Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring wants to come...

The beautiful weather we have had for the last couple of weeks is a welcomed change from the unseasonably cold weather.  It has been up to 70s during the day and 40s at night.  Hopefully the nice weather will continue for a while.  Oldesouth Amber Blue and her son by Mr General are enjoying the pleasant weather...

Below is a photo of some Daffodils my neighbors had at their mail box.

Below are photos of UDiamond and her first freshening udder.  We have decided to name her two sons Oldesouth Cognac Diamond and Oldesouth Marquise Diamond.  UDiamond's first test she gave 3.3 pounds of milk.  She was a bit under the weather due to some digestive upsets.  We think she will easily give 4 pound her next test.  We will see.  She is a dream to milk and her udder is buttery soft and milks down like a glove.

We conducted our DHIR test this past weekend with a Verification Test.  A Verification test is where a certified DHIR technician comes to weigh and sample the individual does.  This individual also measures and records the heights of the does to make sure they are with in the ADGA standard.  There is a weighed premilk out and two more milkings which are weighed and sampled 12 hours apart, over a 24 hour period.  It makes for a long day.  Then the samples and paperwork is sent off to the lab and usually by the end of the week the results are emailed.

This service keeps track of the doe's lactation, recording weights, milk fat, protein and somatic cell count.  The somatic cell count is a measure of udder health.  My Nubian Ariel came back with a very high Somatic Cell Count (SCC) on her first test.  She showed no signs of mastitis, except she had backed off on production.  We treated her for mastitis and are awaiting this test to come back and see where she is.  Her production is back up and all seems well.

The SCC is a good way of catching sub clinical mastitis before it turns into full blown nasty mastitis.

The DHIR reports are really cool.  They also have projected production, which lets you know after a couple of tests, if your doe is on track or needs to be culled.  The doe can earn her milking star and SG (superior genetic) award if she meets minimum standards for the star and is in the upper 15% for the SG.  With the ADGA the doe can earn her star on production (amount of milk), milk fat, and or protein.  AGS the doe can earn her star on production or milk fat, but must make a certain % milk fat.

Why bother with all this you ask?  These are dairy goats and when one says this goat milks well, what does that mean?  Well, as to how much exactly and over how long?  The DHIR answers all those questions and is a great tool in measuring where your herd is and where one needs to improve.  Yes it is a lot of work, but we are dedicated to improving the breed and make a difference.  Getting on DHIR is confusing and complicated.  I think I will write an E Book on the subject and offer it to others who are interested in getting their herds on test.  It does not need to be so complicated and it is difficult to get help.  Let me ruminate on it for awhile...

What do we do with all that milk?  We drink it and our family enjoys fresh Formage Chevre cheese, Brie, Camembert and others.  We also make a lot of our signature "Blue's Goat Milk Soap and Lotion" which is sold seasonally in the fall and winter.  We will have some for May this year as well and it is sold locally at Mark's Mart in Selma and Dallas County Seafood and Produce.  We have been asked to expand our sales, but we do not have the time to make more.  We have all the sales we can handle.  We make it in between the farm and our full time employment.

We will be at the Goat and Sheep Expo March 19 in Wetumpka again this year.  I have whipped up some Sheep Milk Soap to sell.  So, come by and check it out.  We will bringing some sheep and of course baby goats to sell as well.

Spring is near when the first lambs begin to arrive...

The first lamb is a Mini Cheviot ram lamb out of 54 Tina.  These lambs are all sired by Victor, a Smokey Valley Ram from Washington state.  He is very tiny and we are pleased with the nice lamb.

Mom thinks enough is enough and leaves quickly to enjoy the sunshine and the new grass with her son.

Below are photos of Mr Paul on his tractor reworking some cattle areas.  He put down some cloth and gravel to get his steers out of the mud.  His helper is Daniel, who enjoys the farm and driving the Mule.

With the warmer weather, it is time to get farm chores done and do repairs, etc, before the hot weather sets it.

Below is a picture of  Oldesouth Blue Amber with her blue eyed son.  He is for sale.  Kids love their moms and goats are very personable.