Friday, December 26, 2008

New pasture opened

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.
I'm just tickled pink, because the rye grass finally came up and the goats have all the browse they can eat in the new part of the pasture. The fence line has also been straightened out, which results in probably 1/4 more area in the old part of the pasture. Steve and I basically just drove in a bunch of "T" posts the first time and sort of hung the fence off of it...not the best fencing job known to man.

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

Banding Thoughts

Sunday, my friend Janet Cooper came over and showed me how to band the 4 male kids that were born 4 weeks ago. I've always dreaded doing this. I've had dogs and been a member of the dog community since I was 14 or so. From time to time, you hear rumors of people who dock tails or crop ears on puppies by using a rubber band, and this is portrayed as a completely inhumane and irresponsible practice, with horror stories of infection and gangrene.

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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baby feeding woes

So Darcy's been being a butt-head about not wanting to feed her babies enough (Symbol's been a champ). I bottle fed them for a couple of days, before calling out the cavalry, Janet Cooper, aka Darcy's breeder. Janet showed me how to hold her still so the babies can get what they really need, Mom's milk. I hate to do it to her, but I hate to have starving babies even more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New arrivals

We've had an eventful few days around here, but I guess I should start at the beginning. This summer, we bought a Nubian buck, Jesus.

We sold him recently, since I didn't want him around to taint the milk, but Jesus left us some little blessings, kids who were born this Sunday and Monday.

Darcy, our 3/4 Nubian, had her babies Saturday night or Sunday morning. Anyway, we went out Sunday morning and there they were. I learned my lesson from that and checked Symbol all through Sunday night. Here are some pics of Darcy and her kids.

They seemed reluctant to waste their first day sleeping, but they had a really hard time staying awake. I've named the girl (left) Maria, and the boy on the right Pedro. Does Maria remind you of anyone?
The third kid I named Pedro. This is Darcy and her babies this morning.

Monday morning, Symbol obligingly went into labor when I was outside checking her the first time after it got light. Monday morning was cold. Regardless, I managed to get some good photos of the births in progress.

This is kid #1's front feet. I haven't named Symbol's kids, because I feel like they're less likely to become pet wethers than Darcy's kids. She kept trying to clean Darcy's kids throughout the process.

Symbol cleaning kid #1. I had to keep dragging her back over to him from where she was trying to mother Darcy's kids.

While kid #1 was reaching for his first meal, kid#2 was already on the way. He was breech, but he came out much more quickly than his brother.

Symbol cleaning kid #2. She got him about that clean, then I grabbed a towel while she tried to clean Darcy's day-old kids.

Reaching for their first meal.

Symbol's kids, 2 days old.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring Sprang but now it's Summer

It's hot, hot, hot. I find myself getting out of bed at the crack of dawn to escape the heat. The blueberries are covered in unripe fruit and the elderberries are blooming everywhere.

Steve is in love with the Mimosa between our house and the woods. It is completely covered in pink powder puff blooms, and it looks like something from a fairy tale or a Japanese wood cut.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Goodbye, Little Tig

My last post, I mentioned that I hadn't seen Lil Tig. He continued to be missing, and I just figured he'd gone off after a cat in heat. This morning, my dog, Con, came running up with something in his mouth. It was Tig's tail. Con showed me where he'd found it. We'll be burying what is left of Tig today.

Goodbye, Tig. I am sorry you had such a short life. Hopefully your time with us was happy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More rodent control

I've been proudly blogging about the cat I've encouraged to hang around to keep the rodent population down. I haven't seen him today, but I did just see two of my hens dismembering a mouse. Good work, girls!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Taming of the Tig 3

I know I'm not the most prolific blogger, so just a reminder that in Part 1, I was feeding Little Tig and rubbing his head when he stuck it out of the hole by the back door. In Part 2, I described how Tux, my indoor cat, ventured outside to help demonstrate to Tig that the life of a lap cat is very nice.

I started moving Tig's bowl far enough from the hole that he had to come all the way outside of it to eat. I was amazed what happened at that point. He initially flinched when I moved my hand toward him, but once my hand made contact, he burst out in nonstop purring and arched his back. He stopped eating to rub back and forth under my hand. It seems that Tig was a very affectionate kitty, he had just been afraid to let us close enough for him to show it!

He was much skinnier than he looked under all that fur, so I started feeding him twice a day. I also think he's younger than we at first thought--maybe 8-10 months.

Even with all the progress, Tig would run away if I tried to pet him anywhere other than by our back door, even if he was clearly begging to be petted (rubbing against corners, arching his back, kneading his paws on the ground, that sort of thing). That's where Tux came in. He continued his little forays outside to show off hoe happy he was being petted. He also would go outside just to talk to Tig. I don't know what they said, but eventually Tig has gotten where, if he begs for attention, I can stop and let him approach me. When that happens, he will let me pet him anywhere in the yard.

He also was a bit skittish when I had Steve hang around at feeding time. It turns out that when Steve fed him alone, he was just as affectionate with him as he is with me. I think that he's just worried that two of us might have evil designs that a lone person wouldn't. Or something. Who can figure out what a cat thinks?