Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dealing with Staph Mastitis

Sometimes it is tempting to only blog about the good things happening on our farm, but the fact is, that we have problems too.  I have just been reminded that I don't know nearly as much about raising goats as I sometimes think I do.  I am currently dealing with my first (and hopefully only) case of staph mastitis.

Shortly after I bought Mabel, she developed a knot in one teat that soon made milking impossible, and that side dried up.  Twice when she has kidded the vet has opened the teat surgically.  It would stay open for a week or two, then gradually close again as that half of her udder dried up.
I thought this was scar tissue from an injury received at her former home, as did our vet, but last month I noticed that side of her udder swelling suspiciously.  When I felt it, I knew something was drastically wrong.  It was hard, with round lumps- not at all normal.  It was not hot, so I hoped it wasn't mastitis, but some research and talking to a very knowledgeable dairying friend soon brought me to the reluctant conclusion that she has staph.
Close up of the affected side of Mabel's udder.  You can see the round lumps clearly.

Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged about the whole matter, knowing that staph is very difficult to clear up.  Researching natural remedies led me to dosing her twice daily with a tumeric tonic to help cure staph,* and a heaped teaspoon each of vitamin C and dolomite.
*My tonic does not include coconut oil since we are currently out.  I will be adding it when we get some more.
The swelling decreased significantly after I started giving her the tonic, then she swelled up some more, and now it's decreasing again.
In the meantime, she doesn't seem to be in any pain or discomfort, and is just her usual self.  I am thankful that the infection is confined to one side, and that with good hygiene, there is little danger of it spreading to any of the other animals.
One other good thing that has come from this problem, is that our pre-milking washing has changed.  We now wash the whole udder with warm water, with a few drops of iodine in it, then dip each teat in straight iodine.  After letting it sit for a few moments, we put on the lotion, discard the first squirts of milk, and proceed as usual.
I don't know if these remedies will work or not.  I'm not sure what will eventually happen with this situation, but I do know that God is in control even over the comparatively small things, like a sick goat, and that this will be a learning experience, even if she is not cured.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Boer/ Nubian Doeling Honeysuckle is For Sale

Due to upcoming changes on our little farm, I will no longer be raising goats.  I have been looking forward to breeding and milking Honeysuckle, but it just isn't going to work out for us.

Honeysuckle is a Boer/ Nubian dual-purpose doeling.  She is very friendly, healthy, and has good conformation.  She has been raised with children all her life, and is good with them.  Her udder already looks very nice, and I think she will be a fair milker, with the rich Nubian milk, and yet producing hefty, fast growing kids when bred to a meat buck.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Feldman Family Farm Now Has a Website!

For four and a half years, Chicken Scraps Blog has been the website for our small family farm.  Now the time has come for us to have a more official website.
Check it out here:  Feldman Family Farm

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Penny is 3 Months Old!

Yesterday Savana and I took a few pictures of Penny.  She is growing well, and I am working on training her to lead, and be more friendly.

(Penny is sold.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Big Piggy Stayed Home: Butchering our first pig at home!

Yesterday, we slaughtered our first pig on the farm.
We've sent a few pigs to the butcher before, but this time we decided to try it ourselves.  And it was worth it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Feldman Family Penelope Is For Sale


 Full-blooded Jersey heifer:

Feldman Family Penelope


Born:  December 29th, 2014

Sire:  Copper

Dam:  OA Feldman Family Buttercup

AJCA Registration Pending (OA)


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Available Now: Easy Birth Tea Herbal Supplement

Announcing a new addition to Chicken Scraps Shop:  Easy Birth Tea

Easy Birth Tea is a special blend of herbs to help with pregnancy, birth and recovery.  It is safe for use in humans, horses, goats, sheep and cattle.  (SOLD AS ANIMAL SUPPLEMENT ONLY.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Waiting for a Foal...

Spring is right around the corner, and so is Fannie's due date.

(Sorry for the terrible quality and angle of this photo...  It was taken with a phone and I couldn't see the picture on the screen.)

Fannie (registered name:  Acuarela de Benji ) is bred to Jesse el Rubio, son of 7 time Bella Forma champion, El Chino de El Batey.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quick Tips For Milking A Kicky Cow (Or Goat)

There are few things so frustrating as having a full bucket of milk kicked over, just as you are stripping out those last few squirts, and dreaming of the yogurt, cheese, or just plain creamy milk you are going to enjoy.  Even worse is when she kicks you in the nose first, then plants her dirty foot squarely in the bucket.  A kicky milker can cause all kinds of problems, and be downright dangerous.  Frequently, kicking is only a symptom of other issues, such as extreme nervousness.  
A nervous cow is a dangerous cow.
She is liable to hurt herself and other cows or people.  She may try to jump or charge through fences, and likely will attempt to break out of the stanchion if she is frightened.  This is not an article dealing with nervousness, but I will say that the cure, so far as I have experienced, is twofold:  1).  Lots of gentle, but firm handling, feeding of treats, and desensitizing her to common things she perceives as threats.
2).  Feed lots of dolomite.  Extreme nervousness may be caused by a magnesium imbalance, which can usually be corrected by feeding dolomite.

Here are a few tips I have learned from several years of milking cows; our own and others.  Several were first fresheners (who usually kick a lot), and a couple were just plain kicky (belonged to friends).

Our First Sheep Butchering

I have always liked the idea of a self-sufficient lifestyle.  (Sufficient as regards food; we will always be dependent upon God!)  Saturday, we made another step towards supplying our own food.
LilyAnn and Justice helped me butcher a sheep.
Since my ewe died last year, he was an extra mouth to feed, kind of mean, and very healthy, so we decided it was time for him to go to the freezer.  And rather than paying someone else to butcher him, and having to cart him over there, we decided to just do it ourselves.

This photo was taken several months ago.

(WARNING:  Images include a (dead) sheep being processed, and children helping with the work.)