Archive for March, 2013

March 23, 2013

Apricot’s kids

3 does to kid in just as many days. Apricot is an easy stealthy kidder! Last year, I had to leave in the morning for an appointment, came home to check on her and already had 2 kids on the ground with another one imminent. This year, about the same thing. I knew she’d probably kid that day, went out about noon to check on Granite’s kids on one side of the barn and heard the unmistakable “mama to newborn” talk coming from the other and sure enough she had both babies on the ground and was up and cleaning them. She’s such a lovely doe and such a good mama and the girl likes to eat and is very good at multitasking…a bite of food, a lick on baby, a bite of food and so on and so forth.

A good size buck and doe with just a little flash! =)

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apricots kid

 

One more doe to kid at the end of the month and then 3 in April, including 2 first fresheners. Then it’s about an entire 6 weeks off before the yearling first fresheners kid in June. Expect some to be for sale. We cannot keep all these first fresheners =).

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March 23, 2013

Ada’s kid

Ada was due Tuesday, Wednesday didn’t look too promising and came and went. I figured she just had a single. Thursday came along and her tail ligaments were very loose but she ate breakfast and was happy to get her grain. She followed the herd around much of the day looking very uncomfortable. About noon I went out to check them and she very much wanted to lay down and labor. The herd kept moving and so would she. I put her in the kidding pen but she was not happy so I thought it best just to leave her with the herd and she would eventually settle down somewhere to kid.

I went out to check again about 1 and she looked very ready but unsure so I put her in the barn and sat with there where she immediately layed down and commenced to pushing. It took her a long while to push the kid out but as a first timer, this is not unusual. She did just fine all by herself and the kid was in the perfect position. So far this year, I’ve had to “help” very little and the only help that was necessary was pulling a bit on a larger kid. A nice brown little doe sired by Storm, oh and the ears =). Cute as a bug’s ear and mama is doing wonderfully. Took her a little bit to understand that baby needs to nurse and not just be cleaned up but this is to be expected from some new Moms. I held a leg up a minute to let the kid latch on and all was right with the world after that.

adas kid

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March 23, 2013

Granite’s kids

Granite and Ada were due on Tuesday. Wednesday morning Granite wasn’t real thrilled about eating breakfast and was looking pretty hollow and as though kidding would happen Wednesday. She pretty much stayed with the herd much of the day even following them out to the woods where new green grass is springing up.

I went out to the pasture at 1 PM to call the girls in. They all came a runnin’ like usual, Granite lagging behind. About 2:30 I went to check again but instead of having to call them in, I could see Granite had either tried to get back to the barn or separated herself from the herd (which is completely normal) and kidded in the pasture in a little valley. A buck and a doe, sired by Storm.

Boy is this buck LOUD and I think he will stay on as a new junior herdsire. And a pretty mahogany doe kid with some roaning, both cute as can be =).

Granite buck kid

Granites doe kid

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March 14, 2013

Pups (Almost) 5 weeks!

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March 4, 2013

Greenhouse part 2

Click the link below to see the beginnings of the greenhouse and shelving photos.

 Greenhouse part 1 

Greenhouse part 3

All framed up

There is still snow on the ground, as you can see. It was not all that warm Saturday or Sunday and with the snow melting, we’re working in mud puddles, it’s just really no fun.

We had thought about putting a door on the back side as that leads right into the garden, but in the end, decided against. I’ll get about 6 more sq. feet of shelving space without the door.

The top of the frames are attached to the panels. Or rather, the panels are attached to the top of the frame with fencing staples. We should not have any issues with snow accumulations caving the greenhouse in but using any more than 2 panels, and you may want to consider using either a ridge pole or vertical supports. As it is with this one, Jeremiah can hang from the center without it flinching. He can also stand up straight and still have head room. It’s a nice sized little greenhouse and will serve its purpose for us well even allowing us to overwinter some things. Maybe next year we’ll have a larger greenhouse. And while last years cold frames served their purpose well, this project was sort of a “get us by” quicky. I don’t know how long the plastic may last .

The horizontal 2×4’s are on either side (back of  greenhouse) will hold the shelves. I’ll get about 100 sq. feet of shelving space, not too bad =). Using the ground under the shelves will give be about 32 more square feet.

Ground leveled

The ground had to be leveled a bit. Our garden is on a hill though this corner is pretty well flat.

back framed up.

We used 100+ year old recycled bricks for the floor. These will allow for better drainage and also act as insulators and radiant heat. The bricks should heat up during the day and release the heat slowly overnight.

front of greenhouse

front of greenhouse

Doing something the first time always has its challenges in figure it all out. If you ever build something again, it always goes more smoothly! This was our first time constructing a hoop house. I wondered how we’d apply the plastic to the back and front of the greenhouse. I’ve seen them with full plastic on the front but because the greenhouse is accessible to the orchard/front pen where the round bales are and we do let the pigs and goats out in it occasionally, knowing both of these animals tendencies, I felt better about having wood at least half way up.

We covered the edges of the panels with gorilla tape (makers of gorilla glue) so the tips of the panels would not go through the plastic. I was a little unhappy the tape only came in black (and smells like stale Chinese food!) but I wanted guaranteed water resistance over pretty so colored duct tape was out of the question. Drew wanted camo or Sponge Bob duct take. I did consider it for a minute.

We took a sheet of plastic the width of the roll (8′) by 4′ and carefully worked it between the panel and the plastic on the “roof”. I thought we’d cut an arch and seam the two with tape but having it go under the roof plastic creates a much better seal. We then took one long piece of tape and covered the seam along the outer edge.

I should have painted the wood before applying the plastic to the front but it’s supposed to rain next weekend and I needed this thing done. Seeds have to be started. We have lots of left over trim from remodeling our house I’ll just affix that to the front.

front

front

back framed up.

back framed up.

recycled bricks for drainage and to help hold heat.

recycled bricks for drainage and to help hold heat.

recycled door from 100+ year old house

recycled door from 100+ year old house

So, there it is. I cannot calculate up total cost for this because so much of it was recycled. If I had to guess I’d say about $100. It’s as solid as a rock and not going anywhere with our winds. We did have  little mishap while it was still just the roof up. We had winds so bad the weekend after the hoop was done, it tore the plastic from the 2×6 frame. I thought for sure it would be trashed but it did not do too much damage after all. And not that it’s full enclosed, there should be no issues with it creating a rind tunnel.

I was the lucky one who got to work inside shimmying the “wall” plastic between “roof” and panel. It was nice and toasty in there!! Now for some paint to protect it from the elements!

March 3, 2013

Kicky milkers

Our first goats were far from trained milkers. Patience is most often the key to training a doe to the stand, but some people find hobbles come in handy.

I wrote this many years ago for another blog. I thought this post on hobbles may be of help as milking season quickly approaches =).

hobble

If you can sew, you can save money, milk and tears =)!

     Hubby and I made this goat hobble as a joint effort. He welded up the metal rings, though you could use some chain used to hang lamps or plants from the ceiling (oval), just make sure it’s strong. We had a ratchet strap break and he saved the strapping. It came in handy for this project!

Unfortunately, hobbles did not work well for us. We couldn’t get the does to stand still long enough to get the hobbles on. Several would have a fit in the milk stand bucking and throwing themselves off the stand or laying down. I resorted to some alternative milking methods until I can get them calmed down enough to stand nicely and by that time, hobbles weren’t necessary. As a side note, one of the easiest methods for me was to prop the entire back end of a doe up on left leg, hold their left leg just above the hoof with my left hand as it rested on my left thigh, bend over and milk blindly one handed into a bucket. It took a while, but for the does that like to lay down or fling themselves off the stand, this was about the only way to guarantee their safety and my own. With both of their hooves off the stand and one leg secure on my thigh, it wasn’t likely they were apt to be able to go anywhere. Occasionally, now, I’ll get those novice milkers who are just a little sensitive and all it takes is holding the leg closest to me up  in the air a little for a period of time until they figure out that milking isn’t anything more than a thing =). However, if you’ve got a milker who just likes to kick, these would probably work well for you!

You can purchase these online from a few places, Caprine Supply carries them along with PBS Livestock.

hobble

These measurements are for a full size goat. I started with a piece of 1″  wide nylon strapping that was about 8-9 inches long (seen above, center left of photo), run through the ring, ends brought to the middle and sewn securely. You end up with the middle section about 3-4 inches in length once sewn. You’ll want material sturdy and non-stretchy for this: belt material, etc. We had a 1″ ratchet strap in which the ratchet part broke so the strap was “trash”. I re-purposed it and it works great!

For the longer straps that go around the legs, these pieces are about 6-7 inches long. Insert them through the ring, double the strap back to itself and sew from one side to the other several times. Be sure you sew over this several times so that it is VERY secure. One stitch probably will not be enough.

The two pieces of velcro closer to the rings are in 2 pieces because I mis-measured where the scratchy part would fall when on the goat and it did not give a tight enough fit on the 2nd piece further away from the metal ring. I ended up having to sew another piece of the loop on closer to the ring. Give yourself a good 4 inch piece of loop (soft part) and sew it fairly close to your metal ring.  You want a snug fit of the straps on the goat above the hocks (rear “knee”) to pinch the ligament. Pinching the ligament prevents them from bending at the knee. It does not, however, prevent them from rotating at the hip. Be prepared for full leg swings with movement at the hip. You can also place them above the rear dewclaws however this still allows movement at the knee and hip.

For the velcro: I used Touchtape brand hook and loop velcro because that’s what I have on hand from diaper making. The hook (scratchy part) is 2  1/2 inches long and 1 wide. I let the hook part (scratchy part) of the velcro hang off the ends of the straps a bit (photo above, center right). I found when the hobble was on, it curled up at the edge giving me a little tab that was easily to grab hold of and undo instead of having to pick at it to get a corner up.

If I need hobbles for a fidgety milker, I normally just use bailing twine (the plastic kind) doubled over and then looped around the back hock, fairly snug then wrap it around the back leg of the milk stand a couple times and step on it or run my toe of my shoe through the loop. This is so much quicker for me than trying to put on hobbles and generally securing one leg is sufficient for me.

I suppose with an eternal kicky milk, hobbles may come in handy but for those that are new to the milk stand, the hobbles tend to throw them into a frantic scared fit and the hobbles contribute to more harm than good…sometimes they get so scared by having their legs tied together, it becomes an emergency to get hobbles off before they hurt themselves or you. The bailing twine is quick to release and generally only requires the securing of one leg which psychologically makes the doe feel safer too. I end up with fewer issues this way.

Bring lots of patience to the table when dealing with new milkers. As I’ve written in posts past, it’s a lot easier to train them to the stand before they freshen, than to try to get them accustomed after.  However, if it is your only option and you have the time to take it slow, do so. If not, chances are there may be some spilled milk but they normally always come around in time =).

hobble

hobble