Our happy goats give healthy milk!
In a years time I learned a lot about how I wanted to move forward. I found that keeping goats happy meant food in front of them with hay or browse. And keeping them healthy was first and foremost best by keeping fecal checks on them. Worms can debilitate a goat to the point of not getting them to recover so I now check their fecal's once a month. So far I have only had to deworm with ivermectin and sulfadimethoxine but am keeping a check on drug resistance. The herbal methods have not been touching the worm loads on the fecals.
Carolina Wren! Her sire is Java and her dam is Pepper. She was born April 30, 2015 and weighed in at a mere 2lbs. (Shown on Page 2) I let her do what she was going to do. I let her dam clean her up and I let her stand when she was ready. She has grown to be strong and independent!
As of Sept first, 2015, I still have all 3 doelings that were born here this spring. Misty, Wren and Tootsie Pop have grown up with great characteristics. I am not sure I will breed them all this fall except for Misty, whom I know I will be crossing to the handsome and adorable Dooley, probably in November.
The bucks have enjoyed the summer up in the top paddock. They are let out to graze the front pasture in the afternoons, even though it is not totally fenced in. The farm is fenced so I have no worries of them getting off the property and am glad they get more grazing time that way. The boys have gotten nothing except grazing and minerals for the summer. I do not grain my bucks during the lush growing season, nor do I offer hay.
The girls' paddock offers a lot of diversity with woods on both ends and a nice open meadow in the middle. They graze on clover, lespedeza, fescue, blackberries, honeysuckle, tree branches and leaves plus other forage.
This is Page 3 of my goat experiences.
Mother and daughter. Sophia looking good in August. Still filling the bucket with a lot of milk, doing wonderful on the milking stand and I hope next year we won't be fighting mastitis again with her, though I expect not.
Misty, out of Java, after a breakfast of Chaffhaye and a handful of grain. Misty at 5 months old weighed in at 68 lbs. Remember, she is half Nigerian Dwarf so her size will not be as large as Sophia.
Where ever they graze, there is a LGD to watch over them. The farm has 3 of these protectors and I find their work all over the farm. Predators are quickly dispatched and left to show others not to come on the property.
Dooley and Misty will be bred the end of Oct. Watch for her kidding at the end of March 2016. They are both Nubian/Nigerian Dwarf crosses.
Dooley hasn't grown his beard yet so he gets all his luscious smell from wallowing in Spiceys aromatic thick beard. Spicey has such a fabulous temperament that he really doesn't care. He has always been very fond of Dooley and protected him from the other boys. I have never seen him mount another boy either. He is older and more laid back. I am excited to try him with Sophia this year!
My LGDs get along with the goats very well. So far I have not seen evidence of goat predators but it sure makes me feel good to know the dogs are there in case a coyote ever gets near.
Java has his first year beard growth. He is a handsome man and very petted now that he is older. His daughters have impressed me so far. I may put him back with Pepper, since they made the mighty Wren and I think I may pair him with Tootsie Pop, if she is still here.
Pepper has been a great milker for her first year! She was super easy to milk with an excellent soft udder, pouring milk into the bucket for 4 months before slowing down. Her fabulous nature and wonderful milk production is what I want to breed on with my farm milkers.
Gotta love how they sleep!
Left to right- Spicey, Dooley, Bob the wether and Java.
Mulberry tree leaves are good for them and they go nuts over the flavor. I am glad that many of the trees have seeded out on the farm and are growing well. The goats get a great treat from it.
The Spice man will be bred to Sophia, if he will do the deed with her this year. Last year he would not breed her. He blubbered at her and she stood for him but he just would never do the deed. He did breed the Alpine though and is the father of Tootsie Pop.
These two were bred on 11/5! We so hope she caught!
I am kind of partial to the tri colored goats. I would like more white overlay on mine but I am not going for color as much as I am going for milk production so the color of the goat is just icing on the cake. But I cannot lie, I am happy with these boys in a lot of ways!
This little gal also has a nice rear end. I am hoping I bred her for improvement over her mother. I know the father's side was very consistent in milkers and udder developments, with many starred milkers and show achievements. I would have loved to keep her to see how she milked in 2016 but I did not need 4 milkers.
With Spicey having some age on him I want to see what he will give me with the crosses but also not use him so much that I have to sell his offspring before I know what I have got. I am lucky to have him here to give me the genetics for great milkers.
If I breed Wren this year, and that is very much still up in the air here in Sept., I will cross her with Dooley. I am not sure she will make breeding weight and I really am not wanting to have so many milkers for next year. With the 2 Nubian girls now, we have tons of milk! I can't imagine them giving more next year as second fresheners and then the first fresheners, too!
I don't mind having so many goats to graze the fields down but then I have to think of the care they need. Fecals on each one, at least once a month in the summer. And then hoof trimming, constant concern for bloat or kid delivery or feeding them all through each winter etc! It would be nice to have about 30 but then again, I don't have time or money for that many! It is easy to breed them and easy to let them live their lives out in the pasture but animals are a responsibility and I don't want to neglect, either purposefully or not, an animal of any kind.
Stay tuned for the Spring 2016 kidding news!
This is why I have goats! Yummy!
I have made butter, cheese and now have kefir grains to find all the different ways I can use farm fresh milk!
It has been so wonderful the past 5 months to not have to be frustrated with my husband drinking up all the milk! He hasn't met the challenge from the goats yet. There is always an abundance of milk in the fridge.
Next, I want to dehydrate milk for storage!
Tootsie Pop has been sold!
It is Dec. 2015 and I have decided to hold off breeding Wren until next fall. I would like to see more maturity on her before putting her through gestation and lactation.
Wren, 7 months old and not bred this year.
Misty, 8 months old and bred to Dooley.
My 4 goatie girls! Hopefully, 3 will kid next spring and I can get back to milking. If all goes according to plan, then I will milk one of the girls through the following winter and not breed her so she will get a year off from kidding but still provide us milk until the other 3 kid and can give us more.
With a great pasture of good grass and forage and proper care, goats can be less expensive than I thought. I do grain them during the last of gestation with plenty of vitamins and minerals and all during lactation. I do not think it is healthy for goats to be on dry lots with only hay to eat. They miss a lot of nutritional value that only nature can provide.
Though my kids are dam raised I spend enough time taking care of them each day for them to be friendly. Here I am petting the 6 week old Pippa, our new keeper from Sophia and Spicey.
Sophia's twin girls, 2016.
Misty kidded on March 18! A flashy buckling and an adorable doeling! Dooley made some fabulous kids with Misty!
This buckling was so fabulous to see from this cross! This is exactly what I had hoped I would produce from this breeding, as I stated before. All the coloring I was hoping for was on this kid but it was a buckling and I did not need another buckling. He was purchased quickly and named Latte!
The doeling, too, has been purchased. However, the new owner wanted her dam raised so she will stay for a while before being weaned and sent to her new home.
Misty has been an exceptional mom and this breeding with Dooley will be made again! The little doeling is a tank! Excellent personality and sweet!
Misty's first freshener udder is extremely nice! It isn't hard, her teats are not small and she is so easy to milk! No kicking or fussing on the milk stand at all! This shows me how well she is bred. Java gave his daughter all the great milkers from his side and Sophia raised a sweet and easy to deal with milker!
The daughter of Misty and Dooley. This is a second generation mini Nubian. I only bred Misty for the milk but I must say, it was an excellent cross and Mystic Hearth Homestead is gaining an excellent doeling to add to their already large herd. This is her at 8 weeks old. Stout and solid! But with a lovely shaped head.
Sophia kidded on April 1st!
The joke was on me because she did not look like she had more than one big boy in her. And she did kid a buckling.
This buckling came out extremely handsome! A rich dark brown so his owners named him Mocha! I think he was very flashy and will be a great herd sire for his new owners! Since he is out of Spicey he definitely has some strong milkers behind him and Sophia is from excellent milk lines.
But Sophia did not stop with just a buckling, she gave me twin doelings, too! With these being out of Spicey I figured I better keep one for myself! The other one is going to her new home soon.
This doeling is going to her new home to become part of a beautiful herd. She is only a first generation mini Nubian but has maintained all the beauty from both parents!
The doeling I am keeping from Sophia and Spicey. If she is as good as her half sister, Misty, then I will be very happy. I like the F1 mini Nubians okay but they are a bit shorter to milk on the stand. This little lady that I named Pippa, looks to have longer legs than her half sister Misty but we shall see when she is grown. Spicey is a bit larger than Java so he could have given her a bit longer legs.
Pippa does not seem concerned that the other doeling is trying to get a smack down on her! The girls are enjoying growing up together and I love watching them play.
Sophia's udder is much better than last year. We had to deal with losing a side almost from the first due to mastitis. Once I was properly trained by an experienced goat person on how to milk and take care of an udder then we were able to proceed fairly well and this year I get a gallon of milk every morning from her! Can't wait to see how much more she gives me when I wean her daughters and am milking then, too!
Dooley is the proud papa of Misty's kids and Java, behind him, is Misty's sire. I like color but more important, a great milker for our needs.
Spicey is the sire to Sophia's kids this year. He sired such a nice doeling last year, I wanted to try him again. And this year he was able to sire 3 lovely kids! What a great match!
He is shedding of that old winter coat now. He will be sleek and shiny with only a little brushing from me.
Java was given the chance to breed Pepper again but this year she did not catch or else he just wasn't tall enough. Last time he used a concrete block but this past year he did not have one. We will try things differently this fall.
Axel is such a good guard dog that we bred him with another Anatolian/Great Pyrenees and got pick of the litter. His son, Mongo, came to live with us in May 2016!
I have a weakness for a tri colored goat. When the opportunity came up for this handsome Nubian buck, I was more than excited to get him for my girls.
Noah is going to service my doe, Sophia in fall of 2016 . Our breeding schedule is changing up some this year but it is all for the good of the dairy goats. I hope to see beautiful daughters with lovely udders and a lot of capacity!
Another plus for my bucks. I introduced Noah with ease. The boys took right to him and were easy about letting him know the pecking order. Though he is much younger than any of them, he is taller so that might have made a bit of difference. I was glad to see no huge fighting or displays.
My beautiful Java. He is quite the handsome fella and sure put a gorgeous udder on his daughter but with so many boys, I feel it best to send him to a new home where he can help with another herd. Java is now living at Whispering Pines Farm where they have a large herd of Nigerian Dwarfs for him.
Java's two daughters. Wren and Misty.
Wren has been sold to a friend to get them going with their own milk. She will be bred to Dooley before she leaves this fall.
Misty pictured here 120 days into lactation. She held her weight fabulously and gave me more than I hoped for in the bucket each day as a first freshener. She will be bred back to Dooley, as well.
Sophia and Mongo watch as I cut branches off of trees and work in the back paddock. Mongo is growing up to be as great as his dad, Axel.