Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The New Kidding Barn

While we're waiting on the next group of does to start kidding, I thought I'd share the New Kidding Barn with you.  You see ... when I moved the goats and dairy to the ranch this summer ... there was no shelter for the goats at all.  The photo below shows the "barn" area after the old collapsed barn had been burned.


The photo below shows the structure of the first Tarp Barn going up on the day we moved the goats to the ranch.  I'll post more about that incredible day soon.

You see the area to the right of this photo?  That's where the Kidding Tarp Barn is planned to be built. You can see that the remains of the old barn was cleared off leaving me with a nice flat surface to build on.

 The goats were checking out their new home

You may be wondering why I've built Tarp Barns instead of more permanent structures.  The answer is simply time and money.  The Kidding Barn is 10 1/2 feet wide, 47 feet long, and about 8 feet tall in the middle of the arch.  I have 16 kidding stalls built in it with an ally way wide enough to take my wheel barrow down.  I have left two additional stall areas open on the north east side for working and storage space.   My total cost in this structure is around $700 dollars.  The structure went up in one afternoon - thanks to Tonia and her daughters!  And, the kidding stalls have gone together pretty quickly as well.


Here's the underlying structure of the tarp barn.  The side walls are 4 foot by 16 foot welded wire cattle panels.  These are wired length-ways to t-posts driven into the ground every 8 foot (closer if necessary to keep the sides straight).  The side walls are exactly 10 1/2 feet apart from each other and parallel.  This is important to keep the arch from having any dips in it when it's finished.  If it has dips in it ... rain or snow could accumulate there and weigh it down ... possibly collapsing the structure.

The west side of the Kidding Barn (on the right of the photo below) was installed shortly after the goats came to the ranch as a fence between the buck pen and the main doe pen.  Since I had planned this space for the Kidding Barn, I made sure it was nice and straight.  But, the bucks had pushed on the fence so much that it required some straightening and more t-posts to get it ready for the new tarp barn.


The top arches of the tarp barn structure is constructed from more of the 4 foot by 16 foot welded wire cattle panels.  These are arched and wired  to the side panels about 2 squares down from the top of the side panels.  They are also wired to each other along their edges to give strength to the structure.  We wired 1 inch pvc pipes every 4 feet along the inside of the arches to (hopefully) add more support when it snows or ices.  Usually all you have to do to keep ice and snow build up off of the tarp barn is to go inside and "pop" the welded wire arches.  The snow slides off the sides of the barn.


Here's the barn with the tarp(s) pulled over it and wired into place along the bottom edge. (I came back later and wired it about every 2  foot along the sides up about 3 foot from the ground.)  The tarps are simply recycled billboard tarps.  I got them at no cost from one of our local sign companies.  The only requirement for re-using them is that the printed side has to be placed to the inside so the advertisement isn't visible to the public.  This is the second structure these tarps have been on.  They hold up pretty well.


We ran a cord through the edging on the south end to pull it down snug.  This will allow for ventilation since I planned to completely enclose the north end.



The ground stayed a little damp even with it being enclosed under the tarp barn.  So, I went to one of our local saw mills and got some of their mulch to put in as bedding.  This is produced as they chip the bark off of the logs in preparation of sawing them into lumber.  They only charged me $10 for each big scoop. I got 3 scoops heaped up on the 16 foot trailer.


I hauled it into the tarp barn a wheelbarrow load at a time.  This has really helped keep the kidding pens dry ... even in all the wet weather we've had.


The photo below may look like a pile of junk ... but it is a cherished treasure.  A gift from my Dad.  He wasn't able to come and install electricity out in the Kidding Barn.  So, he did it at home and I picked it up a few days before the goats were due to start kidding.  Thanks Dad!


The really heavy wire on the reel is a very very long arc welder extension cord.  And, the smaller wire is 10 gauge wiring with outlet boxes installed every 10 feet into it.  Dad built two sets of these so I could have outlets down each side of the tarp barn.


He also wired up a 220v switch box with an arc welder plug coming out of it.  All I had to do when I got it back home was to hook up the black wires from each of the outlet strings to the "hot" junctions inside the box and hook up the red neutral wires to the single neutral junction inside the box.  (Dad will help me wire the yellow ground wires when he comes on his next visit.) This gave me two strands of 110v outlets from the 220v arc welder cord that I plugged into the switch box and into the welder outlet inside the milk barn.  Electricity in the Kidding Barn!  Now that was really exciting.

Outlets


This made it possible to hang two 4 foot florescent light fixtures in barn.  Now I wouldn't have to be out there kidding in the dark!


And, I was able to have heat lamps for the newborn babies on the chilly nights.  This made me so happy!


I built the kidding pens/stalls out of more of the welded wire cattle panels.  The pens on the west side are 4 foot from the outside toward the inside of the barn and 5 foot long.  These are big enough for my bigger does.  And, to keep the alley way wide enough to work in, I built the pens on the east side 3 1/2 feet from the outside toward the inside of the barn and 5 feet long. This has worked out great for my smaller does.  I anchored each corner of the pens with a t-post.  The gates are cut to be 5 1/2 feet long to give a little overlap when hooked onto the neighboring pen.  This helps keep the babies from escaping.  I also wired 2x4 inch welded wire to the bottom 2 feet all the way around the pens.  This is also to keep the babies inside.


I got 5 of the pens built before the first does were due to deliver and continued working on building more of them while I was out in the barn keeping an eye on the does that were in the pens on labor watch.  I secured feed and water buckets in each pen and put a shared hay rack between pens.  I also put heat lamps shared between pens ... on the opposite end from the hay racks.  I didn't want to risk getting hay near the heat lamps!


Just before kidding started, I was able to finish enclosing the north end of the tarp barn and get a door put on.  I got this finished on Saturday the 17th .. just the day before Mandy delivered her twins!


On warm sunny days, I have to leave the door open for ventilation and to keep it from getting too hot inside the tarp barn.


Since the Kidding Barn is on one side of the general goat yard, I put a wire gate on the south end and covered the south side pens and gate with pieces of the tarp.  This keeps the wind and goats out, but allows for ventilation.


The goat mommas and babies have been very comfortable in the new Kidding Barn and I've found it easy to work in.







 The photo below shows the area I left open for my working and storage space.


Here's one of Valerie's kids eating from the hay rack.  The kids have enjoyed the kidding pens too.


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I have 62 does that will be kidding this season and I need to clear some of the pens out to get them ready for the next group of does to deliver their kids in.  

So ... It's time for these does to get back to work providing milk here on the dairy.  I'll be separating these babies into pens and bottle feeding them. They'll still be getting their momma's milk ... and so will I.  

Some of the babies will be ready to go to their new homes next week as soon as I get their horns disbudded.  And, many of the little does will stay right here on the dairy to increase the goat herd with their sweet dispositions and great milking genetics.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kidding Season 2012 (part 3)

14 does have kidded and we have 27 babies so far.... 14 doelings and 13 bucklings.  If you missed my posts on the beginning of kidding season you can read them here in Kidding Season 2012 (part 1)  and here in Kidding Season 2012 (part 2)

Saturday the 24th


Christmas Eve was a busy kidding day out in the kidding barn.  Three does kidded that day.

Rosie greeted me on my early morning barn check with a new born doeling.  Rosie is Liz's 2 year old daughter.  This is her second freshening.  Her little girl is dark brown with black and tan spots.


 She's a good momma


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Ivy had also delivered in the early morning of the 24th.  She had a little buckling.  She is the 2 year old daughter of Maggie and is also a second freshener.




He's a strong boy and doing well

Splashie delivered twins while I was doing morning chores on Christmas Eve morning.  She gave me beautifully spotted babies ... a boy and a girl. Splashie is one of Nellie's 2 year old daughters and is a second freshener this year. 

I was there to watch the delivery help dry the babies off.  I'm glad I was there because the little doeling had a hard time getting her first breath.  I held her upside down and smacked her sides a few times to help clear her lungs.  I was so thankful when she took her first breath and started coughing the rest of the birth fluids from her lungs.  She's the first baby I've had to help at all this season.  Everything else with the delivery went smoothly.

 Splashie and her buckling


Splashie and her babies (doeling on the left and buckling on the right)

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The does gave me a kidding break for Christmas.  No babies were born that day.  From all of the mature Nubian does, only Emily was left to deliver.  And, she waited till the day after Christmas.

Monday the 26th

Emily delivered twins on Monday morning the 26th.  One doeling and one buckling. 


Emily is 10 years old this year.  She is the foundation doe of my 2 gallon milking line.  This is the first time (in all the years I've had her) that she delivered completely un-assisted.  She is much stronger this year than she's ever been in the 5 years I've had her.  I'm sure it's due to all the exercise she's been getting while out grazing each day. 

Here she is with her twins born on the 26th ....

 Doeling in the front

 Emily's buckling


 She loves her babies

 Emily's doeling

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Emily went down with  Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis a couple of years ago and I was very worried about her recovery.  She spent about 8 weeks completely down without being able to stand up.  

As a comparison to the ease of kidding this year ... here is a reprint of Emily's assisted kidding from 2 years ago when she was fighting the Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis ..........
"Since Emily was in labor, I had been keeping an eye on all the time my Grandsons were out in the barn.  I figured that I'd have to help her deliver the babies, since she had lost so much muscle tone with being down so long.
When the boys decided to go into the house, I took the opportunity to assist with delivering Emily's kids.  I knew these kinds of deliveries can get really messy and unpleasant at times ... so I was glad they decided to go into the house to play with my Mom and have a little lunch.
I hung towels over the side of Emily's pen to dry the kids with and got my kidding kit where I could reach it.  I got as comfortable as I could behind her.  I broke the water sack and gently reached inside her to find the babies.
The first one had his front feet right there ready to deliver, but they were upside down ... his stomach was up and his back was down.  I couldn't feel his head anywhere and he was twisted in his cord.  I was up to my elbow inside her trying to get his head pointing nose forward on his legs so he could be delivered. 
Since he was upside down ... every time I could get his head positioned correctly and pulled his legs to get him out ... his head would slip back down into her body.  So, I knew I would have to turn him upright to get him delivered.  I did this by pushing on her side where he was to push him over and using my hand that was inside her to roll him over.  With him finally in an upright position ... his head stayed pointing out when I got it repositioned again ... I got him pulled out. 
I cleared the mucus and fluid from his face and hung him upside down for a little bit to clear his airways and he started breathing fine.  I laid him up beside Emily's head so she could lick him off while I went back inside to pull the other babies out.
 
I found two back legs next and pulled the second baby buck out.  I cleared his face of mucus and fluids and laid him with his head angled down for Emily to lick.  She was doing a fine job of cleaning them up! 
I went in again to get the next kid.  Once again  it was two back feet.  I pulled the little doe out and got her face cleared so she could breath. 
My Daughter came back out to the barn at about this time to check on me and found me in the middle of this mess!  I'm glad the boys had decided to stay in the house a little longer. 
After laying the little doe by her momma to lick, I slipped my arm back inside her to be sure there weren't any more babies in there.  
Then I checked the other two to be sure they were doing okay.  The second buck didn't look like he was breathing yet ... so I hung him upside down again and lots of fluid drained from his mouth and nose.  As I held him upside down, we noticed that he sounded like a bag full of water sloshing around inside.  I started pressing his stomach and LOTS of fluid came out of his mouth and nose.  He was full of fluid in both his stomach and lungs.  I was never able to get his airways cleared for him to breath.... we lost that one. 
After all the time Emily had been down and sick, I am very thankful for the two live healthy kids we have from her.  Here they are with her right after drying them off. 

 
Emily and her kids from 2010

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The LaMancha does will start kidding in a few days and we'll be in the middle of kidding again!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Kidding Season 2012 (part 2)

Kidding season is continuing around here.  If you missed my post on the beginning of kidding season you can read about it here in Kidding Season 2012 (part 1)

Thursday the 22nd

Nellie - When I went out to check on the does early on the morning of Thursday, the 22nd, I found that Nellie had kidded over night.  She gave me another set of triplets ... all three girls!  Last season she gave me quads.  I've had Nellie for 4 kidding seasons and in these 4 years she has given me 10 doelings and 1 buckling.  She has a pretty interesting story ... you can read more about her here -> Nellie


This group of Nellie's daughters are champaign colored with lighter and darker spots.  


They're very pretty girls.... and very active.


Till it comes to nap time!





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Maggie also kidded on Thursday the 22nd about mid-day.  She gave me twin doelings. I helped her dry them off, but other than that no assistance was needed.  I'm sure she could have dried them by herself too, but I wanted to feel useful...so I helped with that part.  Finally the buck heavy kidding season looked like it was going to even out with more doelings!

 Maggie's girls just born




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Friday the 23rd

Sasha was in labor and pushing on the morning of Friday the 23rd when I stepped into the kidding barn to check on everyone.  She delivered a good sized buckling.  Since it was pretty chilly that morning, I dried him off good and made sure he nursed before continuing with morning chores.  



He is a pretty light red color with really long ears!


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Liz - While I was finishing the morning chores of feeding and bringing fresh water to the does in the kidding pens, I noticed that Liz's udder was really full.  Her due date was the 22nd, so I knew she would be kidding soon, but she wasn't showing any signs of labor yet.  So, I went inside to get some breakfast and a shower.


Later, I found things to keep me busy in the kidding barn so I could keep an eye on the does that were due.  Liz delivered twin girls during the early afternoon on Friday the 23rd   The only assistance I gave to her was to help dry the babies off.


I think her little doeling with all the bright spots has the prettiest spots I've ever had on a baby goat born in my herd.  She's a deep brown color with black trim and brilliant white spots.

 She's beautiful.




The other little doeling has a few spots and is really cute, but .....


  .... not as pretty as her sister!


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Since my Mom isn't living with me during this kidding season, I thought it would be a good day to pick her up to come see the babies.  


It was a nice sunny warm afternoon and she enjoyed seeing the babies very much.  I think she's going to be glad she doesn't have to bottle feed all of them this year!  She has been a great help bottle feeding the babies the past 3 kidding seasons.  Here's Mom's Perspective on feeding the babies from a couple of years ago. 

I'm not looking forward to having to take on her job this year!  She's always done a great job of keeping the babies fed when we brought them into the Kid Nursery and started milking their mommas.

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