While at work today, I walked out of a conference room following an hour and a half of meetings and picked up my cell phone. A quick glance at the screen made my heart rate skyrocket. I had 4 missed calls from Anna and the kids and more than 10 text messages. There was no voicemail notice, so it was bad enough they didn’t have time to leave a voicemail. I knew Anna wasn’t home at the time and reading the first text message confirmed my immediate suspicion: one of the goats was kidding.
Alex had gone out to do his assigned cleaning of a goat shelter and discovered an extra goat kid in the pen being cleaned off Longvu Log Tabula Rasa. Alex went inside and notified Quinn who immediately took charge of the situation and moved Tabula and her 8.8lb doe kid into the kidding stall; the 9.7lb buck kid was born a short time later. Quinn and Amanda made sure both kids got toweled dry and by the time I was bringing my heart rate back under control, everything was pretty much over. Quinn and Amanda monitored Tabula until she passed the placentas, then helped the kids nurse to ensure they got some colostrum. Alex actually left to go for a 6 mile trail run since the other had it under control.
On Sunday, Dauntless Obsidian gave us 2 doe kids that weighed in at 7.8lbs and 7.4lbs. The birth for Obsidian was pretty rough and we weren’t sure she was going to survive. Her twin does were pulled and taken into the house. Obsidian is making a recovery, but her kids will be raised as bottle babies. This means we have 2 goat kids living in a tote in the living room for now. They get will get bottles about 4 times a day plus play time with the kids (human type).
Days like today make me very proud of the kids and their level of responsibility. This brings our new total to 5 buck kids and 4 doe kids. Our last doe will kid in mid-May.
Dinner tonight was potato soup and fresh bread (2 loaves of gluten free and 2 loaves of regular) cooked by Quinn. The potatoes were from our garden.
Amanda has been learning to milk the goats. We use the milk every day.
Dessert was mint chocolate chip ice cream with milk from the goats and eggs from the chickens.
Of course, you only use egg yolks to make ice cream, so you have leftover egg whites. Why not make a few meringues?
Maybe tomorrow we will make another batch of goat cheese and pair it with some red wine after dinner. Speaking of dinner, I think steaks from our locally sourced beef, spaghetti squash from our garden, and homemade mashed potatoes from our garden sounds like a good idea. Of course, herbs from the garden are handy for flavoring the cheese.
After a 5 year hiatus, we have decided to get back into goats (it was mostly Rob’s idea). Lamanchas were our preference and we have started gathering our new herd of Lamanchas. In this picture is Tulsi, a 4 year old doe in milk we purchased last weekend with her kid from this year. Tulsi is currently giving us a little over 2 quarts of milk per day with her kid still nursing.
Milking Tulsi is Quinn, or as they were formerly known, Vicki. A few weeks ago they decided to change their name to Quinn. While we haven’t processed the full court name change yet, it will likely happen in the future.
Last night, I had an unexplained allergic reaction that resulted in a short trip to the ER. As a result of being up until 2am and the meds making me so drowsy, I went to work for only a few minutes and then to see the Dr’s. I got some more meds and came home for rest. Around noon, Anna woke me and informed me West View Swan’s Saffron was kidding. I joined Anna and Vicki for the event in the kidding stall.
Saffron is a 4th freshener 5 year old who gave 11-12 lbs of milk a day last year.
This is an udder that has “popped” meaning looks like 14 hours since it has been milked and is stretched tight. Don’t milk her, just get your kidding supplies by the back door, because it means you won’t be waiting long. For Saffron, imminent signs of kidding included lots of pawing, grunting, visible contractions for about 40 min, and then baby goats.
We are raising all the kids as bottle babies this year. Since Anna doesn’t want to trek back and forth to the barn all day and night, they are in the office in a dog crate starting out.
Saffron gave us 2 doe kids: the dark one is Sawyer Farm’s Milky Way and the light one is Sawyer Farm’s Caramel. It appears this year’s name theme will be candy.
Here is Vicki holding Milky Way. She is very excited to have babies to bottle feed again.
Our new farm is a little smaller than the last, however, the usable land actually makes it better. There is about 1 acre in the back that was made for goats. In fact, it even had old 4″ square fencing up. Unfortunately, it was so old, we had to remove it all to make it goat proof again. It took about a week of work, but today, I finally finished getting the entire perimeter fenced in with hard wire. We plan to subdivide a little and make some additional isolation pens, but that can wait until after everything else is moved.
The acre that is now a goat pen is completely covered in poison ivy that is about 12-18″ high at this point. Additionally, there are briars and other general brush plants growing. This makes it ideal for the goats. In fact, they probably won’t need any hay for a while. The only downside is getting more poison ivy on my arms from milking goats.
Here are some pictures of the area and the herd getting there first taste. It was getting dim, but I wanted to take some day one photos. If you have considered goats for clearing poison ivy, come see the before for yourself. Just swing by the old house and grab some boxes on the way.
It’s North Stonington Fair time! This is our first fair experience showing animals. We have been busy for the last few days making final preps. 6 rabbits are about to get delivered to their cages and will stay until Sunday night. The kids get to do unlimited rides tonight.
We will probably go tomorrow evening, but first we will be prepping horses. Saturday morning is the horse show. Vicki will be riding lead line on King since Devil is still not healed enough to show. Alex will be riding Precious, and Anna even has a student riding Precious in the lead line class. This will be Alex and Vicki’s first horse show. I may enter with King if there are other adults showing.
Then, Sunday is the goat show. We are taking 5 goats (2 for Vicki and 3 for Alex). This will be our first goat show!
Horses eat grass and leave weeds. Goats eat weeds and leave grass. A little rest from the horses is a perfect time to let the goats clean up the weeds! We recently purchased a large quantity of used Premier electronet fencing for just this purpose. At their initial browse rate, it looks like the weeds will be clear in about 24 hours. Luckily, we are putting up more electronet around an overgrown area of the property for the goats to move to next!
That’s right, we have Goat Addition Syndrome. You can read more about the affliction on Backyard Herds. In September 2011, we bought our first 2 goats. Right now we have 2 bucks, 6 does (3 in milk – 2 getting milked and 1 with babies), and 4 doelings born this year. Some people would think that 12 goats are enough, but we are only getting about 5-6 quarts of milk a day from the 2 does we are milking. Farrah is either going to kid this week (she is already overdue), or she is very fat and going on a diet. Theoretically, we will sell some goats, but we just haven’t decided which ones yet. We are somewhat attached to our Lamanchas and want to expand on that herd, so that’s why we are going to buy another goat from New Hampshire this weekend. Hopefully by Monday we will be milking 3 does for about 2 gallons of milk a day. That should support the demand for a little while. The kids are capable of eating 2 quarts of ice cream a day, so we make a batch every other day. We actually drink about 3 quarts a day, and the rest will be used for making cheese. If we still have extra, we might raise a veal calf. 13 goats should be enough for a little while. Of course if Farrah really does kid, then it’s more like 15…
Today, Alex and Vicki spent the day with Great Goats 4H Club at Cedars of Lebanon Farm. They learned about getting ready for shows and how to show a goat. They also learned about showing chickens, sheep, and dogs. It was a very educational day and we got to meet a lot of other families who are new to showing goats. While we are not joining 4H yet, we do plan to attend some fair shows.