Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow, Snowbelle, and cheese

The great blizzard of December 2009 lasted from 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM and yielded a whopping two inches that melted from the bottom up.

The goats thought it was highly suspect and stayed in the barn. Snowbelle was enticed out with an animal cracker so that she could be photographed.

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Today, I'm making the first attempt at Monterrey Jack Cheese. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Source for good info and pleasant goatpeople friendships

If you need goat info, I recommend the following places:

www.dairygoatforum.com

Become a member, spend some time reading the Goatkeeping Files, and ask questions. The members there have some truly outstanding goats and decades of experience. They are very generous with their helpful advice.

www.fiascofarm.com

This is a good basic index of goat related information. Easy to read for the beginner!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back in Texas for the Fall/Winter 2009

Imagine you've experienced a hard frost that killed your flower garden. Imagine it's 34 degrees when you are milking the goats.

Imagine you can drive one day and change climate! YAHOO!

We made the trip 700 miles to the southwest of the Ozarks. Nine goats, two dogs, and one cat are now safely adjusting to days on the coastal plain of Texas where it's almost 80 degrees in the afternoon.

What bliss!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Certificate

We got the new Health Certificate for the goats yesterday, October 15th. I had the names, tattoo numbers, breed, and birthdates of all the goats on a print out for the vet, so that helped things move along.

We had to tattoo five kids, and that took longer than the paperwork. The eared goats (Alpine) get tattoos in each ear. The right ear get the herd letters, and the left ear gets a code for the year (2009 = Z) and then their birth order in the herd. So, a goat will have AAGK in the right ear and perhaps Z2 in the left year. Short eared goats (LaMancha) get tattooed in the tail web. The tail tattooing turned out easier than the ears because Dr. Mueller just picked their back feet up off the ground so they wouldn't have traction, and I did the tattooing.

The tattoo device is like a pair of pliers with inserts for the letters and numbers. You crimp the device on the ear or tail, release, then use a toothbrush to rub in a thick ink paste. That's it! Then, the goat proceeds to get ink all over the place. Do not wear clothes you plan to wear in public again.

Sir Guy (left pic) has managed to get the green ink from his ears all over his face. Snowbelle (right pic) shows off her tail web tattoo ink, all nasty green under her tail. The excess ink wears off slowly, and what was rubbed into the tattoo holes stays.



Just a note about milk production:
I'm feeding two bottle kids a total of 120 ounces per day. That's almost a gallon going to kids, plus we are getting at least a quart for house use. We have wonderful goats!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Update


The newest addition to the Quirky Goat Farm herd is Angel, a dual registered American Alpine. She's a bit thin right now, but she'll fill out on Lonnie's special feed mix and some extra sunflower seeds.

I missed getting a picture this morning after I turned out the last doe from the milk house. Sophie, our Alpine who has to wear a goat bra, was standing by one of the pine trees, and the little kitten was sitting on her back. They were both perfectly calm and gave the impression that this was not new behavior.

We are coming off of several days of rain, and the goats haven't been able to go out for browse until today. I milked the goats separately this morning and checked yields.
Orange = 7 1/2 cups (12 hours)
Sophie = 5 1/2 cups (12 hours)
Angel = 6 cups (24 hours)

Orange is simply an incredible animal.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Goats who must go somewhere else

We have too many goats. I must sell some either to people who want nice home milkers or to people who want barbecue or for pets. All are up to date on vaccinations. All are CAE free.

Socks

"Socks" - wether - Mini-Alpine - born on June 11 - gentle pet goat or small cabrito

Jasmine
Jasmine - doeling - born March 18 - Nubian/LaMancha cross - will be GOOD home milker

Mocha
Mocha - doeling - LaMancha - born March 29 - VERY gentle - Her mom is my best milker with best udder.

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Sorry he is blinking.
Captain Jack Sparrow - buckling - LaMancha - born April 15 - From good milk and udder lines - just don't need him -

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prolific milkers

I'm milking the two LaMancha goats that I purchased from Feral Nature Farms this winter. They each have one kid, and they are making about 2 1/2 quarts each per day, above what their kids get. Doing that easy math word problem means that I'm having to deal with 5 quarts of fresh milk every day!

We drink some of the goat milk, cook with some, give some away, and I make cheese at least twice a week. I've been alternating between chevre (easy to make) and cheddar (more labor intensive.)

The cheddar isn't aged, so it's very mild, but it can be used like regular cheddar. It's lovely and white because it has no food color added, and it squeaks on your teeth. That's how you tell whether the curd is at the right point before you press it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disbudding

Disbudding is one of those unpleasant, but necessary, goat chores. A very hot iron much like a soldering iron is pressed against the horn base for approximately eight seconds. The horn cap comes off, and then you burn again for a few more seconds.

The first time we disbudded a kid, we were more traumatized than the kid. Today, we disbudded three without too much stress.

One of the things we've learned is that the disbudding box, a kid size box with a lid and a hole for the kid's head to stick out is much more stressful to the kid than being held by one of their human friends. Our goat kids are used to being held and cuddled, so being restrained in someone's arms isn't frightening to them. Being stuck in a box makes them scream.

We had been shaving the hair around the base of the horn, but now we know that's not necessary, either. If you know where the horn bud is, the hair isn't in the way after the first second of burning. You're going to stink after it's over anyway from the burned skin and horn tissue, so a bit of extra burned hair stink is immaterial.

After the procedure, the burned area is sprayed with Furox or another antibiotic cooling spray. Normally, this relieves the kid's pain, and he will be acting normally and looking for mom within moments. The comfort of mom's presence and a few sucks of milk are all it takes for them to forget the procedure.

The next step is for the humans to take a shower. The stink of burned goat hair and skin is particularly pungent. :-(

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quirky Goat Farm / North

We headed north with 11 dairy goats on Thursday, April 23, 2009. The new trailer with a swing gate in the middle worked well. Kids and mommas in the front, and dry/pregnant does in the back. We made several stops for food and water and to walk the dogs. It's a fourteen hour trip, but no problems.

When we got to Missouri, we were awed by the tree damage from the mid-winter storm. Many of the trees look like umbrellas turned inside out, with the limbs just stripped from the trunk. Some trees burst and fell over. Some just snapped in half about ten feet above ground. The clean up is going to be a long term project.

We turned the goats out in the main pasture area, and they thought the tall grass and browse was heaven. We had fed them alfalfa hay on the way up to have their tummies full on arrival. This prevents overeating on new forage and bloat.

Today, Sunday, April 26, we cleared branches and checked the forest fenced area. After we were sure the electric fence was working, we moved the four older, bred and dry does into that area. Now, we have the milkers in one area, and the dry does in another. It just makes feeding less complicated and calmer.

I'm about to go out and mix feed and build another feeder.

Have a great day!
Alice

Monday, April 13, 2009

We have new Mini Mancha bucklings

Cassie came through with tri-color bucklings!

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Arielle was here for Easter weekend and enjoyed meeting the goats.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Even hay feeders need latches


The hay feeder has hinged access panels on each end, but Indie has figured out how to open the hatch.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New additions!

I've learned I can't go look at goats. If I look, I'll bring some home. Last week, my online goat friend Diane of Feral Nature Farm near Lexington let me know that she was needing to reduce her herd. She has LaManchas and MiniManchas. As we are heading toward Minis, this was an opportunity to get some high quality goats. NO NO, I mean it was a chance to look at high quality goats and bring one home. We were also looking for a LaMancha for a friend in Louise.

So, Lonnie, Dan, and I drove up there one morning with the goat transporter in the back of the truck. Lonnie got to see some territory of Texas that he hadn't been through before. We drove up through Cordele, Halletsville, and Giddings. Of course, we stopped in Halletsville for kolaches.

We walked among her herd, talked, petted the does, got loved on by her wether, checked udders, and talked goats some more. After some extensive discussion, we picked out three possible acquisitions. The were a set of twin fawn colored LaMancha does and a tri-color MiniMancha doe. Luckily, I had come with enough cash due to a premonition that I was coming home with three goats. Don't you just love premonitions?

I'm please to introduce Latte' (formerly known as Star.)
Right side -
From Goats

Left side -
From Goats


This is Cocoa (formerly known as Rain)
From Goats

From Goats


And this is Calico Cassie (also known as Splash and Chelsea)
From Goats

From Goats

The morning routine

Call out, "GOATS GOATS GOATS!" as I enter the goat yard.
The cat runs out to greet us.

Turn on the lights, the heater if necessary, open the top of the dutch door, and sometimes turn on the sound track for The Sound of Music.

We put feed on the milk house milk stand and after Orange has peed and pooed, she gets to come in and start eating while we get the feed ready for everyone else.
Lonnie puts out hay and feed. The old girls are in the east pen under the barn. The new girls are in the west pen under the barn. Bartok is in a small pen.

I milk Orange and give her the snacks. Of course, Miss Kitty gets the first squirts of milk, and I also put out her dry feed. PLUS, I have a squirt bottle of water to keep the neighbor's cats out of the milk house. They can go in after I milk, but I don't want them in there during the milking process.

Orange goes out, and Hershey is standing at the door, waiting to come in. She waits for me to put her box on the milk stand so she is tall enough to reach the head lock and for me to milk her. I milk Hershey with the mechanical squirter milker, then finish her by hand. She then waits on the milk stand until she gets her defective pecans for a snack. Hershey goes out.

I get a one quart large mouth jar with a lid and go to the west pen. Latte', Cocoa, and Cassie are let out. I put dairy chow in the feeder on the milk stand we built for Sophie. She had claustrophobia in the milk house, so she has her own special place. She is just now starting to be willing to get on the stand without being led there. She is still a bit antsy, but it's getting better.
I milk her into the jar, put the lid on, give her pecans, let her out.

Dump that milk into the bucket with Hershey's and Orange's milk.
Clean the milk squirter, sweep the floor, turn out the light, turn off the music.

Pick up hay for the buck pen.
Let out Bartok.
Feed Charlie and Indie.
Go to the house and filter the milk.

See why my mother in law used to say, "If a woman doesn't have enough to do, get her a goat!"