March 30, 2009

Rose's New Family - Goat Birth Pictures

*Warning, graphic pictures of the birth process of a goat below*

This is Rose, she is a red Boer/Nubian cross doe in our goat herd. I knew what day she was bred by our Boer buck Joker so I knew about when Rose was due to have her kids. I was keeping a close eye on her. She was checked less than two hours before and she wasn't showing the typical signs of pawing the ground, getting up and down or talking back at her stomach so I thought she might have her kids later the next morning. My 10pm check however found Rose had sneaked one by me because she already had one kid on the ground when I got there. Not that Rose needs my help but I do like to be there just in case there might be a problem and this night was rather cold as well.
I didn't miss everything though, as the water bag indicates another kid is on the way. This is Rose's second kidding, so she gets right to business giving birth to her second kid.
If you look close you can see the front legs and head of the kid. This is what you want to see, two front feet followed by the head resting above and between the front legs in a normal presentation.

A good push later and the head is out now. The hard part over, the rest is quick to follow. It looks like we have a pretty black and white paint colored kid! I was crossing my fingers and thinking pink thoughts hoping it was a doeling.
Rose is such a good mom, she starts cleaning and talking to her baby before it is even all the way out.
It is a cold night so I am sure to help Rose get her kids dried quickly so they do not get chilled. After this I dip their umbilical cords in iodine but otherwise I don't interfere so Rose and her new babies can bond.

Congratulations and good job Rose! They are both girls! What a nice looking family.
It does not take them long to stand up and start looking for their first milk. Rose continues to bleat and talk to them, she must be telling them how precious she thinks they are.
Now they are "punching" at the air and Rose's stomach looking for her teats so they can nurse. You are so close...getting warmer...
Nope, that is her milk there....but neither kid gave up and it did not take them long at all to find their first meal. With full bellies they laid down and napped for a bit. Rose passed her afterbirth and got some well deserved warm molasses water which she drank down with enthusiasm. Mama Rose and her two new girls are doing great!

*Pictures can be made bigger by clicking on them.

Look What the Cat Dragged In

Three more of the mama goats have kidded since I last posted. The baby count is now five new doelings and three bucklings born on the farm recently. Some may wonder with adorable new baby goats on the ground, why am I posting pictures of snakes? I actually think snakes are very cool but I also haven't had a chance to go through the new baby pictures yet and pick some out to post. I will do that very soon though! I did however come in the house today after being outside with the new mother goats to take a short break. I sat down in my chair and happened to notice this little worm snake sitting on the living room floor. They are harmless snakes that spend their time under rocks and underground eating earthworms. So what was he doing on my living room floor? I don't have any proof but Lily the cat looked very guilty. He didn't appear to be injured, so after a quick picture he was released unharmed back outside. I hope he found his way under the house or someplace warm. Good luck little snake!

*Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

March 27, 2009

Paint the Kidding Pen Blue. We Got Boys!

Shiloh Prairie Farm welcomes the first two goat kids born in 2009! Two pretty, paint colored Boer bucklings. The very dark chocolate colored buckling is a little bit smaller than his brother and he looked just a little bit thinner than some kids right after he was born. That is when these pictures were taken, at only a few hours old; however I noticed today he is already fattening up and looks so much better. The two brothers are doing well today. They are starting to really test their legs out by doing playful little hops around the pen. So cute! Luckily these kids were born before the weather turned bad, but I still have does that are due this weekend while we are under a winter storm warning. (Funny, I thought it was Spring? Apparently not yet!) I am hoping they hold off until Sunday when the weather starts to improve a bit!

March 26, 2009

What Happened to Spring?

There is some bad weather headed this way for the weekend. That is the news from the weather Channel.

A wild ride for Friday
Lead Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Mar. 26, 2009 8:34 pm ET

Heavy snow and fierce winds will move southward and eastward out of Colorado into New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and Kansas where many locations will pick up a foot or more of snow. Blizzard conditions will occur at times across eastern Colorado, western Kansas and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandles. The drifts could be in the double digits of feet high !! The Plains in this area have been desert dry so any moisture is welcome. This could be one of the most impressive March blizzards for this area on record. More...

Even though I could do without the predicted cold temperatures, I am very happy we are getting some rain because this area can certainly use it. In a perfect world this weather would have been earlier in the month before any of the goat moms were due to kid though. I have quite a few does right now that are due to kid anytime. Now I know what they have been waiting for. They have been holding onto their kids until this storm moves into the area. They did not forget about The Doe Code of Honor this year! One doe however must have missed the weather forecast because she kidded before the storm with two colorful bucklings. More on the proud mother and new goat kids later. I have to charge the batteries in my camera.

March 25, 2009

Nifty...Don't Ever Do THAT Again!

I am still waiting on goat kids, three goats are due anytime then five are due in less than a week with the rest of the goat due dates scattered out through the middle of April. Have patience Emma, you are not due until April 12th. Just keep on meditating or whatever it is you are doing. In other news Nifty the goat almost gave me a heart attack the other morning. She is one of the young does that is due anytime now so I have been keeping a close eye on her. She is a pretty, feminine Boer doe with a red head and white body. I went out early in the morning yesterday to check on the expectant moms. My goats are not particularly early risers, being the goat divas they are, these girls like to sleep in. A girl needs her beauty rest after all. As I walked up to the shed Cherry gave me a look of annoyance and got up; such a teenager. Rose didn't even bother, she just lifted her head with a groggy expression like "Is it breakfast time already?" If she would have had a blanket, she would have pulled it over her head.

As the other goats woke up to my presence they started getting up and stretching, some wanted early morning face scratches. I noticed Nifty had not moved at all, she was still in the same spot, laying with her head folded back over her side, motionless. "Nifty, get up lazy bones" I cheerfully said and she did not move. I like to think I am a positive person but maybe deep down I really do view my glass as half empty because my stomach immediately sunk just a little and I said her name again...a little louder, "Nifty!"...nothing. I walked up to her, she was still laying there with her head folded back. I was looking at Nifty, all the other goats were wide awake now and looking at me. I was holding my breath as I reached down and gave her a little shake, her pregnant belly jiggled but she still didn't move. I guess by now my mind was playing tricks with me or it was the cool morning air, but she felt cold. I didn't see her breathing. I reached down again and gave her a really good shake this time, still no movement at all.

In just a matter of seconds I felt shock, sick, angry, sad and very confused. A wave of different emotions was starting to erode my utter disbelief. My mind raced to figure out what could have happened, I had no clue. I am actually very good about keeping my emotions in check during a crisis. I can think and function well, I don't break might not know I am that upset on the inside, but I tend to show that hand by cussing. Few know this about me because normally in everyday life I do try not to cuss. In fact I just don't, so it can be a shock to people that know me, but old habits die hard during times of stress. Some people smoke...I use expletives. "You have GOT to be s!*#ing me!" I exclaimed out loud as I knelt beside Nifty's body. I couldn't believe it. It was at that moment she jerked her head up almost sending me backwards on my butt and giving me a heart attack all over again as she jumped to her feet. She stood there looking back at me like "Where did you come from?". In an instant all those building emotions were released and I laughed in disbelief. "Good grief Nifty, it is a damn good thing I wasn't a coyote!" I have heard of deep sleepers but that is ridiculous!

March 23, 2009

The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Goats

The first question to answer when buying goats is "Why do I want goats?" This is an important question to answer because it is how you know what to look for, what breed to buy and who to buy your goats from. Do you want a couple pets or a 4H project? Maybe you want to have fresh, healthy milk for your family or you want to raise your own goat meat. It could be your dream is to start a business selling commercial meat goats, breeding stock or to win recognition at shows. If you want to buy goats as a business endeavor it will pay to find out what markets and avenues of selling your goats is available in your area before you jump in with closed eyes and an open wallet.

A successful start to buying goats actually starts before you buy any goats. Research the different breeds, buy a few goat books and find out the ins and outs of goat ownership beforehand. Locate goat breeders in your area and ask if you can visit their farm. The other questions you need to ask yourself before going on that goat buying trip is, "Do I have good fences, shelters and protection from predators in place for my new goats?" "Is my home zoned for farm animals?" "Do I have hay, grain, water buckets, bedding and the other supplies I will need?" It is a very good idea to have these things in place and be well prepared before actually bringing home any goats.

Now that you have decided what type of goats you want to buy and they have a safe, well prepared home waiting for them it is time to go goat shopping! Here are some Do's & Don'ts and tips for buying goats.

Don't buy just one goat.
Goats are herd animals that need the company of their own kind. A lone goat is an unhappy goat and may become a noisy or hard to keep fenced in goat. Make sure your goat has a buddy and you both will be happier.

Do start slow.
It is wise to start small and grow your herd gradually as you learn how to properly care for your goats. More is not always better, look for quality over quantity when starting your goat herd.

Do shop around.
Don't buy the very first goat you see, visit several farms to see what is available and to learn how different farms manage their goats.

Don’t buy breeding stock from sale barns,
especially if you are new to buying goats. Sale barns are always buyer beware. This is where many people dispose of their cull goats and you may be buying another person's problem. Sometimes the reason a goat is at the sale barn is not immediately noticeable. That pretty doe could be a bad mother or infertile. That buck that caught your eye might have earned a one way ticket to the sale barn for being a fence jumper or maybe he is just plain mean. That goat you are bidding on might have a disease the previous owner wanted out of his herd. One must also consider the fact that even the goats that stepped off of their trailer as good, healthy stock just spent the entire evening being exposed to many other animals from many different farms at the auction. There is always a good chance of them picking up an illness from this exposure. That $25 sale barn goat is no bargain if he ends up costing you money in vet bills later or brings home a disease to the rest of your goats and your land.

Do ask the breeder questions
. Honest breeders don’t mind questions, in fact most love talking about their goats and are only too happy to answer them. Below is an example of questions I have asked breeders when buying goats.

Why is this goat for sell?
How old is the goat?
Is this goat registered and if so what bloodlines /breeding does he have?
Has she kidded before?
Has she ever had any kidding problems and is she a good mother?
Is he aggressive to people or destructive to fences?

Is she easy to catch and handle?

Has she ever had any abscesses? Is there any history of CL, CAE or Johne's disease in the herd?
Will you have goats tested for buyers? (I offer to pay for this of course)
Is there any history of abortions or other health problems in the herd?
Has this particular goat ever had any health problems or been sick?
Has she been vaccinated and if so with what and when?
What kind of wormer do you use and when was she last dewormed?
What kind of hay and/or grain has she been eating and how much? If you will be feeding the goat a different feed, do get or buy some of the feed she is used too so you can gradually switch her over. Changing feed abruptly is not a good idea and can cause health problems in goats.

Do carefully examine any goat you are buying.
Watch her walk to make sure she is not lame in any way. (Sometimes a goat that has just been vaccinated may limp a little for a day or so). Pick up her hooves, to make sure they are healthy looking and don’t have any distinctive bad odor that could be hoof rot. Her eyes should be bright and alert; her coat healthy looking, not dull or rough. Gently pull down her lower eyelid, it should be pink or red, not pale or white. Look at her teeth to help determine her age and to make sure she has a good bite. If she is registered check to make sure her tattoo matches her papers. Be cautious of goats that are thin, have scours, big knees or abscesses, especially under the ears, and in front of the shoulder as these could be symptoms of disease.

If buying a doe, pay attention to what her udder looks like, make sure it is well attached and her teats can be nursed by kids. Examine her udder for hardness or lumps as this is often a sign of mastitis. If buying a dairy doe, ask to milk her before you buy, it is a good way to find out if her udder is suitable for milking and if she is well behaved on the milk stand. If you are buying breeding stock ask if the sire, dam or any offspring of the goat you are buying is on the farm you can look at. Pay attention to what the other goats on the farm look like. It is not uncommon for a farm to have a particular animal that might be having a problem at a particular time. That doe you noticed that is on the thin side might be a 12 year old that has been nursing triplets for example, but the herd in general should look healthy and well cared for.

Do quarantine your new goats.
It is a very good idea to keep any new goats separate from your existing herd for a month to make sure they are healthy and are not going to bring any health problems into your goat herd. Also deworm and treat for any external parasites if need be at that time. Any necessary vaccines should be administered when a new goat arrives on the farm.

Most of all, DO have fun and enjoy your new goats!

March 22, 2009

Heavenly High Speed

This is what it takes to get high speed Internet when you live just a little bit too far out in the country for DSL and at the bottom of two hills. We had to put this tower up at the top of the hill, way up in the west goat pasture. We were not done yet, a trench had to be dug about 400 feet back down the hill to the house for the cable. ( We really, really hated dial-up.) For the last few months I have been in high speed heaven, no more playing spider solitaire or catching up on paperwork while waiting for websites to load. I actually got to watch YouTube videos more than 2 seconds at a time! I was able to post my first little farm video on my blog! Life is good. Lately we have been having some issues with it though, things will run slower than even the dial-up was at certain times and then next time things are running great. Hopefully that will get fixed but after years of super slow dial-up, I can't complain!

March 20, 2009

You Dirty Rat!

Or muskrat rather. While feeding the goats this evening I heard an awful ruckus of barking and growling going on in the goat shed. Abby and Bayla, the livestock guardian dogs were fighting with something, though I didn't have a clue as to what it was at first. The hay feeders had just been filled and there wasn't anything in there a minute before, at least not that I saw. A dozen goats came running out of the shed as the commotion started looking all kinds of bewildered and upset. I had my hands full at that moment with the herd wimp Ruthy on a collar and leash, standing guard over her share of grain while she ate to prevent the other goats from taking her dinner, so Jamey hurried to the shed to see what was going on.

Jamey got to the shed just in time to see one of the dogs flip what looked like a huge rat through the air, then they cornered it again. Abby and Bayla were just being good guardian dogs by attacking this strange animal they perceived as a threat in their herd's home. I was impressed that they both stopped and backed off when told too, but they stood close by, alert and ready to jump on this strange intruder again if need be.

By that time I was able to let Ruthy go and see for myself what was going on in the goat shed. I expected to find some nasty barn rat or the usual opossum but there in the corner of the shed under guard of two dogs was a huge muskrat. I don't know what he was doing down by the house, their habitat is near water at marshes, ponds or streams. They will fight one another, especially during food shortages. The defeated individual is pushed out; the victorious remains. Perhaps this one had been driven from his home, maybe up at one of our two farm ponds and was searching for a new one. Their diet is typically things such as cattail, pond weeds, white clover and they readily utilize dry land weeds, grasses and cultivated corn. Snails, frogs, crayfish and salamanders are also on the menu. Perhaps he was attracted to the prairie and alfalfa hay in the shed. Whatever reason he was in the goat shed, it was a very bad place for him to be and it did not turn out well for him I am afraid.

He was still feisty enough to try and bite Jamey's boot so I didn't see at first until after the first picture were taken that he was actually severely hurt by the dogs. His leg or back was broke because he could only drag his back end and he was bleeding from a wound on his stomach. Some may find it strange but it isn't the way I would have preferred for things to turn out. The soft hearted side of me would have preferred to catch it alive and release it far away at the creek, however that was not going to happen because he was mortally wounded and the only humane thing to do was to end his suffering. I don't enjoy seeing anything killed but after the deed was done we did have a morbid curiosity to see just how big he was.

All of the commotion has settled down now. The dogs are fine and the goats did go back in their shed to finish their hay after all the excitement was over with. Just another day on the farm!

March 19, 2009

March 17, 2009

Pictures From Sundae's Mom

We have been raising goats here on Shiloh Prairie Farm for quite awhile. I greatly appreciate and want to thank every person who has taken home a goat or dog from our farm, without their support we could not continue to do what we do here on the farm.

One of these wonderful people is Sundae's Mom. It is always a little hard to let any animal I have raised go, but bottle babies are especially difficult. Sundae was a bottle baby we had born on the farm in 2007. She was as sweet of a little goat as there ever was and would come running every time she seen me, begging to be picked up. Sundae was certainly a cute baby, with her extra long basset hound ears and little determined chin. Jamey named her Sundae because when she was born she had a chocolate colored head and markings on her little white body that reminded him of a chocolate sundae. I guess he was in the mood for ice-cream that day and Sundae should feel lucky she did not end up with Chunky Monkey as a name, but since I do get to name more of the goats than he does I agreed with his name for her. So Sundae she was named.

As is the nature of a farm, you just can't keep them all no matter how cute they are, and they are all cute. Summer was coming to an end and we had the prospect of a long winter ahead, it was time to cut the herd back a little. Second only to losing a beloved pet and raising one's own food, one of the most difficult things to do on a farm is deciding who to sell to keep the herd numbers in check and the farm going.

These are the decisions one must make with their head and not with their heart, which is something I admit I often struggle with. When cutting a goat herd back, my head told me it made more sense to let the weanlings go and keep the does old enough to breed that fall. Sundae was one of those weanlings that year. I also had to consider the fact since she did not have a mom to stand up for her in the goat herd she was being pushed around and pushed out of the shelter by the other goats, so a home in a smaller herd might be what was best for her. I had to add her name to the list of goats to sell that year.

I put Sundae on the sale page of our website along with the others on my difficult list and advertised that we had goats for sale online. A lady that was starting a Boer goat herd emailed me about Sundae not long after I put her on our website and asked for front, side & rear view pictures; I gladly obliged. Several emails and a phone call later the arrangements was made for the lady to pick Sundae up on a certain day. I didn't have a definite time but she said she would call when she was close, by late that evening it became clear the lady must have changed her mind. I am only human and I admit I was a little peeved to be stood up, left hanging by the phone all day with not even the consideration of a phone call or email.

I never heard from that lady again but a few days later I saw an ad online from another lady looking for a couple Nubian bottle goats for pets. Sundae was weaned by this time, but she was a former bottle baby and still had all the lovable sweetness of one. She also wasn't a Nubian, though she wasn't quite a fullblood Boer either so it was possible there might have been a little bit of Nubian in her background somewhere, her ears were certainly long enough! I took a chance and emailed the lady, whose name was Rebecca. At first I did not think she was going to be interested since Sundae wasn't exactly what she was looking for. I am always a little cautious of selling goats as pets to just anybody because you never know if it is just a fad for them that will fade to leave the poor goat with a long and lonely existence, tied up in a barren yard neglected somewhere. That is a much worse fate than a quick & considerate death for a meat goat destined for the freezer in my humble opinion. Not that Sundae ever had any risk of that since she had so expertly wormed her way into my heart with her happy little bottle grunts and milk mustaches.

As it would turn out I did not need to worry about Rebecca, she had other goats and sheep, as well as experience with raising them. Rebecca did decide to come out to the farm and take Sundae home. Over the years we have had some truly wonderful customers buy goats from us, all people you just know would take great care of any animal they own. Rebecca was however the first person to actually bring a small photo album of her other animals to show us. I really enjoyed that and when I saw the picture of an obviously very loved and spoiled sheep welcomed into her home I was never so happy to have been stood up in my life. I knew Sundae was going to a really great home with a kind and special owner. Maybe it was a little bit of fate that Sundae ended up going home with Rebecca in the end, but I am so glad she did.

Rebecca has been kind enough to send me some updates on Sundae over the last year and a half. She recently sent me a couple pictures of Sundae, my how she has grown! Thanks for the pictures Rebecca!

March 16, 2009

Puppy Jail - Farm Photo of the Week

Hey, we want our phone call!

Two young Great Pyrenees puppies that are used to having the run of the goat pasture let their feelings be known about being temporarily shut in the feed pen so I could use the truck safely in the pasture.

March 10, 2009

Questions Answered

I wanted to take some time and answer the questions I have got recently. I apologize that it took me so long to answer some of them, things have been so busy on the farm.

Mama asked what I thought about Kiko/Boer cross goats. I have only raised a couple of them so I don't have as much personal experience with the Kiko breed as I do with Boer goats. What I can tell you is the Kiko/Boer cross kids I raised were very active, hardy kids. I don't know how much of it was the Kiko influence and how much of it was just good old hybrid vigor but they were great kids. The Kiko/Boer doe I have in our herd right now has great worm tolerance and is a good commercial doe. Even though she was bottle fed part of the time (her mother has a bad side to her udder) she can be a little more aloof than most of the Boers I have raised from kids. Posted below are a couple pictures of Icy, my Kiko/Boer cross doe.

"Icy" Kiko/Boer cross doe
Icy, standing on a hill, that is why her front end looks so much shorter.

Joanna asked how Trouble was doing. For those that don't know Trouble is one of our first Boer goats. If you have time you can click on her name and read her story. Thanks for asking about her Joanna! Trouble is doing well, she is due to kid in three weeks and I am keeping a close eye on her. She is awful big this year for still having three weeks to go though. I always worry a little about the ones I think might be carrying more than twins. Trouble has always been predictable with twins every year but her first when she had a single; still I don't think she has been this big with kids before. Trouble is seven years old this year. Many does are retired at about 10 years old, but I am considering retiring Trouble after this kidding season. Trouble was the herd queen for years but for some reason Emma seems to have taken over that title recently. Trouble seems to have fallen into the position of respected elder. She will live out her days on our farm with her daughters and granddaughters.

Trouble, picture taken a few months ago.

Carolyn asked if it was hard to train our guardian dogs and if they protect fowl as well. I hope to write about this in much more detail in the future, but since things have been so hectic on the farm I am not sure when that will be so I wanted to at least answer your question. With good livestock guardian dogs most of it is instinct with some important guidance at the right times to deter any bad habits. This will depend on the dog of course, some seem to require a little more guidance than others. They learn best from another older, experienced livestock guardian dog. They are raised from puppies with the livestock they are to protect so that they become bonded to them. Yes, they can be used to protect fowl and many are used for just that with a lot of success but be aware that a few truly wonderful goat/sheep guardian dogs have also killed chickens when not properly introduced to them. If you want a dog to protect fowl you should get a puppy that has been raised around them. I would highly recommend getting your puppy from a working home, one that has been raised in the pasture with the type of animals you will want him or her to protect.

Christy asked what type of hay we use for our goats. Most of the year we use prairie hay. There are two reasons for this, first of all it is a good all around grass hay. Secondly, it is what all but about 5 acres of the hay harvested from our own land is, so it is the most economical hay for us to feed. I feed them prairie hay free choice through the winter. When the goats nutritional needs increase during late gestation and lactation I will also start feeding them some alfalfa because it is higher in protein, etc. I would consider a good grass / alfalfa mix hay to be ideal for most goats.

I hope that answered your questions and I apologize if I missed any. I want to thank all those that follow my blog and that take the time to leave a comment, I always greatly appreciate them.

March 09, 2009

No Problem Penny

After receiving several comments on the picture of the pretty newborn goat kid yesterday I thought I would share some pictures of that kid today as a three year old goat. This is a picture of Penny resting in the sun while her mother Dym takes a nap with her head on Penny's shoulder.
Oops, we woke Dym up! She must have been pretty tired because she went right back to napping after this picture was taken. Dym is a much happier goat these days thanks to her daughter Penny. About four years ago or so I wanted a dairy goat to add to our herd of meat goats so we would have the extra goat milk for making goat milk soap, cheese and for extra real goat milk for any Boer kids that might have to be raised on a bottle for one reason or another.

I would find that dairy goat in a purebred Nubian named Dymphna, we call her Dym for short. The problem was Dym did not fit into our rather cliquish herd of Boer goats very well. She was much more passive and way more sensitive than the Boers were. The Boers would say she was a drama queen. I would have to feed her hay separately from the rest of the herd just to make sure she got her share without somebody constantly chasing her away. I did everything I could to make sure Dym was happy, but being the bottom goat on the totem pole is never an ideal place to be.

After a date with the Boer buck one fall day our Nubian girl Dym went on to have triplets in the Spring of 2006, two doelings and a buckling. The buckling grew so fast and so big he impressed one fellow enough to take him home as a commercial herd sire. I knew right away I was going to keep both of her doelings. One was a beautiful deep mahogany red with striking black points on her lower legs, face and a black stripe down her back; I named her Red Rose. The other was a little, mousy tan doeling that I thought was as pretty and sweet as could be, even if it was in a sort of plain Jane way according to my husband. We often do have differing opinions on some goats. I named this doeling Penny. Plain or not, I knew she was special, but I did not know she would grow up to be such an important goat for her little family and for herd compatibility.

Dym was a wonderful mother and she doted on her two girls. She raised them well, all three have always been inseparable. They eat and sleep together always. It did not take long to see Rose had grown into Dym's shadow, she had her mother's sensitive, too passive nature and was going to have the same problems in the herd. They were both destined to be bossed around and chased off the best sleeping spots by the top Boer girls on the farm. Little Penny was growing too, the mousy little doeling was getting big and her horns were getting even bigger.

Penny was not too old when I noticed she started standing up to even the top of the Boer ranks and most of them started backing down from her. One by one they stopped challenging Penny. She has not become the herd Queen yet, as that title is now held by Emma, but nobody messes with Penny either and she lives quite comfortably in the top half of the herd pecking order. Penny didn't forget where she came from though and remarkably she brought her mother and her sister up with her. The herd dynamic has changed because now that Penny is around acting as her family's protector, nobody picks on Dym or Rose anymore. I have seen Penny stand up for her mother many times to other goats, eventually the other goats quit picking on Dym and Rose all together. Dym and Rose are happier and more confident these days, they have even started to stand up for themselves now. The whole herd gets along better now thanks to Penny. Not bad for a mousy, little plain Jane of a goat.

This is a picture of our Nubian family. Mother Dym is the black goat in the middle with daughters Penny and Rose on each side. (Penny and Rose are actually Boer/Nubian crosses.)

Penny and her sister Rose. I really like the Boer / Nubian crosses. Penny is a great dual purpose goat. Her offspring are fast growing and she produced a quite fair amount of milk last year. She took to the milk stand and to being milked just as quick and easy as could be, no fuss, no drama. In fact she did so well the first time she was milked the hardest part was just getting her big horns through the head piece of the stand. She also learned to lead in one very short lesson. I call her "No Problem Penny" because she is good at everything and she took care of the problems.

March 08, 2009

Goat Due Date Calculator

Since kidding season is in full swing for many goat owners, I wanted to help out by putting the goat due date calculator on this blog, however blogger is not cooperating with me today so if you follow this link you will find it on our farm website. This is a handy tool for people that know what day their doe was bred and want to know what due date to prepare for. This Goat Due Date Calculator is based on a typical 150 day gestation. Since a goats normal due date may range from 145 to 155 days of pregnancy this calculator is just a useful guide that can give you a pretty good idea about when your doe might kid so you will know well in advance when to have your goat kidding kit ready. In my experience, 90% of our Boer and Boer cross goats kid between day 148 and 152 of their pregnancy, with a very high percentage kidding right on day 150 each year, but I have had them kid as early as day 145 and as late as day 153. This calculator can be found on our farm website at all year round.

The picture is of "Penny", one of our Boer/Nubian cross does a few hours after she was born. If you are using the calculator for does whose bred dates and due dates fall in the same year the calculator may show day 149 instead of 150.

March 05, 2009

A Weird Goat and Other Random Things

Lacey is a weird goat, she likes to stand up on the fence or on the side of the shed and roll her head around. There is not anything wrong with her, she is perfectly healthy. In fact this behavior is typically followed by her taking off happily hopping and kicking in play. I can only assume she does this because she thinks it is fun, maybe in the same way my sister and I used to roll down hills as children. There was no point to it but we would stand up at the bottom of the hill covered in leaves, dizzy and laughing just for the fun of it, or maybe Lacey is doing neck exercises because she is worried about getting a double chin....who knows, she is a weird goat.

In other news, the corner hay meadow has been burned off, we will see a quick green up of the field after a rain. Hopefully we will put up some good hay for our goats and horse from this meadow and the other hay fields later in the summer.

In other more annoying news I am still waiting on the seeds I ordered from Park Seed. My order was placed back on February 23rd, but for some reason that was never explained to me they waited until March 4th to send them, or in other words over a week for them to get around to even mailing them and charging my credit card despite that I got an order conformation that these seeds would ship "now" in my email the day I ordered them. I was never sent a follow-up email or any kind of communication from them to let me know. I only found out when I called them on the 4th after the seeds did not arrive. The person I talked to did not seem to know much of what was going on and he offered no apologies or explanations other than to say "they usually ship out in 24 to 48 hours". I am hoping they did get mailed out this time and will be here soon since some of them need to be started indoors some time before the last frost and I am anxious to start planting!

Animals on the Farm

Becky asked what animals we have on the farm, so here is a quick run down of them. We have 24 goats right now on the farm, but 14 are bred and due to kid in the next month. We also have 4 Great Pyrenees dogs, 2 lazy, no mice catching cats, and a horse. We have plans to add chickens to the farm this year as well. I will manage to refrain from boring you with a list of all their names, though it isn't easy. (Yes, they do all have names) Thank you for your question Becky.

The goats are unhappy with me today since it was vaccination day and they all had to get shots. If they are unhappy with me today, just wait until tomorrow when the rest of them get their hooves trimmed.

March 04, 2009

The Last Snow - Farm Photo of the Week

My horse, Lakota in the falling snow. This picture was taken earlier in the week and was likely the last snow we will see here until next winter. I have owned Lakota since she was born and she will be 18 years old this month. Shiloh Prairie Farm was named after her mother Shiloh.