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.)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The "Asher" Sweater

A couple of returned sweaters, and a special request have turned into a new style I am now offering:
The "Asher" sweater!

More fitted than my original design, with Velcro up the back for added ease in putting on, this double-thickness fleece sweater provides warmth and comfort without hampering movement.

Not to mention that it looks great too on a handsome dog like Kep!

To view available sizes, and order, please head over to this listing on Chicken Scraps Shop!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas to Little Miss Chievous!

These photos were sent to me by a happy customer, and they are too cute not to share!
(I did get permission first!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Day With The Goats Pt. 7: Daily Kid Care and Bottle-feeding

This video gives a look at the daily feeding and care of kids.  Feeding time is an excellent opportunity to check your kids' health, and help them bond with humans so that they are friendlier.  Be prepared after a few days of feeding for them to climb all over you, even when they are not hungry!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so catching a problem or sickness at the very beginning is extremely important for your goat's health, and your own peace of mind.  A couple 1,000 mgs. of vitamin C at the beginning of a cold is worth far more than a long round of antibiotics during a bout of pneumonia.

The sweaters these kids are wearing are the original ones that I made.  I now sell them (and dog sweaters) in my farm shop.  Please stop by!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goat Sweaters For Sale!

Protect your young kids with this comfortable sweater!  I designed this sweater for my own goats (see photos).  It is made with comfortable and warm non-pill fleece, and is available in several different prints.  Fits kids closely, but yet allows for freedom of movement. 
Different designs for bucklings (sweater is open underneath the belly), 

and doelings (fitted closely).


I will also do custom orders.  Choose your own print (here:  www.joann.com/fabric/fleece-fabric/anti-pill-fleece/ and here:  http://www.joann.com/fabric/fleece-fabric/extra-wide-premium-fleece/), and email me with size, number of sweaters you wish to order, and link to the specific print.

I will gladly combine shipping!  Please feel free to ask questions!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bluebell is 7 Months Old!

Here is Bluebell at 7 months of age.  She is recovering from a sudden worm attack, after a very wet summer.  Otherwise she is in good health.  She is not hard to lead, but needs some finishing.  Blossom was walking up and down the fenceline behind me calling her while this video was taken.
(Bluebell is sold to Katlin H.)

Another Day With the Goats Pt. 6: Disbudding

As any goat-keeper who has disbudded kids knows, disbudding is one of the most disagreeable parts of raising goats.  It is a traumatic experience for everyone involved.  But the benefits outweigh the trauma and pain, at least, in my opinion.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Day with the Goats Pt. 3: Labor and Kidding

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Around 5 PM, I went out to check on Mabel.  Her due date was May 31st, but her udder had been filling all day, and was now tight and hard.  Now her ligaments were significantly looser, almost "gone".  (For signs of early labor, see this blog post:  Another Day with the Goats Pt. 2: Early Signs of Labor...)
I quietly concluded that we would have kids on the ground in the next day or two, and hurried back into the house.
That night, I checked on her at 10:00, 12:30, 2:00, and 3:30.  The last time, I decided to stay out there with her.  (I soon regretted this decision, since the goats were intensely interested by my curling up in a chair in the corner of the stall, and Freda, not being as preoccupied as Mabel,wanted to climb into the chair with me.)  But, believing in all my wisdom that Mabel was very close to kidding, I stuck to my decision, and stayed in the chair.

Fast forward to 10:45, when the video begins.  I had stayed in the barn most of the morning, determined not to miss this kidding, the way I missed Nelly's.
As a consequence of staying out there that long, I was finally on hand for the whole birth.  And now, I'll let the video explain the rest.

Monday, June 9, 2014

More Kid Pictures~ Mabel's Nubian/ Boer Kids

This morning I finally got around to taking some more pictures of the kids.  Some of these are not the best...  It isn't the easiest thing in the world to try to get decent photos of three bouncy little goats, two of which are constantly climbing into one's lap.  They are all quite friendly, especially the doeling and Bramble (the red buckling).  They are growing like weeds, especially the bucklings.  You can see that they are already a good size for 11 days old.