Saturday, May 8, 2010

It has been a while since last we posted, but sometimes life gets in the way of goats, just like sometimes goats get in the way of life. We've been having to deal with the first really hot temperatures of the summer. The goats aren't thrilled - most of them aren't all the way shedded out, and of course the near freezing nights that have been interspered with the heat have not helped. The buck kids are going to be weaned soon, as they are still growing well and muscling up, and we don't need anybody thinking they need to breed any of the doelings. The doelings, so far, are on track to be naturally weaned by their mothers. If any of the does gets doing too poorly, we may amend that decision, but so far, with supplemental feeding, they are keeping a reasonable body condition while the kids are still on them, and the kids are benefitting greatly from still being on momma's milk. I just think it is best to allow mother nature to have some say in the weaning process. Especially in the case of replacement does. Here again, we are still learning and we'll see how we feel about that in a few years. Goatkeeping, like life, is a journey with more than one single path to take to get where we hope to go, and some of the detours may slow us a bit, but we certainly learn from them.

Indy's doe kid is growing stronger each day. Little "China Doll" is having to deal with the fact that she is smaller than "34's" older twins in the pasture with her, and "34's" brown doeling "Ginger" takes every opportunity to give her a good smack whenever she can. It is amazing how much goats really are like teenage girls. China Doll is holding her own, though, and now all the babies (and adults) are having to deal with the ticks. We have ticks on top of our ticks, and aren't sure quite how to handle it. We tried guineas last year, and after we kept them up for weeks, when we finally had them out they disappeared (all of them, within about thirty minutes, without a trace). Hmmm. We may take some of the spare chickens we have here at the house and turn them loose up there and see if they can out any sort of dent in the tick population. A friend asked recently, "don't they make a Frontline for goats?" and I had to mention that these are, ultimately, food animals, so no, no Frontline. I sprayed the kids with a Neem product (I love Neem - so gentle to the skin, but quite effective on so many bugs) and that seems to be helping to some degree. I would love to hear if anyone has any great ideas for controlling ticks in the woods - especially with natural products.

Here is a picture of the three Musketeers in the yearling field. We hope to keep the doelings, but the black and white buck (Purebred) will be for sale. I can't imagine he wouldn't throw color for anyone for whom that is a priority.

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