Sunday, February 27, 2011

We had a beautiful day down here in NC, until, of course, we started vaccinating and weighing kids. They were due either their first or second rounds of CD&T, and Chuck was trying a new method of goat holding involving one of those reusable grocery bags. It worked okay for the first few kids but rapidly got less satisfactory after the bag started to come apart. They just aren't made to hold thirty pounds of something that doesn't want to be in there. So far, Fifty's kids are leading the way for total weight. The funniest thing today was weighing the brown buck that entered the world at 13 lbs. Today, at just one day shy of 30 days, he weighed in at 30.5 lbs. He thinks he's a herdsire already. I'm thinking he might be in for an earlier weaning than he would have had otherwise.

We had the shoot and weigh assembly line going pretty well when the rains came in heavy, so we all ended up wet and slightly chilled before we left. The human kids had a great time running around in the rain. The grown ups, well... not so much. The rain itself was a welcome sight. With the warmer weather, we hope it means the grass will continue greening and growing. Chuck had scattered a leftover random bag of pasture fertilizer in a diagonal path across the field, and judging from the difference in that swath, I believe he will be putting out some more on the new top field so it is ready for the yearling does in a couple months when the ones that "took" start kidding out.

Here's a random shot or two of the grown does with kids or preparing to kid that we just moved to the new farm. They seem to like their new digs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I know there are child labor laws...

But we take help where we get it. Annalee was off school today, and helped Daddy look after the goats. She's gotten pretty good at driving her little gator, so here are a few pictures of her hard at work. I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe she has my headlight on her head. Never know when you might need a headlight in the middle of the day. And of course, even on the best day our road can be a problem. I'm not sure if Chuck gave her a push or if she got out of the rut herself.

Over the weekend we started moving the older does with kids, and a few yet to kid, to the new farm. They are staying with their own group, but it is still a change. Hopefully having some forage starting to green up will make it a good move in the long run. Nobody seemed overly disturbed by the move, although the new kids seemed a little surprised by the wide open space. These three bucklings stayed pretty tightly together as their mommas moseyed off to graze. We are still wondering how long it will take to bring some organic matter back to the dirt here, how long before it becomes a turf instead of looking like you could take a handful of the powdery clay as is, add a little water, and throw a nice pot on a potter's wheel. We hope to run some chickens behind the goats, and are trying to figure out the best spot for a compost pile where it will be handy, get sun, and won't attract varmints. No point in wasting good poop, or leftover coffee grounds, or spent straw, or eggshells...

Here are a couple of pictures from the "working day" on Saturday. One is of our new used barn. Not many people would get so excited over a used metal building, but like I said folks, we are starting from scratch. A great bunch of guys came to help Chuck reassemble the barn. I don't know what we would do without these guys taking their precious time and helping a family of crazy goat folks try to cobble together a farm. The other is of Daddy with his double handful of younguns. One found himself trapped amongst sticker bushes and had to be resuced and the other was the one who suggested to him that might be a good place to go hide. Once of these days, when he is a little more savvy, I imagine that sort of thing will come back to haunt her. We were trying to figure if we could take an unused corner of the farm coated in sticker bushes and woods full of trash (thanks, folks who treat woods like a dump). Cleaning up the old trash will be a hassle, but some of it has reached the age it is not just a piece of garbage, but rather, an artifact.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just a couple of recent pictures of the kids on the Knight Place. Chuck needs to get some new pictures of the kids from down at the old farm, but just hasn't made it that far. The little whitish doeling has some catching up to do with the kids she's in with, as she was born a couple of weeks later. The doe that ultrasounded with twins must have lost one at some point since the sale, but we've been pretty lucky transporting bred does so I can't complain too much. We got a lesson in udder edema from this doe - but now that the kid has nursed for several days at least the side the kid likes is looking better. She could have used another kid on the other side, but Chuck milked her down and gave her some relief for a few days, and now it looks like her udder is getting back down to a normal size. Thankfully, her milk was always clean and healthy through the whole thing. Last year we underfed the does a little, and I think Chuck went a little far on the opposite end of the scale with the does we had in quarantine this year. He fed about the same as the does back on the other farm got, but the does in quarantine are in a small flat area and the old does are in a large hilly area. They get a lot more exercise. Hopefully by next year we'll have it just right, or even better, not need to feed as much because the goats have forage available.

Here are the two buck kids in the quarantine area. The brown buck was trying to breed poor Speckles as she was trying to kid out. He spent the rest of the afternoon on a leash and she got to kid out in peace. He is still just huge. The black twins are growing well, too. The buck kid goes head to head with the brown buck and is still smaller, although they were born the same day. Thier older sister has been moved down with the other yearling does. She looks like a little angus cow. I hope these two are as solid bodied as she is. We might keep this doeling, and we might offer her up for sale. It will depend on what our bred yearlings present us with in a few months.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Having recently been reminded in a roundabout way of the 100% NZ vs PB issue, I was wondering how other producers feel about their goats as individuals. Are your "favorite" does NZ or PB? Does their blood status have anything to do with their standing in your estimation? I have some NZ does I am really happy with, but I have some PB does that I think are just super goats, too. Actually, I think of my very favorite handful of goats there probably is a slight tipping of the scale towards the PB, but it may be coincidence. They just "happen" to be Purebred. I do think there is plenty of room for both. While it is nice for there to be a group of goats with only the genetic pool originally imported, I think by the time a goat is 15/16 Kiko, there isn't much difference, genetically speaking. And a gene pool really is stronger with outcrosses from time to time. As long as we breed the best to the best, and buy for the sake of the individual goat, not its label, I think we'll be just fine. Just musing...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just a few baby pictures

Here are just a few pictures of some of this year's kids. They are fun to watch when they are a couple of weeks to a couple of months old. The kids on both farms are doing well so far this year. We find that as long as we have sheds filled with straw available, the mommas get their newborns up and moving and a belly full of milk, even in freezing rain, sleet, or snow, or when it is 15 degrees out. The kids born in the winter here get a little chance to grow before the heat, flies, and parasites of summer hit us full force. Each producer has to find what works best in his or her climate, and so far, this is working out best for us. Now, that being said, we are pretty sick of frozen water and are ready for spring!