Hair Cuts for Market Goats

We finally got a really nasty rainy day, so our friend Brad had time to come over this morning and clip the girls’ two market goats.  Haley’s goat, Brutus, was truly in need of a good hair cut as he was very, very woolly looking.  I didn’t get a ‘before’ picture of him, but here he is after his trim job:

Haley's goat, Brutus.

This is Abby’s goat, Jerry.  He wasn’t quite the hairy beast that Brutus was, but still, a hair cut was in order.

Brad just starting to clip out Jerry.

Working on his front half.

All done and wanting out of the milking stand!

I put ‘socks’ on them when we were done to help keep them from getting chilled.   Socks are basically a fitted t-shirt for goats/sheep with openings for their head, and all four feet.

Our one remaining buck kid, was hunched up in the corner of the pen with a snotty nose.  So, he got a shot of Penicillin.  Hopefully, that will help stave off whatever is bothering him.  I’ll have to keep a close eye on him, as young goats die quickly from pneumonia that can come on in this cold, damp weather.

Brad does a lot of clipping for the local 4H shows.  If you would like his number, get hold of me.  He goes by “Brad Copp Goat Clipping”.  He books up quickly, so get hold of him early so he can schedule you.

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Say “Cheese”!

Update:

Stan has taken his cheese out of the press and is brining it now.   It will be a long wait to see how it tastes…it has to age for 3 to 4 months!    It’s hard to imagine that 2-gallons of milk is reduced to this.  Here is a picture of the freshly molded cheese, with a can of soup for size reference:

Gouda cheese ready for brining.

This is the cheese press that Stan made.  The curd is placed in the white cheese mold you see in the middle of the press.  There are little holes in the mold that let the whey run out.  Weights go on top to press the whey out of the curd.  The weights also help determine how hard the cheese it.  When there is actually curd in the mold, Stan puts aluminum foil under the mold to catch the whey and direct it to a bowl for capture.

Stan's hand made cheese press.

We are only milking once a day right now (you should milk twice a day, but … we aren’t because Ju-Ju does NOT like to be milked and I can’t milk her by myself) but still we are getting about 2.5 quarts of milk from her each night.  That adds up quickly in the refrigerator – about 17.5 quarts each week!

We are letting Katie dry up – she doesn’t produce much milk, we’ve sold her kids and the girls won’t be taking her to the fair this year, so there is no point in keeping her in milk.   This way she can recover from mommy hood and be ready to re-breed this fall.    We can wean Nellie’s kids on the 17th – that will really up our milk volume, as she easily produces a gallon a day.

Stan pulled out his cheese making supplies and made his first batch of cheese for the season last night – Gouda this time.  The recipe called for 8 quarts of milk (we still have 7 in the frig!).  It is currently in the cheese press with 20# of weight on it, squeezing the whey out and forming it into a nice round.  Tonight Stan will take it out of the press and brine it.

We had 2 turkey poults hatch yesterday and have 2 working on it in the incubator now.  They are not hatching well – I’m having to help them out of the shells, so the humidity must not be right.  They are hatching on-time, so temperature is good, but when the humidity is off, I’ve noticed they tend to get ‘stuck’ and can’t pry themselves out of the shell.  Also, have some bantam eggs that have pipped this morning!

We really need to invest in a better incubator.  This is just a cheap styrofoam type with forced air (Little Giant).  We’ve burnt out three automatic turners on it and so have just given up on them – they are junk in my not-so-humble opinion.  So, I have to turn the eggs by hand – groan.  But, it does hatch eggs.  The temperature control is terribly fussy, just the slightest turn of the knob can send the temp from 97 to 104, so I try to get the temp set and not touch it (like I did this morning!).  For those of you who don’t know, chicken and turkey eggs need to be kept at 99.5 F, ideally.  Too cool, or too warm will cause them to develop

I’ll edit this post with pictures later today (hopefully)!

Baby Goat Goes To School

Abby had a “how-to” speech today and chose as her subject  “How To Bottle Feed a Baby Goat”.  The little goat was quite happy to trot around the room looking for her bottle.   All the kids thought she was very cute.  She did a few bah’s and nibbled on shoelaces and papers on the wall.  This little goat got a lot of attention today!

Abby giving her introduction. She explained how to mix up the milk replacer.

The bottle is filled with milk replacer. Baby Goat needs a towel under her chin as she is a VERY messy eater!

Abby wiping her chin off - just like with an infant!

Abby wasn’t the only one bringing in farm animals.  One girl brought in her bunny.  Two boys in her class were going to bring their steers (but outside only!) and someone else is bringing in their horse.  Can’t tell we live in a farming community, can you?!

“Baby Goat”

This is one of Nellie’s triplets – the one we are bottle feeding since Nellie doesn’t seem overly interested in letting her nurse for some reason.  I brought her into the house yesterday to feed her and Haley clicked a bunch of pictures.

Sasha is cleaning her ears!

Not quite clean enough yet!

When I go out the barn to feed her, I call out “Here baby goat”.  She returns a Bah to me.  I keep calling, and she wiggles out from under the hay feeder where she likes to hang with the other babies.  She works her way to the door of the pen.  I open it and she walks out looking for her bottle.  So cute.

Milk face.

ADGA Membership in Process

I filed the paperwork to become a member of the American Dairy Goat Assoc. last week.  Everything takes so long to accomplish!  Can’t file for a ‘herd name’ until you receive your membership number.  Can’t send paperwork to register/record your animals until you have a herd name.    Sigh… oh well.  The process has at least started though!

Crazy Chad’s Katie, Crazy Chad’s Nellie, GBF’s Ju-Ju Bean & GBF’s Jezabelle will be recorded as “Experimental”.  Katie because she is 1/2 Alpine, 1/2 Nubian.  Nellie because she is 1/2 Togg, 1/2 Nubian.  Ju-Ju and Jez are 1/4 Alpine, 1/4 Nubian and 1/2 Togg.    GBF’s  Toots can also be recorded – she is 3/4 Togg.  So, we have a lot of paperwork to get in order – registration transfers, service memo’s, etc.

We are working to have a registered Togg herd.  This will take a couple of years, but “you can’t pick asparagus if you don’t plant it”.

Dairy Wethers For Sale

We have 4 bucklings that will be available at weaning.  They are all sired by our 100% American Toggenburg Buck, Mudd Creek Goats Fred.  Information is as follows on the dams:

GBF’s Roma.  3/4 Boer, 1/4 Nubian.  Two bucklings.  Solid, medium cream color all over.  Born March 7th.  SOLD one.  The other is available as a pet as he has a ‘crab’ front leg.

GBF’s Katie.  1/2 Alpine, 1/2 Nubian.  Two bucklings.   Born March 11th. SOLD.

Contact us if you are interested in these guys for your 4H Fair Project.  I know some counties (like Elkhart) have a Dairy Wether class.  We do not in St. Joseph county.  Dairy wethers are shown in the same class as BoerX wethers.

No More Kidding Around

It has been a busy week it seems.  I had a very nice lady from Illinois visit me yesterday afternoon so that she could learn about care and maintenance of English Angora’s.  I hope I didn’t scare her off from the breed!  We did a breeding (GBF’s Chinook x ELS Maria Girl).  We cut down Starbuck’s Gada.  She got to hold babies and see the goats, turkeys and chickens.

Just as she was leaving, Abby and her friend Emily came running up to me with one of our roosters, Ozzy, in her arms.  They had found him just laying out in the field; alive, but not moving very much.  He had been picked on (head) by something or other.  So, I said goodbye to Kelly, turned and walked into the barn with Ozzy trying to figure out where I could house him separately from the other chickens so he could heal up (hopefully).

I was right at the goat pen and heard a god-awful cry, looked in, and saw Nellie (goat) standing up with a baby goat head protruding out from her.  Note:  goat head and NO front feet.  Oh my!  That is not good.  It’s very hard to deliver a kid with the feet back like that – the shoulders get stuck.  So, I practically tossed poor Ozzy in the hay wagon, and started yelling for the girls, hoping they weren’t too far out playing to hear me.  “Towels, towels.  I need towels.  Get my phone.”

I managed to pull the legs forward and out she came, with much crying from Nellie.  The girls were there by then with towels.  The kid was very weak, but alive.  Five minutes or so later, the second kid came.  Also, head first with the front legs back.  And, this kid was huge.   I couldn’t for the life of me break the sack around its face, so Abby grabbed a pair of scissors for me.  Got her face wiped off and she wasn’t moving… she still was not out of mom though… just her head.  I managed to get one leg forward but couldn’t get the other (a couple more birthings like this and I’m sure I’ll get better at doing this!).  So, I grabbed behind the front leg and shoulder area and started pulling with the contractions.  Poor Nellie didn’t like that one bit.  Ouch ouch ouch.  But, the kid was born.  Alive.  Another doe.

Number three came out like a kid should – quickly and correctly positioned.  Thank goodness.  Another doe!

We purchased Nellie as a weanling in 2005.  We have never gotten live kids from her.  Two years ago, she had triplets, but the first kid was turned wrong and we ended up losing them.  Last year she didn’t get bred.  Finally, she made up for all that waiting with three beautiful does.  Nellie is 1/2 Togg and 1/2 Nubian.  So, these kids are 3/4 Tog, 1/4 Nubian.  Two are marked as Togs, the other is medium brown all over.

That was our last doe to kid.  We have ten kids total – 6 doelings and 4 bucklings.  This is the best kidding year we have ever had.  No vets needed (although I did call!).  No dead kids.  More does then bucks.  Whew.

This morning I was driving back home from taking the girls to school and saw a bunny sitting along side the road.  There was a school bus in front of me.  It went by the bunny and the bunny did not move.  I thought, “That’s odd”.  Then I drove by him.  I looked in my rear view mirror and he was still sitting there.  So, I stopped and backed up.  Hopped out and sure enough the little guy had been hit.  Not horrible though.  His nose area was bloody and he was missing a patch of fur over his hindquarter, but his legs were all working and didn’t appear to have anything broken.  I scooped him/her up (which he was not too thrilled about), tucked him under my arm and hopped back into the car.  I knew that Gilmore Animal Clinic would take wild animals free of charge.  So, that is where I went.

I know rabbits are low on the food chain, and he will probably end up being a coyote-snack in the long run, but I just can’t stand to see animals suffer.  Hopefully, all he needed was a bit of Pen-G, some pain meds and a bit of cleanup work.

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