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Posts tagged ‘Nubians’

Winter Finally Decided to Show Up

With just days to go until spring, winter has finally decided to show up. The snow is forecasted to start falling within the hour and I’m hoping that this storm has been hyped up and we don’t get the forecasted 12 – 24 inches. The goats and chickens have been fed and watered and are hunkered down in the barn in fresh pine shavings.

This past weekend was a doozy. Over five Nubian kids were ready to be disbudded. Disbudding has to be the absolute worst part of owning goats. I hate it. Hate it! Thank goodness my sister and her finance are willing to do most of the dirty work for me. What is disbudding? It’s taking a hot disbudding iron and burning the area around the goat’s horns to prevent them from growing. Yeah, it’s as awful as it sounds. However, we’ve decided that it is necessary as we don’t want goats with horns for various reason and in order to register them they must be disbudded.

To top the weekend off, everyone has come down with the stomach flu. It’s been fun. I’m ready to get this snowstorm and flu over with and get on with spring.

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It is Always Three O’Clock in the Morning

Yesterday, it was easier to get up in the {very} early morning. The excitement of the day (Willow’s labor) was still pumping through me and I was eager to check on the new babies. This morning, not so much. But I’m up and the challenge now might be going back to sleep so I’m not completely exhausted all day. Setting in front of the bright computer screen probably doesn’t help, but there it is.

When I went out to the barn the little ones had started to stir and everyone was eager to get their bellies full. The littlest one – the little black buckling – suckles indiscriminately and wildly at any of the nanny’s teats that are offered to him. I think he’s got some catching up to do. Two of the others were just as eager, although preferred the comfort of their own mother, and two appeared to be annoyed that I awoke them from their slumber.

For me, it’s back to bed for a couple hours, then onto the hamster wheel. Good night morning.

Ultimately My Responsibility {Loss on the Homestead}

The feeling today on the homestead was melancholy. A dense mist hung low in the valley. Dampness saturated everything both intensifying the breathtaking orange and red hues of fall and creating an eerie stillness. Even our normally talkative animals seemed silent. The entire scene was quite fitting after the happenings the night before.

Yesterday morning, my husband went out to feed and water our four Nubian goats. Sassafrass was down and it was immediately obvious that something was wrong. I called my sister and we began some detective work. We separated her from the rest of the group and got her confortable and warm. We began going through the list of symptoms and the possible culprits. We consulted our vet. We treated her aggressively. As the sun went down, she was still not well but seemed to be holding steady.

Around 10pm, the night turned cold and rainy. Amy and I booted up and went out to tend to Sassafrass again. It was bad. Her head was down, her body was stiffening and her eyes were hollow. Within twenty minutes she was gone.

It is hard to lose an animal that you have raised from it’s beginning; especially one that has so much personality and one that we considered a pet more than livestock. We aren’t even sure why she got so sick. We believe that we did what we could for her, but in the end she got too sick, too quickly. I can only blame myself because what happens to the animals in my care is ultimately my responsibility. I guess the only thing to do at this point is try to learn and prevent it from happening again.

RIP Sassafrass.

A Splash Of Goat Milk {First Time Freshener & Milker}

So, this little line from my last post…

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.

 …I need to add a little footnote to it. *If I can get any milk from them.

I have been trying my best to rise around six o’clock to start my morning milking routine. The whole getting up part is going pretty smoothly. My little six-month-old alarm clock is up and at it by then, so that part works out quite nicely.

Then the chaos ensues. The goats are just learning the routine, which I would like to go something like this: one goat at a time calmly walks to the milk stand, hops up into the stanchion to leisurely munch on grain while I skillfully milk. Just the sweet smell of dew, cool morning air, chirping birds and satisfying ting, ting, ting of delicious, raw goat milk hitting the side of my milking pail.

Here’s how it’s been going…

The alarm goes off. I mix my udder wash and grab my shiny new milking equipment. At the goat pin, I crack the gate. Four full-grown Nubians, push their noses through with all the muscle they can muster, as I do my best to only let one through at a time. Three escape, but I wrestle two back into the pin. Gypsy is first and it’s me versus her to the stand. She knows there is grain waiting at the finish line. I slip in goat poop and she takes the lead. Around the stand we go. “Come on girl, up here. Not that way. Wait. No, jump up here.” Finally, I get her to stretch her head through the headpiece and I quickly secure the lock. But her back legs are off the stand to the side. Maybe I can lift her the rest of the way up? “My gosh, how much do you weight?” Now, she’s laying down on the stand. How to get her up? “Up girl, up.” I dig deep and finally get enough umph to lift her onto all fours. By this time the grain is almost gone. I grab my wipes to clean her udders. Wipe. Kick. Another wipe. Kick. Finally, I’m ready to start milking and get a squirt in the strip cup. Kick. I quickly realized that my nine-quart milking pail might have been ambitious. One teat at a time, I get a couple squirts in the pail.

Repeat. Times four.

Stand

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The Mischievous Duo, Ginger & Gwen {Twin Nubian Doelings Born Last Week}

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.

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Welcome Heinz {Kidding Season is Underway}

Winter won’t release its grip, hammering us with ten more inches of snow overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. This winter has worn us down with week after week of extremely bitter temperatures, which is not only hard on a soul longing for summer but hard on the animals around the homestead as well. It seems summer just can’t come soon enough.

Before this last stormed rolled in, we did have a fleeting burst of fair weather, perfectly timed for the arrival of our third kid this season. Our mixed breed goat, Helen, came to our herd this past summer and this is her first kidding. A little buckling whom we named Heinz presented perfectly and was born mid-day Saturday.

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Three days later he’s strong and romping around his pin.

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In just ten days, the main herd, consisting of our five Nubians, is due. The anticipation is building and soon the homestead will be bustling with new life. Until then we will keep doing our best to will the thermometer to rise.