Category Archives: goats

Snow Day with a special delivery!

Overnight Monday night into Tuesday we got about 7-8 inches of snow. School had already been cancelled for all the kids, Rob’s work event was cancelled and I was the only one who had somewhere to be (the dentist), so not a big deal. Turns out the dentist was still open and in business, definitely not calling in a snow day. So I got up early to take care of some chores and feed baby goats before I had to leave.

Early Tuesday morning our baby goat count was four. Sawfish Jasmine kidded last Friday and added two bucklings to Sawfish Camellia’s two doelings from the previous Saturday. Jasmine’s boys were named Chevy and Ford by the kids! Chevy is the solid black and red with a star like mama’s. He was 9.3 pounds at birth. The black with red and white markings is Ford, and he was a little smaller at 7.8 pounds. Jasmine needed my help with the first boy, but after that the second one came out without assistance. Jasmine is a smaller, slower maturing doe and a first freshener, so I am not surprised she had a little trouble with a 9 plus pound kid. They both presented normal (two feet, nose), which I am grateful for, being alone on the farm with Rob away on business travel.

Camellia’s doe babies Mercedes and Porsche continue to be doing well and Mercedes (the splashy colored one) in particular is a heap of trouble, hopping around the kitchen and causing mayhem. Porsche is a little quieter, but also a bit more solid in structure IMO. They started going out into the garage pens with heat lamps and will transition to living out there and not in the house. Eventually as weather and temperatures allow, they will move into our outside baby pen.

Well, enough of the update, back to the snow day. In the barn, I went to check on Sawfish Freesia, who had a March 2 due date, and she was showing some signs that maybe today was the day to kid. She was breathing heavier than normal, her belly had dropped low compared to yesterday and her ligaments were loose. Her udder was also full, but no discharge. I went to have my cup of tea and coffee, and when I came back to the barn, she had delivered two babies! She might be a keeper. Her mom LongvuTabula Rasa also had easy deliveries. One 7.8 pound doeling and 8.6 pound buckling. Black with tan doeling and black with red buckling with white splashes. We brought them inside to warm up. The kids named them Audi and Harley (I know, not a car, but he has the tough look, apparently). They are both long legged, and will likely take after their mom who is a longer and taller statured goat.

All the goat babies so far are very similar in color. Freesia, Jasmine and Camellia all have the same dad, Idikka Yoshi (out of Barnowl Quartermaster), and were bred to the same buck, so the kids are very similar in look. Black and tan or red, with some sort of white marking. More splashy white on some, only a star or white tail tip on others. Several look a lot like their dad, E.B Farms LL Regal, especially Chevy.

With babies settled, I went off to the dentist, Rob was working from home, and Quinn and Amanda tended to the babies and took care of Freesia. All is well.

Later in the afternoon, Amanda decided she wanted to try skijouring behind Mojo, so we cleaned the stalls and then got Mojo out. He was game, and besides it is good pre cart training, right? We are working on harness training Mojo to drive. Amanda got tired quickly and decided a sled might be a better idea. We also added a lunging aid breeching to help keep Mojo from stepping on the traces from his breast collar.

Check out some short clips from this adventure below:

Stay tuned as we are expecting babies from wonder goat Phaylene next in about two weeks. Think pink!

Kidding Season 2023 has begun

Sawfish Camellia started off our kidding season today with a super easy delivery of twin does. She was due yesterday and based on how big her udder got earlier this week, we actually expected her to deliver about 36-48 hours earlier. Amanda didn’t have school on Friday, so she set up a hammock in the barn Thursday night and did hourly checks on Camellia (Camellia is her goat). Unfortunately, the temperatures were in the 20s last night so she had to sleep inside.

Amanda sleeping in the barn on kid-watch

Throughout the day, we were checking on Camellia every hour. Around 1, Amanda came into the house and announced she saw discharge and kidding was imminent. She went back to the barn and called the house almost immediately to announce “there were feet “I see feet!” 15 mins later we had twin does at 7.1 and 7.2 lbs.

This year, we have shifted to all bottle babies. That means we are pulling the kids at birth and they are coming into the house for a few days before moving into a kid pen. We made this choice because the bottle babies are just always friendlier and easier to handle. It also means kids we are selling can leave earlier.

This year’s name theme is cars. The baby with a lot of white on her face is Sawfish AS Mercedes (barn name Merce) and the black and brown faced doe is Sawfish AS Porsche. The AS in their names is for Amanda Sawyer since they are in her herd.

This morning, Anna snapped a picture of Camellia’s udder while she was on the stand. Once Camellia kidded, we hand milked her for the colostrum for her babies. I honestly don’t think we have ever had a first freshener that was as easy to hand milk so fast after kidding. In the first 5 hours she has given us 2 quarts of colostrum and didn’t kick the milking bucket even once. Let’s hope that continues!

We have 2 more first fresheners due over the next two weeks. We will be retaining one of either Mercedes or Porsche and the other will be available for purchase.

A bit quiet

It’s been 2 months since we made a blog post. Not too much has been happening around here, but we thought we should share an update regardless. School started back in August.

Huey is officially retiring as a riding pony and we have a better harness on order for him. We are keeping an eye out for a nicer cart for him, probably a type of two wheeled road cart. The goal for Huey will be distance driving and pleasure driving with a possible CDE. The last weekend in August, we took Huey to a driving clinic with the Barre Riding and Driving Club in MA on Saturday.

On Sunday that weekend we showed goats at the Brooklyn fair. Rob won adult showmanship!

Labor Day weekend we took Huey to a get together with the Connecticut Valley Driving Club to work on cones and marathon style obstacles at a local farm.

Taking care of the farm has been on the back burner this summer and we have a few unfinished projects that need our attention before winter sets in. The first work weekend was mid-month. We tore down two rotten three board fence lines and replaced them with no climb and top boards and painted everything that was wood white. It looks great.

We spent the next weekend replacing two main posts holding up the back side of the barn and adding support skirts to keep the dirt inside the stalls. This included replacing most of the siding and taking off all the boards lining the stall walls, as well, since we had to strip the boards off to get to the framework.

Mojo is getting his own harness and learning to drive. Rob bought a project marathon cart that needs some work on the brakes, and the goal is to have Mojo driving next spring. He already ground drives and long lines, and we have skijoured off of him, so I think he is game.

The weekend of 9/24-25 Rob, Anna, and Amanda decided to take a staycation break. We camped out at Arcadia in RI. It was a joint event hosted by NEATO and West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association. We are members of both. Unfortunately, NEATO is folding due to lack of membership and no new leadership willing to step in, and this was a Farewell Ride for NEATO.

Quinn and Alex came over to ride Mojo and Amira Saturday morning, but had their own plans for the rest of the weekend. Rob drove Huey with Amanda on Saturday and drove Huey alongside our friend Melissa and her mini on Sunday, totaling 19 miles of driving in 2 days. Amanda rode Mojo with Anna on Amira on Sunday, giving Mojo and Amira about 25 miles over the 2 days. Amanda got some hammock time.

That week, on Thursday through Saturday, Quinn took Phaylene, Jasmine, and Pepper to the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) for the 4-H Youth Show. They had a nice time, earning second place in Fitting, and Phaylene won best senior lamancha, while Pepper won best junior lamancha. They learned a lot and plan to attend next year (Amanda will also be old enough to attend). Quinn was asked to join the advisory committee for the show for next year.

Amanda was chosen to be one of the two middle school representative to the board of education. She attends meetings about once a month to give an update on what is happening in Griswold Middle School. Luckily, she doesn’t have to stay for the whole meeting.

Earlier in the summer, Amanda attended the Green Mountain Conservation Camp in VT and completed her hunter safety courses. She has been practicing on the skeet field and is now carrying her own 20ga shotgun; she took her first pheasant last weekend.

Rob and Amanda took Huey to a pleasure drive in Litchfield CT at the White Memorial park last weekend. It was a gathering of 3 different driving clubs and they drove Huey 7.5 miles.

Last year, Amanda and Anna won the West Greenwich Horseman’s Association pumpkin/vegetable decorating contest at the annual Fall Fest potluck. This year, Amanda created an “Under the Sea” scene with a sea anemone, clown fish, and octopus and successfully defended her title. Anna also won best dessert.

Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet around here.

North Stonington Fair 2022

The North Stonington Fair was held from Thursday-Sunday this past weekend, July 14-17, 2022. We were there with our goats and for the first time, Huey in the driving show.

On Thursday, we arrived before lunch and got our goats settled in. The kids hung out around the goat pens while I did some work on my laptop in the travel trailer. The fair opened up at 5pm and the kids headed out for some rides and fair food. Unfortunately, the fair had to close early at 9pm due to electrical problems. We were using our generator for the travel trailer, so it didn’t really affect our living situation.

Friday was spent with the kids clipping udders and managing the goats as the fair was again closed during the day and only opened for the night. The nice thing about this type of setup is it gives us an easy day, but it makes the entire event longer.

Saturday morning finally brought the goat show. Quinn, Amanda, and Kaylin all spent about 6 hours handling goats. Kaylin is one of Amanda’s best friends and leases goats for us through 4-H. She camps with us at all the fairs and contributes to the clipping and preps for the shows.

Kaylin beat Amanda in showmanship, placing 2nd to Amanda’s 3rd. This is huge because the judge said the difference between the two was confidence in the answers. While Amanda is usually pretty confident, it has been great to see Kaylin come out of her shell and feel comfortable with the goats. Amanda was using Camelia this weekend because we chose to leave Rainbow (her normal showmanship goat) at home due to her not being in top condition.

Our crew did a great job showing the 8 goats we took and we ended up with the Champion Jr Lamancha, Champion Sr Lamancha, and lots of other ribbons. The kids also got to handle some Nubians and Toggenburgs for other families.

On Sunday morning, the kids took care of chores and Anna brought Huey to the fair with his cart. The Connecticut Valley Driving Club (CVDC), which we are members of, was hosting the driving competition at the fair. In years’ past, we didn’t participate, but now that the kids are a little older, we decided to give it a show.

This was the first driving show for Huey, Amanda, and Rob. We watched a few YouTube videos to try and understand what to expect, and then decided to give it a shot. Amanda’s debut was in the “Ladies to Drive” class against three women with a lot more experience. We were all a little surprised when Amanda and Huey took the blue ribbon! Next, Rob and Huey were in the “Gentlemen to Drive” class and captured another blue ribbon. In the open driving class, Rob and Huey took 3rd. In the Novice class, Amanda again took 1st! After the lunch break, we had the cones class and scurry; we had never driven him in cones previously. Amanda got 5th in cones, but Rob took 1st out of 10 entries. In scurry, Rob dropped to 4th and Amanda had to leave for 4-H camp. Luckily, Quinn was able to step in for Amanda and take another 1st!

Of all the classes, I think Amanda’s performance in Novice to Drive was the most impressive. The class included 6 entries ranging from a mini stallion to a pair of 5yo Spotted Drafts. Amanda did a great job navigating the crowded arena and kept her cool for a class that was about 10 minutes long. Here is a video of most of the action.

All told, Huey took 1st place in 5 of the 6 classes he was entered in and racked up a whopping $390 in premiums! Not bad for a 21 year old pony’s debut in driving. The family was super excited with his performance and looks forward to some more driving shows as he eyes retirement from distance riding.

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.