Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bred in November - Due in April

This is the last batch of goats bred for 2010. I saved the Nigerian Dwarf goats for last, so that they would kid when the weather is warmer. ND kids are sooooo tiny. It just seemed like a good extra precaution. All the NDs are purebred; babies will be AGS registerable. I don't have many predictions to make about the NDs. Just excited to see what we get!

Sire:
Junior
SW Goats Sam Houston (blue eyed)
SS Duck's Mini Herd Davy Crockett
SD Dean's Funny Farm Princess Di



Dams:
Dean's Funny Farm Princess Di (blue eyed)
DS Dean's Funny Farm Moon Walker
DD Dean's Funny Farm Princess

Yes, this is an experimental line breeding. Crossing fingers and making a wish. Di is a nice ND, though I tend to think she's a little round.


Junior
Duck's Mini Herd Martha (blue eyed)
Still awaiting papers from the breeder on Martha. Martha is such a lady. I just think "refined" when I look at her. A graceful temperment too.



Junior
Duck's Mini Herd Ginger Rogers (brown eyed)
Still awaiting papers from the breeder on Ginger. Ginger is a nice sensible doe with a red roan coat.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bred in October, Due in March

Kids are here!
http://stillwatersfarm.blogspot.com/2010/03/these-two-girls-hit-ground-yesterday.html

http://stillwatersfarm.blogspot.com/2010/03/oh-lily-what-have-you-done.html

Here is the scoop on the October breeding program!


(All Nubian crosses will be eligible for registration through IDGA (and as far as I know minis should be able to register to MDGA and TMGR). All the Nigerian Dwarf blood in our herd is from AGS registered stock. )
Sires:

Senior
Still Waters Robin - grade Nubian
SS Danny, unregistered Nubian
SD Still Waters Birdie, grade Nubian
Junior
Still Waters Little John - Experimental Grade Mini-Nubian (75/25)
SS Still Waters Robin - Grade Nubian
SD Duck's Mini Herd Chinaberry - Experimental Grade Mini-Nubian (50/50)
Dams:
Senior
Rio Leche Farm Lily - Experimental Nubian/Alpine cross
DS Mr Coffee Bean - unregistered Alpine
DD Freckles - unregistered Nubian
Lily's pedigree doesn't say a whole lot, and her looks don't say much either. I'm not much used to the Alpine angularity, and always feel like I wish she would put some weight on! However, Lily has some endearing qualities. Lily has produced 3 very nice Nubian-type bucklings out of Robin that were nothing to be ashamed of. She has reliably given us 1/2 a gallon a milk a day on one milkin. She has a nice udder and is easy to milk. And she is one of the healthiest, hardiest goats in the herd. We have bred her to Robin again. We are interested in keeping one Nubian-type doe out of her. If she has bucks, they will undoubtably be for sale.
Senior
Duck's Mini Herd Cherry - Grade Experimental Mini-Nubian
DS Sweetheart Minis Mars - AGS Nigerian Dwarf
DD Duck's Mini Herd Chinaberry - Grade Experimental Mini-Nubian (50/50)
Cherry is the doe I love to hate. The girl is flighty - I have to catch her with the collie. It is on the agenda to milk her this spring and ty to settle her down. She has some good traits as well as some faults. If I get some good Mini-Nubian does this spring, I may pass her along as a family milker. I'd like to see how she does milkwise before marketing her. I bred her to her half brother Little John. I'm hoping the kids will have good Nubian traits as well as dairy potential.
Junior
SW Goats Mulan - AGS Nigerian Dwarf
DS Duck's Mini Herd Davy Crockett
DD Dean's Funny Farm Princess Di

I am really proud of this little doe. She has nice lines, color, the whole package. I hope her milk production holds up to her looks! I would have used Mulan in the Nigerian breeding program except she is full sister to my Nigerian buck, so I opted to breed her to Little John instead and hopefully bring some of her good qualities into the Mini-Nubian herd. (Please note, she is bred to a small Mini-Nubian buck, not a full size buck. It is not a good idea to breed Nigerian does to full size dairy bucks. I go up "half-sizes" when I breed does to larger bucks.) Next year I hope to aquire or retain another Nigerian buck, and use her in the Nigerian herd.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bred in September, Due in February

Kids are here!
http://stillwatersfarm.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html

I am breeding the does in 3 sets of 3 this year, each set a month apart. This will enable me to handle all the kids alot so they will be relatively tame. I prefer not to bottle feed. I feel the way Molly at Fias Co Farm does about CAE prevention. (http://fiascofarm.com/goats/cae.htm)

I have 4 bucks this year. Even so, you will note there is a fair amount of line breeding - this is due to the fact that I have retained some of my best bucks. I have several goats who I feel exemplify my own personal ideal of what a dairy goat should look like, and I'm looking to create a uniform line. I'm looking to breed uniformly good milkers too. My goal is an all round good "family milk goat." All Nubian crosses will be eligible for registration through IDGA (and as far as I know minis should be able to register to MDGA and TMGR). All the Nigerian Dwarf blood in our herd is from AGS registered stock. Ok, so here's what's coming in February...



Sires:

Senior
Still Waters Robin - grade Nubian
SS Danny, unregistered Nubian
SD Still Waters Birdie, grade Nubian

Junior
Ordered Steps Mordechai - 1st generation Mini-Nubian
SS Hickory Leaf Freedom's Gideon, TMGR Mini-Nubian
SD Ordered Steps Patches, ADGA Nubian


Dams:

Senior
Still Waters Birdie - grade Nubian
lineage unknown

*To me Birdie is what a Nubian doe should look like. She is just the quintessential family milk goat. She's been keeping us in milk for 3 years now, and she only improves with age. Birdie was exposed to both sires, so she will have line bred Nubian kids or 1st generation Mini-Nubians. (Birdie, queen of the herd, doesn't care much for the little guys.) If Birdie has does, we will likely keep one! (In 4 kiddings to 4 different sires, she has thrown all bucks).
UPDATE - Birdie was not bred.


Junior
Still Waters Cranberry - 1st generation Mini-Nubian
DS Still Waters Robin (Nubian)
DD Duck's Mini Herd Chinaberry (50/50 cross)

*Cranberry is a very nice looking 75/25 mini with blue eyes. I'm excited to see what she can do in the milk pail. Her kids out of Mordechai will be 2nd generation minis. We may retain a doe.


Senior
Duck's Mini Herd Chinaberry
DS Dean's Funny Farm Zeus (AGS Nigerian Dwarf)
DD Dewberry (unregistered NOA Nubian)

*Chinaberry is probably the sweetest goat in the herd. Wonderful mother - blue eyes. Mated to Robin - this is the duo that produced Cranberry and our buckling Little John - I *love* the look of these kids. Hoping for the same luck next year. We may retain a doe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Life in Technicolor

Life in the country just seems "more" some days. Sitting on my milk stool the other day, I looked to the side and saw a rooster crowing - bright red comb, black and white plumage, contrasted against a background of vibrant green grass and smokey blue sky. This is why I do it: The ever changing color pallete of hues so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes. The sounds - the rooster crow, the cackling of hens, the neighs and whickers, and the many different tones of goat voices, all sounding suspisciously like "Mama" - is that why we call goat babies "kids"? Grain tinkling against a feed pan. The hiss of milk of milk hitting the bottom of an empty milk bucket. Not so fond of leaning over a hot goat in the dead of summer, or breaking ice of water troughs in the coldest days of winter. But gentle warmth, cool breezes, crisp days, even rain, feed my soul.

Indoors we live with constant white noise from our gagets. Our human activities echo from the walls. We are barraged with ourselves. Out there, we know we are not the center of the world, and that is strangely comforting. Shut up and listen. Look up and see. God's world is so big, so powerful, so beautiful, so awesome. shalom

Thursday, July 9, 2009

First Generation Mini-Nubians

Simply speaking the Mini-Nubian is a cross between a Nigerian Dwarf and a Nubian - creating a smaller version of the Nubian. In actuality it is a little more complicated than that.

The standard first cross is a Nubian doe with a Nigerian buck - it's called a 50/50. Chinaberry is a 50/50. As is typical of a 50/50 cross, she has a straight nose and "airplane" ears.



Chinaberry was bred to a Nigerian when I bought her. Her daughter Cherry is 25% Nubian, 75% Nigerian. Much to my surprise Cherry has continued to grow this second year, she is nearly as tall as mom. Her daddy has contributed better dairy character - a straighter top line and smoother blending.



I bred Chinaberry to my full size Nubian buck last fall. That is called "breeding back" - more often it is done with 50/50 bucks and Nubian does, but folks are getting a little braver about using the full size bucks. In this case it worked out beautifully. (Don't get any ideas about breeding a Nigerian doe to a full size buck - there have been reports of this causing disasters at kidding time.) Cranberry is 75% Nubian,, 25% Nigerian. I don't know how tall she'll grow to be yet, but she was definitely much smaller than a full sized at kidding. She has nice lines, a straight nose and fully dropped ears.



Here is Cranberry with her full size Paternal-Grandmother, Birdie. I think this has to be a defining moment for the mini breeder. See a near duplicate of a favorite full size doe in miniature. Beginner's luck I guess to get to see it so soon!



These three goats are all considered "first generation". I will get a second generation when I breed Cranberry to a first generation buck. My intention is to breed both Chinaberry and Cherry back to the full size buck this fall, and hopefully get more wonderful first generation does like Cranberry!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summertime...


New goat pasture, courtesy of Papa Bear...


Martha with the gorgeous baby blues...



Another new girl, Ginger Rogers...





Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Buck Pens

We finally got the girls moved over to their new pens, so the bucks now have 3 pens all for themselves - and for their "dates" in the fall.

Robin is still top stud. Poor guy has been suffering from worms this week, but I think I've got him turned around. There is nothing sadder than a big beautiful buck feeling poorly.

Sam Houston, our Nigerian Dwarf buckling, is about 4 months now. He's a really buckish little guy.


We have two Mini-Nubian bucklings + or - 4 months old. Little John is out of Robin and Chinaberry. I think he was real beginner's luck, cause the more he grows the happier I am with him. We purchased Mordechai as a bottle baby. OK, when people say a bottle baby will be more tame - what they mean is they will stick to you like glue! LOL Mordechai got his name cause he was born near Purim. Mordechai is out of a small ADGA Nubian doe and a Mini-Nubian buck. He's a little taller than Little John, but not big boned at all.
I'm posting 2 pics of Mordechai cause I'm trying to decide how his ears should be characterized. I don't know if they are what is called "3/4 drop" or if they are full dropped and just a little on the short side. They have just always laid differently than Little John and Robin's. But then I've seen some full Nubians who's ears lay differently from Robin's... so maybe there's just some variation in how ears can be set on the head. You pull on Mordechai's ears, and they reach his nose, but as you can see from the last picture - they have the appearance of being shorter.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scours and Worms

I'd like to make a more poetic post about what's going on around the farm and so off more pictures of my herd, but it's going to have to wait a bit longer.

Last spring I learned alot about worms. This spring I learned alot about scours.

I purchased a little mini-Nubian bottle baby, and he had a mild case of the scours. I think it was due to the use of milk replacer and overfeeding. After the first week, he started wanting more and more milk, and I gave him too much and he scoured a little. It was easily remedied by reducing the amount of milk I was feeding him. And once Birdie's little baby was sold, I started feeding him goat milk.

I sold Strawberry Shortcake and her brother and was so sad to see them go. Sweet Pea and I went and bought two new little Nigerian does - Martha and Ginger Rogers. Martha was tiny and a little too young for weaning. She didn't want to bottlefeed. After a week she started scouring, and it was hard to get her to clear up. I used Keopectate and Neomyacin and Safeguard and probiotics. I didn't think it was worms cause her gums and eyelids were pink. But I now think she contracted them at our place after exposure to unfamiliar worms. She may also have had some coccidiosis, as the Neomyacin did seem to help. A week after clearing up, she scoured again - so I definately think it was worms (there was probably a rehatch). I did a 3 day round of dewormers - safeguard, ivermectin, safeguard, and she hasn't had a problem since.

I've not been able to get completely away from the chemical wormers. I think they are just rather difficult to control in this part of the country. It seems like the smaller the goat the more they are affected by the worms too. I have the worst trouble with the kids. I did a 3 day round with Lily cause she was doing poorly after kidding. She hasn't had chemical wormer for a few months now, and she's looking great. Birdie is doing fine as well. The full grown mini-nubians don't seem too bothered by the worms either. Princess Di did get to looking anemic, and I'm treating little Sam Houston right now for anemia. I discovered that Fer-in-sol, an iron supplement sold for human babies, is just great for Nigerian babies. Sam cheered up considerably after a few doses.

I still give the herbal wormer, but so far I haven't been able to completely get away from the chemicals. Daddy Bear has been working on new goat pens this spring, so hopefully the extra space will help reduce the worm load.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Herbal Deworming Program

I love the using alternative medicine whenever possible, but haven't ventured into it too much with my livestock yet. One place I really have been wanting to turn to herbals is for deworming, as the pharmaceuticals are less than reliable. I've been using an herbal dewormer from Molly's Herbals for a few months, but the cost is a little prohibitive for me to keep my whole herd on it as it grows. I was able to buy herbs in bulk online from Moterey Bay Spice Company and came up with my own herbal deworming plan. I'm just starting this, but I think buying the herbs in 1lb quantities gives me enough to worm my 13 goats and 2 horses for about 8 months.

Here are my recipes - quantities specified by weight:

Weekly Supplement - 1 heaping TBS weekly, 2 for horses
4 oz garlic (powder)
4 oz mugwort (loose - if you find powder, use a level TBS to dose)
4 oz fennel seed (powder)
4 oz nettle leaf (powder)
4 oz thyme (powder)
2 oz cayenne pepper (powder)
3 CUPS sugar (sweeten it up with something to take some of the bite out)

Power Dewormer - 1 level TBS 3 days in a row every 6 weeks or whenever there are signs of worms (exclude black walnut hull for horses)
4 oz wormwood (powder)
4 oz black walnut hull (powder)
4 oz clove (powder)
4 oz hyssop (powder)
2 oz cayenne pepper (powder)
2 CUPS sugar

The Power Dewormer should not be used with pregnant animals - luckily they are usually pregnant in the winter when the worm load is much lower. The alternating of the herbs used hopefully will guard against parasites becoming resistant to the herbs. But herbs don't just kill parasites - they also make the body an undesirable place for parasites to live. Just starting out with this, so can't claim any great success or anything, but I feel pretty good that these recipes will do the job.

WEAR A MASK WHEN YOU MIX THESE UP OR YOU WILL BE COUGHING AND SNEEZING ALOT - THEY ARE VERY POWERFUL SPICES!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And More Babies!!

We're done kidding until April when Birdie is due. I done sitting vigil out in the cold goat pens at night waiting to make sure kids, placenta, and nursing all went as planned.

Lily had these two beautiful bucks - shoot! Her kids have all been so nice, but all bucks! I sure hope Birdie will have a doe this year - she's had 4 bucks so far! There always seems to be a bit of drama when Lily kids. She "told" me she was going to kid at feeding time. I sat in the car and watched her by the headlights. She got over in the ditches and positioned herself so her front feet were higher than her back feet. She would push and pace and push and pace. The first baby had a big head, taking me back to when Robin was born. I gave her a little help. She left me to clean him up while she pushed out a second buckling that looks like little Tuck that we sold last year. It took awhile for the placenta. Her belly was hanging low, so I finally got up and massaged her, and she started passing the biggest placenta I have ever seen. I kid you not - it was about a yard long. Then she started eating it while it was still partially attached!! That worried me a bit, but I do know this about placentas - eating placenta will help the uterus contract. Sure enough, it detached and came on out.







Cherry had these two little squirts. Cherry was too young when she snuck into the pen with our Nigerian buck and got bred. These kids are tiny. I had just fed, and went back out to check on everyone, and there's Cherry licking Di's kid, while her babies are wandering around looking for a mother! The little buckling was bigger and stronger. The little doe was doing poorly in the morning, so we brought her in and bottle fed her for a day. Day 2 she was stronger and the weather was warmer, so I decided to see if mom would take her back. She's doing just fine. We named her Strawberry Shortcake.




Strawberry Shortcake
I'm going to sell all these bucklings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BABIES!!

Well, they're finally here - some of them anyway!

Our AGS registered Nigerian Dwarf, Princess Di, was the first to freshen. She had a doeling and a buckling out of Davy Crockett (our Nigerian Dwarf buckling, who regretfully passed away last fall while we were on vacation). I was really surprised by the color combinations. I'm realizing grandparents have nearly as much influence over color as parents do.

This little tricolored doeling is "Mulan" (Sweet Pea got to name her):


This little black and white buckling is "Sam Houston":


This morning our 50/50 Nigerian Dwarf/Nubian cross (1st generation Mini-Nubian), Chinaberry, gave birth to twins out of Robin our IDGR record grade Nubian buck. These two kids are still first generation Mini-Nubian since I bred back to full Nubian, but I did so to get the dropped ears and Nubian profile. I think it worked. They both have ears to the tip of their chins, so I don't *think* they will pull up to airplane. But I'm a little more confident about the doeling's ears than the buckling's.

This little doeling is "Cranberry". She is a tiny little version of her grandmother Birdie - except she's got blue eyes:



This little buckling is "Little John". He looks alot like Mom, but his white blanket looks alot like Dad's:



I think I'll keep all 4 of these kids. I'm pretty thrilled. I have 2 other does due to kid any moment, and 1 to kid in April. I may end up selling Cherry (75/50 Nigerian/Nubian) and her kid/s (out of Davy), cause they don't really fit with my breeding plan. I'll wait and see what she has though. I think I want to look for a mature AGS registered Nigerian buck, as I'll need a mate for Princess Di and Birdie this fall. I could potentially breed Sam Houston to Birdie to get a 50/50, but I'd probably have to wait for him to reach full maturity. Anywhoo... This is so much fun!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bad Blogger

There are always lot's of things I want to post, but I just never get to it. We sold Jack B. Quick down the road awhile back. He was a wild little thing, and I felt he needed to find a home quick, so someone who knew what they were doing could settle him down. It was a little hard to hear him hollar as they drove off. Ace and Messie Bessie stood around all day looking down the road like they were waiting for him to come back. They seemed ok the next day though.




Messie Bessie has settled down, and she's putting weight back on (nursing took alot out of her). I road her briefly and can't wait to start riding again soon.

All 14 chickens made it to maturity. We are getting on average 8 nice big brown eggs a day. We got a farm collie name Sugars who accidentally wounded 2 of the hens on the neck. (Sugars has to stay in the front yard now unless she is supervised - my bad, for giving an adolescent too much freedom.) The first looked pretty terrible, so we decided to eat it. I held it down, and Daddy Bear cut it's head off - wow, we had no idea a chicken could run so far without a head! It wasn't much eating. The second we decided to try to save. Chickens heal amazingly! I cleaned the wound with iodine and applied neosporine - I wrapped it so the skin would join (it was about a 2 inch laceration to the skin). I think now maybe that was unneccesary, but it probably didn't hurt. 2 weeks later it's nearly completely healed with only a tiny scar.



The little chicken molestor is considerably bigger now - I should take more pictures!
Kidding time is coming soon - can't wait!!