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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Josie being Josie

  Every morning and evening when we milk the goat ladies, we give them a mixture of grains and alfalfa hay. Aside from being very good for milk production, the hay helps slow them down so they don't finish eating before we finish milking and get all impatient and stompy. Well, I guess this morning Josie was just not in the mood for alfalfa. I was in the middle of milking her when I heard a noise and saw something fly over my left shoulder! 

 Yep. That's the feed bucket. Josie, being the delightful ray of sunshine that she always is, decided I had too dang much alfalfa in her bucket. She picked it up and tossed it across the milk room showering the milk stand, me, and Luna (who had to duck to narrowly avoid getting beaned by the bucket!) in little green bits of hay and feed.

  For her efforts, Josie got to stand there with no feed for the rest of the milking. I may be an unrepentant goat snuggler most of the time, but I'm not going to put up with lady goat hissy fits that early in the morning! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More kid pics

  These pictures of the kids are actually from about two weeks ago, but I have not had a chance to post them yet so here ya go! I promise to have some new ones for you guys next week. 

Placido and Luciano don't appreciate being photographed while they pee. 

Luciano giving me the stink-eye. 
I'm sure I was late with a bottle or something. 

Jose and Placido "sharing" a bottle. 

Amelia and Jose learning to be goats by nibbling on all the green things. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blaze and Ember

  I'm not sure if I ever really introduced our new pair of barn cats. They have been around the farms for a couple months now and seem to be doing a great job of controlling the rodent population.

  This is Blaze. He's an orange tabby with an extra long and stripey tail. His favorite thing is to meow and mule and rub all over things like all he wants from the world is for you to come over an pet him. Of course, when you reach for him, this guy will hiss, swat at you, and run away. Weird cat. 

  This is Blaze's sister, Ember. She's a smokey tortoise shell who is even more spooky than her brother. The only time we can get our hands on these two is right before feeding time when they will grudgingly tolerate pets in exchange for raw chicken.

  After what happened with Hunter, we are kind of glad to have more standoffish cats around. Losing him was heart breaking, and the life of an outdoor cat can sometimes be sorter than anyone would like. Luckily, so far these two have stuck very close to the poultry buildings and storage shed. They were born to a feral mother and love to hunt rats, mice, insects, and toads both day and night. I also think having the sibling pair together helps keep the wanderlust at bay.

Where is ma dinner!?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sick Gwen

About two weeks ago, I went out back to find the door to the feed storage shed had been pried open by some industrious goat. The "ladies" had helped themselves to a buffet of poultry feed and scratch grains. Luckily, we were already low on poultry feed so there wasn't much harm done, though when I came out, Thea was doing her best to climb into the big trash can bin of scratch grains.

That night all the girls got much smaller rations of gains than normal at milk time. Everyone seemed to be fine except Gwen didn't want to come in for dinner. This is very unusual for her.

It wasn't until the next morning that we realized that our little girl was sick. She had started having diarrhea and was also spitting up. She wasn't interested in eating anything at all.

We gave her a dose of probiotics and some aloe juice, and Big Onion and I left to spend a very worried day at work. When we got home the poor girl wasn't any better. She was laying surrounded by piles of her own soft stool, and there were ants crawling all around her. We got her up, made a soft bed out of hay in one half of a large dog crate, gave her a fresh bucket of water, a B vitamin shot and more probiotics. We hoped she'd be better in the morning. The next morning Big Onion called the vet who told him to keep up with the probiotics and suggested we try giving the girl some Milk of Magnesia. Apparently, ruminants can get something called acidosis. This can happen for a number of reasons, but most common is when ruminants (like goats, sheep, or cows) overload on rapidly digestible carbohydrates (grains), which drops the pH of the rumen to a very acidic level. Left untreated, this condition can actually destroy the inside of the rumen and kill the animal.

We gave Gwen a dose of the Milk of Magnesia, and this finally seemed to turn things around. She started nibbling at hay. We picked and brought her a selection of her favorite greens. At first she would eat only one or two leaves before turning her head away and looking nauseous.

Eventually she was feeling well enough for us to get her up and walk her to the backyard where the delicious and forbidden fruit trees grow. We let our poor girl have her pick of pear, blueberry, and persimmon leaves.

It took over a week, many doses of probiotics and B vitamins, and even a couple homeopathics. At first even the smell of any kind of grain would seem to turn her green with disgust, but eventually Gwen started picking at her goat chow again.  She has lost a lot of weight, but I think our little girl is finally on her way back to normal.

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Does

  Our last rabbit breeding produced some really insterestigly colored bunnies. They are also from much bigger stock than we have currently, so we have decided to switch out some of our breeding does. These four are from two different mothers (Nyreem and Haystack). We are pretty sure all are female, and they are completely unrelated to our current stock.

  They are also very friendly. Our last does all seem to have an evil streak that compels them to attack us when we go near their food bowl and makes them very difficult to handle. We are hoping by handling these girls from an early age, we can get some calmer bunnies to deal with.

Plus, don't you just love those ears?!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Shetland Hounddog

  One morning last week Luna and I were headed out to start our morning chores like we always do. It was very early, the sun was barely out, and the pasture grass was still wet with dew. One of Luna's normal jobs is to 'protect' us from the bottle lambs. Without Luna out there, those 7 lambs (who are about 65lbs these days) will do their best to crawl directly up our rear ends while we are trying to work. I sent Luna on ahead down the path to clear out the lambs so I could start letting out the poultry for the day. 

  She had just taken off at a good clip when her nose swung up in the air and she slid to a sudden halt. She looked back at me, asking if she should proceed with the previous command or investigate whatever scent she'd picked up. I told her go ahead and find whatever had caught her attention. After a year and a half of living and working the farm with her I've learned to listen when that dog has something to tell me. 

  Luna seemed to triangulate the scent, raising her head to pick it up off the wind then dropping her head down and working back and forth in an smaller and smaller area. She overshot, then backtracked and within a couple minutes she had honed in on her quarry and flushed a tiny bird out of a tall tuft of grass in the pasture. A softball sized blur burst straight up out of the grass and winged itself away from us with surprising speed. It took me a minute to realize that one of our quail was currently flying across the pasture away from me! 

  I called Luna back and we slowly approached the place where the little bird had landed. Quail aren't exactly the most skilled flyers. They kind of pop up into the air then drunkenly hurl themselves in one direction until gravity or a solid object ends their progress. Luna and carefully approached the loose quail and he made progressively feebler attempts to evade us. Eventually, Luna was able to herd the little guy toward me and I scooped him up out of the grass.  

  It was obvious the poor thing had been out a while. He was cold, weak, and bedraggled. When I brought him back to the pen, he immediately started chowing down on feed and gulping water.

  I'm still amazed that Luna picked up that scent; knew it was out of place in a field that is normally filled with foraging poultry and then helped me herd the little guy back where he belonged. Thanks again, Luna!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Buck picking

The three tenors in their favorite daytime napping spot.

  Since we only had one little girl this year, we have decided to keep one of Josie's three bucks to raise with her. If he turns out nice, we will probably use him to breed the girls next year as well. So now we are faced with the hard choice of which of these adorable little creatures to keep and which to let go.

  I think Jose has my favorite coloring. I love the swirls of grey and black on his ears. He also has a solid, masculine build already that hints at him growing into a really impressive looking buck. Unfortunately, Jose has already started trying to mount Amelia at the tender age of two weeks old! He is also a bit pushy with the other boys, and the most standoffish with us.

Placido has really cool markings, and he is a lot more people oriented than Jose. Our problem with Placido is that he has already started dropping his head to us and doing these silly little displays that point toward a future buck with a penchant for headbutting people.

And then there's little Luciano. He will probably be the smallest of the three which is a point in his favor in our book. He also has very striking markings with splashes of white, black and deep chocolate brown. He is usually the first kid that people remark on when they meet the trio.

  He is just so, so sweet. When the other kids are roughhousing and head butting each other, Luci just wants to crawl up in my lap and nuzzle my chin. He's by far the smartest of the three. He was the first to find the second bottle hanging on the fence instead of trying to fight his brothers off the nipple of the first bottle.

Big Onion, unrepentant goat snuggler.

  How can you not love that little boy? I just wish sweet little boy goats didn't grow up into big, stinky, obnoxious bucks. The real question is do we want a 70-100lb buck who is smart and loves snuggling with people. Keep in mind bucks love to pee all over themselves when they are in rut. Yuck! 

  I'm really hoping that starting with training at this age will help him be a little easier to deal with when he grows up. The bottle is a great motivator. On his training list is learning to be lead by collar or on a loose lease, coming when called, being polite at gates and doorways, and learning to back up on command. That last one is very handy. It's a lot harder for a goat who is going in reverse to headbutt or horn hook you. 

  Pretty little Amelia reminds us of her mother more every day. She's simple and sweet. She loves food over anything else. The only thing that upsets her is a late meal and even then she just paces around making little worried baby goat sounds under her breath.

I think Big Onion likes her too. 
Just a little.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tractor Turkeys

 The young turkeys are growing very quickly. After our last rabbit processing day, the big tractor was without tenants. We decided it would be good to get the little poults out and in the grass early so they have now taken up residence in the rabbit tractor.

 Turkeys are such weird little creatures. They are nothing like little chickens or ducklings. They are much more curious and intelligent.

 They make all these very specific whistles and calls. It has gotten to the point that we can tell just by listening if they are happy, sad, or even out of food or water.

The adult turkeys and guineas are completely fascinated by the babies and all the noises that they make.

Meanwhile, the adult turkeys have started displaying. Right now we have two toms and two hens. So far the two toms have been getting along and not fighting, but come Thanksgiving, we'll be issuing a pink slip to one of these guys and inviting him to dinner.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Kid pics

I know I've been remiss in posting for a while. Life has been rather hectic around here. I'll be catching up with more posts soon, but until then, here are just a few pics of our handsome little boys when they were about a week old. 




The end(s)!