Category Archives: goats

Let’s play catch-up!

May rivals December in our house for busiest month of the year. There haven’t been any blog posts for about a month because we have been so busy, not because nothing was happening. So, here’s what we have been up to since our last update.

Amanda had her 6th grade band concert. She has been playing trumpet for 2 years now, but this is the first concert due to all the COVID issues.

We attended the Connecticut Dairy Goat Association show with our herd. Quinn and Amanda both had a good time, but it was a LONG day. We left home at 5:30am and didn’t get back until 7:30pm. They both agreed that fairs are better (but I think it’s because of the fair food). Amanda was 2 of 10 and Quinn was 9 of 12 in showmanship. I even got in the ring with Cinnamon. The kids did a great job getting the animals ready and managing them for the day.

Amanda turned 12 and wanted to go on a bike ride on her birthday. Specifically, she wanted to ride on the Kingston bike path where there is a convenient ice cream shop about 5.5 miles into the ride. We ended up doing 12 miles on her 12th birthday.

Quinn had junior prom. They chose to make a variant of a jacket/skirt combo. This was an original design, completely sewn by Quinn (including the buttons and button holes). This will go into their portfolio for fashion design school, which is the leading choice post-high school pursuits.

Anna and Amanda have been spending a lot of time in the garden. Amanda has her own sections of the garden for planting what she wants. They work together to map out which veggies go where.

For Memorial Day weekend, we decided not to attend the New York Adventure endurance ride. We had a few tack issues at VERDA and with the cost of fuel, we just decided it was too much. Instead, we stayed local and camped with West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association in Exeter, RI (about 9 miles from home). The weather was stormy on Friday night, so Amanda and I set up camp and Anna, Alex, and Quinn brought the horses over on Saturday morning. Only 1 mile in to the first ride on Saturday, Quinn determined Missy was lame and came back to camp. We loaded her up on the trailer and went home to get Eli instead. Eli got some hock injections earlier this season and has been slowly making a return to heavier work. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, Amira, Mojo, and Huey got around 27 miles each and Eli got 15. Quinn and Alex elected to stay at home Saturday night and take care of the rest of the animals.

Quinn was inducted into the National Honor Society and also won an Excellence in Mathematics award at school to wrap up their junior year. Oh yeah, and they have a driver’s license now.

Today was our 23rd Anniversary! We celebrated with a ride on the horses. Amanda (on Huey) joined Anna (on Amira) and I (on Missy) for 11 miles this morning. After lunch, Alex (on Mojo) and Quinn (on Eli) went out for a ride as well. They got a little turned around and ended up doing 14 miles.

Now we are ending the week with some Princess Cake that Amanda and Anna made. Apparently we also ate it 23 years ago today.

Introducing E.B. Farms LL Regal!

It’s kidding season and some of our does will kid soon, however, the first kid of the season arrived today from Exponential Blessings Farm in MD! E.B. Farms LL Regal was purchased to breed to the does we have kept out of Yoshi next fall. We don’t plan to allow outside breeding to Regal for this year.

Regal has a great pedigree that we are sure will help improve our herd.

The human kids are enjoying having a bottle baby in the house.

Let’s show goats! In a tropical storm!

This weekend was the North Stonington fair. In 2012, we showed goats for the first time at that fair. After 6 summers without goats, we made our return to the fair scene and the goat barn with our Lamanchas. And it rained. A lot. I saw estimates that we had between 3.5-4″ of rain in just over 24 hours, but let’s not jump ahead too much.

Last fall, we rebuilt our herd of Lamanchas and had 5 does that kidded this spring. We have already sold some goats, but at this point we have 3 does in milk, 2 dry yearlings, and 5 baby doelings (plus a buck and his wether companion). Quinn and Amanda wanted to show goats and this was their first time back in the ring. Another one of the girls from the 4-H club, Kaylin, leased some goats as a 4-H project. The three of them have been working hard at getting the goats ready – clipping, studying, handling, etc. Thursday afternoon, we loaded up the trailer with goats and headed to the North Stonington fairgrounds. We got the pens set up and the kids did finishing touches on clipping and cleaned up udders on the goats. After that, they headed out as a group to ride the fair rides and eat some dinner. Fair food!

Everything was going well, but there was this little rainstorm coming through. Let’s call it, Elsa. Elsa was a tropical storm as it passed through the area. It started raining overnight Thursday to Friday, and it kept raining. A lot. The fairgrounds were already pretty saturated from rain over the previous week. The area where the travel trailers were parked was a bog. You couldn’t get to the trailers without rubber boots. But we took care of the animals and retreated to the trailer for some food and hanging out until the rain subsided.

The rain ended Friday afternoon, and all the exhibitors started emerging from their hiding places. Due to all the rain and standing water, the fair didn’t officially open on Friday evening. After some back and forth, the fair board did decide to allow the youth goat show to go forward on Friday evening since all the goats and exhibitors were already present. So, at 6:30 pm Friday, the youth show started with 60+ goats.

The show didn’t end until about 9:30 and by the time the kids were done with chores, everyone was ready for a shower and some sleep. As I started to fall asleep, another big storm hit the fairgrounds and dumped another inch or so of water on the already saturated grounds. We woke up Saturday to find that our canopy was destroyed overnight, but the weather was clear. The show on Saturday included ~160 goats. It took all day.

At the end of the day on Saturday, we headed home with a trailer full of tired goats and 3 4-Hers who had a great time working together. They showed all our goats and helped others show Alpines, Nubians, Oberhaslis, and others. On the way home, they were talking about the next show, making an FAQ for the stalls (“why don’t your goats have any ears?”), and in general looking forward to the next show.

Goats are a lot of work and cost a lot money. But watching the kids work together, take responsibility for the animals, build their confidence the in show ring and speaking to the public makes it all worth it.

How bad is it?

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.

Baby Goats!

For the first time since 2015, we have baby goats on the farm. Yesterday night, 2 of our does kidded, giving us 4 buck kids and 1 doe kid. Both does and all 5 kids are doing well. We have 2 more does due in the next few days and then 1 more due in May. All of the kids are sired by Idikka Yoshi. I’m very pleased with his contribution to these kids and I see improvements on each doe in the kids.

Rainbow (Longvu Log Over the Rainbow) surprised us by going into labor first and dropping both her buck kids in under 30 minutes. The first one was 10lb and the second was 9.3lb. Rainbow has a nice length of body and milked for 18 months on her first freshening.

Tulsi was known to be carrying at least triplets, so we were pleased that she was showing signs of imminent labor 4 days before her due date. She was a little slower building to delivery, but eventually provided buck kid #1 at 6.3lb, buck kid #2 at 7.2lb, and doe kid at 6.5lb. Tulsi is registered Native on Appearance, so her kids are considered Experimental in the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) registry.

The Farm Provides

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.

Introducing Quinn

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.

Goat Sales

We have made the decision to sell our herd of Lamanchas and focus only on the horses on our farm.  We are not happy dividing our time and have been skirting this decision for a while.  Our entire herd is for sale, along with all our goat specific supplies.  The first half of the herd was sold today.

It is a bittersweet end to our goat farming. We have enjoyed our animals and learned a lot about husbandry and farming in general.  Our experience will encourage us to support other farms.  However, we are ready to move on and enjoy our horses.

It’s been a busy week on the farm

Let’s start with the biggest news from today.  Anna and I had talked for a while about what our criteria should be for the next horse we add to the farm.  Here is what we came up with:

1. Not a thoroughbred.

2. Gelding.

3. Already trained and able to be used in Anna’s lesson program.

4. Young enough to have some go and be fun for Rob on the trails.

So, today we brought home a 15hh, 9yo Arabian mare (Shagya bloodlines) that is still pretty green.  But in our defense, Anna has wanted an Arab (but prefers geldings) and I am interested in limited distance endurance riding.

Introducing Sophie (pending a name change!)  Sophie will be a training project for this year.  Anna will focus on her dressage foundation and Rob will focus on her trail and ground work.  We plan to divide up the work on Dakota in a similar fashion.  The bottom line is, horses will continue to be our main focus.

Backing up a few days, on Tuesday, Sawyer Farm’s Onyx kidded and gave us a cute little buckling named Sawyer Farm’s Smores.  Smores is being raised as a bottle baby and will hopefully find a home for use in breeding.

On Friday, we got another round of snow (about 3″ at our house) and triplets, 2 does and buck, from Longvu Bx Tangueray Texter (Tang).  Sawyer Farm’s Three Musketeers was the buck and the larger doe, Sawyer Farm’s Kit Kat is already reserved and will be leaving next week.  Sawyer Farm’s Twix was the runt at 4.6 lbs and will be raised by Vicki.

We only bred 1 other doe this year, but it appears she didn’t actually get pregnant, so we think that wraps up our kidding season.  Final tally – 4 does and 2 bucks.  Now as soon as the snow finishes melting, we can saddle up the horses!