December 29, 2009

After the Storm

“May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.” - Irish Blessing

A week or so ago we had quite the storm here with torrential rain and even some hail fell on our farm but after the storm passed the sun began to peek through the clouds. That is when I saw this spectacular rainbow, what a blessing.

These pictures just do not do this beautiful rainbow justice at all. It was really quite stunning to see in person. The lighting was lowered on the first picture to try and make the rainbow more visible. The second picture is with normal lighting. This picture was taken at the end of our drive-way, looking down the country road that runs in front of our farm.

*Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

December 24, 2009

Gift of the Old One - A Christmas Story

by Eunice Day, Washington, ME.

The young couple had made their usual hurried, pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of goats. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm, and through the years had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside.

The old folks no longer showed their goats, for the years had taken their toll, but they sold a little milk, and a few kids each year and the goats were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose of "The Old One?” She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had either kids or milk from her. You should cut corners and save where you can. Why do you keep her anyway?" The old man looked down as his worn boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind the ears. He replied softly, “We keep her because of love. Only because of love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.

So it was, that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One.”

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved goats. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back.

He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife. They thanked those who had come to their aid, and the old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as he clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandanna. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us, therefore, climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared."

And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his hand. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before them. Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most boughs, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward. There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the goats through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily through the snow. The kids were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The milkers pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of those she loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift Because of love, Only Because of love.

This wonderful story has been circulating the different online goat groups and forums for years but I never get tired of reading it and it still brings a tear to my eye every time. The picture is of our senior doe "Trouble" and while I wouldn't call her old yet, at 7 1/2 years she is our goat Grandmother on the farm. We have had Trouble since she was a baby, she was one of our first Boer goats. You can read her story here or you can see a sweet video of Trouble and some of her kids here. Trouble is a little spoiled and very loved by us...she will always have a home here on the farm for the rest of her days.

Thank You!

I just wanted to write a note to say thank you for all the nice comments from my SITS visitors and everyone else. I certainly had a lot of fun reading all of them. I was very happy and surprised to see so many new followers. Thank you! I am really looking forward to visiting your blogs too. With so many people to visit and the chaos of the holidays it might take me a few days to get to every one, but I will! In the meantime I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a very happy New Year to come!

December 22, 2009

Hello, I Am New! - Farm Photo of the Week

While looking through some pictures that I took last spring of the new goat kids I came across this one and thought it was just too cute not to post. This kid was just born less than 2 hours before this picture was taken and she seems to be saying "Look at me, I am new and cute...look out!" Got to love those baby goats! This Boer doe is out of one of my favorite does "Hope" and from our buck Joker. She went to a great new home this summer and I hope she will be as good and productive of a doe for her new owners as her mother Hope has been for us.

December 21, 2009

Happy SITS Day!

Welcome! I was so happy to find out I was going to be featured on SITS. Thank you SITS and thank you for visiting my blog today! If you don't know what SITS is, well it is a group of women bloggers supporting one another by leaving comments! If you are not visiting from SITS or haven't heard of them, well you really need to check them out!

I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Jennifer and my husband and I live on a hay and goat farm in Kansas. We love country life and our farm but some people ask me why goats?! Well...goats produce nutritious milk which can be used to make delicious cheese and wonderful soap. They have big personalities but are smaller than cattle so they are much easier to handle and work. I would have to say probably the biggest reason though is the Goat Therapy! You can read all about Goat Therapy Here!

When Heather suggested I post links to my favorite posts for you all. Right away I knew which one I wanted to post, much to my husbands chagrin no doubt. See like any man's man he does put on a tough exterior sometimes. There have been times he has even grumbled about the goats and their antics because they always seem to get into trouble; but this short video of him and his friend Peeps the lap goat proves he really is a big ol softie inside.

Goats and hay are not the only things we grow here on Shiloh Prairie Farm. I also make goats milk soap. If you ever wondered how to make wonderful homemade soap yourself, well now is your chance to find out how by visiting this post!

Besides the goats, hay and soap, we also plant a large garden each year and sell vegetables at the farmers market. We often have zucchini, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and even the occasional weird mutant butt fruit at our farmers market table. If you would like to read more you can browse the label links on the side bar of my blog too spend some time with us on the farm or just get to know some of the friendly and funny farm animals that call this place home.

Thank you everyone from SITS for visiting my blog today! Happy Holidays!

December 11, 2009

I Got My Eye On You - Farm Photo of the Week

"You better not be thinking about jumping up on MY old toolbox. This is my toolbox. Got it? I am keeping my eye on you..."

December 08, 2009

Carol of the Goat Bells

It is that time of year again and it just would not feel like the holidays to me without the Carol of the Goat Bells. So if you like goats and you like Christmas, I guarantee you will enjoy watching and listening to the Carol of the Goat Bells, brought to you by The Biology of the Goat. Make sure your computer speakers are on when you click the goat bells link! Merry Christmas!

December 01, 2009


After going to the mailbox today I just about wore out my paper shredder disposing of all the useless credit card offers, fliers and other junk mail. It always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer took on the post office about his junk mail. One scene has him taking all of his junk mail catalogs back to the sender, throwing them at the door and yelling "How do you like it!"

Of course, I actually kind of enjoy those free catalogs myself and lets be honest, who doesn't secretly like using a paper shredder. Come on, I bet you do too. In the end a lot of that useless junk mail gets recycled into the compost pile to become something very useful indeed, not so useless after all. I don't really mind junk mail much when I think about it that way. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for spam. It is everywhere online, it jumps out at us as intrusive pop-ups, it fills our inbox with crap that nobody can compost and really just annoys us all. It even tries to find its way into website guestbooks and blogs like this one.

This brings me to the point of this post. I realize that some readers of this blog may wonder why I have comment moderation activated on it. Let me promise you it is not to moderate or censor your comments or opinions in any way. I value all readers comments very much, including the ones that may disagree with me! Legitimate comments will always be appreciated and approved to be posted here. Unfortunately, the first week I started this blog I got a couple spam comments which was nothing more than the type of drivel that annoys us all in our email inbox. Oh I know they promise us all that we can get rich quick or win the online lottery while we get hot girls, not go bald and well I will just stop right there because we have all read them...and continue to have to read them every time we venture online.

I continued to get a few each month posted to this blog so I left the comment moderation on. Lately the amount of spam comments has increased to almost every day. They try to be sneaky by posting their spam in posts often a year old or more. I could delete them after they posted but some are offensive, while at least a couple have been scams and I don't want them on my blog for even a few hours. I very much appreciate the people that come to this blog and read, I know they do not want to read annoying or offensive spam on it anymore than I do.

I am afraid for now the comment moderation will have to stay on. I wish I knew who the people are that spam me and everyone else. Wouldn't we all like to know THEIR emails so we could follow Kramer's example, proclaim "How do you like it!" and give them a taste of their own Spam. Which makes me wonder, if you could spam a spammer...what would you spam them with?

Maybe I would send them up-close nose pictures of goats every day for a year. I got plenty of those laying around. I don't know who has been trying to post so many more spam comments on this blog lately, though judging by the content and promised "enhancement" of most of them, I just bet a certain Smiling Bob must surely be sitting behind a computer somewhere, spamming my blog and smiling that gosh darn ridiculous smile of his. So this message is to Smiling Bob and anyone else that spams this blog, because it will never get past my delete key. Smile on that....Bob.

November 30, 2009

The Agility Goat

I found this video on YouTube and I think it is amazing. This young lady clearly has a lot of patience and has worked with and trained this goat very well!

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving thoughts are the kind of thoughts that we should have all year long. For it is the folks with thankful hearts whose lives are filled with song. We should take time for kindness to those we hold most dear,and just extend a helping hand to others through the year. Let's set aside some quiet time and share it with a friend. For friendships brings a special joy and pleasure without end. So may the blessings of this day that I would ask for you, now fill you with Thanksgiving Peace that lasts the whole year through!"

Quoted from -

I would very much like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family. In many ways this has been a particularly tough year for us but I don't forget all of the things I have to be thankful for. I am most thankful for my husband and family and my treasured friends. I am also thankful every day for our farm and all our animals that fill each day with laughter and companionship. There is so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 17, 2009

You Stink So Good

"Oh no, You stink better!" Or at least that is the conversation I imagine when I watch this video, or maybe they just had really itchy faces that day.

For those that don't know these are both male goats, called bucks. They do have a distinctive musky odor when they are in rut, (I don't find it offensive, it is just a farm smell to me. Some bucks have a stronger bucky smell than others.) however the female goat (known as a "doe") does not smell at all any time of the year, well not unless she has been in a pasture with a smelly buck that has been rubbing all over her! ;-) They are very clean and in fact our dogs have more of an odor than the female goats do. Our hands do not smell and are not dirty after petting the does.

Our Boer bucks do not have too strong of an odor as far as bucks go when they are in rut, now we did own a Pygmy cross buck years ago that did! That boy would make your eyes water and peel paint straight off the barn wall with his bucky aroma, or buck funk as I like to call it... but the does went crazy over him! It is the best, most attractive cologne in the world to them.

Wait For Me! - Farm Photo of the Week

This is a picture of some of the goat herd headed back down to the house from the big pasture early this past Spring. One of my favorite does, Paint Party is in the lead with one of the WhatWhat brothers, the red doe behind them is Cherry and if you look further back you can see a young, black Boer kid who really did not want to be left behind! I think if she would have ran any faster or those big, long Boer ears would have got to flapping any more she might just have taken flight!

A closer picture, actually maybe she did there for a bit! :)

*Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

November 14, 2009

The Whatwhat Brothers Found a Home

Baby Whatwhat brothers last spring.
Some of you that have been following my blog for awhile may remember the Whatwhat brothers that I wrote about this past spring. If not you can read about them here. They are two brothers, both paint colored Boer bucklings that were born on our farm this year. Their mother is one of my favorite Boer does, her name is Dot and their father was a handsome black Boer buck.

If you are wondering why I called them the Whatwhat brothers it is because of the way they would get frisky with the other kids at such an early age. The two brothers would chase the other goat kids around, stick their tongues out and and yell "whatwhatwhat..whaaaaaat!" at them.

They were loud, obnoxious (but in a cute way), hormone driven fellows. Not really too different from some of the young boys we all went to school with at one time or another. The two Whatwhat brothers got to go to the same new home together today. This is a good thing, we have more than enough bucks on our farm and they would never have been happy seeing our other older bucks get all the girls on the farm. The brothers will be staying in Kansas and they have quite a few new girlfriends waiting for them at their new home.

The brothers today, they grew up a lot over the summer!

November 04, 2009

That Is No Way to Talk to a Lady

Actually jokes aside this is completely normal behavior for a buck goat that is trying to court a doe. It is that time of year here on the farm, the leaves have turned color, the air is crisp and the bucks are in rut. It is time to get the does in with the bucks so they will have kids in the spring. Some of them have already been bred. Joker was a greedy boy this year and wasn't happy with the 5 does he already had so he pushed the fence in and let out three or four more does with him. Looks like a couple of the does we kept this year will be kidding the end of Feb/first part of March. The rest of the does will go in with the bucks this week for April born kids.

November 03, 2009

What Is It? - Farm Photo of the Week

I wonder what it is under that log that these four young Boer does are so interested in. What do you think it is? I think Peeps, the spoiled lap goat told the other kids there is a troll that lives under the brush pile just so she could keep the whole pile of logs to herself to play on; but goats being the way goats are, that only made the other kids more curious.

October 27, 2009

Magic and Revive Treatment for Goats

Without getting into a long explanation, to put it simply, pregnancy toxemia in goats is the result of high carbohydrate (energy) demands of multiple fetuses in late pregnancy. When this demand exceeds the supply, fat is metabolized into glucose. The metabolic needs of the kids are met at the expense of the mother causing the ketotic condition.

Revive recipe for does with pregnancy toxemia

*Give Revive during the day

500ML 50% Dextrose
500ML Amino Acid Solution (50ml if it is the concentrate)
200ML Calcium Gluconate **(see note below)
20ML B complex
2 grams Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)I use the injectable
5ML B12 (3,000mcg/ml)
5ML 500mg/ml Thiamin

Give 200cc 3x per day (oral drench)

Use a large, clean canning jar to make and store this. Store it in a cool, dark place because B vitamins are destroyed by light.

Scald the jar with boiling water after you clean it and turn it upside down on a clean towel. Scald the lid also. When you mix the ingredients, do not contaminate the mouth of the jar or the contents.

Do not add water to the Revive until you are ready to give it.
Mix 50:50 with water.
Add 2-3 scoops Calf Pac with the morning dose of Revive.
Use a pan of hot water to warm it if needed. Do NOT Microwave.

**Calcium Gluconate is not necessary in Revive unless the doe is showing symptoms of calcium deficiency. The most common first symptom is tender feet, like she is walking on eggshells.

Offer sweet feed, a little corn and free choice alfalfa hay to these does.

Revive is also helpful for animals that are stressed at shows or that need supportive care for some reasons other than pregnancy toxemia. For regular use, omit the Amino Acid solution, Calcium Gluconate and Ascorbic acid.

1 part corn oil
1 part molasses
2 parts Karo syrup
It is helpful to warm it just a bit.

To treat pregnancy toxemia we use Revive during the day and 8 ounces of Magic for a large doe, (a little less for a small one) in the evening to hold them through the night. We have never had a goat scour on this treatment but if one does start to get loose stools then just back off on the Magic a little bit. The most important thing is to get them up and eating on their own again because a doe with pregnancy toxemia that is sleepy, won't get up and refuses to eat is at risk of dying. This will require aggressive and consistent treatment until they are up, alert and eating again. Does in this condition should be treated every 2 to 3 hours until they are awake and up, then the Revive treatment can be reduced to 3 times per day. This treatment has been used by many goat breeders with success for years. These recipes came originally from Coni Ross, a well respected and knowledgeable goat breeder.

The key to treating this condition in goats is catching it early, once a goat is down even the best treatment might not be successful.

Keep a close eye on your does the last six weeks of their pregnancy. Does that are carrying triplets or more and does that are fat or under weight are at the most risk.

Some symptoms of pregnancy toxemia to look for:

1. Swollen feet and lower legs.

2. A stained tail.

3. Loss of appetite.

4. Losing weight over her top.

5. Sleepy, lethargic, stays at the barn while the others go out to pasture to browse.

6. Won't stand.

7. Her breath might have a fruity, sweet odor.

If you suspect a problem you can check your doe's urine with a urine test such as Keto-check, it is generally accurate. The test strips can be bought at the pharmacy department of Wal-Mart.

**I am not a vet and this is just what works for us on our farm. You should consult with your goat knowledgeable veterinarian for help in diagnosing and treating a sick goat.

The doe in the picture did not have pregnancy toxemia. She is just taking a well deserved nap after delivering 3 healthy babies. Just because a doe is carrying triplets or quads doesn't mean she will get pregnancy toxemia, especially if she is fed properly, but even with proper feeding it pays to watch does at the top of the pecking order and at the bottom or during times of drought, etc.

Happy Mail Days and Honest Scrap

A Happy Mail Day. That is what I call any day there is actually something in the mail other than bills or useless credit card offers. A few weeks ago I had a very happy mail day thanks to Becca. She generously had a giveaway (that I was lucky enough to win) on her blog, A Southern Garden by Becca. If you have time you really should check it out. She has some of the most beautiful flowers in her garden. She was kind enough to share a little bit of her garden with me by sending me some Pink Zinnia seeds, a really cute flower pitcher and a few other nice things. I know it took me awhile to post this but thank you very much Becca!

I had another nice surprise recently when I was given the Honest Scrap award from Magaly. Her Pagan Culture blog didn't seem like a blog I would be interested in at first but after I started reading it I found out that she is a wonderful writer, an honest, open minded person and just plain likable; besides the fact she has a very interesting blog! Thank you very much for the blog award Magaly.

Magaly's Honest Scrap Award requires that I write 10 honest things about me, and then I have to pass it on to 7 people with blogs “I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.” This might not be so easy, I can talk about my goats or the farm all day long, just ask my husband but talking about myself is not as easy for me. I will give it a try though.

  1. I have a twin sister and we never, ever dressed alike as kids.
  2. I met my husband in high school.
  3. I like the ice Sonic puts in their drinks.
  4. I really don't like cell phones.
  5. I didn't meet my father until I was 21 years old.
  6. I named our farm after a very special horse I owned in my teens and twenties.
  7. I have a fear of tornadoes. (yes..I do live in Kansas, isn't that ironic)
  8. I got interested in goats after a neighbor's goat showed up at our house, peeping in the window.
  9. I really hate it when people let their dogs run loose to cause problems for their neighbors.
  10. Sunflowers are my favorite flowers.

7 Blogs full of Honest Scrap:

1. Red Pine Mountain
2. Cookin' With Barefoot
3. In The Shadow of Juniper Hill
4. My Net Finds
5. Spot On Cedar Pond
6. Stop the Ride!
7. Octoberfarm

October 18, 2009

A New Face on the Farm

I would like to introduce the newest face at Shiloh Prairie Farm! This cute, little guy doesn't officially have a name yet, which is terrible since he has been on the farm for a month but none of the names we have thought of seems to fit him. He is a purebred Nubian buck so the name we pick out will be on his registration papers. We want it to be something that fits him. His sire's name is Sargent Pepper so we thought maybe we should name him Dr. Pepper but it isn't for sure yet.

Right now we have been calling him baby because he is still on a bottle and he cries like a baby if we leave him. He has another goat with him so he isn't alone but he wants my husband or I to stay outside with him. He also starts "crying" (which is really just yelling) about the time he gets his am bottle, pm bottle and grain. He has a very sweet personality, he loves his bottle and his grain. He eyeballs the cat when she gets too close to his food, then stamps his feet at her and he loves the company of people. He follows us everywhere we go. "Baby" may be OK now but it sure is not going to fit him when he is a big, grown buck.

If you are wondering what the drink cup is that in the pictures he seems to want so bad it is because I have been using it to take a little bit of grain to him twice a day. This was probably a bad idea because now every time he sees a drink cup he wants it. I don't think any soft drink is going to be safe around him for a long time.

This buckling is a little too young to breed any does this year but hopefully by next fall we will see some nice dairy kids out of him. The plan is to have a very small but quality herd of dairy goats in the near future on the farm along with the Boer goats we have now. I will be posting more about our new addition to the farm when we decide on a name and as he grows up.

October 07, 2009

Why Goats Should Not Have Pokeweed Parties

I don't know if someone told my goats that poke sallet was good or maybe they just heard about the Pokeweed festival but for some reason a couple of my goats decided this plant would be a tasty treat several weeks ago. They learned an important lesson that pokeweed is poisonous and not good fodder for goats.

Pokeweed by any other name is still poisonous

Pokeweed is an interesting plant but definitely not a plant you want in your livestock pastures. Pokeweed is also sometimes called pokeberry, American nightshade, pigeonberry, bear’s grape or sometimes inkberry because the juice from the berries has been used as a dye. Native Americans used the juice for staining feathers, garments and other things. Folklore suggests that some Native American tribes believed that pokeweed's ability to cause drastic diarrhea and vomiting would expel bad spirits.

Pokeweed can be identified by its reddish-purple stems and drooping clusters of white-green flowers. Its immature berries are green but turn a dark purple in the fall. The leaves are large and it sometimes resembles a small tree, growing up to 10 feet in height.

No Poke Sallet for Me

Some people, especially in the south eat poke sallet. My mom told me she remembers my grandmother taking her and her brother out when they were young children to hunt for “poke” in the spring. This poisonous plant must be cut above its root when it is very young, small and shows no red in the stem; then it must be boiled in two changes of water to render it safe to eat. Purdue University does not recommend even handling the plant. Personally, I think I will stick with spinach, thank you very much.

Goats and Pokeweed

My experience with this plant started a week or so after I moved three young goat kids to a pasture that had only been home to a horse over the summer. I am observant and aware of poisonous plants in the pastures but somehow I had missed the pokeweed plants that had grown up behind a brush pile in the far corner of this particular pasture. This plant had not been in the pasture before but apparently birds are not affected by the pokeweed berries, which they are quite fond of and will spread the seeds to new locations.

The first sign that something was off was when out of the blue one evening two of the three weanlings in that particular pasture did not come running up to the feeder to get their share of the grain. They just stood under a tree and looked at me. Goats are pigs, especially when it comes to grain. Want to see what I mean? Then check out the food enthusiasm of healthy goats in this video. A goat that is off feed unless it is a doe getting ready to kid is almost always a sick animal.

The kids were somewhat lethargic but responsive and up. I checked their temperatures and that was normal. Their inner eyelids were nice and pink so anemia was not the problem. There was no raspy breathing, coughing, running nose or other symptoms that could be respiratory illness. I quickly noticed one did have scours (diarrhea) and the other one showed signs of abdominal pain by standing stretched out and looking back at his stomach followed by hunching his back. Typically in male goats this could be a warning sign of urinary stones but with both of them getting sick at the same time I doubted that. Then one of them urinated and made that as a cause in this particular case even less likely. I noticed one of them seemed a little bloated and was wet around his mouth from extra salivation.

I removed them from the pasture and put them in a pen with the third kid that still seemed fine. I gave them fresh water, CD antitoxin, Banamine, Fortified B-complex and bloat treatment to coat their stomach and help treat any bloat that might be going on. Neither one of them was deathly sick but they were definitely feeling under the weather.

Finding the Problem

Since two goats got sick at the same time with gastrointestinal symptoms and had recently been moved to a new pasture I did suspect the possibility they may have consumed something poisonous. When you have livestock be prepared for people and even some vets to tell you that your animals won’t eat poisonous plants unless they are starving. This is simply not always true. While it is true some undesirable plants are less palatable, some animals will find certain poisonous plants quite tasty.

The research I have done on pokeweed lends two completely opposite conclusions on this. Some articles say it is quite bitter and livestock avoid it and others say livestock will eat it readily. So with that I can only speak from our experience. These two particular goats were healthy and very well fed. They had access to good hay and twice daily grain feedings. The pasture had a good stand of grass and other safe browse in it, yet when I found the pokeweed it was quite clear these goats had their own little pokeweed party and consumed a fair amount of it. The third goat kid must not have been invited to the party because he never showed any of the symptoms the other two did.

The fact that these were young, inexperienced kids without the influence of older, wiser goats to help lead them to which plants to eat likely played a role. The goat kids that were affected recovered quickly and completely in only about a day and a half with some supportive care and removing them from the source of the poison. Today they are fine and healthy young goats, still looking to get themselves into trouble when they can. The pokeweed was removed from their pasture before they were allowed back out in it

.Pokeweed poisoning in livestock

Some important things to remember about pokeweed are that all parts of this plant are poisonous to both humans and livestock. The roots are considered to be the most dangerous part of the plant. For this reason pigs may be especially at risk of rooting up these plants and being poisoned. Children can be attracted to the berries and can be poisoned by eating them. Some of the symptoms of pokeweed poisoning in livestock may include colic, diarrhea, oral irritation, excessive salivation, depression, weakness and death; although fatalities in goats are not common unless large quantities of the plant are consumed.

If you suspect your goat may have been poisoned by something it is important to prevent further exposure to the poison. You should pen or stall the goat in a quiet place and provide fresh water. Look for samples of the suspected plant to aid in diagnosis. Contact your veterinarian for help with diagnosis and treatment.

It is sometimes difficult to keep track of all the plants in a large livestock pasture but this was a startling reminder that when it comes to toxic plants it pays to be not only aware but extra diligent in the removal of all harmful vegetation hiding in unseen corners and fence rows.

Sources and further information:

October 06, 2009

Test Your Goat Knowledge

I found this neat and interesting quiz that will test your goat IQ the other day. You should give it a try! Click Here to start the goat quiz!

September 25, 2009

Calling the Goat Herd Home

My husband took this video today of the goat herd coming down from the big pasture. Who is that leading the way? Why, Peeps the lap goat of course!

September 24, 2009

Random Farm Catch Up

I was going to post about how to tattoo a goat today. Melody the Boer doe was supposed to be my unwilling volunteer but we got a late start and the lighting did not agree with my camera. Melody did get tattooed but most of the pictures did not turn out. Don't worry I will post tattoo instructions soon because we have quite a few more goats to get done in the near future. Hopefully our next tattoo goat model will be more cooperative. If you are looking at this picture and thinking; "that is the expression of a goat less than enthusiastic about the whole tattoo idea" then you would be right. Melody was actually kind of bratty about the whole thing, not that I blame her.

Tattooing is my least favorite chore on the farm. It is not because this is a difficult task to do, actually tattooing a goat is a rather simple and easy chore albeit a little messy. That green ink just seems to grow and spread everywhere no matter how careful you are with it. It is a necessary chore but I don't like tattooing or tagging goats because I hate to cause them pain, even for just a few seconds. Strangely castrating goats doesn't bother me a bit, a fact that makes my husband nervous for some reason. I guess I don't need to tell you what his most disliked farm chore is.

Since the how to tattoo post did not work out I thought I would just write a short, random catch up post about what has been going on at the farm.

The biggest news is probably our new addition to the farm. He is a little spotted Nubian buckling and a real sweetheart. I have always loved Nubian dairy goats and I especially find the spotted ones to be very beautiful. I have admired and wanted one for probably about six years, so when the opportunity came up to bring this little guy home I just couldn't say no. We are hoping to have a small, quality herd of Nubian dairy goats in the near future. Sorry no pictures yet but I will be posting more about him soon!

Procrastination is the bad, ugly monkey on my back. I have a problem with it and because of that I now find myself with only a week or so to move my farm website. Currently it is hosted with Yahoo Geocities because they are free and I am cheap frugal but Geocities is shutting down. I would be very thankful for advice and suggestions about where to go for web hosting! I would like one that I can eventually set up a shopping cart on.

Things are still up in the air and unsure but we may be moving my sister's horses down here to the farm at some point in the future. I am not quite sure where we will put them but I will figure something out. It is important to me to help out family and friends whenever I can.

We are going to have to find a different person to cut and bale our hay next year. We have it done on shares and the person that has done it the last three years is just not working out. The problem is we need every bale of hay we can get off of our land and he really does not seem to be worried about cutting all that he could bale on our property. This year he probably left a third of it uncut. We are going to have to buy a lot more hay this year because of it. We should have found someone else last year but what can I say we are just too nice sometimes and didn't want to find someone else unless we had too. We are going to be paying for that this winter. It seems the trick is going to be finding someone that still bales in small squares because the farmers around here all seem to be going to big round bales.

The garden is about done. I did not keep up with tracking all of our harvest in case you all didn't notice but I had good intentions. I am already looking forward to next years garden. I was so excited to get some hopi pale grey squash seeds in the mail from Linda who writes the Life on a Colorado Farm blog. Thank you so much Linda! I have never planted this type before and I can't wait to add them to the garden next year.

Hope you all did not mind my bit of random catch up today. I want to thank every person that reads my blog and takes the time to leave a comment. You are all very much appreciated.

September 22, 2009

Goat Tears

I just thought this was a cute commercial and wanted to share.

September 11, 2009

The Lap Goat

Peeps thinks she is a lap goat.

She likes nothing better than to take a nap or relax and chew her cud all cuddled up in a friend's lap. Peeps won't be a lap goat forever though because she is a cross of two very large breeds of goats. See, her daddy is a big, burly Boer buck and her mom is a long, tall Nubian doe so Peeps is destined to out grow her position as resident lap goat someday, but for now she is milking it for all it is worth.

Peeps was born on Easter, in fact that is how she got the name Peeps. I was there to get some cute baby pictures of her right after she was born.

Earlier this past Spring my husband made it very clear the goat herd size was already as large as it should be, so we would not be keeping hardly any of this years doelings. I had some tough decisions to make but it seemed to make sense to both of us to sell the cross breed doelings first. The fact that I already had her mother, and both of her half sisters in the herd made Peeps seem like a logical choice for one of the doelings to sell and I even posted about it. The word must have got out to Peeps about that because she really turned up the charm. It wasn't long until she had my husband wrapped around her little hoof and he eventually changed his mind about selling her. I was secretly glad because she had wormed her way into my heart as well with her friendly personality and funny antics. So Peeps is going to hang here with us, as our farm mascot, resident lap goat and hopefully a nice backyard milk goat someday.

September 10, 2009

Stop Funding for Plum Island in the Heartland.

Some of you may recall about a year ago I wrote about our governments plan to move hoof and mouth disease research facilities from an isolated island lab to a lab in the middle of an agricultural region. You can read that post HERE, it will give you a background of this issue, provide some informational links and tell you why I think this is such a bad idea.
Today the proposed site is Manhattan, Kansas, which happens to be smack dab in the heart of cattle country. Posted below is some more recent news from R-CALF USA about the Plum Island animal disease research facility and the foolish idea of building a new research facility, not only on the main land but in an agricultural area with a dense population of livestock. To listen to a short audio clip from R-CALF about this, Click Here.
For me as a farmer and a resident of the state in which our government wants to locate this facility it is in my humble opinion that I don't care how much money is thrown at this issue or how many D.C. bigwigs swear by its safety while they sit behind their desks far away from America's farms and ranches and the people that could be affected by this decision; the fact of the matter is nobody can 100% guarantee there won't be an accident. One of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in Britain was from a research facility. Here is another news article about FMD outbreaks in the UK.

I do understand this could bring money and some jobs to our state, but even as bad as Kansas needs the jobs it just is not worth the risk. Someone has to draw the line somewhere about just what we as a country are willing to risk for an extra buck or an extra job. If you feel like I do, I encourage you to contact your US Senators through and tell them to draw a line for our farmers and ranchers by improving or building their new facility on Plum Island where it has been for years and denying funding specifically for plans to relocate Plum Island animal research facility to the mainland. I do believe animal disease research is very important and should be fully funded but only in a logical place like Plum Island, not a stone's throw from many of America's farms, ranches and feedlots.

Coalition Asks Homeland Security Approps Committees

to Deny Funding for NBAF on U.S. Mainland

Washington, D.C. – R-CALF USA, along with 24 other organizations, sent formal correspondence to the 30 conferees of the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, to request that they deny funding for plans to relocate dangerous research from Plum Island, N.Y., to a facility in Manhattan, Kan., the heart of cattle country.

“Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed to establish a National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Kansas where research would be conducted on such highly contagious livestock diseases as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia,” the letter states. “As you begin to conference the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we urge you to deny funding for the NBAF project.”

R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee, emphasized that the highly contagious nature of FMD dictates that only a site far removed from significant livestock and meat production, and one protected by natural barriers, should be considered.

“Only the Plum Island facility meets those criteria, so it is R-CALF’s strong contention that if any changes are made at all, those changes should be simply to improve the facilities at Plum Island,” Thornsberry said. “An inadvertent disease outbreak from the proposed NBAF would likely severely harm the very sectors of the U.S. economy and U.S. population that the NBAF is supposed to protect: the U.S. livestock herd, U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers.

“The House of Representatives acknowledged the dangers of placing a research facility in the heartland and it authorized no funding for the NBAF in Kansas,” he concluded. “We are respectfully requesting that the Senate adopt the House position by denying all appropriations to Homeland Security for the purpose of transferring the disease research programs at Plum Island to the U.S. mainland.”

Other signers on the letter included: Cattle Producers of Washington; Center for Rural Affairs; Colorado Independent CattleGrowers’ Association; Dakota Resource Council; Dakota Rural Action; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Food & Water Watch; Independent Beef Association of North Dakota; Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska; Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming; Kansas Cattlemen’s Association; Kansas Farmers Union; Mississippi Livestock Markets Association; Missouri's Best Beef, Inc.; National Farmers Union; Nebraska Farmers Union; New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association; New Mexico Federal Lands Council; Oregon Livestock Producers Association; Ozarks Property Rights Congress, Mo.; South Dakota Stockgrowers Association; The CJD Foundation; Western Organization of Resource Councils; and, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USAU.S.R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit represents thousands of cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. or, call 406-252-2516.

September 09, 2009

We Got Gourds!

Our vegetable garden started out really strong this year. For most of the summer I kept up with it, despite the bucket loads of zucchini and those determined weeds. Then somehow when some very stressful family issues and other unexpected things got added to my plate recently the garden just went south. The weeds took over and our beautiful garden has ended up looking pretty neglected I am afraid. One plant that did seem to thrive despite my inattention is the gourds.

This was the first year I have planted birdhouse gourds and I only planted a few. You may remember them earlier in the year from this post. They got much bigger than that, they completely covered their trellis, crept down the goat fence, covered the compost pile and tried to strangle the corn. I loved it, but next time I will know to put in a much larger trellis for them! I can't believe three gourd plants spread out so much! Here is some of the gourds I have gotten off those plants.

These particular ones were knocked off by one of our Great Pyrenees dogs when he got into the backyard and decided those vines looked like a cool place to dig a hole to sleep in. That is the very spoiled Miss Peeps in the picture right before she knocked some of them over like bowling pins. (Why do my animals have it out for my gourds?) There are still some more gourds on the vine but I have read to leave them on the vine as long as possible. I can't wait for these gourds to dry so I can try my hand at some birdhouses and art with them! If you want to see some truly beautiful and unique gourd art you should check out the link below! I had no idea there was a Gourd Art Festival!

**Big Smiles! Blogger decided too cooperate with me for once and loaded my picture! Clicking on the picture will make it larger.

August 29, 2009

Embarrassed by a Tomato

Leave it to my dear husband to find this tomato in our garden. Some kind of weird mutant butt fruit. (As I think to myself, "Sure you think it is funny now but what kind of Google searches is this blog going to turn up in after using the term butt fruit in it". Eww)
Butt...err but how does it taste? I figured since our fresh garden zucchini is proudly goat approved I would let the bucks put this tomato to the taste test as well.

The bucks took their task of farm food critic seriously and tried that first bite of tomato.

As you can see on the video, the bucks tried the tomato. They are clearly contemplating this tomato a great deal with that first bite, trying to decide if they really like it. They don't rush to judgment. In the end I think their verdict was this particular tomato tastes about like what it looks like.

Goats have a false reputation for eating anything and this is simply not true. They can in fact be quite persnickety about their food and water. It must be clean and fresh as it should be and it is common for goats to prefer one type of grain or mineral over another. Our spoiled goats even prefer certain colors or types of water buckets over others. These goats love their green and blue buckets but will only drink out of the same type of clean red or pink buckets if they have too and they hate to drink after the slobber monster Dudley the dog. You can practically see the disgust on their faces if they walk up to the water bucket after he has dripped drool in it while slopping up a drink. So if you see us at the farmers market, don't judge our tomatoes too harshly by these two food critics, they are after all quite picky but I do promise there won't be any mutant butt fruits at our farmers market table.

August 26, 2009

August 21, 2009

Talking Turkey

We have had some new visitors to the farm lately. Wild turkeys! Of course turkeys are no new thing on the farm and we have seen them quite often in the past, but usually we just see them from a distance. They might be crossing the road or every once in awhile out in the pastures. I even saw one being stalked by a coyote in our hay pasture one time. The lucky turkey saw the stealthy predator in time to fly away, with some help from me and the coyote went hungry that day.

These wild turkey encounters have always been from afar though. Well, except for that one really close up, from out of nowhere, in my face at 50 mph by way of the windshield of my car turkey experience. I can't really count that one, because between the flying feathers, screeching brakes and shattering glass, that turkey and I didn't exactly have time to say hello to each other. He ran away and neither one of us or the sheriff deputy that responded could find him. I left that turkey encounter feeling very sad, needing a new windshield and almost a new pair of pants.

Lately though there has been a few brave turkeys that have been hanging around quite close to the house. At first it was just one turkey. I noticed her the first time when I happened to look out the living room window and caught her strutting around the back yard, bobbing her head and eyeing our vegetable garden. The next bob of her head she happened to see the curtains move and she quickly sort of ran and flew away. Turkeys are not the most graceful fliers.

She came back a few times and pretty soon she brought a friend. Now there was two turkeys hanging around the house almost every day. They hang out in the driveway first thing in the morning and then they like to come up to the back of the house mid morning after the goats and horse are done eating to pick up any grain they have dropped. It wasn't long until they stopped running away when I opened the backdoor and now they just walk away. The picture above was taken through the window. Jeez, I need to wash the windows but they are only about 20 feet from the back door here.

Up until yesterday it had just been two turkeys hanging around the house. They were hanging out by the backyard again. Now apparently the word is out and it is a turkey party up in here and we have three turkeys at least. I suspect they are roosting on the brush pile in the horse pasture not far from the house. Until yesterday I had not heard them make a sound. Yesterday I was in the house when I heard a strange, soft "pip" sound. "What is that?" It is hard to describe, but it sounded like pip....pip..pip. It took me a minute to realize it was the turkeys making that strange sound. So we grabbed the camera to try and get some pictures of them.

If you turn up the sound on this video you can hear them. This was the turkeys early in the morning after a heavy overnight rain shower. They walk away if they know I am watching them so this was filmed by opening the backdoor a crack and sticking the camera out. It worked for awhile and then Joker the goat had to give us away. Yes, that is hay on his head. He must have been eating out of the hay rack. He gets so much hay on his head because he likes to ram the hay rack with his horns. Maybe he would stop if he knew how silly he looked with that hay on his head all the time. (The constant clicking sound in the video is the electric fence charger)

The turkeys know we are watching them so they start to walk away. They don't do the panicked, head bob and run anymore. They just sort of mosey on back out to the pasture when they realize we are watching them.

"Oh Wait! I see a kernel of grain I missed!" Can't leave that little tasty treasure behind. Apparently she is the "just one more" chick at the turkey party.

The other two girls don't wait on her and head back home, down the horse path.

She catches up though and they walk single file back out to the brush pile together, going "pip" "pip" as they go.

August 08, 2009

Little Gems

Isn't this cutie just a little gem? His name is Tracy and he is my new nephew! He was three days old in this picture if you can believe that. Just look at all that hair! I realize this doesn't really have anything to do with goats or farming but I am just so proud to welcome little Tracy to the family, and to be a first time aunt!

Speaking of gems, I am humbled and honored that Kathie over at "My Net Finds" would see fit as to give me her special "You're a Gem" award. Thank you Kathie! If you are interested in a great blog you should check her out!

August 07, 2009

Goat Meat Growing in Popularity Across the US

It looks like the good taste and value of goat meat is finally starting to get noticed at restaurants and even in the news.

Goat, the healthy red meat.

For anyone interested in the nutritional value here is a link to an interesting chart comparing different types of meat.

August 06, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction on NAIS

Press Release: Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator R-Calfusa
August 4, 2009 e-mail:

77 Groups Laud Senate Subcommittee for Unanimous Vote on Tester/Enzi Amendment to Slash NAIS Funding

Washington, D.C. - R-CALF USA is pleased that the U.S. Senate, through a unanimous consent vote, supported an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., that slashes funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Animal Identification System (NAIS) by one-half in the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

".perhaps most important, USDA has pursued NAIS without working in cooperation with the very industry sector that would be directly impacted by the agency's radical new proposal. Instead, USDA has proceeded to implement NAIS despite overwhelming opposition from the men and women who comprise our U.S. livestock industry, and particularly from those involved in the largest segment of our livestock industry - the U.S. cattle industry," wrote R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry in a letter sent to Tester before the vote.

"As evidenced by USDA's numerous listening sessions held throughout the U.S., this overwhelming opposition arises from those individuals who have the greatest stake in ensuring that our livestock herds remain protected from the introduction and spread of disease - the individuals whose very livelihoods and businesses are dependent on preventing, controlling and eradicating diseases," the letter continued. "This, above all else, should demonstrate to Congress that USDA's NAIS program is wholly inappropriate and unsuitable for the United States livestock industry."

Thornsberry pointed out that USDA already has spent about $140 million of taxpayer money on NAIS, claiming the program would allow animal disease traceback within 48 hours, but such an arbitrary timeframe would not appear to prevent the spread of diseases with long incubation periods, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or bovine tuberculosis. Nor would NAIS appear to prevent the spread of diseases that incubate very quickly, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which would necessitate more immediate containment actions to prevent disease spread beyond an infected animal.

Additionally, R-CALF USA signed on with a letter to the entire Senate from a coalition of 76 other organizations that oppose NAIS.

"Contrary to its stated purposes, NAIS will not address animal disease or food safety problems. Instead, NAIS imposes high costs and paperwork burdens on family farmers.In this letter, we will touch on just a few of the reasons that NAIS is fundamentally flawed:

1) No analysis or quantification of the alleged benefits. USDA has made unsupported assertions that our country needs 48-hour traceback of all animal movements for disease control. Yet USDA has failed to provide any scientific basis, including risk analysis or scientific review of existing programs, to support this claim. USDA has also asserted that NAIS would provide 48-hour traceback, but has failed to address the many technological and practical barriers. Existing disease control programs, combined with measures such as brand registries and normal private record-keeping, provide cost-effective traceback. A new and costly program such as NAIS is unnecessary and potentially counterproductive.

2) High costs. The costs of complying with NAIS will be unreasonably burdensome for small farmers and many other animal owners. The costs of NAIS go far beyond the tag itself, and include: premises registration database creation and updates; tags and related equipment, such as readers, computers, and software; 24-hour reporting requirements, imposing extensive paperwork burdens; labor for every stage of the program; stress on the animals; qualitative costs, from loss of religious freedoms, privacy, and trust in government; and enforcement.

3) No food safety benefits. NAIS will not prevent food borne illnesses from e. coli or salmonella, because the contamination occurs at the slaughterhouse, while NAIS tracking ends at the time of slaughter. Thus, NAIS will neither prevent the contamination nor increase the government's ability to track contaminated meat back to its source. In addition, NAIS will hurt efforts to develop safer, decentralized local food systems.

4) Unfair burdens placed on family farms and sustainable livestock operations. In addition to the costs, NAIS would impose significant reporting and paperwork burdens on small farms. In addition, sustainable livestock operations, which manage animals on pasture, would face higher rates of tag losses than confinement operations due to animals getting their tags caught on brush or fences. NAIS essentially creates incentives for CAFOs, with the accompanying social and environmental concerns.

"NAIS epitomizes what government should not do: it should not impose costly and highly intrusive regulatory burdens on private industry and private citizens without first considering alternatives, without first establishing a critical public need, and without first determining the effect that a significant government mandate would have on the culture and economy of the U.S. livestock industry," said Thornsberry. "We view the Tester/Enzi amendment as an essential step towards requiring USDA to begin cooperating with U.S. livestock producers to prevent the introduction and spread of animal diseases and pests in livestock without violating the rights and privileges of the individual owners and caretakers of those livestock."

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit or, call 406-252-2516.