Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mo, one of my 100% Boer Does kidded yesterday morning with triplets, two does and a buck. The kids are half Nigerian. I have tried for 4 kiddings to get does from this older doe and the does kids were either dead or did not get the sack off their heads. I decided to try crossing with a Nigerian and was thrilled to get two big, beautiful and alive doelings out of her.

Yesterday evening when I went to check on everyone, Conan's daughter had kidded a single buckling Nigerian Cross.

Today is Thanksgiving and I give thanks for a very good kidding season and a beautiful day, as well as good health and a blessed year in general.

Aphrodite daughter (100% Boer) kidded on Thanksgiving with two lovely doe Nigerian crosses. (I lost Aphrodite this spring to mastitis). The Nigerian crosses are so strong and stand within minutes of being born. I like to breed my young does to a Nigerian buck so I do not have to worry about kidding problems with the small kids.

We are still waiting on Daisy, a Nubian to kid. She must have been bred later by the Nigerian Buck. She will have mini Nubians, which are quite popular. She is bagged up and ready to go, but taking her time as Angel did.

My son Tim came up from Fort Walton, Florida for Thanksgiving. His picture is below. He comes and helps me on occasion with the farm and
with what ever needs to be done. He is a big help and a good kid.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and God Bless.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kidding is coming to an end.

I have been hip deep dealing with Athena, a 100% Boer doe who just kidded Friday night, in the 24 degree weather and 18 degree wind chill factor. Athena is an embryo transfer baby I purchased a few years ago. Athena has been bred twice by Bubba, a Nigerian and she kidded without problems, but much to my dismay. The first accident was forgiven. She is an expensive registered doe. The second accident, Bubba bred Athena under the nose of Cane, our 100% Boer Buck, who is a monster 300 pounder. I almost had a heart attack when I saw her last kidding, which was triplets and one look told me they were Bubba Brats once more! The mix of Nigerian and Boer produces offspring with airplane ears. The long ears of the Boer and the small upright ears of the Nigerian cross into goofy looking airplane ears. So, one look and you know, HE DID IT AGAIN!!! Athena raised her kids without any problems and I kept one doe to see how she grew out. She is short and wide and is two teated.

The Boer goats are usually 4 teated, which freaks out a lot of goat folks. Dairy goats have 2 teats, but the Boer is different and 2 or 4 teats are accepted in the show ring. In reality, most have 3, 5 or 6 teats. Fisher teats (two webbed together teats) are common and I have been trying to breed good udders and teats. The fishers are hard for young to nurse and sometimes do not have openings, which can lead to mastitis.

This last breeding I hand bred Conan to Athena and then Conan was injured and you all know he ended up in sausage. So I was hoping to get some nice kids. Well, things do not always work out as one hopes. Athena was bred by Conan and it was a hard pregnancy. Toward the end, she was looking pretty tough and unthrifty. She kidded in the field and had Quints. I found 5 babies spread around the field, all dead. Athena looked terrible and I checked her udder and could see she had mastitis in one half. Athena has 4 teats and 4 quarters, the two small front teats are separate and do not produce the milk the back two teats do.

Oh boy, I lost one Boer doe this spring, who was fine at kidding and then crashed the next day with mastitis in one half of her udder. By the 3rd day she was down and died that evening.

I was not going to let this happen again and hit her hard with antibiotics, milked out her udder and used cow udder infusion tubes to put antibiotics directly into her udder. Of course she gets sick on the weekend and the vet who knows anything about goats is off for the weekend. I get her through the weekend and contact the vet Monday. He suggests another antibiotic regimen and I treat her according to his suggestions. By this evening, the heat and swelling are out of the udder and she is responding wonderfully. She is still pretty skinny (the five babies really burned the weight off of her.), I wormed her, gave her B complex, but have kept the grain to a minimum. Grain makes milk and we need to keep milk production down to treat and heal the udder. She is eating well and wants out of her pen, a good sign. I will keep everyone posted on how she does. I do not want to loose this beautiful doe and can always breed her back to The Rock.

I do have bad news to share with everyone about the little bottle baby from the Nigerian, Sugar. He did not make it. I think he was a bit pre mature. His size and lung function did not seem to go along with his age. This happens every so often. I hate loosing babies, but it happens and if one can not deal with it, farming and animals is not the place to be involved. I gave him the college try, but sometimes nature has its own plans.

We had named the little fella "Little Bit". I have a picture of him to the right. I buried his tiny, little body in my garden next to the house. He will help the Day Lillies bloom next summer.

We have one more doe to kid, Daisy. She is a Nubian who was bred to Cane, a Boer. She was to have kidded Saturday and did not, which makes me think, she was bred later and may have been bred by a Nigerian, which produces Mini Nubians, which is OK as well. I will keep everyone posted.

Take care and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. My son Tim is in the Military and coming home to mom for the Holiday. I look forward to seeing him and will have a really special meal waiting for him.

God Bless and more later...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And More Babies....

Today has been a day for the record books. It was 26 degrees on my thermometer and officially 24 degrees. It has been unseasonably cold the last several days. I guess the cold just gets the girls to say... Lets have our babies..
We had 4 does kid with 9 new kids. Even in the cold weather, the Nigerians just kid away... I came in this morning and just gathered up babies and moms to put them into kidding areas so mom and kids can bond and be by themselves. Some does do well with other does, like mom and daughter, so I but them together with their kids.
Wow and Oh Boy! Yes, Eve, Sugar, Daisy baby and Butter kidded today. Butter usually has quads, but I will not complain about her triplets today, two does, one blue eyed and a buck. Her picture with kids is below.

Eve's baby boys are pictured on the left. Both are blue eyed. They have a 25% chance of being homozygous for blue eyes. Sugar on the right had two bucks and both are blue eyed. One is pictured here. The other one was very small and weak and is my next bottle baby. He is black, white and a bit of tan with a white belt and of course blue eyes. He was so small, his brother just rolled him aside. So we have decided he is to be this fall's bottle baby and we have named him "Little Bit". I will have pictures of him later.
Butter held out and was out in the Pecan Orchard most of the day. I checked on her at noon and she was still in one piece. I checked her again at 3 pm and she had kidded her triplets, pictured below. I carried the babies to the barn and had to chase Butter around for a bit before capturing her to take to the kids. She is tame, but wanted to be a bit hard headed today.
Anyway, everyone is well and more later....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I am posting pictures of Brat's Triplet does to the left. One is blue eyed the other two are brown eyed.

Yes, the picture on the right is their dad, "Buddy". He is a young buck I bought last fall as a bottle baby. He is pesky like Bubba and it is hard to get a good photo of him. He tries to eat the camera, pull on your clothing, eat your hair, the usual goat stuff. His real name is LTE's Olde Buddy. His color is a light buckskin. He is sired by Woodhaven Farms Rand McNally (blue eyes), out of Brush Creek Sandra's Honor. Sandra's Honor is sired by Ch Buttin' Heads Red Branch Legend*D, and her mom is PGCH Brush Creek Honor. Red Branch is a son of Ch/ARMCH Buttin' Heads Wedding Song 3*D and grand son of ARMCH Buttin' Heads Bryedal Veil.

Buddy is blue eyed and even if you all don't know much about bloodlines, he is a really nice buck and the father to the 14 kids so far. I then switched out bucks and the rest will kid to another blue eyed buck with a different, more dairy build. Buddy has a powerful build and Flash has a taller, more narrow, dairy build. I bred Flash to my real stocky and wide does to add more leg to the offspring.

Angel is a daughter of Red Branch and breeding Buddy to her is a nice line breeding.

I also had some chicks hatch Saturday. My little bantam black Cochin hen, "Helen" went broody a while back and I picked up some fertile eggs from a friend. I do not have a rooster. The 3 am crowing is more then I can take and if you all did not know it, one does not need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs. I put some chicken and guinea eggs in Helen's nest. Three of the 4 chicken eggs hatched and next week the guineas should hatch. Their incubation is 28 days, where a chicken is 21 days.
Helen was hatched last summer by one of my broody hens who I put some Bantam eggs under. Helen was the only hen, the rest that hatched were roosters. Helen lives in my garage in a cage. I leave the door open and she can go as she pleases, scratch around, and graze. In the evening she comes back to roost in her cage and lay eggs. She is an excellent layer of small brown eggs. She is pretty tame and will sit on one's shoulder and eat corn out of your hand. She is enjoying her 3 chicks and is a very good momma.
More later....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Babies continued....

Last night Cocoa had triplet baby does. Two are blue eyed and one is brown eyed. All are a lovely buck skin, one is an unusual gray buck skin.
This morning her mom, Brat was bleating and I checked on her at lunch. She was off by herself in the pecan orchard, but no babies. I came back after 5 in the dark, with a flash light and sure enough, she had triplets as well, all baby does. The count so far is 14 new babies, 13 does and 1 buck. This is highly unusual. For the past 2 1/2 years we have had nothing but bucks, bucks and more bucks. We are not complaining a bit and have never had mother and daughter produce triplet does. We are ecstatic to say the least.

I had Cocoa Channel on my sales page because last year she had a single and her udder was lop sided nursing the one kid. This freshening she has evened out and has an udder as nice if not better then her mother Brat. I may just hang onto this lovely doe. She is an excellent mother and had her triplets without assistance.

I will get photos of Brat in the morning. Her triplets were does, but it was dark and I had to put them in a bucket and with a flashlight see my way to the barn with mom following. I will let you all know what is what in the morning. I bedded Brat down with her daughter Cocoa.

We finished planting winter grazing, planting with a drill seen below. We planted Oats, Wheat, Rye, White Clover, Crimson Clover and one other Clover I don't recall at the moment. The clover will fix nitrogen into the soil for next year's hay crop and make a great first cutting.

It is getting late and will blog more later....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More babies...

Onyx had her kids today. She did not physically look like she would kid today, but I had seen her bred and wrote down the date. She was bleating this morning and not to interested in eating and I came back at lunch to check on her and sure enough, she had twin blue eyed does. They are both dark Buck Skin and perfect. Onyx is a black doe out of Brat (LTE Chelone), sired by Caesar. Her udder looks great so far and this is her first freshening (Kidding). The babies are sired by Buddy, a blue eyed buck with Brush Creek bloodline. I like to come and check on the doe and she has everything under control. The babies were still a bit wet, so I treated their navels with some iodine and they are good to go. I allow the mothers to mother their babies up for a few days, then let them out with the herd. This gives them a chance to bond with their kids.

We have had a full moon the last couple of days and I am not sure if that makes a difference or not. But everyone seems to kid during a full moon, so it may make a difference.

I had to share this photo of Flash, a young Boer Buck I have bottle raised, trying to push Trumpet, my Icelandic Sheep Ram around. I was shocked to see the 5 month old Boer trying to push the 180 pound ram around. I missed the shot of him rearing up, but caught this one of him pushing on the ram. Trumpet has a great disposition and just dropped his head and let the young and dumb buck bounce off his horns. The ewe approaching from the left came over and hit Flash hard in the side and sent him running to me like a wimpy baby.

Flash came a running and stayed by me the rest of the morning while I was feeding hay. Only on the farm, can interesting scenarios like this one come about. Every day is a new adventure with the comical lives of THE GOAT.

The picture below is Angel's baby doe who is a mini me of Angel. She is so cute. I need to check on Athena once more and must go for now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Babies are here!

Angel has finally kidded. The little bundles of joy arrived 11-10-08. She had two baby does, one looking just like mom and the other a buckskin with blue eyes. Momma and kids are doing well with no problems. Angel is a half sister to Butter, my best milker (same mom) and has a really nice udder this kidding.

Silver Queen, daughter of Thundersnow, also kidded last night. She had two beautiful kids, both buck skin, a buck and doe, the doe is very colorful. This is her first kidding and she did a fantastic job without assistance. Queenie and babies are doing well. This young doe is built like her mom Thundersnow and has a beautiful udder like her mom as well. I hope to have udder shots posted on the website when we can. These little goats milk like crazy and I breed for milking ability in my herd. These small dairy goats are the Jersey's of the goat world.
I will post better pictures as I get them. Onyx and Athena are the next two to go shortly in my estimation. We have about 15 more does to kid this season.
Got to go for now....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November Indian Summer in Alabama

Angel (right photo), a Nigerian Dwarf Doe is still holding out. STILL NO BABIES! I think she likes the attention and is holding out on purpose sometimes. She looks like she is going to burst. She is back in the kidding pen awaiting the long awaited kidding. Putting a buck with the herd, the exact breeding dates are unknown. Angel is bagged up and ready to go, but is taking her time.

We are starting to get some fall foliage color here in Alabama and the weather is in the 70s. As I keep repeating, beautiful as ever. We came up with the "Sweet Home Alabama" phrase due to our lovely fall, winter and spring weather. One cool morning I came up to the barn and snapped a picture of the Icelandics coming up from night grazing in the early morning fog (below). It was spectacular and I have to share it with you. I need to finish shearing the Icelandics, but have been waiting for a few days warming trend, so as not to shock the sheep to severely.

The buck I sent to Reed's has come back. The sausage is wonderful. It tastes like Kielbasa with a spicy twang. Goat sausage is wonderful and I highly recommend trying it sometime. Of course there are many ways to make sausage and each has its own unique flavor.

I will add baby pictures as the kids are born. Take care...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November is a month of Thanksgiving...

I consider November an entire month of Thanksgiving. Alabama is absolutely beautiful in November, 70 degrees and absolutely beautiful. I Thank the Lord for every beautiful day! It is the first of November and we have been busy putting up some square bales of hay and I traveled to Prattville to get some Alfalfa Hay which has been imported from Oklahoma. The Alfalfa is spectacular. I like to feed alfalfa to my growing boers and milking does. I like to give some alfalfa to my young Icelandic ewes as well to give them a boost before fall breeding.

The picture on the right is what our operation looks like at the moment. I had put up 3 car ports with a storage unit, which is to the left of the picture and another, two car ports (the right) to give the bucks shelter. The bucks are housed separate from the does and only together during planned breeding times. If one does not manage the bucks as such, the bucks are breeding their moms, sisters, aunts, etc. Not the best case scenario. I usually hand breed the does as they come into heat. This makes it easy to know when they will kid. I occasionally put a buck with the group and record the dates he is with the group. This lets me know via their gestation period, who the daddy is.
The picture on the left is my herd of Nigerian Does, Boer Does and mixed Boer Does out grazing on a beautiful day. We have hayed the entire farm to reduce parasites. The little worm larva have a nasty habit of crawling to the tops of grass, waiting for a goat or sheep to ingest them and do their deed of growing inside the animal and causing problems, the number one problem is usually anemia (blood loss). By haying the fields, we cut the little buggers down, dry them and bale them up, killing them and stopping their life cycle of sucking goats and sheep of all their blood. We have had several frosts, which also knock the little buggers off.
It has been a long day and I feel I have run a marathon. I will take an epsoms salt soak and make a light supper. Sunday I will be devoting most of the day to making Goat Milk Lotion. I had trouble getting the ingredients and now have them, so need to make a bunch in time for Christmas and my retail commitments.
You all take care and more later...