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.

16 comments:

Carolyn said...

I love the photo of Trouble!

Thanks for letting me know about LGD's. I want to get one eventually...right now I only have trouble with dogs getting to my ducks. The goats are pretty safe with their fencing...and they are right next to the house.

KathyB. said...

Great picture of Trouble. I wish we had enough acreage to grow most of our hay, but we don't and it cost us so much less to buy alfalfa than buying more property around here.

I used to have Nubians, then the last 2 years crossed the Nubians with the Boers. If I were to have the good fortune to have more than my Pygmy wethered goats, I would have the Boer / Nubians again. All around pretty, interesting, and productive...in my humble opinion~

Got my goat fix for the day.

ga.farmwoman said...

Those are some great answers to the questions.

We had a Kiko male goat that we crossed with the Boer goats we had at the time. They were some big healthy pretty goats.
All we have left right now is the bottle babies I kept when we sold off our goats. Now they have re-populated to 16 common goats.

Great post.
Pam

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Since you like comments, I have to say that even though I never had goats, I am addicted to your stories about your goats and LGDs. If I ever get a small farm I am certainly getting some goats, I find them an interesting animal. When I was a kid I had sheep, chickens, rabbits and ducks, they did really well under my care, so my parents would not let me get goats because they knew two or three goats would turn into ten or twenty.

Christy said...

Thanks for the answer. I need to research what type of hay I can get around here. Your goats are cute. I wonder if they are less "talkative" than my goats. They are fussing all day long!

Eszter said...

Thanks for visiting my farm blog! I like to read your blog, your goats are very cute! :)I wish many successes to them!

Eszter

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Thank you for my Trouble update, Tell her she has a godmother. :-)

ChristyACB said...

Trouble's photo is darling. She looks like such a soulful little critter...

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Love your blog! And I'm sooooo incredibly jealous that you live so close to my favorite tourist spot in the whole world: Big Brutus!

Jennifer said...

Carolyn- Thank you. I am sorry to hear you have been having a problem with dogs getting to your ducks. Stray dogs (or ones people choose to let run loose) are by far the worst predator problems for most farms.

Kathy- I have been real happy with the Boer/Nubian cross does that I have. I am hoping Dym gives me a couple more this year. She has had a single buckling the last two years so she is due to give me some more girls I hope. LOL.

Pam - I love my Boers but those Kiko bucks are impressive animals too!

N.B.U.C.- Thank you so much! Goats can be a little addictive, nobody can seem to just keep a couple.

Christy- Most of my Boers are pretty quiet, except for Emma, she is a blabber mouth and the herd tattle tale. If any goat is doing something they are not supposed too I can usually hear Emma complaining about it.

Eszter - Thank you!

Joanna - Trouble will be happy to hear that. :)

ChristyACB - Thank you. Trouble really does have an "old soul" type of personality, she always has.

San Diego Farmgirl - Thanks for visiting my blog! What is sad is as close as we live to it, I have not visited Big Brutus since I was a little kid. I will have too again someday.

Hot Belly Mama said...

I hadn't asked but I was wondering about the hay too!

Mama said...

Aww thanks for taking the time it's greatly appreciated.I think Icey is very pretty and the worm tolerance is good to hear a second on;)

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

Hey Jennifer,

Okay, so I have a question. After reading some of your posts, I suddenly have the urge to get some goats of my own. I noticed on craigslist last night that a lady is selling some nearby for $35. I was wondering if there is anything in particular that I need to know before jumping into this :) We have lots of land for them. I was wondering also if they are very expensive to maintain. Thanks so much for any help!!

Kendra

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

lovely blog...I would love a goat or two. but jus have n't the space!!

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Jennifer: I grew up in the opposite corner of Kansas, in Oberlin. A farm approx. 20 mi from Nebraska and 80 mi from Colorado.

Goats are huge here in California. The 4H barns at the county fair are full of goats, with very few cattle or hogs.

Are you familiar with these bloggers?
http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/