Thursday, April 30, 2009


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!

Monday, April 13, 2009

We have new Mini Mancha bucklings

Cassie came through with tri-color bucklings!


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


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.