Really, you want me to do this in front of everyone?!" 
  So I quickly shooed the other two girl out of the yard and stood there waiting for the fireworks. Rocky leaned over Josie's back and all but called me a perv for standing there and watching so I retreated into the poultry house and peeked through a screen and sure enough, I was barely out of sight when the boy got straight down to business. 
  After that Josie and Rocky were inseparable. They napped together and grazed together all the time. Rocky got over his shyness and was prone to mount Josie at the most awkward times. Some things you just can't un-see. 
  After a while, we decided to separate the love birds so Rocky could turn his now expert attentions to the other two. We saw him cover Thea, but not Gertie so far. In about a month, we'll be sending pregnancy tests off for all the girls so we know for sure and can probably send Rocky off to a new home. 
  Although he's been a really nice buck, sweet with the girls, not smelly at all, and not aggressive at all with us so far, it has been a bit of a logistical nightmare making sure he gets to spend time with the three big girls and keeping him away from Gwen and Eve who are both too young and too small to be bred. 
  Not to mention the fact that Rocky does not like to be locked up alone. At all. The noises he makes are kind of hilarious. You can hear him in the background of the video below. I love how all the goat girls are standing around with expressions like, 'Really? Really?! You want us to mate with THAT?!"

I might also point out that my little Gwen is totally glowing in the video. It's obviously because she is soooo angelic. Yeah. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy (belated) Easter!

Bigwig is very concerned that we didn't wish everyone a timely happy Easter.

Here's hoping this cute picture of his offspring munching away at broccoli flowers makes up for it!