Friday, April 17, 2009

Disbudding Goat Kids

Photo courtesy of Cornell University

Well today's blog topic is not one of my favorites but falls under the category of necessary animal husbandry...goat kid disbudding. Today all seven of the miniature dairy goat kids were disbudded by CamoQueen. This is her second year taking care of our disbudding needs, and I am eternally grateful. GoatPrincess assisted her, and I simply fetched and returned kids as needed.

What is disbudding you say? Well it is the process of cauterizing the blood flow to the kid's horns so that they will no longer grow. Dairy goats with horns in tight quarters can cause damage to udders and get caught in fences. Our local 4H program does not allow kids to show or handle dairy goats with horns, so it is a simple necessity that must be dealt with each and every kidding season.

I found a great photo link from Cornell University that outlines the disbudding process if you're interested or are not familiar with it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting the Garden Ready for Spring

Yes folks, these are shots of my garden as of March 2009. Not much to write home about. Pretty hard to believe any produce came out of this mess. Winter is hard on gardens who weren't properly put to bed in the fall, and now I have to pay the price.

Today the temps are in the 70's which is a treat around the northwest for this time of year, so I spent some time trying to remedy the garden.

I trimmed back my everbearing raspberries that should have been cut to the ground last fall after they finished fruiting. I didn't take them all the way to the ground as they had already started some growth...don't want to shock them too much. The lower part of the canes will fruit some in July which will be welcome with the majority of the fruit coming at the top of the canes in September, an even bigger treat.

The marionberry canes were a tumbled and tangled mess. Many, many scratches later I sorted them out, tied them into clumps, and then wove them in a circular fasion on my horizontal wires so that the end of the canes are off of the ground. There were already plenty of them that had started to tip root. That would have been okay, but they had chosen to take root in the pathway.

The black raspberries never seem to produce juicy berries. They are always a little dried out. Perhaps I don't give them enough water, so this year I plan to focus on that a little more carefully. Their long gangly canes were cut back to about 5' and the dead canes from last year's fruiting were removed.

I took a look through the strawberries and was glad to see that they had about doubled their space from last year. Awaiting the first ripe strawberry is probably one of my most anticipated garden events each year.


Keep tuned and see how this mess rights itself and starts producing the berries and vegetables we so look forward to.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Two More Miniature Dairy Goat Kids Born Today

Today we were surprised by the kidding of a first-timer out in the main goat yard with no advance notice. While going out to check the kids born yesterday, we heard a kid scream but it wasn't coming from the house where yesterday's kids were. It seemed to be from the goat shed. Looking out towards that way, I was sure I saw something little and white. We don't have any goats that color. I quickly shut the door to the goat house and slugged through the mud - in the wrong shoes I might add - to find Maddie furiously cleaning a newborn kid. What caught my eye though was another kid face down in the mucky hay on the outskirts of the shed, bottom stuck up in the air, and not moving. I grabbed it quickly and found it alive and breathing. Calling for reinforcements quickly, I stuffed it in my coat to try and warm it immediately. It had not been cleaned off at all.

We moved the momma doe and the two kids down to the barn out of the wind and rain to see what we had. The littlest one was a doe and the kid up and moving around was a buck. We brought down towels, heating pad, and portable heater along with supplies to tube feed the littlest if needed. When presenting Maddie with the kid she had originally ignored, she took no interest in licking it off at all, so we stepped in and got her cleaned off as well as some good rubbing to get her circulation moving. By placing her on a towel over the heating pad, it did a good job of warming up her extremeties which were very cold to the touch while we briskly rubbed her body and head to warm/dry her off. As she perked up, we moved her closer to Maddie who suddenly took interest in the kid. We think she was a little overwhelmed as a first-time mother and didn't know how to address the fact that she had two kids to deal with. Now that Maddie was open to accepting the kid, we felt that a major hurdle had been crossed.

With the doeling too weak to appear interested in nursing as her robust brother had been for the past hour, we went ahead and milked out some colostrum and tube fed her. The first kid we ever tube fed was Maddie which seemed coincidental of sorts. Sure enough after some warm milk in the tummy, the little one tried standing and shuffling along. She was pretty pathetic to watch but very determined. Once on her feet, Maddie stepped in and gave her a thorough going over.

Goat Princess stayed all afternoon to watch Maddie and her kids to be sure everyone stayed warm. After checking in on them just before dinner, Goat Princess reported that the little doe had been nursing on her own and walking pretty good. Excellent sign.

Tonight we moved the little family in with the other two does and their five kids who have been in the warmer goat house. Only concern of mine was that Maddie would get overwhelmed with the other does and kids, but after spending some time observing, everything looked great.

Tomorrow will be exciting to see how much more active these two kids will be and the fun they will have interacting with each other. Seven little kids together should be a riot!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Five Kids Born Today

Today was a busy day here.

Kari started off April Fool's Day by delivering a doe kid quite suddenly. Her due date was yesterday, but her udder was not filled to over-capacity as we usually use as a sign as to when kidding will begin. Within a short while, she delivered two buck kids right after another...all alive and healthy...a good thing around here. We were surprised that only one of the kids took on the gypsy markings of their tri-color Nigerian sire.

Within a few hours it was obvious that Wroxy was going to deliver. We had suspected her from the night before even though her official due date wasn't until tomorrow. Wroxy delivered her kids easily as well with both being doelings. Once again, we were surprised by the lack of color but they are beautiful just as they are.

We are anxious for the five little kids to get strong on their feet so they can be introduced to Corona, Vega's doe kid, who has been anxiously awaiting a 'playmate' for some time now.

Check the sidebar post to the right for a slideshow of the kids and their moms.
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