Sunday, November 29, 2009

My First Kidding Season - Lilah

The following is from my 2008 kidding journal.

Thursday - 2/14/08
Just before dark, Ray went to check on Lilah (who was in the big pen) She was showing some gel drainage, so I took Emily back to the big pen - once again. I got Lilah settled into a pen and her water broke and within 10 minutes she had delivered 3 babies one right after the other. It was like push - pop a baby - breath - push - pop a baby - breath - push - pop a baby! I got the whole thing on film. It was about 7:00 when I had helped Lilah get all of her babies cleaned up and a little dried off. 2 does and 1 buck.

The first 2 kids just born

Oreo, Fawn, and Rufus

Finishing the clean up! It was a long day!

- Gave 1/2 cc BoSe orally to each kid and 1 cc SQ to Lilah
- Gave Lilah 2 cc Lutalyse (Lute) to help her pass the placenta since she had not passed it after 4 hours
- Gave 10 cc penicillin to fight infection from the retained placenta

Friday - 2/15/06
- Lilah passed her plecenta
- Gave her 10 cc penicillin to fight unerine infection
- Gave her 25 cc Cal-Mag-Co paste orally for calcium, energy, and to prevent Milk Fever
- The babies are all doing fine

Saturday - 2/16/08
- Gave her 10 cc penicillin to fight unerine infection
- Moved Lilah out to the big goat pen and the babies into the kid room with the other kids
- Lilah is in heat from the Lutalyse shot. She is VERY moody with me and the other goats. She is the "queen" doe and asserts herself.
- I'm having to fight her to get her up onto the milking stand.
- She is not giving her milk down and I'm afraid that she will get Mastitus.
- Gave her 1 cc Oxytosin to help her let her milk down.

Sunday - 2/17/08
- Gave her 1 cc Oxytosin to help her let her milk down.
- I'm having to fight her to get her up on the milking stand. I'm sure that is part of the problem with her not letting her milk down.
- Gave her 10 cc penicillin to fight uterine infection.
- Lilah only gave me about a cup of milk in the evening milking. I'll give her Oxytosin in the morning to let the milk down.

Monday - 2/18/08
- Gave her 1 cc Oxytosin to help her let her milk down.
- I'm still having to fight her to get her up on the milking stand.
- I trimmed her hooves while I had her on the milk stand. She has a back hoof that is a little separated from the foot wall .
- Gave her 10 cc penicillin to fight uterine infection.
- Gave her 1 cc Oxytosin to help her let her milk down again this evening.

Tuesday - 2/19/08
- Lila gave me her milk this morning without an Oxytosin injection! Yea!
- She's giving almost a gallon a day already!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My First Kidding Season - Holly

The following is from the journal I kept during my first kidding season in 2008.

Wednesday 2/13/08
Holly had two babies this afternoon around 5:00 pm. One buck and one doe. They're doing really good.

I ran into town to get some medicine for Darcy. When I got home Holly was having her babies. Since I had been so concerned with Darcy's health, I missed the signs of Holly's early labor. I did some quick moving and scooped up Holly's first baby off of the ice and moved her into a kidding pen before the second was born ... I'm sure she didn't appreciate me moving her with tiny hoofs sticking out of her back side! I had my phone with me and got some really good pictures of the baby being born. This is the first time I was able to catch the actual delivery of one of the kids! Now I have to figure out how to get them off of my phone and onto my computer!!

- Gave 1/2 cc BoSe orally to each kid and 1 cc SQ to Holly
- Gave Holly 25 cc Cal-Mag-Co paste (diluted with some water) orally for calcium, energy, and to prevent Milk Fever

Sammie and Tasha (PB LaMancha)
Thursday 2/14/08
I moved Holly's two babies into the kid room inside the heated well house since I needed the kidding pen for Emily. She looks very close to kidding. I only have 3 kidding pens and 7 does that will be kidding. Lilah and Bell were in the other two pens and due today. Holly was not happy about being separated from her kids and was calling loudly for them from the big goat yard. Since it was night and I didn't want her to call the coyotes up to the kidding area, I put her into the kid pen with her babies and Darcy's 3 that were already in there. She spent the night with them in there.

Friday - 2/15/06
I moved Holly into the big goat yard this morning after she had nursed her kids and I had finished milking her out.

- Holly is milking very well. She is a pleasure.
- The babies are all doing fine

Saturday - 2/16/08
- Still milking great. About half a gallon morning and evening.

Sunday - 2/17/08
- Still milking great. About half a gallon morning and evening.

Monday - 2/18/08
- A little over half a gallon morning and evening.

Tuesday - 2/19/08- Hollie's milk has come in very well. She's milking great. This is her second freshening and I am very impressed with her udder formation and the amount of milk she's giving!

- Her kids, Sammy and Tasha take their bottle eagerly, play and grow!

My First Kidding Season - Darcy

The following is from the journal I kept during the 2008 kidding season.

Sunday 2-10-2008

7:30 am
I sure wish we didn't have so much show and ice. It's making going out to do chores difficult.
- Darcy has a Full Bag
- She has 2 " gell hanging from vulva
- I put Darcy in a kidding pen4:30 pm
- 1 buck (born first) black and white - Name: Cezar - 6 pounds
- 1 doe (born second) dark color - Name: Opal - 4 pounds
- 1 doe (born third) cream color - Name: Pearl - 3.75 pounds- Gave 1/2 cc BoSe orally to each kid to combat white muscle disease.
- Trimmed and put iodine on their navel cords.

- Cezar nursed well and was strong.
- Opal nursed well and was strong.
- Pearl would not nurse, I milked some colostrum and gave her 20 cc via a tube. Pearl was born with her back feet curled under and she waked on her pastern joint.
- Fed Darcy Alfalfa hay

9:30 pm
- Brought Pearl inside to warm her up and bottle fed her 2 oz. Then took her back out to be with the other kids and Darcy.

11:00 pm All three were up and nursing well.

Monday 2-11-08

7:30 am
- All 3 kids nursing well
- Gave Cezar 1/2 cc Byomicin for raspy breathing
- Pearl is stronger and standing on her feet perfectly now

Darcy is not letting much milk down and is not eating well
- Gave Darcy 2 cc Oxytocin to help her release her milk/colostrum
- I'm giving her sorgum in warm water to keep her hydrated and give her energy.
- She only ate half of her grain.

Tuesday 2-12-08

7:30 am
- Kids act hungry
- I gave Darcy more Sorgum water and mixed in Herbal Tonic powder
- I'm going to start bottle feeding the kids
- I try to milk her out, but not much is coming out
- Gave Darcy 6 cc Penicillin to treat her udder

11:00 am
- Bottle fed kids and they ate well
- Gave Darcy 1 quart of Electrolyte with Microbials

6:30 pm
- Moved Darcy and her kids over to the pen inside the well house. She's still very sick. Her udder is very firm, but very little milk is coming out. Even though there are no clumps or strings in her milk, I think it may be Mastitus or Milk Fever.
- Gave Darcy 6 cc Penicillin to treat the infection.
- She drank another quart of the Electrolyte mixture and then drank some cool water.
- The kids drank their bottles of goat milk replacer very well tonight.

Wednesday 2/13/08

We still have over 2 inches of solid packed ice and a little powering of snow on it this morning. The little bit of snow on top made it a little easier to get around. I only fell once today. My neck is really sore from falling twice and hitting my head the first day of the ice. I have a mild whip-lash. I still have a really bad headache. It's a little better tonight. I think it's from my neck and shoulder muscles hurting so much.

Darcy has been getting sicker and weaker. I gave her more electrolyte mixture with a drench syringe so I could keep her hydrated. I was finally able to get out of the driveway through the ice and ran into town to get some medicine that you squirt up onto the udder to help fight the infection. I gave her more electrolyte mixture with a syringe so I could keep her hydrated before I left.

When I got home she had passed away. This was very very sad. She was my first doe to have kids on my farm.
I still miss her. I have her daughters, Opal and Pearl. And, her granddaughters, Lacy and JoJo.

I learned to always have mastitus treatment on hand and to give the does a paste of calcium, magnisium, and colbolt as soon as they deliver. This prevents milk fever from setting in. I also learned to keep them completely milked out several times a day even if the kids are nursing well to prevent udder infection. I'm thankful that I've never had another case of mastitus or milk fever here on the farm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My First Season - Pregnant Does

I never imagined they would get so wide!

Lilah at 4 months

Bell at 4 months


Emily just before delivering 4 kids (Lilah & 3 kids in the background)

I spent those months reading and re-reading everything I could find on taking care of them during pregnancy and all the things that you had to watch for during pregnancy and delivery. It's pretty scary with all that could go wrong. I studied and tried to memorize the bad birth positions and what to do. I got my "kidding kit" together with all of the things I thought I'd need for all those "just in case" cases.

Needless to say ... by the time for kidding came I was as prepared as I could be for my first kidding season. I watched my does closely as their due dates drew close.

By this time I had acquired 2 more does and would be kidding 7 does that first season. As always ... the research helps - especially the web sites with photos of what to expect ... But the best teacher is hands on experience!

My First Herd Sire - BW

Well ... since goats give milk only after they have had their babies ... and I needed that milk to make great cheeses ... It was time to introduce them to BW the big beautiful - very stinky - buck I had purchased. They had been calling out to him from across the pasture between their pens ... so I knew they were ready for him to come join them.

BW (stands for Black and White) is an ADGA registered LaMancha. He has lots of stars on his papers and throws does with great milking genetics. He is the son of Shamrock's Blackjack.

Why a LaMancha buck? Two of my does were Nubian and 3 of them were LaMancha. I figured you don't milk the ears anyway ...right?

It was really funny that first season to watch BW with the does and how he "romanced" them. With all of the tongue flapping ... foot stomping ... talking to them. It was interesting to see how they communicate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My first summer with the goats and making cheese

My first season in 2007 with the goats was a learning experience that no amount of research could have prepared me for. Yes, reading the books and internet articles was a great help, but actual hands on is the best educator of all.
Lilah and Darcy

I got my first goats ...Lilah, Darcy, Emily, and 2 bottle baby does ... from Lacey at Hidden Brook Farm. Lacey was a GREAT help those first several weeks. I'm sure she thought I'd never stop asking questions! I think it's wonderful how goats seem to bond people into friendships.


Bell, Holly, and BW (the buck) came to live with me about a month later. Now, I had 5 mature does, a buck, and the 2 doelings. I was in the dairy goat business !!

I was milking Lilah, Darcy, Emily, Holly, and Bell. This gave me enough milk to enjoy fresh and experiment on making cheeses. I made fresh Chevre, Cheddar, and fresh Mozzarella. Delicious!

I have to admit though ... that first season of making cheeses ... I probably failed as many batches as I had successes with. The secret to making good cheese is to practice ... practice ... practice! Don't give up. The key's to cheese making is temperature, timing, and technique. The temperature and timing you can get from recipe books, but the technique you develop with practice.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting Started ...

It all started almost 4 years ago ... when I started making cheese with raw milk from a local cow dairy. The cheese turned out delicious and I wanted to produce my own milk to control the quality of what went into the cheese.

So why goats? Well ... after getting a lovely milk cow named Molly and milking her for a while, I found that tending cows is not my favorite thing to do. They need lots of room to graze ... and leave these big sloppy wet stinky piles all over the place. So anyway ... cows are not my favorite animal.

I knew I wanted to make cheese and started researching all the details of caring for dairy goats. After about 6 month of research, I bought my first 3 milking does and 2 bottle babies. They were wonderful! I never imagined how affectionate and intelligent they are! I was in love!

Their milk is delicious ... the cheese and yogurt made from their milk is wonderful. I milked 26 does this season and many people enjoyed the milk, cheese, yogurt and cheesecakes.

The best part of the day is spent out with the goats!