Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photo Day!

Birdie, our herd queen, had twins last night.  Gorgeous!  It was a seemly successful mother-son breeding.  Unfortunately they are bucks - bucks 7 and 8 for ol' Bird.  They say the buck determines the sex, but I don't believe it.  Birdie has been covered by 5 different bucks and produced bucklings every time.  I guess it could be dumb luck, but I'm prone to think she's contributing in some way.  I've tried the apple cider vinegar in the drinking water with her, and that hasn't helped.  Any who... these guys are super cute and super sweeties.  This is my absolute favorite color pattern, just like daddy Robin.  Unfortunately if they grow up to be bucks, all that pretty white will be orange most of the time with urine, so I'm really leaning toward wethering (neutering) and training them to pull a cart.  Wouldn't they make a handsome pair of cart goats?  I've named them Jacob and Esau.  Seems to fit - Esau is a bit bigger, and Jacob is more of a talker.

Now, the birth went well.  I followed my own directives (see "Goatherds are Not Midwives") and sat on my hands.  It was the first time I ever saw an abnormal presentation - one front leg was tucked under on the second kid.  We waited and waited, and I wondered how long it would take for that second kid to come.  As long as Birdie was up on her feet and not in distress, I wasn't going to mess with things.  Kid crowned and went back in 2 or 3 times.  Finally I saw a foot and head.  I cleared the little guys airway, and he sucked on my finger.  The going was slow, and I realized I wasn't seeing a second leg.  It was a simple matter to loop my finger around that second foot and bring it to the front, and then the birth proceeded.  The kids are doing well, but it's a chilly day, so I decided sweaters were in order.

Martha's kid Dolley is shaping up well.  She reminds me alot of Martha.

We got another new Mini Nubian doe.  This is Annie from the Ordered Steps herd in Jacksonville.  She's a looker.  She's in the breeding pen now with Nosey.  Annie has great conformation; look how she posed for the photo!

This is our new pony Buster.  He's the best pony on the planet.  I have never known a horse or pony as well trained as this one.

Love my animals....

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Girls!

Eddy Place Black Beauty (Merryleg's mama) gen3
Eddy Place Bettye's Baby gen3

Had to snatch these to gals up.  To fine to pass up!  Beauty is at the height maximum for minis, but our herd tends toward the minimum, so I don't think it will be a problem.  Beautiful conformation, and I saw that udder this spring - looking forward to all that milk!  They are both bred to Hershey - http://eddysgoatplace.com/AdultsforSale.aspx
Somebody needs to snap him up; he's gorgeous.

I *really* want to get a doe from the Ordered Steps herd too.  I have to wait until one of the Nigerians sells.  I also need to breed Nosey to one more doe.  I have to breed him to 3 does, before he can get his Purebred certificate.  Three were exposed to him, but I think only two are bred by him.

AGS registered Nigerian Dwarf goats for sale!  Take a look at the breeding plan tab above for photographs.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crotched Diaper Cover Pattern (Tickle Turdle)

So I found out something kind of disturbing today.  Even when you take down a website and quit paying for it.  It can be archived and remain on the internet for posterity!  So be careful little fingers what you type!

But this is rather harmless, so for fun I thought I'd share.  Once upon a time before I had a real life - lol - I had this little endeavor crocheting and knitting baby things.  (Not that people that crochet and knit baby things don't have a life.  But admittedly, I didn't ;-P)  This was my little website - isn't it cute?:


This gal didn't like how I wrote the pattern so wrote her own :-)


Now I did figure something out that I never posted on the internet.  If you take some of that elastic thread and  crochet it in with the final row or two of the edging on the wrap, it makes the legs snugger.  I liked to use these wraps with Kissaluvs:


PS Now I'm knitting leg warmers for my little dancers with the round knitting loom.  Very cute!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Goatherds are Not Midwives

I wrote this blog post back in 2010 after watching some particularly disturbing youtube videos. It was nice to vent, but I don't feel it was as helpful a post as it could be, so I'm rewriting it.

Here's the thing folks - we are talking about animals here. They do know what to do and can birth and mother their kids on their own - most of the time. When I say "goatherds are not midwives", I mean you don't need to lay out chux pads, offer perineal support and coaching. When I see people treating livestock like humans, I get concerned. There is a term for this - anthropromorphism - ascribing human characteristics to something not human. The danger of anthropromorphism is that animals are not respected for what they are, and their unique needs are not met.

Folks new to goats often get nervous about attending their first goat births. While this is natural human emotion, your nervousness really doesn't do your goats any good. I'd like this article to help you prepare and put you at ease. The first rule of thumb is that easy birthing is typical for healthy animals. It is very important that you assimilate this belief. Say it to yourself over and over again as a mantra. Animals run on instinct. Any kind of animal trainer can tell you that animals pick up on how you are feeling. Additionally domesticated animals look to their humans as leaders. Do not stress your animals unneccesarily by acting worried and concerned everytime you look at them. Put forth calm confidence. If you don't believe it, fake it until you do.

The second rule of thumb is make sure your pregnant does are indeed healthy! I cannot think of anything more important to a pregnant doe than minerals. Mineral deficiencies are the root cause of a number of labor difficulties. The first mineral to consider is calcium. Goats need a ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus that is around 2:1. Grass hay and grain are high in phosphorus. Alfalfa is one of the easiest ways to add calcium to the diet. Lack of calcium can cause ineffectual contractions and hypocalcemia (often mistakenly diagnosed as toxemia or ketosis). Selenium is another important nutrient. Selenium supports effectual labors and healthy vibrant kids. Alot of folks use BoSe injections. BoSe is obtained from your veternarian. We use Selenium yeast on the feed 6 weeks prior to kidding. Copper is important for nervous system health. Avoid products labeled "for sheep and goats" - these products do not contain copper which is essential for goats. Zinc is important for immune function. Additionally make sure that your goats are in good condition for kidding. They shouldn't be jiggly with fat, but having a layer of fat over the ribs and spine is good, because a good milker will milk off alot of her reserves.

Third rule of thumb - Make every effort to attend kiddings! Sometimes easy kiddings will sneak up on you, but if you arrive to find a train wreck, chances are you weren't being attentive enough. Although most kiddings go well, and most goats worth their salt know how to care for their young, it is best that you be there to help if needed.

Fourth rule of thumb - Learn what a typical kidding looks like! Our Mini Nubians have good width and small kids. They typically kid very easily. When goo starts streaming, I know kidding is going to happen soon. Once I see pushing or hear hollering (mine don't holler much), then I expect to see a little nose and two feet very soon. This kind of kidding, I just sit back and watch, and enjoy the miracle of life. Often I arrive to find one kid on the ground, and the second coming out. Some people may advise doing a quick check as soon as labor is noticed to make sure kids are positioned correctly. I see no harm in that - like I said, with my typical kiddings, I'm likely to be to late to do that! Key is just don't bother your goat too much. Kids should come out with their noses on their front feet.

Fifth rule of thumb - Learn what an atypical kidding looks like. A very small number of times (as in I can count on my fingers), I have seen kiddings that did not progress normally - that is I saw pushing and no babies presenting. Since presentation generally comes very quickly with pushing in my herd, I will go in and check what's going on if I see a doe pushing for a few minutes without anything showing up. You don't want to wait too long. I've read of people waiting hours. Please don't do that. Remember goats are not people - there is nothing normal about long pushing phases for goats. Check presentation sooner than later, so that any corrections can be made while their is still room to work. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into the ways kids can be malpositioned and methods of fixing them. There is alot of wisdom on the dairygoatinfo.com forum, and I reccommend getting on there and reading the advice given to people with problem kiddings. My strategy is to find the feet, try to get the head onto the feet, hold on and give gentle traction.

Finally - If you are dam raising (as opposed to bottle raising), it is most important to make sure the kid nurses. Make sure mom's teats are not blocked, and she has plenty of colostrum. If you get a slow to start kid (it's been say 30 min, and it hasn't nursed and now it wants to sleep), you can milk out a little oz from mom and bottlefeed it to give the kid some energy and then get it on mom. With selenium supplementation, I have kids are much more likely to get up and suck right away. Check the kid often throughout the first days to make sure they are nursing and have full bellies. Most healthy moms do a great job mothering, but occasionally things go wrong, and you need to be prepared to step in. You will also want to watch that the placenta and nothing is retained.

I hope this post provides you a healthy perspective on goat kiddings. May your kiddings be successful!