Monday – December 6, 2010
It was COLD this morning! I have arthritis so I am not very fond of cold weather. It’s here so I guess I have to deal with it. Our truck is a diesel so it had to be plugged in to electric as the barn so it would start up in this weather. After caring for the goats this morning I had to make my way into my part-time job at the Butler County Board of Elections. I work a few days a month in the Finance/Budgets division. They are super nice people at the BOE and I enjoy the change of pace every now and then.After work I grocery shopped which meant I had to put all the stuff away before I could start supper. I made fried pork chops, fried potatoes, peas, and biscuits with honey for Dewey and my parents. They seemed to enjoy it. I went out and did the evening chores – in the dark. The goats were happy to see me, they always are.
Tuesday – December 7, 2010
Today after the morning feeding and watering, we had to drive to Germantown Ohio and pick up goat feed. We purchase 2,000 pounds at a time and that volume helps with the price of it. I would say that our largest expenditure is goat feed. We really increase the feed bill when we have a barn full of babies and moms to feed. It was so cold that I had to call the farmer that sells us the feed and make sure his tractors would start. It was a cold day but better to get the feed home before it snows later this week. Every time we sell a goat we give the new goat owner some of our goat feed. You really can’t change a goat’s diet suddenly without risk of creating some health issues so this practice allows the new owner to take some of our feed and mix it with whatever they plan to feed and gradually switch them to the new feed. Our Godson, Coby, came over and unloaded the feed for us. I fixed a pot of chili soup to warm us from the cold.
Wednesday – December 8, 2010
Up early today to do the morning chores and to meet with a young man from Goshen, Ohio who came over to look at our baby goats. He is a very nice fellow and just getting started in the goat business. He purchased three doe lings; two of them are just one week old so it will be several weeks before he gets to take them home. That will give him plenty of time to get his barn ready for his new little herd. One of our October babies seemed a little off to me this morning and with closer inspection I noticed one of his eyes was a little swollen. Hmmm…. I checked the spots on the top of his head where we had disbudded him a few weeks ago and one may be a little infected. Popped off the cap, cleaned it out and put some Neosporin on it. I took his temperature and it was normal so I think we caught it before it became a real problem. If he is not better tomorrow – he will be headed to the veterinarian to be checked out. We had to make a trip into the Tractor Supply store for some supplies – the main thing that I needed was a bottle of tetanus vaccine because all of the new babies are going to need their vaccination shots. I also purchased a new tube of paste wormer; goats can get worms really easy so we like to stay on top of that. Did the evening chores a little early this evening, it gets dark so quick and when it gets dark it gets colder.
Thursday – December 9, 2010
Still cold out! Out to the barn to check on Jenna and to make sure everyone has feed and water. Every time I go into the barn I just automatically scan each goat to make sure none of them seem sick. The little wether with the swollen eye seems much better this morning. After the morning chores, I drove into town to the Butler County Board of Elections. After work I had to stop at the Ross IGA and pick up a few things and then hurry home to prepare a large birthday dinner for my brother, Randy, who turns 50 today. Both of my parents were here and our son Joe and his fiancé Cristen. We had all of Randy’s favorite foods and I think everyone had a great time. There was a baked ham, baked beans, mashed potatoes, corn, a salad and I even made some of the yeast rolls that I learned to make at the OSU Extension office Blue Ribbon Baking class last month. Art taught a great class and I am grateful to have finally learned how to make them. I think my family is happy too. Oh yes, Mom made Randy a chocolate birthday cake. I was happy to see Dewey’s brother Kimroy and his wife, Irene, stop by. Irene also has a small pygmy goat herd in Oxford Ohio and she is as crazy about goats as I am. It’s really nice when your family farms with you. Dewey and I like to travel to goat shows in Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee and I can always count on Irene to come over and do my chores when we are out of town. My sister-in-law, Irene, brought over some of her really nice alfalpha hay. I usually feed a grass hay but I like to keep a little of the rich hay on hand in case someone is not feeling well. She gave some to the little goat that had not been feeling well and he really loved it. They were super nice and took care of the evening chores for me. Not sure what I would do without them, it’s a great feeling to know you have “back up”. I was so tired after such a full day that I fell asleep sitting up in chair after the dishes were done. Whew!
Friday – December 10, 2010
It has finally warmed up a little. When there is a break in the weather there are a million things to do. My father-in-law brought us a load of fire wood to help keep us warm during the next cold spell. The weather was a little warmer today so we took the opportunity to fill the large water tank in the barn. The big tank has a heated spigot so when it is really cold we can still have water. The worst part of our winters is breaking the ice out of the water buckets twice a day. Not my favorite job.We added fresh bedding to the pens this morning. We use shavings in the summer and straw in the winter for bedding. It’s important to keep the pens dry, we don’t want any hoof rot and we want the pen to be warm and pleasant. Wet smelly bedding can really make the baby goats sick. The ammonia can hurt their lungs and the manure can get in the feed pans and on mom’s udder and give them coccidia which can really make them sick and even die. We don’t want that!I went into work again today and while I was there I received a panicked phone call from my parents. One of the goats was out of the pen and wandering around in the front yard. They couldn’t catch her so they called me. I told them to show her a pan of feed and after they did she was happy to go right back into her pen. Goats really like their food.After work, two of the baby goats were picked up by their new owners and I spent a while on the phone with a lady from Dayton Ohio who is going to stop by our farm tomorrow and check out the goats. Her daughter is interested in them for her 4-H project in Clark County next year.It was nice to be in the barn when it was not so very cold. I took some time and checked over all the does to see if anyone is showing signs of making an udder and how each one of them is doing weight wise and looking for any signs of illness. I played with all the babies, which is really one of the best things about being a goat breeder. Each one of them has their own personality.
Saturday – December 11, 2010
The weather was mild today so we took advantage of it and cleaned out the entire doe barn. We purchased some fair type pens a few years ago and it was an excellent investment. Instead of removing the soiled bedding with a pitch fork and a shovel we can just pull the pins from the ends of the metal panels and remove them. Then I can use our small tractor with a bucket attachment on the front and just scoop out the bedding and put it on the manure pile. That sure takes a lot of the work out of it! We can also use the tractor to load the manure up for people who come and get it to fertilize their gardens. I am told that goat manure makes excellent garden fertilizer; it’s not as strong as some other manure types so it composts really easy. My father-in- law, Clifford, and Carl, the neighbor across the road, have huge successful vegetable gardens and they both look forward to adding the goat compost to their gardens. My dad, Coby, Kimroy and my friend Lori helped me put all the pens back together and bed the pens down with a fluffy layer of straw. We started at about 10am and were finished before the rain started at 4pm. We reconfigured the pen layout and I put the last of the October babies in the weaning pen. That made the barn a little noisy – they were missing mom but at 8 weeks old they were ready to be separated. Little male goats become fertile at about 12 weeks old and they will breed their mom or sister so…..we don’t want to risk that.I cleaned and sanitized all the feed pans and water buckets. That is something that needs to be done frequently to prevent illness and I had not done it since the weather had turned cold. All done now! I put Echo Point Aspen in the clean birthing pen and she looks like she is going to kid any minute. She seemed happy to be in her cozy new pen with the deep straw and the warming lamp.I will check her during the night to make sure she is ok.
Sunday – December 12, 2010
Up at 3 am to check on Aspen. All quiet in the doe barn until the weanlings heard me and started yakking. Out to the barn at 7 am to the goats and Aspen seems to have a little discharge…… It was starting to snow and the wind was blowing and getting much colder. Winter is back. I went to the barn at 9 am and Aspen was in labor. She had one little boy and….he got chilled and we almost lost him. I had to bring him into the house and warm him with the blow dryer and then use a weak kid syringe to pump warm milk into his stomach. Sometimes that works and sometimes it does not. It was touch and go for a while and I kept going to the barn and milking his mom and bringing it in to him. At nine pm he seemed strong enough to nurse his mom. You never know what a doe is going to do when the baby has been away from her, sometimes they will reject them and not realize it is their baby. I had been taking him out with me when I milked her all day long so she would remember him. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was able to take this picture of him nursing on his own at 11 pm. Aspen was feeding her baby. We named him Lazarus! The farm is blanketed with snow and seems like such a magical place.