Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So I decided I would have to find a way to control when Maria nursed. The most obvious and convenient way I could think of was to tape the ends of her teats so that Maria couldn't get at the milk. I had some "Coach" sports tape from when one of the dogs had a wound that needed to have gauze pads taped over it. This tape is very soft and breatheable and tends not to stick to hair or skin as badly as other tapes. So, what the heck I said. And that's where my experiment with taping teats as a kid weaning technique began.
I started out on a schedule of milking at 7 am and 4 pm and taping the teats at 12:30 pm and 9:30 pm. This gave Maria the hours of 7 am to 12:30 and 4 pm to 9:30 to nurse, or a total of 11 hours. To start out with, this gave me about 12 oz. of milk a day. I'm gradually moving the times together, so that Darcy spends more and more time taped, and Maria is slowly getting less and less milk. Right now, I milk at 7:45 and 5:30, and I try to tape at 11:45 and 9, though that doesn't always work out. I got 3 1/2 cups of milk today--almost a quart.
This doesn't sound like much, but I'm very happy with this production considering Darcy almost died after the babies were born. Also, she does have more milk. It's just Maria is drinking it. If we get too much more than a quart a day, we'll have to start making cheese and yogurt. Shame :-).
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Friday, December 26, 2008
Darcy has been really ill the past couple of weeks, so I've been pretty tied up with that, but I wanted to post about the new pasture we've opened up. Our tenant Shon is pretty good with fencing, so we've hired him to fix our existing fence and fence in some of the woods behind the pasture. Last week, we officially opened the gate to the new pasture area.
This wouldn't be pasture for a lot of species, since it is packed full of ligustrum and wild blackberries, but these are favorite foods of goats, so they're just pleased as punch. One advantage of having woody browse available for goats is that woody shrubs are full of tannins, which act as natural wormers.
On another note, I've managed to sell Symbol's babies already (they leave next week), but I haven't even advertised Darcy's babies yet. Because she had so much trouble with her health, I was afraid they wouldn't grow as well as Symbol's babies. I supplemented them with cows' milk and gave them preventive coccidistat, and I think they're likely to be weaned before Symbol's--should have advertised them first!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
But with livestock, this is looked at another way entirely. With dairy goats, male kids are sort of an unfortunate side effect of the biological processes needed to stimulate milk production. With meat kids, an intact male that lives any length of time will be too gamey for any but the most hardened taste buds. At the same time, there is no way that farmers could charge enough for these kids to make it financially viable to have them put under by a vet and castrated in the way we do with dogs.
So I was resolved to the necessity, but I was dreading the effects. And indeed the first 24 hours or so were pretty sad. It was clear the babies were uncomfortable--they walked stiff legged and spent a lot of time lying down or getting up and lying down and getting up. And they didn't do their normal climbing and jumping.
But 48 hours later, it's clear that they're pretty much back to their normal spirits and activity level. So it wasn't as bad as I thought.