Hello, my name is Kylie Geosits and I started as an intern here at Flint Hill Farm on June 9th. I will be a senior this fall at Delaware Valley University, and I hope to graduate in the spring with a Conservation & Wildlife Management degree. I haven't had much experience in the past with livestock, but I love all kinds of animals and am eager to learn about the ones here on the farm. I would like to have my own small farm one day, so I thought this internship would be perfect experience learning what I need and putting it into practice. I'm excited for this summer and can't wait to learn and share all my experiences to come!
Wow! It has been three weeks here already and time has been flying. The first memorable thing for me was finding Lily the goat and her newborn male kid early one morning. Over time, Lily has shown she's not the best mother. One day we spent an hour in the pastures looking for her kid after we brought the goats inside and the kid was nowhere to be found. Luckily, the calves in the adjacent pasture didn't mind the little guy and didnt hurt him, so we found him a-ok.
In the past few weeks, I've learned lots about the basics of care for the cows, goats, sheep, and horses, as well as more of their veterinary care. I learned how to check goat and sheep eyes for anemia, using a Famacha score to grade the pinkness of the eyelid. Pale eyes indicate anemia, which indicates the presence of barberpole worms, a parasite common in sheep and goats. Another common, yet problematic parasite is coccidia, which affects the herd and creates diarrhea in sheep and goats. Last weekend I believe, a sheep had diarrhea and so all the sheep were treated for coccidia with Corid last week, and yesterday I medicated the goats to be safe.
So far, this is the tip of the iceberg of things I've done here, so I will update on more soon.
Recently, I have been learning a lot about horses and their handling, health, and how to ride. Today is the last day of the second week of horse camp, and for someone who has nearly no real-life experience with horses these camps have been giving me plenty. I've been able to ride Marbles and Sue after the campers go home to be able to learn myself how to bareback ride and English ride, so that I can then teach the campers. In handling horses, I've been working with Olivia when the campers ride and being an ornery horse, she's given me my share of experience. She frequently tries to bite me while we're riding, so I've been learning a lot of horse discipline, as well as how to do a launch line and how to set up her tack. To explain those last two parts, a launch line is where (in my experience) a horse is connected to a lead and is propelled by a launch line which can be like a long stick with a rope on the end to hit the horse's behind. Typically, this is done to establish a person's dominance over the horse and to be seen as the leader of their "pack." Once the horse submits, it will come to you at the center and bow its head. For my second part, I learned some horses tack, which is their specific equiptment for riding. Tack includes a horse's saddle, bridle, girth, and saddle pad, as well as the grooming horses get before each riding lesson. Horses get brushed using a curry brush to pulll up dirt and loose hair, a hard brush to wipe most of the dirt and hair off, and a soft brush to get small particles and finish the horse. Horses also will get a deshedding brush in the fall and spring to help with their changing coats. Also with every horse grooming, their hooves get picked and brushed of dirt and their hair can be combed too.
Myself riding Marbles
Outside of horses, our cow Rita gave birth on Monday to a sweet little heifer that Zoe named Ellie. She' s a super smart calf that learned on her first day how to properly drink from the bottle, something that could take other calves a few days to learn. I also have worked with the sheep and goats more, last week Zoe, Laura, and I medicated all the sheep and lambs in the lower barn with Iron injections and Prohibit. Earlier that morning, a lamb had died from anemia and likely a barberpole worm parasite, so we medicated the whole herd to be safe. The next day, we learned ear tagging for the sheep and goats. We used a tool that held a Scrapie tag and would pierce the ear while connecting the tag to keep it in place. Scrapie tags are a kind of tags that you can buy a set from the state, and every tag is registered to you to identify your animals in case of escape. This week, most of our kids and lambs were sold over the weekend. We kept one kid, and originally we wanted to keep Lily's baby who we named Skyzone as he was the youngest kid and well-adored by the campers. However, whoever took the kids over the weekend took Skyzone by mistake and left an older kid who looked near-identical to him. So, we are still keeping the older one, and Zoe castrated him just the other day so he can live with our special goats - Blind Baby, Fiona, and Princess - who all have health problems, while not getting them pregnant.