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What's been going on this week?

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (1)

The buck is gone, the buck is gone, la la la la la, the buck is gone. Pardon my singing, but I really can't express enough how much I HATE that smell!

The girls did not show signs of heat again, so I posted him on CraigsList the day before Christmas. On Christmas I got an email from a woman (die-hard goat-keeper like me, I guess) that wanted to take me up on my offer to trade for him. She traded 5 pullets and a future lamancha doeling. I call that a good trade! And if she keeps him around like she says she will, maybe she'll stud him to us next year...

In other news, Sasha the pregnant pig is... still doing nothing. Dangit. She's just something of a permanent bump in the straw in the pig house. Well, considering how I felt in my final days of pregnancy all 5 times, I'll give her that. :)


And finally, PEtunia is now almost a week past due with bunnies, again, and still nothing. She's pulled fur twice (though not much each time), and nests every couple of days, but nothing. Oh, Baby Watch sucks...

Hooves and Goat Wrestling

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (3)

Today was one of our last nice days (which isn't bad to say in Dec!), so I decided to trim goat hooves one more time. After the challenges from the buck in rut last time I had to enter the goat pen, I asked about proper buck management on my forums. This time I was prepared.


I entered the pen with a leash in hand, lassoed him, and clipped him to the fence pretty tightly. I then led the girls out one-by-one to trim hooves. They all did pretty well and with the help of a bucket my back was not screaming at me. Finally it was his turn. I choked up on the leash pretty well and kept him right where I wanted him all the way over to the stand. He hopped up pretty easily and actually stood quite well for me while trimming. He was better about it than the girls. I was pretty filled with confidence at this point. Maybe any challenge from him was all in my head. Maybe he's not a huge butt during breeding season as I'd suspected.


I took no chances and kept him very close while leading him back and releasing him. No troubles at all! Yay!


Then I remembered that I'd intended to dump the water and refill it with fresh. Sigh... So, I made myself as big as I could and walked confidently into the pen. He walked toward me with his head cocked. I got bigger and yelled "NO", very loudly. He cocked it more and made a quick movement at me. I took no chances and grabbed his beard, as I'd been told to do. I pulled it downward and yelled no again.


Apparently he took this as quite the challenge. The second I let it go he tried to butt me. I got ahold of that beard again and YANKED it, yelling no. He struggled, trying hard to catch me with a horn. I saw no choice. I kept that death grip on his beard, grabbed one horn, twisted his head, beard up-horn down, and took his ass down! Because I wasn't letting go of my handles, I went down with him. I lay there on top of him, while he took a couple of breaths, stunned. Then he started to struggle. I'm sure it looked something like a twisted highschool wrestling match on the ground. I just kept pressing my body into his, looking at the ground, and all the goat poop in which I was laying, thinking about the length of the shower I was going to have to take to get this buck smell out of my hair.


At this point, Julian, looking on from outside the gate, got concerned. He asked if I needed any help. I just calmly asked him to please dump the water so that we could refill it. By the time he got it dumped and was safely outside the pen again the buck had been completely settled and was just looking at me through one VERY wide eye. I quickly released him and jumped up, then back quickly out of the pen, while he righted himself.


I took a moment to make sure it didn't look like I'd injured him. He walked away ok and looked fine. As I refilled the water from safely outside the pen I noticed he was hiding in the shed. He would peek out, see me there, then back up into the shed again very slowly. He wouldn't raise his head or look directly at me. Little punk was likely ashamed of himself. Rightly so, if you ask me!


I kept my eye on him for the rest of the day. He showed no sign of injury at all, so I felt completely justified in my actions to keep myself and my kids safe. He hasn't challenged me again, either. When I left the pen I chuckled and said to Julian, "and that's why we have only little goats".

Fall 2012 Breeding

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I have a hate-hate relationship with buck smell. I'm not exaggerating here, I HATE the smell of goat bucks! Makes me gag. I have to go inside, strip completely down and put the clothes directly in the washer, and immeidately shower to wash my entire body and hair, any time I have to enter the buck pen.

So, I vehemently refused to have a buck for our goats. I was going to find a stud, take my does there for a month, and bring them home pregnant and happy; and give them a bath to make them smell all sweet and clean again. So, I spent more than the past month emailing every goat owner and/or breeder within a 50 mile radius, looking for that elusive buck that can both throw good milkers and is in my budget. I was told they didn't have a buck, had a great buck but it would cost me nearly $300 to breed my 3 does, and even that I had unrealistic expectations regarding what makes a good milker and therefore she didn't think she'd better work with me. Ok...

As Tiny went into heat last month, and out again, I began to despair. At this rate I would be milk-less still in July next year! So, I looked at my options. I could pay $300 for breeding for this year, or, I could suck it up and get a buck for a month. Worst-case I could eat him or give him away, right? I only needed him for a month, that's really not that long to have to hold your breath every time you walk out your front door...

So, because I'm an amazing animal-deal-finder, I found the second goat deal of the century. I found an ADGA registered, proven, tri-color, Kaapio Acres' son for a steal a couple of weeks back. Short story long, he's in my goat pen right now.

The very first day he did a wonderful job catching Summer in heat, I believe. I suppose we'll find out in a month, eh? While the other 2 goats are not so much interested in him (Tiny spends most of her day hiding underneath the hay rack to escape his, ehem, loving advances, poor thing) , he's still doing his best to entice them all day long. I'm confident that sooner than later, he'll have them bred (and then he can GO! Stinky pain-in-the-butt), and we'll have milk at some point in April and/or May. Hooray!

Building a Free Pallet Goat House

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

When we bought the goats from the farmer no longer able to bend at the waist, I mentioned that if he wanted to sell his hog panels I would be more than willing to buy them. He had them stapled to his barn wall, so we agreed that if he were able to get his son to come and remove them he would call me. This week I got a call that he had them off and I could have them all for $35! We went to get them yesterday, and the goaties now have their own pen!

But this meant they also needed their own house...

Because our budget is TINY (like, non-existent), and pallets are free, we tend to use them as often as we can. I thought I might put a pictoral story below of myself and my 11 yr old son building a goat house out of free junk pallets, and a hog panel and a tarp that we already had lying around here.


Disassembly


Assembly


Fully Assembled Side


Fully Assembled Front (before putting on the wind-break)


Fully Assembled (including wind-break)




Voila! Goats enjoying their new pen and house


Goat/Pig House

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, after going over finances last night, it turns out we are not able to build the second, bigger pen for the goats like I had hoped. They will have to over-winter with the pigs. We've been told pigs will run just fine with sheep and goats, and that pigs will eat a goat alive. Crossing fingers that our pigs can keep themselves together until after the snow recedes and we can put up the portable electric netting for the rotational grazing, as well as the new goat shed that will house the goats, birthing pens, and milk stand.

So, Julian and I spent the morning moving the goat/pig house into the center of the pen, and insulating it, in order to keep them cozy, and to hopefully reduce the liklihood that the goats will be able to escape this winter. Here are a few pics:



Looks like they like it just fine. I used 3 free pallets, two standard size and one longer. I connected them together with some outside corner brackets. I then topped the 3-sided structure with tin roofing and filled it with straw. I lined the outside on all 3 sides, and half of the front opening with straw bales (You can see Tiny on top of one of the front bales before we were finished, in the top photo). They are $2 per bale at a farm around the corner from our house, so inexpensive insulation and housing supplementation. This insulates the open slats of the pallets, but not too much, so that the goats can have the excellent ventilation that they need.

The goats sleep on top of the interior straw, the pigs underneath it, off to the side. It is sooooo freaking cute when we go outside. The goats stand up as soon as they hear the door. We approach the pen and they start walking toward us hoping we're carrying a treat. No pigs in sight. We hollar "Here pig, pig, pig, pig!" and the straw pops up! Then 2 little piggies come shuffling out of the new-found straw bumps. Adorable!

I hope it lasts them well through the winter!

Goat tests

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Dona from Caprice Acres is coming next week to show me how to draw blood from the goats. Then she will help me take it in to MSU's DCPAH to test for CAE, CL, and Johnes. When they come back clean we can go ahead and get them bred! Can't wait to have lovely ND milk! :) CAN wait to teach the girls to chill on the milk stand and not kick and knock the milk pail over. :(

We've got goats!

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I have wanted Nigerian Dwarves for milk for 3 years. A local man had 2 ND does and one pygmy doe and was wanting $50 each. I emailed, gave them my story of how we had goats and the kids loved the NDs best (even gave them the goats' names), and how they are allergic to milk so we want to keep goats for milk, etc. I asked if they'd sell just the 2 NDs for $75.

 

Concerned that the 1 pygmy would be left alone (goats don't do well alone) until sold, he gave me all 3 for $75, and the pygmy was registered and has won shows! Since he would no longer need the grain, feed buckets, collars, leashes, and all the medical supplies (syringes, needles, baby bottles, etc), he gave me those, too!

 

Plus, he had a milking stand. I admired it and told him how I'd vowed that my husband wouldn't have to do anything with the animals, and that's why I'm allowed to have them, and I didn't know how I was going to get him to make me a milking stand in the spring. Would he sell me that, too? He said sure...wait for it...how about $25?! I couldn't buy the lumber for anywhere near that!

 

So, I cleared several hundred dollars worth of goats, and probably $300+ in goat equipment, for $100. I am bartering for stud service with someone else local next month, and next spring we will have our own raw goat's milk! Barring any vet visits I will save about $30 a week on driving to where we now go to get raw milk. That's almost $750 over the season. I'm STOKED!

 

He's never had them tested for anything, and they were a closed herd (just the 3 goats). So, I will be doing blood draws myself. He also hasn't been able to trim feet and such, so they're overgrown and I need to get that done today. And, he was feeding them some grain every day (they are not pregnant or nursing), so they're fat, lol. But their hair is glossy, their eyes/eyelids looked good. What I could see of teeth looked good... I'm not terribly concerned about much else. I just need them for milk, so I am not too concerned about them winning shows or anything...

I'd say I did VERY well. Not that I'm patting my own back, or anything.