Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jack B. Quick

We received an unexpected surprise a couple weeks ago. There was a chance that Messie Bessie, our Arabian mare, had been exposed to Uncle Frank's male donkey, Jack, while the horses were staying at his place. Messie Bessie was looking more and more pregnant every day, but we didn't know when she would be due. Imagine our surprise when we got a call from our neighbor the day we left town to visit relatives that there was a baby mule running around our pasture! Unfortunately they are both quite wild right now and won't let me anywhere near them!

Of course, I have to include a picture of my Quarter Horse, Ace. There's just something about a first horse - no body else really ever quite measures up to him. He's the easiest keeper I've ever known. He really seems to be enjoying Still Waters Farm. He didn't have alot of room to stretch out and gallop in Wisconsin or South Texas (I guess "collection" isn't one of his finer points), and he always seemed kind of keyed up. But since the move he's been surprisingly relaxed and low key.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Udder Reflections...

(Click to enlarge images.)

'How's her udder?' is a common enough question among dairy folks, and rightly so - afterall isn't milk the point? So I was considering my milkers while I milked this morning. First a caveat, I know I'm not maximizing production in my goats. For one, as the mother of 3 babies under 4 years old, "morning milking" happens at 11, 12,.. or 1, 2... *blush* Not only that, but I learned to milk on a goat with one teat so my right hand exhausts way before my left!

Birdie's udder has developed over the course of 3 freshenings - proof that patience can pay off. Maybe there are some outstanding producers out there who produce gallons the first year, but I would venture a guess that that is the exception, not the rule. Maybe I'm wrong? If so let me know! This year she had her first set of twins, and at the peak of her production she was giving us 3 quarts a day. She had an udder injury before she came our way that left her with one teat, so we only get milk from 1/2 her udder. Last year, I couldn't milk her with my whole hand, but this year I can. She let's down her milk easily. The texture of her bag when she's empty is a little meaty, but I wouldn't say badly so. A little pendulous, but not terrible.

Now Lily didn't bag out much with her first baby. Her teats were teeny tiny, so I left the baby on her for nearly 3 months and did not milk her at all. After Tuck started drinking from both Lily and Birdie, we weaned him, and I started milking Lily. At first it was such work, her bag was so hard and her teats so little - and there were 2 of them, something I'm not used too! (Not only that but she's was as wild as a jackrabbit....) But within 5 days, it got easier. I milk her with 3 fingers, and she gives me about 1/2 a gallon a day. After she's milked, her bag is completely deflated and soft - very good texture.

Overall, I think their udders are very respectable for backyard milk goats.

Bye-bye Tuck! Hello Oreo and Davy!

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Lily's baby's got a name and a new home (no cabrito for the Mercer's this year!). We dropped Tuck off at Duck Haven Farm (http://www.duckminifarm.com/) this weekend, and brought home two cute as a button Nigerians. Davy is a handsome little buck who has such a classic goat face - maybe I should call him Pan or Faun! Oreo is just a little puff of fir right now - about the size of a cookie!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

This Post is for the Birds!

We've got fresh milk; don't fresh eggs sound good? I ordered 14 Barred Rock chicks from Ideal Poultry - 12 females, 2 males. We put them under a lamp in the laundry room, and they are growing fast. The kids have really enjoyed them. They are getting their feathers and will be ready to move outdoors pretty soon (it's probably hotter outside than under my lamp now anyway!).
Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

TIP! I learned a great remedy for pasting up (sticky fecal matter sticks to their bottoms and can cause them not to be able to eliminate. It can kill them if you don't take care of it) - mix cornmeal in with their feed 50/50. Works fast!

New Arrivals!

(Click to enlarge)

We are expanding our herd this spring. About a month ago, we purchased Chinaberry a mini-Nubian (Nubian-Nigerian Dwarf cross) from Duck Haven Farm. She unexpectedly had a doeling on May 14th. Little Cherry is as cute as a button.

I had to bite the bullet and do my first disbudding (burning the horn buds off so horns don't grow). I got through it just fine with 3 tricks - 1.) I bought the Rhinehart X40 dehorner (Pygmy tip for mini breeds) which gets really hot and burns really fast, 2.) I sprayed lidocaine on the horn buds before burning them to numb the area a little (seemed to help), and 3.) I wore headphones so the screaming wouldn't be so loud! Wasn't long before Cherry was back nursing her mommy and acting like nothing had happened. I got my dehorner from Hoegger Supply Company (http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com/).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This is our second year to own dairy goats.
Here is our herd (click on photos to see enlargements):

Birdie is our first dairy goat and definately the Queen. She is giving us a 1/2 gallon of milk a day even though an udder injury took one of her teats. She is full Nubian.
We retained Robin, our first baby, for breeding purposes. I think he is a very handsome Nubian buck - look at that cool stripe in his beard.

A little Alpine blood gives Lily her airplane ears. She is mostly Nubian. She had her first baby this year by Robin - another buck! She's got a tiny little first freshener udder; I really haven't tried to milk her much. She's doing a good job mothering her kid.

Here's Lily and Robin's first baby. He'll probably be supper some night in a month or so, but I think he's a nice kid for a first try at picking a breeding pair if I do say so myself. Hoping for a doe next year!!