South African Boer Bok

Autumn Olive Farms is a family based operation in Augusta County. We have a dual focus model with a singular commitment to the health and wellness of the land, animal and the consumer. We raise the beautiful South African Boer Bok as an environmentally sound method to combat the invasive plant species problem while producing one of the finest and healthiest meats in the world right here in the Shenandoah Valley. The combination of the worlds premier, purpose bred and standardized meat goat with the fantastic forage base of invasive species here in the Valley provides a win-win situation for the land, its owner and the consumer.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doug has been evicted!

Doug in his "new house." 
Yep, it is official Doug has been evicted from his house by a broody hen named Louise.  He has, I kid you not, moved into a cardboard box!  He is a true homeless cat!  I saw him sleeping in the box that is sitting on top of the nice nesting boxes Clay built for the hens.  Yes, Clay built them very nice accommodations, but they prefer Doug's house. 
"Broody Louise"

It all started when we noticed Doug sitting at the back door even after he had been fed one night.  We looked and sure enough Louise was "spending the night" in his house.  That only meant one thing and that is she is now officially "sitting on her nest."  I reached in to take a look to see how many eggs she was sitting on and she struck lightening fast. Thank goodness she missed.  It was pinch and twist kind of peck!  Donating blood and flesh was not worth seeing how many eggs she was sitting on.  I decided to just leave her alone.  Clay moved Doug's house up on the back porch so she would be safer.  She is a "sitting hen not duck" for a fox or mink.  We have both here on our farm.  We have to push her house against the sliding glass doors at night so nothing can get her.  During the day we turn her around so she can get some sun and fresh air.  Ridiculous, I know!

I noticed that she had some eggs that were rolling out from under her.  Clay said she needed a rounded nest shaped like a bowl.  She had chosen to make her nest in Doug's bed and it was flat from  him sleeping on it.  I decided I had better fix her a proper nest.  I put on heavy leather gloves and my thick winter jacket.  I lifted the roof off the house and there she was like a coiled up snake ready to strike at any minute.  I reached down and grabbed her and tucked her under my arm, so I would have free hands to work.  I gathered the eggs that had rolled out and were cold.  There were about 8 of those.  That left 11 that were still warm.  I lined the house with fresh hay and made a bowl nest for her and put the 11 eggs in it.  I put her down and she quickly accessed the new nest and thought it was acceptable and climbed on.  She looked much more comfortable than before.  I am sure it was hard to try and set on all of those eggs on a somewhat flat surface.
Thelma caught in the act!

I heard a racket out there one morning and discovered Thelma wanting to get on the nest.  Louise said no way!  What I did not realize is that Thelma had been going in there and laying her eggs.  I donned on my protective gear and looked under Louise and now she is sitting on 19 eggs!  Thelma lays her egg and then Louise rolls it up under herself.

By my calculations we should have chicks hatching at the end of the month.  I will let you know how it goes.  Last year a hawk flew into the pen and got the chicks!  We will have to find a better place to keep them this year.  One thing I have learned about chickens is that EVERYTHING wants to kill them! Doug hasn't so far, but that may change....
"Golden Boy" - His job is making sure the eggs are fertile!

Stay tuned.  You never know what these hens will do next!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Version of the Princess and The Pea...


This is Doug, our cat, and he has a problem.  

This is Thelma.  She is one half of Doug's problem.  I don't have a picture of the other half of Doug's problem.  Her name is Louise and she pretty much looks like Thelma. 

Doug's problem all started when Thelma and Louise decided they wanted to fly out of their pen everyday and lay "their eggs" in a nest of "their choice."  This is how they got their names "Thelma and Louise."  Unfortunately for Doug, they decided that his house was an nice place to lay their eggs.  Doug's house is located right by our back porch.  As you can see it is nothing fancy, but it is a nice place for him to sleep and get out of the weather.
Doug's house. This picture was taken at 9:00 AM. Notice two eggs already in there! 
There are several problems with Thelma and Louise choosing Doug's house for their nest.  One is that cats do not get up early.  They like to sleep until mid morning.   The hens pitch an absolute fit and wake up the whole farm until Doug leaves so they can lay their eggs.  If they could talk it would go something like this "GET OUUUUUT, GET OUUUUUT!!  My egg is coming and I HAVE TO COME IN!  You know there is not room for the two of us and I would never lay my egg in the company of a cat! "  Doug just looks at her and yawns and stretches his paws out and thinks about it.  Meanwhile she is standing outside clucking and pitching a fit as LOUD as she can.  Doug finally gives in and slowly climbs from his warm bed.  He then sits at the back door and waits for his breakfast.    

There are also good things about them choosing Doug's house to lay their eggs.  It is a convenient location for us to collect eggs right outside the back door. The top of the house opens up and we can easily collect the eggs.  This is much better than the blue barrel where the rest of the hens lay their eggs.  Of course they made their nest in the back of the barrel where it is hard to reach.  We have to climb half way in to reach the eggs or use a stick to roll them out.  Yes, I have stuffed the back of the barrel with hay to force them to make their nest where we can reach it.  Does not work!  They get in there and mash down the hay and make a cozy nest in the BACK of the barrel!   Not very convenient, but it is nice to know where their nest is.  Another good thing about Doug's house is that if we forget to collect the eggs and it is cold, then Doug lays on them and keeps them warm, so they don't end up freezing.  

This story is about one day Doug seemed so sad, very tired and out of sorts. What could be wrong with him?  He had been fed, so I knew he wasn't hungry.  He did not look sick.  Just tired.  Then it occurred to me...
I had been really busy and had not collected the eggs in a few days.  Okay, it was about 5 days!  I went out to look and sure enough there was a nest of 10 eggs!  Doug had no where to lie in his own house except on top of them.  He did not mind sleeping on a couple, but this was really pushing it!  No wonder he looked so tired.  He had not had a good nights sleep for days!  This gives new meaning to "The Princess and The Pea!"  I collected the eggs and he went in his house and enjoyed a nice nap that afternoon and a good nights sleep that night.  I do make sure to collect the eggs every day now.  I wonder what is going to happen if Thelma or Louise decides to get broody?  I don't think Doug would volunteer to be a "midwife."  Thelma and Louise have burned that bridge with their antics every morning! 

Stories from around the farm...

People keep telling us we need to write a book.   No one has called an offered us a book deal.  No time to write a book  anyways with over 200 animals to take care of everyday, so short stories on our blog will have to do.  We have quite a few of them as it is never a dull moment around here. Clay and Luke are the better writers and hopefully they will have time to write about some of the "characters" on our farm.  Until then, I (Linda) will share a few stories with you.  

I will have to say most all of our animals from the goats to the chickens to the dogs and even our one lonely cat all have their own individual personalities.  So you can imagine that with all of the animals this makes for some great stories.  Just wish we could put voices with each of them for you to hear.   Thank goodness they all don't "talk."  Nothing would ever get done!  

Visitors to our farm are amazed we can tell our goats apart.  It is not hard for us. They all actually do look different and we can even recognize them by their "bleats" without even seeing them.  

The first story will be about our only cat named Doug.  He has quite a story about how he showed up on our farm in NC.  I will have to write about it one day...

Friday, March 18, 2011

New places to find Boer Bok on the menu...

We are excited to tell you that you can find Autumn Olive Farms Boer Bok on the menu in two new locations in Charlottesville this weekend!  They are Maya Restaurant and Bar and The Local Restaurant.  Both of these restaurants have a strong commitment to support local farms.   
Maya is located on West Main Street in the center of Charlottesville's  Midtown. They will be serving our Boer Bok loin chops with a savory herb and cucumber tapioca and orange ginger vinaigrette.  

The Local is located on Hinton Avenue  in the Belmont area of Charlottesville.  They will be serving Boer Bok ribs with a syracha barbecue glaze and horseradish slaw.