After an automobile accident in 1999, I have been unable to do much 'raising' of animals and most of the 'raising' has been done by Ashley in recent years.
Prior to the accident we rehabilitated orphaned animals. I have been taking care of baby animals since I was about 8 years old (boy that was a long time ago!). Mother and I began by raising some orphaned kittens. Then we graduated up to baby squirrels and baby dove. Ashley and I took up where Mother left off and we try to raise almost any kind of mammal that comes our way. I, with the help of Mother and Ashley created my own formulas using goat milk as the base. We had a large herd of LaMancha and Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats that we milked by hand (Ashley has been milking since she was 6). At the present time since Ashley is all grown up now with a baby of her own to 'raise' I have very few goats. Thanks to the coyotes this year I have even less and they have gotten so bad in the last month that I put what was left of my 'herd' in a small fenced pen behind my house.
In 1999, despite my injuries, we began a development program for a new breed of goat known as Mini-Mancha. These goats are a cross between registered Nigerian Dwarf and LaMancha dairy goats. The ultimate goal is to have a very small milk goat that has the distinct character trait of elf or gopher ears. The size of these goats should be about the same as the Nigerian Dwarf (about 19-28" in height), with a high milk production ratio in accordance with the size. They will be small enough to keep in a small back yard, but capable of furnishing about 2 quarts of milk per day, average.
We produced 7 doe that year and they were of very good quality and hope to begin the breeding program in earnest in 2001.Well, we did begin this program and did quite well until my injuries took it's toll on me and I became unable to help Ashley and due to a lack of interest on the part of the rest of the family, we abandned the project in 2005. I still have the Mini-Manchas and actually this year one of my second generation doe had a beautiful third generation buck that is beautiful. I would have had two buck and one doe if the coyotes had not done their damage before I realized what was happening.
Cissy our East Texas Bob Cat lived until she was 11 years old. She was one of 4 that Ash and I raised. Unfortunately for these wonderful creatures, when they are raised by humans they are unsuitable for release back into the wild. She was as tame (maybe tamer) as any of our domesticated house cats, she just purred louder and her tongue was rougher when she licked you. She was much easier to house break than her domestic counterparts. We do not have any photos of Cissy on this site because she was VERY camera shy and we just couldn't seem to get a real good one.
Cottontail Rabbits - While Ash was visiting with a friend their dog brought up a tiny baby rabbit. Well, Ash promptly wrestled with the dog and took the baby rabbit away from him. The dog immediately ran away with Ash hot on it's trail (she knew there were more and the dog would lead her to them). She rescued the babies and the girls "hid" the baby rabbits from Heather's mother (she's not very understanding about things like that) and Ash slipped around and called NeeNee (that's me) to see if she could have the babies. Well......... you know the answer to that one! I warned her that baby cottontails were extremely difficult to raise on a bottle and that they would probably die. They didn't! When they were about 5 weeks old I finally talked her into letting them go. For a very long time every cottontail she saw she said it' was one of her babies.
Whitetail Deer Fawn - are confiscated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife from EVERYONE who does not have a special permit to house them. The TPW is VERY picky about the people they allow to obtain permits. There are breeders permits and rehabilitator permits. Breeders are those people who have breeding facilities that are used to upgrade the Texas deer population. These breeder deer are NEVER used for hunting purposes! Until I became involved in an automobile accident in May, 1999, we carried a Texas Rehabilitator's permit which simply meant that we did not own or maintain any adult deer for propagation. We strictly raised orphans and foundlings. These animals do especially well on goats milk. The photos below indicate how we fed and cared for them. At the present time we have suspended this part of our operation because I am still suffering back problems due to the original accident and subsiquent surgeries due to another rear-end collision in October 2005 wherein a man traveling WAY too fast and not paying any attention to his business rear-ended Wayne and I in a new Pontiac Vibe that we were test driving. We had just pulled out from the dealership drive when he came over a hill way too fast and rearended me before I even knew what had happened. I was knocked unconscious and was transported by ambulance to Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler
Other ruminant babies that have been routinely raised here are elk, aoudad sheep, fallow deer fawn, and axis deer fawn. I also traveled to other states and to assist exotic animal ranchers and their employees in setting up their own rehabilitation operation. i assisted a Colorado Alpaca rancher in the rearing of a very rare baby that was born with a broken leg and could not nurse his mother. I also assisted a Springfield Missouri white tail deer rancher in setting up his own orphan facility.
In November, 1999 Ashley had a chance to raise 3 baby Bengal Tigers and were they ever a handful! There were 2 girls and 1 boy. Tony was larger than Tina and Tara and ate lots more too! Bonnie, their mother decided that being a mom wasn't what she had in mind, so she completely rejected the little fellows at birth (lots of tiger moms do this in captivity). Ashley took care of these very special babies until their owners came for them. Want to see them? Then go to the photographs section and "click" on the picture you want to see!
Santa Clause was very good to Ashley in 1998, he brought her a ferret named Freckles (but we call her Foo Foo). She was great fun and always into something! The next year Santa brought her another one and she named it Squeeks. For a very long time we allowed them to run loose in the house (they use a litter box like a cat only it MUST be in a corner and they back up into it and as close to the corner wallas they can get. They are also thiefs of a royal order. We began missing jewelry (from out of drawers) and any other thing that took their fancy. We had to raid their 'nest' once a month to get our stuff back. They are also food hoarders and began getting into my cabinets and on the table and taking everything with sugar in it that they could carry off. It was then that we decided a cage MUST be acquired. Well needless to say their stays in the house decreased and we lost less shiny things and much less sugar food stuffs like candy (they absolutely LOVED M&M Peanuts and when we would get a big bag for Wayne to take to work, they would get it off the table and tear into it and hide that stuff all over the house in little piles. I read that they would actually make themselves diabetic by eating so much sugar. Ash and I called them Sugar Hounds. Sadly, in 2004 little FooFoo died and in 2006 little Squeeks died as well.
Darlin' the grand old lady of our herd. She is about 8 years old, has twins every year.
Ashley and some of our 1997 fawns.
Ash and Rosa, her favorite who belongs to Randy Shipp of Shipp Ranch in Lometa, Texas.
Miss B feeding her babies.
Mr. D, Miss B and Danny with another feeding set up. This set up will allow one person to feed up to 60 fawns at one time.
Prince, one of our 1995 babies. This photo was taken in June 1996 at the Malouf Ranch in Wills Point, Texas. Prince had been away from us for at least a year when this photo was taken and Ken told us that he would not be friendly since he had been away so long. I stepped out of the "gator" we were in and began calling him and telling him to "come to NeeNee" and he broke from a herd of about 30 other deer and came running up to me. When Ash and Bob saw him coming up to me, they got out and Prince began licking them like they were his long lost siblings! So much for what experienced deer ranchers know about hand raised deer!
Ash and the T's! Ashley with Tony, Tina, and Tara November, 1999.
Tina, center stage with Tony on her left and Tara hiding her face.
Tara on top with poor Tony on bottom.
Tony looking majestic. Well, as majestic as a 1 week old tiger can look.