Goats


Every day, twice a day, Tyler and Taci move the milking animals.   The pictures below are after their morning milking and the girls are being walked from the milking barn to one of the pastures.  They are fully aware of where they are going and do not need to be encouraged much.

Walking with Alaythia, Kate, Holly and Emma

However, once they start across the hay field, there is much to distract them.  Here Tyler and Taci need show a little patience and allow the animals a few mouthfulls on the way, or they end up doing a little dragging.

Crossing the Hay Field

The pastures have been divided up into several paddocks so that the animals are moved to a fresh area every day.  Each paddock will be grazed one day and rested for over two weeks to allow regrowth.  The animals anxiously line up at the wire, waiting for it to be moved into the next paddock.  As you can see the paddock used the day before is nowhere near being over grazed.

Waiting for fresh grass

Notice the difference in the height of the grasses and forbs.  All the animals go for the herbaceous plants first and then settle into the grass.  After a few hours, everyone contentedly chews the cud for the remainder of the day,  occasionally getting up to refill the tank.

Tyler and Taci hooking the hot wire back up on new paddock.

All the meat animals, be they beef, goat or lamb are left in the pasture at all times.  They are never fed any grains and are true grass fed, organically grown animals.   At the end of the day the process is reversed for the milk animals and they are returned to the barn for milking.  Here they are fed dry hay and their mineral intake can be monitored and regulated.    They will spend the night in the shelter of the barnyard and start the process over again in the morning.  They are very contented animals!


Allen

Livestock Delivery

I’ve heard the expression – “Get your goat” but it never brought to mind a picture like this.  This gives new meaning to the term – Market Fresh!

Spread out boys, they can't get us all!

Of Goats and Green

Allen

S4300002Well, we’re down to our last 17 bales of hay.  Not much left!   But, the meat goats are on green pasture and we are only feeding the milk goats, so we are confident it will last until the first cutting of alfalfa. We have never had to buy any hay for our goats as long as we,ve lived here.  God has blessed us abundantly.  I believe that this summer we are going to need to renovate the alfalfa so we may need to purchase a little for next winter but not much.

This is Wally. He was our only bottle fed kid this year and he has managed to weasel his way into our hearts. He gets let out of the pen several times a day and goes on walks through the alfalfa field. Since we always take the dogs on those walks too, Wally tends to think he might just be a dog. He pays no attention to the other goats on the other side of the pasture fence, but heels quite well. On a walk with Wally

Wally gets his head scratched. What do you think, is Wally a little spoiled? …… Ahhh…. rotten!!gettin scratched

Wally may have figured that a Pack Goat stays around longer than a Meat Goat.S4300006

He may be trying hard, but the jury’s still out on this one.

Allen

The goat is often called the “poor man’s cow” and unfortunately because of their connection to those of more humble means, they have, on occasion, been labeled as an inferior animal by cultures, which like ours, place such inordinate value on material wealth. What seems to have escaped notice by such people is that this is a title of honor, of significance, and although it falls short of doing them full justice, it does hint at some of the incredible and diverse strengths of these amazing animals. They are such hardy and resilient creatures and I am continually amazed by how smart and resourceful they are. As odd as it sounds, I have at certain times seen them standing on their hind legs trying to reach a tree branch overhead, and if that’s not sufficient they will even jump from that position. A better indication of how smart they are is that when he or she succeeds in reaching their treasure, they will pull it down and hold it within easy reach for their companions to enjoy.

Of all the animals we raise on our farm the goats are by far the ones I take pleasure in the most. They are such bright, inquisitive, and energetic companions and once you have earned their trust they are incredibly loyal; always wanting to be with and follow you wherever you go. They never seem to tire of hearing my voice and I never tire of hearing theirs

Just yesterday I finished breeding our last doe for this year, and now with the breeding season behind us, we can rejoice in the prospect of next year’s bounty. May the kids be many, healthy and full of life!

Tyler

Although this event happened over a month ago, some may still find it interesting.

I am throwing in a disclaimer at this point. The pictures and descriptions that follow depict the stark realities of a birth by C-section. The picture quality is not very good – I apologize.

I have read on many blogs this spring and looked at many pictures of goats kidding and of cute new kids. These are fun to share and experience. However, to only see the miracle of natural birth and clean, cuddly kids only is to ignore the reality of farm life and the husbanding of the animals under your care. Although messy, it is no less a miracle of God, and no less interesting.


Kate is a three year old French Alpine who came to us from Texas as a first freshener. She is the goat pictured on the stand here. She has had her troubles and triumphs during her time with us as far as kidding goes but she has come through it all and actually become our star milker. One of the things which makes Kate unique among our goats is the fact that she has a deep body and carries her kids so well that we never really know if she has been successfully bred until she is actually in labor. Last year she kept us guessing until the day of her delivery and then had three beautiful kids. This year was no different! Even on the day she began streaming Janis and I were voicing our concern over the fact that we may not be able to milk her this year, but true to her form, labor started that afternoon. Now we are not of the opinion as some are, that we should just leave our animals to themselves to let things happen as nature intended. I believe God intended that we shepherd our flocks and look to their needs.

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks and look well to thy herds. And thou shalt have goat’s milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the nourishment of thy maidens. Proverbs 27:23, 27

After all they and their increase is a gift form the Lord.

And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Deut. 7:13

Well, looking to their needs includes watching over their delivery, as animals sometimes need a little (sometimes a lot!) of help. Our vigil with Kate began Saturday evening. We had been occasionally checking on her all afternoon and by late evening I was convinced that her time was eminent. I set a timer in our bedroom and rose from sleep every two hours all through the night and into the next morning. She was having a few contractions, but nothing of any significance and it drug on into Sunday. At noon Kate’s right flank hollowed as the kids moved into position in the birth canal. At 2:00 pm her left flank also hollowed. She had been streaming mucus for 24 hours. She had been scratching out nests in the stall and now did not want to stand. (goats deliver standing most of the time) All signs pointed to an immediate delivery and Janis and I began spending longer periods in the barn waiting. And waiting…and waiting. We went to bed and set the timer to rise each hour and a half. At 3:00 am I felt this had gone on long enough with no results and decided to see if she had dialate. What I discovered was what felt to be two sets set of hooves and no head (multiple kids trying to come at once, which of course cannot happen) . I also discovered that Kate had not dialated far enough to birth a kid. While checking her she gave the first real contraction of any significance. I hurried into the house to get Janis’ help as I knew we would probably have to go in and rearrange the kids in order for them to be able to pass. This is not a decision I would hurry into as it is possible to rupture the cervix or uterus wall and I do not want to do any damage, nor do I want to interfere where no interferance is warranted. But when it is needed, it is either go in and fix the problem, or both the mother and the kids will die. I tried massaging the cervix as Kate had her contractions in order to get her to dialate, but there was no change in several hours. I knew Kate could not pass this kid. At 7:00am I called the Veterinarian at his home for advise. He concurred she needed help. He arrived at 8:00am and checked her, confirming the fact that Kate was not going to dialate and would have to have a “C-section” to deliver. This decision in itself must be weighed heavily as it is expensive to perform and you must decide if the gains are worth the costs. I have no illusions about the fact that we are speaking about an animal, even if it is one we are attached to, and the decision to save it is not necessarily automatic – welcome to life (and death) on a farm. Kate, as I said before is our star milker, and at $6 plus for raw organic milk (if it was available in Idaho, which it is not) coupled with the possibility of multiple kids dictated intervention.

The Vet and I discussed where to do the operation and it was decided on the milkroom floor. This is not the first time our family members have had to intervene in a birth, but it was the first time we would need to do a C-section. I was quite surprised to hear the Vet tell that it could be done with the goat standing. This morning was an eye opener for us all. We would assist the Vet by holding Kate still while the doc did his thing. We were very interested to watch the whole process, especially Tyler I think, since he has had abdominal surgery in the past, but of course he was unconscious at the time. In fact my whole family watched with rapt attention as we conversed with the Doc. about the whole process. We found it extremely interesting! We are very thankful to Dr. Lewis for saving the life of Kate and her kid! I have included a few pictures and descriptions.

Shaved and recieving the \

Shaved, swabbed and receiving “local” injection

1st cut through skin.

1st cut through skin

cut through muscle - then reach in to find uterus

Cut through muscle- then reach elbow deep inside to find uterus and bring it to the surface.

Uterus is pulled to surface and cut open to reveal kids

After the uterus was incised, it was found that two fetuses had died about 2/3 of the way through the pregnancy. They were mummified and very, very small.

Mummified kids

Mummified Kids

After these two were pulled out, it was discovered that there was a third kid to be removed, but this one had obviously went the full term as it was full grown.

Birth of new doeling

It was also still alive, which was a huge surprise after all the time that had elapsed since entering the birth canal. It had had a terrible struggle. Dr. Lewis removed it with Matthew’s assistance and Tyler took over the kid’s care. Kate decided she had had enough at this point and laid down on us.

dried and warming

sewing up the uterus

Sewing up the uterus

\

“Hang in there, we’re almost done.”

stiching up muscle

Stiching muscle

Closing skin

Finishing touches. One tired doe! You can see the kid under the warming light in the corner.

“Take me to the recovery room…NOW!!!”

Here’s Latte today, healthy as can be! Kate is well too.

Allen

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