Farm · Goats

Happy 1st Birthday Bitty!

imageOne year ago a tiny goat was born, she was 15, maybe 16 ounces at birth. She was weak and quickly became cold. We rushed her inside the house and I gave her a bit of honey on her gums hoping it might give her a little boost. I checked her temperature and it was low so we needed to warm her up, first we tried a heating pad and warm towels…but when that wasn’t enough we put her in the sink with very warm water (kids need to be at the correct temperature before they can have colostrum).

We really weren’t sure she’d make it, at first she couldn’t even lift her head, but we didn’t want to give up on her without trying everything we could to help her. The warm bath did the trick and she started to come around, her temperature was high enough we were able to give her colostrum. That night I fed her colostrum every couple of hours with a syringe. I would help her stand up, by the next morning she was standing up on her own and drinking from a bottle.

We tried to reintroduce her to her mom but she wasn’t interested. It was clear her bigger brother and sister got most of the nutrients, they were much bigger and stronger. Being as small as she was, I didn’t want her to have to compete with the other kids for milk, so we decided to bottle feed her. We named her Bit O Honey or Bitty for short. Of course my kids fell in love with this tiny goat, so she is a permanent addition to our herd. She is still just a little smaller than the other goats her age but has otherwise been very healthy and sweet as can be.

Farm · Goats

Snow’s Kids

IMG_3285Our goat Snow has been looking as wide as a house, I’d been stressing a bit because kidding is always a little nerve wracking for me…most of the time it goes well and the does kid just fine, but it’s not always the case. Snow happens to be my favorite, I think she’s everyone’s favorite, she’s definitely the sweetest and most gentle goat you’ll ever meet. So I was probably a little extra nervous this time. Last year she had quadruplets at her former home, judging by her size I was thinking it was going to be a repeat, but hoping for less kids to make things easier.

On Monday, around 10am, Snow started showing signs of early labor, a couple days early as it turns out. I kept a close eye on her throughout the day…she kidded around 8pm. First, one huge buckling that looked just like his mama, it’s was hard work for her to deliver him! Almost immediately after a second kid was on the way. I only saw one leg and it was pointing up so I knew it was coming backwards, I had to find the other leg to get the kid out. I hate to intervene but sometimes you have to do it, (see image). I’m thankful for the kidding classes I’ve taken, it’s been so helpful.

Posterior position with on leg retained.
This photo will link you to for additional images of some of the more common incorrect ways that kids can get themselves arranged just before birth.

I managed to get the other leg without too much trouble and the second kid, another buckling, was quickly delivered, he looks just like his dad Pepper Jack.

That was it, twins, very big twins! I haven’t had any kids act quite like them, they remind me of fawns, I usually find them hiding someplace, heads down pretending to be invisible, when I hear Snow calling (more like screaming) for them. They don’t respond to their mama when she calls, maybe it’s because they were a couple days early and have a little catching up to do. Anyway, mama and kids are off to a good start. We’ve named the white buckling Cloudy and the black and white buckling is named Oreo.


New Herd Member

imageWe have a new addition to “the herd”, and it’s not a goat this time! It’s a livestock guardian dog aka LGD. I’d like to introduce you to Oaken, he’s half Pyrenees, half Anatolian Shepherd…these dog breeds have been bred for thousands of years to bond with and protect livestock like goats and sheep & sometimes chickens or other animals.

Anatolia/Pyrenees Puppy Oaken was born in a barn and he and his brothers were raised with a herd of goats so he’s very comfortable with them. His parents are working dogs at a farm in The Dalles, Oregon. He’s still a puppy but when he’s grown he’ll hopefully become a protector of our farm and herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. LGD Puppy

And if you are curious about where we goat the idea for his name watch this clip…


Love like farming…

imageI no longer believe love works like a fairy tale but like farming.
Most of it is just getting up early and tilling the soil and then
praying for rain. But if we do the work, we just might wake up
one day to find an endless field of crops rolling into the
horizon. In my opinion, that’s even better than a miracle.

-from Scary Close by Donald Miller


Presidents Day Kids 02.16.15

Francine had triplets Monday, February 16, on Presidents’ Day. Two bucklings and one doeling. I’m thinking we’re going to go with presidents names: Lincoln, Reagan, and Kennedy. The boys will be Lincoln and Kennedy and the girl is Reagan.


New Arrivals! 01.21.15

IMG_1306{Sunny Prairie Camassia X Herron Hill Edward Scissorlegs}

Cami had 3 adorable blue eyed triplets, 2 doelings and one buckling, on day 146 around 3:00. So far all my goats the last 3 years have kidded during the day, which is nice! Cami is a first freshener and she did really well, being triplets helped I’m sure because the kids were smaller. Everyone is healthy and off to a great start.

You may remember earlier this month our doe Bluebell had a single doeling, which caused a naming competition between my three kids (the human ones). So we’ve got it easy this time. So far the names they’ve chosen are Spirit, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and either Januberry or Bluey. My kids are 3 years old (twins) and 5 years old, hence the interesting name picks. Hopefully we can get away with calling Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just Star, for short.😉

Farm · Goats


We’ve all seen adorable baby announcement for human kids. Why not goat kids? One of our Nigerian Dwarf does kidded last week, we had a hard time deciding on a name for her. I think it was because it was a single doeling…and I have 3 daughters, all with different ideas, who couldn’t agree on a name…

Well, we asked on Facebook for ideas and got a lot of cute suggestions and one really stood out to us and seemed to be the perfect fit, Shiner. We will save the other names for future kids…maybe we’ll have triplets next time.😊 Shiner


You’ll Find Me In The Forest

In The Forest
“The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter”

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

By Ilan Shamir

Farm · Goats

Goat Hay Feeders

I’ve tried several different kinds of hay feeders for my goats and thought I’d share my thoughts on a few different versions:

I’ll start with my favorite and most basic hay feeder. This is an easy DIY project, no tools required and you can pull it off for less than $20. I got a cement mixing tub at Home Depot for $12.98 & a bungee cord, that’s it! They work awesome and are easily moved and clipped wherever I need them. I use them inside and outside attached to the fence or cattle panel. It’s so easy to take it with you to shows or fairs. I’ve seen others use these mixing tubs, you could make it more stationary if you wanted like this one on youtube

Goat Hay FeederOur other feeder is a hay rack like this one. Our goats are Nigerian Dwarfs so they are pretty short and can’t reach so they were always standing in it making a mess of the hay, they also thought it was also a good bunk bed. Yet again, I was worried about them soiling the hay so I asked my husband to build a frame that slides over the top. We also built platforms, so now they can reach. Works pretty good, you can see before and after, now they stay out of the feeder because they can only reach their heads through.

I also have used these wall feeders I unbolted the top hangers and turned them around so it hooks from the outside of our cattle panel, so the goats have to reach their heads through, otherwise they stand in the tray…more soiled hay.

IMG_6836I have used the Health E-Z Hay Feeder, I like it and they are easy to use but I have a couple goats that get their heads stuck in it, and tiny Nigerian kids can climb in it. Works well, super durable, and it might be good for bigger goats that don’t stick their head it or climb in it? Sadly, after years of use ours are now broken and it looks as if this company is no longer in business.

***all photos are property of Marsha Hickman/Four Cedars Farm – please don’t use photos without asking for permission***


2015 – Year Of The Goat

It's the year of the goat!
It’s the year of the goat!

Let me start by saying I’m not at all into astrology, I don’t know what 2014 was the year of, let me go Google it…OK, it was the year of the horse. The extent of my knowledge of the zodiac 12 year cycle of animals is from when I’ve had Chinese food at Emperors Palace here in town, they have those paper place mats you read while your waiting for your food. So I know your zodiac animal is based on your year of birth (mine is dog). We’d all laugh that my mom and dad were supposed to avoid each other, and see if the descriptions were accurate for anyone, just for fun. But this is the year of the goat so I have to be a little excited, because goats are great!

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2015 is a fantastic year for all you “goats” out there since it’s the YEAR OF THE GOAT, and hopefully it’s a good year for all of the real goats too.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats