Archive for ‘feeders’

January 23, 2013

Newsy news

Where to begin? Knowing where I left off would be helpful. I think it had something to do with fodder (imagine that) and then it seemed everything went to hell and a handbasket and I’ve had little time to update my Facebook page ( let alone the blog!

A brief summary of life here the past couple weeks. One Sunday (2 weeks ago??), Iris started showing symptoms of pregnancy toxemia and went down hill real quick. Injections of CMPK seemed to do little good and with several injection sites required for each treatment, I felt so bad for her I put her on oral CMPK.

Delivery of the kids is the best treatment for this but because Dawn had still not kidded, I thought for sure I had messed up January breeding dates altogether. As it turns out, Dawn was not bred before Iris at all but another dry coming 2 year old who was sold last Fall. I did not figure that out until the doe’s owners emailed me to say that the doe had delievered a healthy buck and doe…a day after “Dawn’s due date”. OH, WHOOPS!!! I could have induced Iris to kid 5 days prior to her due date, but with due dates up in the air from my mishap with the breeding dates of does, I did not want to risk loosing the whole bunch to prematurity! So, I induced her on her due date and she delivered a healthy set of twins (1 buck & 1 doe) on Jan. 16. A lovely day it was too.

Meanwhile, I was still drenching her with CMPK (for a while there every 2 hours round the clock!), injecitons of B-complex to try and help stimulate her appitite, Nutradrench and immune supporting herbs, etc.

Fast forward to a week later and the kids are bouncing bundles of fluff. Iris is still with us, though she is pathetically thin and still does not seem to want to eat very much. She came down with a horrid snotty nose so I am now giving her LA-200 every evening and double blanketing her. She picks at her food but going on 2 weeks now, she’s obviously eating enough to keep her alive and drinking rather well. She is locked up at night alone with her kids with enough hay of every kind of I have to feed a threshing crew but she’s not real eager to get to it as any of it like other does would be. So, we are just taking it day by day and hoping she regains her will to eat. I know she’s got it. I am supplimenting her kids with a bottle. A lot of people have mentioned taking the kids away so they are not “draining her”. I know Iris and if I were to do that, she’d give up her will. So, she keeps her kids and they have lots of forms of Mom that come out to feed them several times a day and this seems to work. I’ve told Iris she just has to decide what she wants to do…I have stopped with the CMPK and so we’ll just see what happens…if 2 summers ago is any indication (when she just adamately flat out refused to eat much of anything for 2-3 months), she’ll just up and decide one day to eat again and that will be that. She’s a strange one that one…but strong despite it all and bull headed…fine! Me too.

I would post photos of the new kids but if you can imagine this…both of our home computers are on the fritz. The main computer is barely limping along and will have to be replaced but I am least thankful to have it sort of working though I cannot have any more than one tab for the internet, nor any other programs open at any one given time, it will crash. So, posting photos will have wait. My laptops charger cord is fried and so I am waiting on a new one. There are photos of thekids up on the FB page (address above), if you’d like to visit and see them.

The fodder journey is going very well. I have ordered enough tubs to give me 3 tubs a day…all of the girls are more than happy to eat it every day, even though right now it’s barely more than a snack when divided out between  them all. I’ve added in sunflower seeds as well…ther germination rate is okay, but not great and some of the girls turned their noses up at the fodder with that in it so I think I may just stick to leaving it out.

I found out I can get 3 different varieties of field peas at the local co op so that’s great news. They are somewhat pricey but would certinatly calm any fears I have about the girls getting enough calcium, especially the milkers.

I have comissioned Jeremiah to “build” me a fodder trough. I need nothing more than a piece of rolled stainless steel to make a trough long enough for everyone to eat at and then just attach the trough to a couple piece of 2×4’s in an “X” shape at each end for legs. As it is I have to stand on one side of the fence and feed each doe a biscuit individually because there is not enough to go around for a full meal and if I left it up to them to decide, the faster eaters would get a full meal and the slower eaters would get none but that’s because there’s not enough for a full meal. Plus too…I have to cut the biscuits up small enough they can eat it in a mouthfull otherwise they try to flip the biscuits around to chew some off and end up throwing them all on the ground and then won’t touch them, of course so that’s totally wasteful. So, I find myself cutting up the biscuits really small to begin with and that seems to work very well.

With the mishap on Dawn’s due date, we’re now looking at the end of the month/beginning of Feb. for her. She’s filling her udder nicely and so we’ll see what becomes of all that.

We’re supposed to be in for a nice 55 degree day and there’s lots that can be done with that! Jeremiah and I removed the cattle panels that made up our back yard fence. Now that the dogs are finally staying where they belong, we no longer need a fenced area for any dog and I have several good uses in mind for more panels! A person cannever have too many of those!

One of these weekends I’d like to finally get a panel hoop greenhouse put in. I’ve gone through countless photos of what I want and I think I’ve got a pretty good plan in my head of how it will look and should not require the purchse of too much more than a piece of plywood since we have everything else.

Speaking of dogs, if Snow settled her pregnancy back in Nov. we should be expecting pups here fairly soon after the first of Feb. She started digging a new den under the stock trailer back when she was in heat and did not work on it for a long time but the past couple of days I’ve seen new earth being dug up so she’s back at it and looking rather plump these days. We’ll see what becomes of all of that. What’s very odd is that she cycled twice in 2 months time…dogs don’t generally do that. We were expecting pups in Jan. as of last Oct. until she cycled again which pushed it out a month more but she’s doing all the thing she should be doing so here’s to a healthy litter in about 2-3 weeks.

With the new baby goats coming and being expected, I think the dogs really sense this and are hanging back at the barn more and more or one will be at the barn full time (usually King) and one is the patroller (usually Snow). One of the cats came out to say hello this morning and keep me company while I fed and did barn chores and King was none too happy about her coming close to the new goat kids. It’s rather comical. He had to be gently reminded that other creatures are not always out to harm “his” animals. Normally the cat is more than happy to rub herself up and down the dogs but I think she was a little put off that the dog yipped at her. She’ll get over it, I’m sure, and I am sure King now knows she could care less about some goat kid, she just wanted to see what the new black things were.

That’s all for now and all until I can get a computer up and running and not just limping!



September 27, 2010

Hay Feeders

(Free for all)

We’ve used a few different kinds over the years and thus far my favorite has been one made with cattle panels…

The first 2 feeders we ever made were fairly simple wood construction, box style with vertical slats where the hay was dropped into the center and goats ate from all sides. They beat the heck out of it and wasted so much hay by pulling it through the slats; not to mention the fact the kids would get up there and sleep and one year I had some kids with diarrhea so you can well imagine what a lovely mess that was to clean up!

The third wooden feeder that has stood up the best by far has been this…

We loaded this into our custom built livestock trailer and hauled it all the way from California. It’s an okay feeder but still quite heavy and needs to be kept under cover. I mean, I don’t suppose it HAS to be, but it sure will last a lot longer.

I don’t like it for a few reasons. For one, weight. For two, while the trough seems like it would be useful (yes there is a trough at the bottom but they pull so much hay out you can’t even tell), I feed mostly alfalfa and it drops down, the leaves and dust collects and I end up raking it out. They don’t pick it up out of the trough. Rarely have I had a goat eat the “trough droppings”. Or maybe it’s just that I feed too much. If small kids get up into it, they urinate on the hay in the trough making clean up a chore.

These cattle panel feeders are really quite ideal, cheap, portable, and light weight. Yes, hay does fall out the bottom but it’s usually picked up pretty quickly by lazy goats, as you can see… And quite honestly, there’s no more waste with them as opposed to the reach up and take hay out style feeders like the wooden one at the beginning of this post.

The cattle panel feeders allow the goats to stick their heads in, or not. I do have some that’ll shove but providing the goat doesn’t have its head in a cloud of hay, they’ll see an oncoming lunge. Hang them low enough and the bigger goats can eat out of the top and the smaller ones can eat from the sides or bottoms…
I take a 16′ cattle panel and cut it in 3-6 pieces. I use a bolt cutters to remove the vertical stays on each side leaving me with fingers. My husband then welds (carefully because it’s galvanized and the vapors are poisonous) the fingers together and I hang them with clips, in this case mountaineering clips. For a $20 panel I get quite a few portable feeders.

With this type of panel I used for this feeder (graduated rungs on the bottom like the panel the feeder is hung on), I leave the smaller spaces to the back. This would be the bottom of the cattle panel if it were still intact. The panels I get from Lowes are 2″ x 6″ for the first two rungs where as some of the others I’ve seen are 1″ x 6″ for the first rung and then 2 ” x 6″ followed by the usual 6″x6″ squares. I can’t get 6″x6″ all over (also called utility panels) and it doesn’t quite matter as the tops of the panels I get are 6″x6″ which leaves plenty of space for goaties without horns to get their heads through
And then there’s the bucket that I use when I am out of town for the weekend clipped to the cattle panel for an extra feeder for more hay just in case.

If you’re wanting to know what that white PVC thing is attached to the wooden feeder, it’s my mineral feeder made from a piece of 4″ PVC (about 2 foot in length), a cap, a 45 degree section, a male adapter and a female screw. You could just glue a cap on the bottom of the 45 degree section, but the male and female part allows me to clean it out if I ever needed to. I love this mineral feeder.