We are at less than two weeks from the arrival of the first kids of 2017! First up is Old Mountain Farm Vinca. Vinca has been paired with Rockstar Ranch Debonair (planned pedigree) and I’m really excited to see what this pair will produce!
Kids will be arriving March through June, so stay tuned for updates and photos of the kids as they arrive.
Don’t forget to check out our KIDDING SCHEDULE if you’re interested in being added to our waiting list.
This is my 3rd year milking goats, I don’t have a milking parlor (yet😊), I milk in our barn/shop. My husband built me a stanchion when we got our first goats and it is a must for milking (also great for hoof trimming). When I first started out I was milking 2 Nigerian Dwarf does by hand…these days I’m milking 7 does and have switched to a machine, so much easier! I’ve been using the Simple Pulse home milking system and really love it, my goats all adjusted to it in a couple of days. I don’t have a sink in the barn and the Simple Pulse is a bit heavy for me to carry so I have a little cart I pull it on that doubles as a little table for all my milking supplies.
For hand milking I like to use stainless steel bowls I get from the grocery store. I’ve purchased small milk pails before, but for my short goats a low/wide bowl is a better fit…and I can use it for a salad the next day.😉 I filter the milk into half gallon jars. I use the mini-strainer from Caprine Supply.
So…the Simple Pulse fits right in my little cart and it also holds my supplies, like paper towels and dixie cups which I use for cleaning the udder. I like to recycle large yogurt tubs to hold my homemade udder wash/teat dip. I use the udder wash recipe from Fias Co Farm. You can also see my milking stool where I sit, it was my great grandmothers and she really used it when she milked cows in their farm many years ago. It’s pretty special to me, I got it from my grandmothers house after she passed away in 2008, little did I know I’d actually be using it to milk goats one day!
I keep my grain and Chaffhaye handy while I milk. I love using Chaffhaye, the goats love it but don’t eat it nearly as fast as they would just grain. I wish I’d had it my first year milking because I was slow and the goats would be impatient once they ate all their grain…which usually led to a hoof in the pail!
One 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.
Our 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.
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.
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.😊
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
Our 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.
I 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***
Yesterday we took a little drive to Mountain Lodge Farm in Eatonville, WA. If you don’t know about Mountain Lodge Farm you should check them out! They have a barn full of beautiful Nigerian Dwarf, Lamancha and Lagerian (Nigerian/Lamancha cross) goats whose milk is used to make really delicious cheese, I think I’ve tried them all! Continue reading “The 12th Goat”→
Seriously, if you’re thinking about getting a goat you can’t have just one…unless you have enough time to spend with your goat 24/7…I hope you don’t spend THAT MUCH time with a goat. When we got our first goat Daisy we knew we wanted 2, but we hadn’t found a second goat yet. We brought her home and put her in the pen and the screaming commenced. Have you seen the screaming goats on YouTube? We wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into, she was SO NOISY! Continue reading “Goats…you can’t have just one.”→