Tag Archives: goats

Why we do and don’t vaccinate.

Howdy everyone!! Greatings from the cold basin where we still have no snow!!! Lol our mountains do but not us ! So on to the point at hand! I choose not to vaccinate my pygmies and nigerians and here is why. I believe every animal has its own immune system in place for a reason and if they are not for human consumption or are being sold in mass quantity in sale barns, or coming in contact with new goats then i see no reason for it all my goats are happy and healthy pets!! now don’t get me wrong at birth i do give them a tetanus shot but that is it, so that way if anything should come on the farm they have a strong enough immune system to fight it off and so far everyone is great!! 


I do deworm regularly but not with heavy medications i use natrual herbs and h2o soap, yep thats right soap it works wonders and there is no holding period where i can’t milk them or harm done if they are pregnant. 


Now on to the african boers they will be always vaccinated because they will be for commercial,large scale selling and have come from sale barns where lets face it alot of sick animals go through, so better safe then sorry but they will get the all natural dewormer as with the soap u only put one table spoon for 5 gallons and it has to be h2o soap you can buy it on Amazon along with the herbal dewormer. The african boer goats will be tagged when they are born, vaccinated and then every spring and fall they will get vaccinated again. Know i now it sounds horrible to not vaccinate animals and then vaccinate others but i assure u all the unvaccinated goats have all been tested and cleared of any diseases including the big ones like CL and arthrius so i think we are good! Now dont let this turn u away from vaccines it is completely up to you it is personal preference  along with disbudding your goats! The goat jouney is all about finding what works best for you and your farm! And this is how we do our farm! Happy farming!! 

Why we traded in our cattle for goats.

Howdy everyone! Thats right you heard it right we traded in our beef cattle for african boer goats! We have a medium sized place roughly about 12 acres witch is plenty big enough to house a few cattle but after last winter we decided the money was just not their with cattle, my husband was on the road working and i was home alone with two heffers about ready to calve,the one heffer was a first time calver and it didnt go so well..she had went into labor sometime in the freezing night and the calves head was stuck in the birthing  canal, i had my arms arm pit deep in the poor heffer it was so sad and quite the experience for a girl by herself who has never had to do anything like that but had watched alot of doctor poll lol so i kinda had a clue as to what to do. At the end of the day with the lost calf we where out 1000.00 or more and the cattle market just keeps going down. In any livestock market its always best to buy low sell high but with the struggling cattle market we kept buying high and selling low, not even making our money back. So we sold the cattle and bought african boer goats, they have the best market right now, as does any goat. The goat market is getting stronger and stronger every day i feel. we bought a few kids from 65. 75.00 dollars per head (all nannies) and one older really pretty boar nannie for 165 who has been exposed (bred) to a papered boer buck! So that was a deal! 

Now if we wanted too we could raise those kids up and sale them from 100.00 to 150.00 a peace depending on weight!!! That is a amazing turn over!! You can double your money every time!!!! You could make a good living just doing that but we are in it for the long haul so we will breed all the nannies and then sell the kids and keep a few kids and keep on that roation until we have 260 goats at the 260 mark the goats will pay for our mortgage on the farm!!! And our mortgage is 2200. A month.  so 260 goats will cover our mortgage for a whole year!!!! That is simply amazing to me!!! But before u all become goat fatmers you have to add in feed, hay, vacancies and other vet expenses. The avergae african boer goat needs one ton of hay a year. With our place we grow our own hay so we wont have to buy hay which puts us ahead of the game. But if you want to make a small back yard profit its totally worth it to buy you a few kids and feed them up and sell them! And double your money!! You could make a pretty good money just going to sale barn in the spring buy 5 goats raise them up then sell them in the fall!!! The goat market is wear its at folks!!! And i am way excited for this adventure!! Currently we sit at 22 goats so we are off to a awesome start it should take us about 1 more year to get to where we need to be!!!! Yay goats!!! 

Building a milk barn

With the recent decision to do away with mass chickens we decided to turn the chicken coop into a milk barn/birthing pen. Its been so cold out side so we have been building as fast as we can! when its all done it will have 3 pens, the milking room and a small space for a few chickens this spring! I am way excited for feburay when all the nigerian and pygmy babies will be born!

Its a work in progress but so far i am very pleased with how its turning out! 

How to trim a goats feet.

Oh the weather has been amazing !!!  so along with all my other spring time routines I also like to trim the goats feet twice a year once in spring then again in fall. Goats in captivity can’t wear thier hooves down like they can in the wild or with a herd that is kept moving all the time, a few tricks you can do to help keep them worn down are place rocks in thier home to climb on , also put shingles on any of thier toys they climb on, shingles are my favorite as the run and jump the shingles keep wearing down thier hooves as they play but even with that they still need a little up keep. I first off get my sheers/ nippers and I put one of the goats on the milking stand, I give them grain ( because mine are spoiled)  I pick up the hoof and look it over and pick out any debri that might be trapped in the hoof and clean it out so I can see the inner pad of the hoof 

 i then nip off all the long peaces until the side hoof wall is even with the pad  

  if the toes are grown out real far I will nip them off also but always make sure you can see where the pad is because you don’t want to hurt that. And that’s it it’s really easy and they are all taken care of until fall!  

 

It’s spring!! 

By golly spring is finally here!! And everyone is so happy as all the snow is melting so fast !! It’s a giant muddy mess but all the babies are loving the sun and warm weather!!!! Happy hump day!!  Lol we have a lone rooster who hangs out with the goats I have named him caprice/ cap for short he won’t join the other chickens he stays with the goats at all times he even sleeps with them! As the snow melts and spring is upon us it’s time to de worm everyone! Don’t forget lol deworming and vaccination season!! 

  

Home made Goat Miker

So i have spent hours looking and comparing goat milkers all over the internet and i finally found one i liked. The fruit jar milker- So i looked it up and they want $80. to $100. for this little guy! So i decide to make my own! And it works like a charm so i thought i would share! I only spent 25.oo on making this guy! The one i made is only for one teat milker. But you can easily change it up to two.

Fist you will need to buy a food saver -Rechargable Food saver vacume that looks like this.20160120_004112000_iOS

You can find the vacuum food saver pump on amazon for 19.95. Next you will need a mason jar of your choosing. You will need two “o” rings, 6 foot of small clear hose, A Drill, a small piece of wood and a placstic syringe that will fit your goats teat and silicone. And that is it!

Ok lets get started. Take the top of your canning lid And you want to drill two holes in it so your hose and o rings will fit. It works best with the peace of wood under it.20160122_195642351_iOS

Next you will want to put your o rings and clear hose threw the holes put a o ring on each side and silicone it so no air leaks.20160122_195847897_iOS

Next you will take one of the tubes and shove it into the top of the food saver rubber gasket, don’t worry you cant break it, well i am sure you could but it its pretty tough we shoved it through then put silicon on the top and the bottom to make sure it was air tight. Then take the other hose and shove it over the end of the syringe, if its a tight enough seal you wont need to put silicon on it. You can change it so that way you have 3 hoses if you choose to milk two teats at the same time but my one teat milker works just great!20160122_200530051_iOS

when you get the food saver plug it in leave it plugged in for a full 24 hours then milk your goats run the food saver until  it is completely dead, then put it back on the charger. the lid is easy to clean and to pull off and to stick on too a new jar. When cleaning i just pull the whole lid off, and the lid to the food saver vacuum and i run hot water with i a cap full of bleach threw the hoses and let air dry!

That is it folks! good luck! i am sure you will love your new milker as much as i do mine.

When to Wean Your Goats?

I have been reading up a lot on when to wean and when not to wean. So as with anything else i am going to just try it my own way and see how it goes lol..

So Weaning can be really stressful for everyone involved the doe and the kids, Now if you have a buckling in the mix you will want to wean him  sooner, as they can get there sisters or mother pregnant around 7 weeks old, so the sooner the better with buckling, now doe-lings can stay on a little bit longer. I have a total of 3 pens set up i have the nursery which is where the does have there kids, its equipped with heat lamps and straw and a little play set and there own water and food feeder, i have a general population pin that has its own big shelter and big play area and food and water and then i have the weaning pin that is right next to the nursery that is all set up with heat lamps straw and food also and a small play set also.

My does had their kids 3 days apart so i figured around the end of February i would wean the babies off and put them in the weaning pin, (And let them have a play date 3 times a week for a hour or so.)Now they can still see there moms and know that they are close by. This also keeps the does in milk as they can see them but they cant nurse, this is where i come in and get my milk, i haven’t milked them but only one time just to see how it tastes, smells the whole milking process ect. ect. ect.

So with them still being in milk i will be able to milk them, And then Freshen them after 1 month then i can continue to milk until they have one month left to go then i will let them dry off.

So i will wean the kids around 2 1/2 months to 3 months old, that gives me about 5 months of milk.

Around 3 months old the kids are eating almost all solid food and drinking on there own, a lot of people go by weight but this rule of thumb i think works best for me.  my little doe-lings are around 5 weeks old now and are already eating a little bit here and there, and woofing down grain every chance they get lol i have even seen them already drinking water, so i know by 3 months old they will be more than healthy enough to be on there own. So that my friends is my big plan!

When To Breed Your Goat?

Being kinda new to the goat world i have googled everything i can imagine and still haven’t found all the answers so sometimes you just gotta try things out for yourself and find what suits you best. So These are topics that i had a hard time finding  a clear answer on.

When to breed your goat? As a good rule of thumb no matter what i think everything should have a chance to grow, you do not want baby’s having baby’s so i give everyone a year or two my first goat baby i waited tell she was one and a half years old. That is always a good rule of thumb wait tell they are at least one if not older. This way their body has had time to grow strong and healthy. Everyone says to go by weight while i think weight is important i think age is  more important.

Now i raise both pygmy and nigerian dwarfs because both kid really easy and both can be bread year round where as your larger milk and meat goats only get a heat cycle once a year.Since Nigerians and pygmy’s  breed year-round, it is easy to stagger freshening in a herd for year-round production of milk. Thus, they are ideal milk goats for most families. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from full-sized dairy goats, averaging 6.5% according to the American Dairy Goat Association. Later in lactation, butterfat can go up to 10% or even higher. This makes Nigerian Dwarf goat milk excellent for Cheese and soap making.

Ok so lets get started,Select a healthy doe that is at least 8 months old for breeding. Some breeders prefer to choose does that are 1 year old which is what i do. Does turn fertile quite early — at 7 weeks of age — but should be bred when they are physically mature. Do not choose skinny or overweight does, as they may have problems during childbirth.Closely observe the doe for signs that it is in heat. Mucus discharge from the vulva, mounting of other goats, vigorous tail-wagging and excitement upon seeing or smelling a buck are some of the signs that your doe is in heat.Pair your doe with a healthy male dwarf goat or buck and monitor them closely. Breeding takes place quickly. The doe will hunch her back when she has successfully mated. Separate the pair after successful breeding.

And just like that your done! make sure to write down the date and count out 145 days to 155 days and that will give you a close to exact date of when she will kid.

 

 

How to pick a herd name?

yay!!!!!! I am finally all registered with the American goat society ! I was so excited when I got the letter in the mail today saying my herd is now registered!!!I spent hours on the computer going to every website,  Google search and forum I could find trying to find a herd name. Then it finally hit me! You have to think about the things you love, what’s around you, and all these amazing things put together get you your herd name. So take my herd name for instance SUNFLOWERBLOSSOMBENCH, I am obsessed with sunflowers its genetic my grandfather is also and my husband loves them too! They were the main flower and theme to our wedding. The blossom comes from my love of spring and how beautiful everything is when it’s in full bloom. Bench comes from well we live on a bench hahah. I would have loved to use hollows and that kind of fun stuff but it just didn’t fit what we have. This summer when we start garden season we plan on planting as much land as we can in sunflowers. So no matter what you do when it comes to naming your herd remember to be original, have it have meaning to you, and have it represent your farm. Oh and remember that with some associations you can only have 30 letters this includes spaces and the goats name! Happy naming!! 

Top Animals for your homestead

We have been doing this for a full year now and still do not have everything down just yet but its a work in progress and its a fun one!! so here is my list of top animals for a smaller homestead, we have 12 acres so this list would work for 12 acres and under.

Chickens for eggs and for meat: Chickens are good for about two years, so the first spring you get them it should be that fall you should start getting eggs, you have lots to choose from when it comes to chickens  you have your Americana’s, your Rhode islands, your leghorns, the list goes on and on. if you have a rooster you can save some of your eggs and incubate them then you can have a turn over rate, if no rooster then you just eat the eggs wait for the next fall and butcher all your chickens, laying hens are a lot tougher then your broiler chickens, so you have two choices you can harvest the layers and use them for your soup stock or you can just keep them until they all retire . Now broilers you want to buy in the spring and then harvest that fall for the following spring because those are your meat birds and you do not want them to get very old at all. The older the bird the tougher. Chickens take up hardly any space and are really easy to care for. We just let our free range the whole farm and at night they tuck themselves in bed all we do is shut and lock the barn door!

Goats for milk and meat:  Now I am really in love with this, this has changed my whole out look on the homestead! If you don’t have alot of space this is where your meat and dairy goats come into play(And my latest adventure) You want to go with the smaller goats, Nigerian dwarfs, pygmy, Fainting goats, and your boer goats. Nigerians dwarfs are a dairy goat a very small and stocky goat, they produce about 3 to 5 cups of milk and unlike the bigger diary goats there milk is sweeter and has a way higher butter fat, same with the pygmy, now with the higher butter fat you get fuller way faster and stay full longer so if you have a family of 4 and you all drink a giant glass of goats milk in the morning you will not be able to eat the rest of the day! Trust me!! so i like the little cups of goats milk its just right for our family. Now fainting goats are a meat goat and they taste wonderful, same with your boer goats, these animals need some space but not a lot as long as you have lots of things for them to chew on and climb on they wont escape (all the time) and are really easy to care for. And a blast to watch!

Pigs: While pigs probably aren’t a great first animal for your homestead, once you are comfortable around livestock, they can be a great addition. Not only will they happily devour all the scraps, along with excess milk and whey from your dairy animals, they will convert it into the most delicious pork you have ever tasted.

Pigs are, however, a little more difficult to control and a bit more intimidating than your typical livestock. With their combination of brains and brawn, they rival goats in terms of escaping from fences. Loading them into a trailer for processing is no easy feat either! However, if you have a keen sense of adventure and want delicious pork for your table, pigs are an awesome addition to your homestead.

 

Ducks: Ducks are one of my favorite homestead animals! I find them endlessly entertaining. Although mine love the pond, they can be perfectly happy with a baby pool to splash in, although you will need to be prepared to dump and refill it at least twice a day! Ducks do not typically make much noise, with muscovy ducks being the quietest. They lay big eggs that are nutritious and wonderful for baking. They can also be processed for meat, much like a chicken.

So their you have it that is my list for the perfect small homestead animals.