Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Cold Continues...

Wow, it has been cold the last couple of days. I have been off from work Monday and today. The north west wind has been rough. Even though sunny, it has been cold, officially in the 40s but the wind chill is much colder.

I was following Thunder Snow around to get a shot of her lady beard when she stuck her tongue out at me. I think she was getting annoyed... She is pictured to the left. I also noticed in the picture my orange handled hoof nippers are in the photo. I had wondered where they went, and yes I did find them...

The fence men are out doing my cross fencing. J & J fencing out of Tuscaloosa, Al. They have done all my fencing. Fencing, if one has ever tried it is one of the most difficult jobs. These folks do the job and are quick and do a great job. They are NOT CHEAP, but worth every penny. Remember this... Good Fences Make Good Neighbors... I am sure my neighbors, which my property is on the edge of a subdivision, would not appreciate my goats dancing on their cars and eating their roses and vegetable gardens.

I had misplaced my camera for a couple of days... But found it. I will get pictures to share of the machinery used to put in the fence. The posts are put in by a vibrating machine. These folks do this for a living and are very efficient at what they do. My cross fencing will be complete shortly. The cross fencing is so we can rotate pastures and control parasites. The worst parasites have a 28 day cycle. Moving the livestock to clean pasture saves on wormer, prevents resistance, and the animals are healthier. The livestock does not over graze either. We will continue to hay the fields as well which will also cut down on parasites. In sheep and goats, parasites are the number one problem and is the number one cause of mortality in young stock especially.

The picture to the left are of one of my young 100% Boer does with her Nigerian crossed does. They are so hardy and even though their ears are a bit goofy, are growning like little weeds. I dehorned them with the rest of the Nigerians. I prefer not having horns and eventually my entire herd will be hornless. This reduces injuries to other goats, especially young stock from the larger does and to me when I handle them. Some folks like horns and that is fine with me. I sometimes leave the horns when individuals ask me to do so. I usually leave the horns on the 100% Boers because it is preferred in the show ring if one wants to show one of my stock. But the dairy goats are shown without horns and are disqualified if they have them. If I leave the horns on for an individual and they decide to not purchase the goat, then I usually have to ship them for meat. Once the window to remove the horns safely and humanly is passed, it is a bloody mess to remove the horns of an older goat. I recommend having them removed by a veterinarian who is experienced in this process.

I have seen articles on banding off horns and knew a man who tried this technique. It was difficult to keep the bands in place and when the horns finally fell off, it was very painful and still a bloody mess. I do not want to put one of my goats through this. That is why I dehorn when babies, if not, they keep their horns. Blue was my first Nigerian. She had horns and I accepted the fact I would not be able to show her because of the horns. She can be a bit mean to the other goats, spiking them with her sharp horns and hooking them.

The picture to the right is Blue, my one Nigerians who has her horns. See how long they are, she is five or six now and they continue to grow. Blue is pictured here with her two blue eyed daughters sired by Buddy. Also, the horns can be problematic when one milks because you bend over the goat and can get a horn hooked in your eye. This has and does happen on occasion. This is why most dairy goats are dehorned.

The Boer's horns are curved under and do not go straight back like a dairy goat. It is less likely one would get hooked by a horn on a meat goat. But like I said, I do leave horns on when requested.

I will be glad when the temperatures increase a bit and have several goats going to new homes this weekend. You 'all take care...