Within the last week, our herd of Nubians goats has more than doubled. Our herd matriarch, Willow, was the first to freshen, giving birth to two strong bucklings in the wee hours of the night. Gypsy followed suit giving birth to triplets, two doelings and a buckling, the very next day. Small but healthy, the trio seemed to be doing well; unfortunately, at some point the next morning one of the doelings died (we believe that Gypsy may have laid on her…). The latest addition belongs to Marmalade who had a single doeling. We have one doe to go; however, we are not sure if she is pregnant as we have never successfully bred her before.
When we bred our girls, who are mostly brown, to the snow white Savanna buck I had no idea what coloring they would have. All five have been white with four having a little dusting of brown on their knees and backs. It’s interesting to watch them mature as the coloring is becoming more prominent each day. What I was pleasantly surprised about this kidding season is how fast these kids seemed to be up and moving after birth. In previous seasons, our full-bred Nubian kids seemed to take a while to get on their feet and needed some assistant; I would almost describe them as fragile for the first couple of days. In comparison, the Nubian-Savanna kids seemed to get up faster after birth and nursed much quicker with little assistance. At just a week old, they are strong, playful and healthy.
Our intention with the new additions is to utilize them in a browsing project to help eradicate invasive plants in the county. Amy came up with the idea of naming each of this seasons’ kids after the various invasive species.
Over two years ago, I decided to make the leap into raising goats. To be honest, what peaked my interest in diary goats was the need for an alternative to breast milk after giving up breastfeeding my first little one following several terrible bouts of mastitis. Little Farmer T was diary obsessed, and still is, so I wanted an option that I controlled to ensure that it was hormone, antibiotic and toxin free. Diary goats seemed like the perfect answer.
Our four Nubians have been wonderful to raise. They are full of personality, and their friendly and gentle disposition make them the perfect farmyard companion for the kids. We introduced a buck into the herd last fall and after a successful breeding period, we are anticipating our first kidding season here on the homestead.
Gypsy, our first gal to give birth, delivered twin doelings last week. Now several days old, they are all legs, ears, and spunk.
My sister, Amy, and I have decided that we are going to go the milk-once-a-day route. We have numerous reasons for doing this. First, we need the flexibility in our schedules. Secondly, we can raise the kids with their mothers to elimination the need to bottle-feed and the cost associated with milk replacer. We understand that this option isn’t the best for maximum milk production, but since we will probably get around a gallon a day from a single morning milking of our four does, we should have more then we need to drink with a little leftover for making cheese, yogurt and soap.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself with the title.
Here at Cooper Run we survived the deep freeze, and the thaw… and the deep freeze again. Winters can be long around these parts and we are used to the snow; but this winter has seemed exceptionally harsh. While the snowfall has been below average, the temperatures have remained brutally cold week after week, with the occasionally warm-up thrown in. Just a few weeks ago we saw the temperatures dip as low as -25 (with a -50 degree wind chill), followed by temperatures in the 50s and downpours.
The extreme temperatures forced us to take extra precautions with the goats; making sure everyone had plenty of fluffy bedding, checking for drafts in the barns and even running heat lamps when necessary. We expected most of our goats to kid early spring, but our newest addition, Jill, was bred before she moved into the herd and delivered two baby goats on January 22 as the thermometer read -4 degrees. Read more
The last couple of months have been a wonderful fog as we welcomed our daughter into the world in early November. She is an absolute delight and completes our small family.
As winter hits full steam, things around the homestead have quieted, but nonetheless, many of us are busy with our day jobs working in the local ski tourism industry. Mother Nature has brought a weird mix of weather, from blinding snow and unrelenting wind to several balmy days in the high 50s.
We have made progress on many of our smaller endeavors over the last few months. After curing for weeks, we are now enjoying our first batch of handmade lye soap. The idea of making soap from scratch was a bit daunting, but once Amy and I dove into the project it was as simple as following a recipe. The result was a delightful smelling batch of gardener’s soap with an exceptional lather and fresh citrus and patchouli fragrance. Read more