Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bottle-Baby Doelings Ready for New Homes

Even though we fall in love with each and every baby goat born here on the dairy farm, we can't keep them all.  I have to select those who will be kept for expansion and replacement of the milking herd.  And, put the rest of the doelings up for sale to go on to new homes.

 Doelings for sale

 Doelings for sale
Doelings for sale - napping

I've put a lot of thought, planning, and effort into my breeding program.  I've bred for high milk production and gentle nature in my dairy goats.  There are times that I have intentionally crossbred my LaMancha bucks with my Nubian does.  For those does that are either full blooded or Pure Bred, I do breed to a Pure Bred buck though.  And, then there are times they have chosen to breed through the fence without my permission!  ( Click here for the story of Holly and Latte's forbidden love kids )

The sires of the doelings I have for sale are shown below.

 Latte - Nubian Buck
Nate - LaMancha Buck

Here are the Bottle-Baby Doelings that are ready for their new homes shown with their mommas and a little information about them.  The babies have been disbudded and are trained to the bottle.

Holly delivered triplets this year on 1/11/11.  She is an ADGA registered Pureblood LaMancha and gives a little more than a gallon of milk each day. She chose to breed through the pipe fence with Latte (Nubian buck).  So her kids are crossbred this year.  I have 2 of her doelings available.

 Holly's babies

Oreo delivered twins this year on 1/12/11.  She is Nubian/LaMancha cross and gives a little more than a gallon of milk each day. She has one doeling from Nate (LaMancha) and one doeling from Latte (Nubian).  So her kids are 75% LaMancha and 50% LaMancha this year.  I have 2 of her doelings available.

 Oreo and her 2 doelings

Opal delivered twin doelings on 1/12/11.  She is Nubian/LaMancha cross and gives a little more than a gallon of milk each day. Her twins are sired by Nate (LaMancha).  So her kids are 75% LaMancha.  I have 2 of her doelings available.

 Opal and her 2 doelings

Kit delivered quads this year (2 bucklings and 2 doelings) on 1/14/11.  She is Alpine/LaMancha cross and gives a gallon of milk each day. Her quads are sired by Nate (LaMancha).  So her kids are 75% LaMancha.  I have 1 of her doelings available. (The cream colored one in the back.)

 Kit and her quads

Chloie delivered twins on 1/16/11. (1 doe, 1 buck)  She is Nubian/LaMancha cross and gives a gallon of milk each day. Her twins are sired by Nate (LaMancha).  So her kids are 75% LaMancha.  I have 1 of her doelings available.

 Chloie and her twins

SweetPea delivered twin doelings on 1/18/11.  She is full blood LaMancha and gives about half a gallon of milk each day. Her twins are sired by Nate (LaMancha).  So her kids are full blood LaMancha.  I have 2 of her doelings available.
 SweetPea and her twins

Ci-Ce delivered triplet doelings on 1/21/11.  She is full blood LaMancha and gives a gallon of milk each day. Her triplets are sired by Nate (LaMancha).  So her kids are full blood LaMancha.  I have 3 of her doelings available.

Ci-Ce and her triplet doelings

I hope to find good homes locally for these doelings.  They are being listed on local web classifieds. We'll be sad for them to go, but happy that they will bring joy to their new homes.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Freshener Milking Rodeo

Some people buy memberships to fancy gyms to get their workout ..... I run a goat dairy for my workout.  Some days I get more of a workout than I planned on.  When it comes time to train the First Fresheners to stand quietly while being milked in the milking parlor ... I get a real workout!

More about that in just a minute ... but first ... a kidding update ..... My last doe due to kid in this first round of kidding delivered her triplet doelings on Friday morning.  That brings our total kids so far to 66 with 36 doelings and 30 bucklings

 Ci-Ce and her 3 girls just after delivery

 Nap time today

 Getting a little dinner!

 We have a kidding break until the 31st!  Yea!

Back to the First Freshener Milking Rodeo ..........

These 2 year old first fresheners are sure stronger and bigger than the yearling first fresheners!  Now these 2 year old girls are all used to coming into the milking parlor to eat their grain ... they've been doing that for the past year.  But, now that they've delivered their babies and have returned to their goat groups ... it's time to get to work and produce that wonderful delicious goat milk.

Some of them are more than a little ticklish when it comes to having the milker put on their milking parts!  They jump, stomp, kick, dance sideways, squat ... pretty much any maneuver imaginable to keep me from getting the milker on them.  I call it the First Freshener Milking Rodeo.

Now that their kids are in the kid nursery or gone on to their new homes, it's my responsibility to empty their full udders.  There's a lot of milk in there and to keep them healthy, I have to milk them out completely.  I can't just say ... "Well, she's having a bad day so we'll do this another time."  She HAS to be milked twice a day because they are heavy producers.

The solutions I've come up with are pipe bars on each side of the doe to keep her from dancing sideways and Velcro hobbles just above the hock joint to keep her from stomping and kicking.  This keeps her from hurting me, hurting herself, and destroying milking equipment!

The hobbles are gentle on her legs and strong enough to hold her still.  I had some Velcro strips that are used as leg bands for cows.  I pulled out a couple of these ... put each through a piece of rope .... then snugly wrapped the straps around each of her legs just above the hock.  If you press the tendon just above the hock, it pretty much immobilizes the leg.

Tiffany was the first 2 year old first freshener to be moved back out to the big goat groups.  She is a BIG girl ... as big as my older mature does ... and she's really strong!  She not only stomped, but she kicked straight backward.  She almost got me!

After coming to the conclusion that she was not going to stand still for milking, I applied the hobbles to her.  It only took me about 10 minutes to get them on.  I was exhausted by the time I got the hobbles on her.  The photo below shows her with the pipe bars holding her straight, the hobbles to keep her from kicking, and the milkers are on!

 Tiffany's first milking

The great thing is how fast they figure out that it feels good to have their udder emptied!  It only took using the hobbles twice before Tiffany was standing perfectly still without them for milking.  The photo below is on the evening of the second day of milking her.  She has done great ever since.

 Tiffany milking like a pro

When it was time to milk Lacey (also a 2 year old first freshener) ... she stood quietly without any need for hobbles.  She does have a habit of squatting when I put the milkers on her.  I have to almost crawl under her to reach far enough to get them on her.  But at least she doesn't jump and kick!

 Milking Lacey

Lexie was as jumpy as Tiffany for her first milking, but she's not quite as big as Tiffany. It took a few minutes to get the hobbles and milkers on her.

 Milking Lexie

 She still managed to jump enough to get the milkers knocked off!

 I ended up having to milk one side at a time.

  After that first day of  bucking around, she milks perfectly now too.

Trina only needed the pipe bars on each side of her to help her settle down.  I did have to hold the milker on her and milk one side at a time.  I'm still having to do this ... even 3 days into milking her. She is getting better, but still stomps her back feet when I put the milkers on her.  I don't want them to learn that they can kick the milkers off when they stomp.  So until she quits stomping, I'll hold the milkers on.  If she doesn't quit in a day or two, I'll have to put the hobbles on her to keep her feet still.

 Milking Trina

Vanessa also kicked at the milkers, so I held her leg just above the hock.  I squeeze the tendon keeping them from lifting their leg to kick or stomp.  She's milking fine now without having to restrain her leg.

 Leg squeeze while milking Vanessa

I have such sore muscles from wrestling with the first fresheners just to get them milked.  Some night's I've felt completely beat up.  I'm glad it doesn't take long for them to get the hang of milking in the parlor!  Now that the 2 year old first fresheners are milking pretty good, I have the yearling first fresheners to look forward to in the next several weeks! 

I also posted stories about Milking a Difficult Doe last year if you'd like to read about some of my mature doe milking challenges.

If you have interesting stories of milking experiences ... I'd love to hear about them in your comments!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Homes for Kids

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a very different kind of day than we've had around here for quite a while..... No does kidding at all that day!  It was also the day we had scheduled for 30 of the baby's to go to their new homes.

Cody and Dawnnell from Rockn H Ranch are starting their Dairy Goat herd with baby does and a buck from my farm.  I am honored that they have chosen my goats for their farm.  We've discussed my breeding program on several occasions and they are pleased with the health and production of my goats.

Cody and Dawnnell produce natural grass fed and finished beef, pork, lamb, chickens, turkeys, eggs, and raw Jersey cow's milk.  They have chosen to add goats to their farm that will give them good milk production as well as be useful for meat production.  Nubian goats are this kind of multipurpose goat.

They selected several Nubian doelings and a buckling as the beginning of their goat herd.  They also took some of the additional Nubian bucklings to raise for meat.

After visiting for a while, we started loading the little goats into the back seat of their pickup for their trip home.  They would be taking 13 little goats home with them.

 Dawnnell and Cody loading the baby goats

When we had a few of the babies in the pickup, Dawnnell had to stand guard at the door to keep them from escaping.  My farm dog, Zypher, was there to assist in any way needed.  He thinks all of the goats belong to him.  He is responsible for guarding the perimeter of the goat yards.  He takes it personally when any goat leaves the farm.  I have to bring him inside the house or barn to keep him from chasing the vehicle down the road if they take goats from the farm.  Otherwise he doesn't follow anyone when they leave ... only if one of his goats is in the vehicle. He is a good dog!

 Dawnnell and Zypher keeping the baby goats inside the pickup

Here are the little goats getting ready to take the trip to their new home.  I'll bet they got some funny looks as they drove down the highway with all those little goats in the back seat!

 A cushy ride home

Cody and Dawnell have been preparing for the new babies even before they were born.  They built them new pens inside one of their barns and even bought the kind of bottle nipples they were used to.  I am very happy that these little goats will be living at Rockn H Ranch.


My friend, Brian, has offered to take any of the little crossbred bucks that I can't sell.  Since I need the milk produced by the momma goats to feed the little doelings and to make cheese ... I am very happy that Brian will give these little bottle-baby bucks a home.

Baby bucks ready for Brian to pick them up.

 Only minutes after Cody and Dawnnell left with their 13 baby goats, Brian and his brother drove into the driveway.  We took time for a farm tour and he agreed to take 17 of the little bucklings.  He's going to have his hands full bottle feeding all those boys!

 Brian loading baby goats into pens in his van.

 Here's some of them ready for the trip to their new home

Of course Zypher had to make sure they were all loaded safely.  I think he was telling them good- by and have a safe journey.

 Zypher and the babies

With 30 of the baby goats gone to their new homes, Mom felt like she was on vacation.  She only had 11 babies in the Kid Nursery pens to feed last night!  ...... Until .... I brought 14 of the kids in from the kidding pens out in the barn this afternoon! She said the new babies are taking their bottles very well.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Kidding and Udder Care

We're up to 63 babies now!  There's only 1 pregnant doe left to kid in this round of kidding.  The next group has due dates starting on the 31st through the 2nd of Feb.  So, we get a little break from kidding to get caught up on other things around the farm for a few days.

I disbudding the horn buds on the first 33 kids born this afternoon.  That was quite a job!  Mom helps by giving them their "comfort" bottle of milk as soon as I get them disbudded.

Several of them will be going to their new homes tomorrow.  It's a good thing too!  I've got the last 30 kids still out in the barn with their mommas.  They need to come into the Kid Nursery and their mommas out with the milking does.

For details about how I do the disbudding, you can check out my post Disbudding the Kids .  It has to be the hardest thing I do with the kids, but necessary if you don't want them to grow up with horns.


Early yesterday morning (Monday) ... when I got out to the barn to check on the goats ... I found that Lexie had kidded overnight.   I found her and her babies sound asleep in their kidding pen.  Her babies are both little girls.

 Lexie and her twin doelings

Lexie is LaMancha/Alpine cross. She is a 2 year old first freshener.  RC is the sire of her kids.

 Lexie and her kids
 She is a good momma with lots of milk

At least this time there wasn't any kidding going on while I was trying to get the morning chores and milking done.  After finishing morning chores,I checked the does again and none of them looked like they were in labor.... so we decided to go into town to get feed for the goats and some groceries for the house.

I think Lilly heard us drive out of the driveway, because she delivered twins while we were gone.  We were only gone an hour and a half.

Lilly is a 2 year old first freshener.  She is 75% LaMancha and 25% Nubian.  RC is the sire of her kids.

 Lilly and her twins - 1 boy (black/white) and 1 girl (tan)

 She did a great job taking care of them

No more does went into labor the rest of the day ... until I came inside the barn just as the sun went down.  Trina looked like she was in early labor.  She is a 2 year old first freshener.  She is 75% LaMancha and 25% Nubian.  RC is the sire of her kids.

 Trina in early labor

I went ahead and started evening chores in the barn and kept an eye on her.  I actually got the first group of 12 does down to the milking parlor, fed and milked, and back to their area of the barn before Trina got serious about delivery.   When I checked in on her after milking this first group, this is what I saw.  She had pushed out the first fluid bubble.

 Trina getting ready to deliver

I knew that I wouldn't have time to milk the second group of does so I sat with Trina to make sure she wouldn't need any assistance.  It wasn't long before the first little foot was being pushed out.

 Little foot coming out

She delivered her first baby just fine by herself.  The first one is a boy.  It took her a minute to realize that new thing in her pen belonged to her.  But, when she smelled of him, she started licking him dry.

 Trina and her first baby - a boy

As soon as the babies are born, I take either my hand or a towel and wipe the gooey slimy birth fluids away from their nose and mouth so they don't breath it in.  Then I take a piece of the hay from their bedding to tickle the baby's nose.  This makes them sneeze to clear out any fluid they have in their nose.  The better you can get them breathing ... the less problems they have with their lungs.

 Tickling baby's nose to make him sneeze

Trina dried him off really good.  She's going to be a good momma.

 Drying baby

Here comes the second baby.  You can see her nose and eye through the membrane of the birth sack in the photo below.  She's about to become an air breather!

Trina's second baby being born

 Here's Trina drying her little girl

First meal of momma's milk/colostrum

As soon as the babies are born, I scoop up the thick birth fluid and the wet bedding.  I keep a 5 gallon bucket close by to toss it into.  This helps keep their kidding pen dryer and more comfortable for the momma and new babies.

Bucket for birth fluids

I also grab some dry hay to spread on the area under the heat lamp to make sure it's dry.  This is the place the babies will spend most of their time.  I also spread dry hay over any excessively wet areas of the kidding pen after birthing.

 Spreading dry hay

After birthing, the clean dry towels and not so clean and dry any more!  I usually take a stack of them in each evening to put into the washer.  Mom usually puts them into the dryer when she's downstairs bottle feeding the kids.

Towels after birthing


While I was in the kidding pen with Trina, I noticed that Precious's kids were not nursing her udder evenly.  (She is in the kidding pen next to Trina.) Sometimes, even twins will nurse on one side and the doe's udder can get over full on one side.  This makes it very sore and even harder for the kids to nurse out that side.

 Uneven udder from uneven nursing

If you leave the udder like this there can be problems with mastitis developing in the side of the udder that is not being nursed out.  Mastitis is an infection in the udder and if it develops, it can be deadly to the doe.

I always check the udders of the does that are nursing her kids in the kidding pens to be sure there is no tightness in her udder.  If there is, I'll milk out completely the side that is tight.  If it's very tight it will be sore and she may not want her teat touched.  The udder has to be milked out anyway.  Just be gentle as possible and secure her from dancing around.  I clip her collar to the welded wire fencing that the kidding pens are built of.

 Milking out the overfull side of the udder

I usually offer the milk back to the momma.  Some of them will drink it and some won't.  Precious was glad for the warm milk.  The calories and calcium is good for her.

 Precious drinking the extra milk

It was only minutes later that her twin girls were nursing both sides

For more information on what I do to take care of my does after they have had their babies, you can read my post on After Kidding Doe Care


This morning (Tuesday) when I checked the does, I found Tina in early labor.  Tina is Trina's mother.  Tina is a 3 year old LaMancha/Nubian cross.  She is one of the first babies born on my farm.  She was one of the quads that Emily gave me during my first kidding season.  That birth story is here My Frist Kidding Season - Emily  Tina is the baby you'll see in the birth sack being born.

I checked to see if Tina was dilated yet by putting two fingers inside her just a little bit.  Her cervix wasn't quite dilated yet.  So, I figured I had time to go inside to get a shower and breakfast before she would be ready to deliver.

When I got back out to the barn, she still hadn't made any progress with delivery.  I felt inside her again.  This time I felt the tail of the first baby.  His butt was preventing his birth!  I reached in and down to get his back feet coming out so I could help deliver him.  I had to push his butt back in a little bit to get his feet started out. This was my first assisted delivery for any of the LaMancha does this season.  I'm really impressed with how easy their deliveries have been.

 Tina and her little boy

Here she is after pushing her other 2 kids out.  She has 2 boys and 1 girl.  The little girl was the last one born and is in the center front.  Tina is getting them all cleaned up and dry.

Tina and her triplets
 Tina babies all dried off
Lots of mommas and babies
Mid-afternoon - I was getting ready to go downstairs to the Kid Nursery and start the disbudding.  I decided I had better go out to the barn one more time before starting the disbudding because it usually takes several hours to get finished.  (It took3 and a half hours to disbud the 33 kids) I went out to check on the remaining 3 does that were in the kidding pens.  They're a little past their due dates.  Daphne had a large gel stream hanging from her.

Daphne is 75% LaMancha and 25% Nubian.  She is Lilah's granddaughter.

 Large gel stream

I knew she would deliver within minutes.  So I stayed with her until she had delivered.  Here is the foot of her first baby.

 Pushing the foot out

 Daphne and her first born little buckling

Here she is with her second baby - a little girl.
 Here they are all dried off and eating.
 Dried off and hungry

When Daphne was finished delivering her twins, I had to get inside to disbud the kids in the Kid Nursery.  They're going to their new homes tomorrow!  It took a little over 3 and a half hours to complete the disbudding task.  This threw me a little late for evening chores.

As soon as I stepped into the barn this evening, I noticed SweetPea with a gel stream and already pushing.  SweetPea is a 2 year old second freshener.  She is full blood LaMancha.

 SweetPea and her first baby girl

Twin girls

We've had 63 babies in 11 days!  There's only one doe left to kid at this time.  Then there will be almost 2 weeks with no new kidding!  I'm looking forward to the break.