Friday, May 5, 2017

Kidding Season 2017

I apologize wholeheartedly for not updating this site more frequently.  I really wish I had it in me to do so...

However, I will take care of that now.  We started out the fall of 2016 with:

mini-Nubian does
April
Moon
Francine

mini-Nubian buck
Mr. Tumnus

Nigerian Dwarf Doe
Johannah

Nigerian Dwarf Buck
Trevor

Our 2017 kidding season was hugely successful in every way, and I'm super thankful to God for the wonder and amazement of it all.  The kids, both goat and human, have had a blast, and so have I. :)

Francine, our lovely black and white mini-Nubian doe, kidded March 13 with buck/doe twins.  I immediately fell in love with her doe kid, named her Freyja, and am keeping her here.

Lovely Francine

Freyja











Next was April, who kidded on March 16 with triplets, one buck and two does.  She rejected one doe kid, so we have a bottle baby.  This is our first ever fully bottle fed kid, and has been quite an experience.  Because she didn't need her goat mama, we got to take her to the hospital, nursing home and elementary school in our community.  It was wonderful fun!  She and her sister will be going to a pet home later this month.  Brother will be herd sire for a lovely bunch of does and leaving this month as well.

doeling, Quin
doeling, Harley


















Third was Johannah, my daughter's 4H doe.  She's a precious little girl, and going to be a fine milker as well.  She also had triplets, two bucks and a doe.  She didn't even look pregnant, though I several times felt a hard baby body part sliding along her side, and the signs of her impending delivery were unmistakeable.  She had the tiniest little triplets!  Two of them were  under two pounds.  The third was just over.  She shot them out so quickly that we couldn't get to the barn before they were all born, though we ran out there as soon as we heard her pushing on the baby monitor.  I had just been out checking on her and doing the chores less than half an hour before, and there was nothing going on at all.  She surprised us in every way. :)

Johannah and one of her buck kids

another buck and a doe kid


My kid and the doe kid

Fourth and last, Moon kidded with triplet does!  They are all so adorable.  Two of them have completely white faces, and blue eyes that look like they're wearing heavy black eye liner.  Those eyes!  I want to keep them all!  However, they'll all be for sale instead.   These are sure to be some lovely family milkers.  Moon is my favorite milker ever, and as a first freshener she milked for 14 months before I decided to take a break from milking and dry her off.  She milked half a gallon a day for much of that lactation.  I can't wait to see what this second freshening brings!  These girls will hopefully have some nice individual photos added to our for sale page soon.  Be sure to inquire by using our contact button or leaving a comment if you're interested.

Moon and doelings
pretty Moon

Moon just before giving birth to the triplets
Moon's first born doeling

Moon's second and third doelings




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Welcome Donald!

Moon kidded on Friday, July 10th, on day 145.  It started out as a normal kidding, and then stalled out completely.  She stopped contracting and pushing, and just lay down for a rest.  It seemed she was saying, "Please just make this go away."  I went in for a feel, which made her contract, but there were a number of parts that didn't match all jumbled up, and I couldn't seem to sort it.  A dear friend went in with the same results.  So, it was off to the vet, another dear friend and my boss as well (we'll call her K), for some help.  Here's Moon with her new little buckling just after his birth.



  Donald (named after K's 98 year old father, who passed away the next day) was the first baby pulled, followed by a stillborn doeling.  The doeling was all broken and twisted inside the doe.  So strange.  I imagine she got hit by another doe some days before the birth.  Because it was so tangled up, it's back end as well as it's front were presenting at the same time.  Hence the confusion with all the body parts.
It's sad to have lost one, but I'm thankful Moon seems to be doing so well, and little Donald is such a friendly, quirky little guy.  We're enjoying him a lot.  Here are a few more pics from K's yard after Moon was all finished up.  She went straight for the raspberry bushes. :) Smart girl.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

From the Chicken Coop...

I've been trying to get a minute to talk about my chickens, and what I'm trying to accomplish with them.  I have a very mixed flock of 28 chickens.  There are 3 roosters, two bantam breeds and one a bantam crossed with a full sized hen.  The hen was either a black star or a Columbian Wyandotte.  Of the 25 hens, 3 are Dominique's, 3 Golden Penciled Hamburg's, 1 Columbian Wyandotte, 1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Black Star, and 16 various bantams.
It seems an odd mix, and one that is not entirely efficient at any job.  True, that.  However, they are a part of a long term goal of generating a flock that is self perpetuating without incubating eggs or buying new laying hens.  I'm essentially trying to go back in time to a day when hens sat eggs and perpetuated their kind without a lot of fuss and bother, but also have a flock of laying hens that will lay reasonably well without constant broodiness.
Right now, I have all the broodiness I can handle with these bantam hens of mine.  The original 7 bantam hens were hatched by broody hens themselves.  In turn, most if not all of them hatched eggs last summer.  Currently I have 4 broody hens, some of them hatched last year, sitting on full size hens eggs in my nest boxes.  The full sized hens eggs were fertilized by either a bantam or bantam cross rooster.
What I'm hoping for now is to get some hens that are full size/bantam crosses  that might have a bit more egg laying desire with a bit less broody behavior, and a larger egg size.

Here's the current flock:




Pretty rainbow, are they not?

When a hen goes broody and starts setting in a nest box, I move her to a small cage with a nest box, food and water that is partially covered with a sheet.  I do it at dusk, when she's drowsy and likely to stay where we put her without getting too shook up about it, as quickly as I can and put her right back down on her warm eggs.  Tonight, I will move four hens in this way.

Waiting cages, needing food and water containers added:


We used this process around 7 or 8 times last summer.  It worked perfectly every time.  These bantam hens are broody to a fault.  I'm pretty sure that some of them would die of malnourishment if they weren't allowed to set eggs and hatch a brood.  They will literally sit on nothing if you take the eggs away, and never move from their post.  Sometimes I have to make them get off of their eggs to eat, drink and of course poop. :)  I don't actually remove the hen from the nest.  I just uncover the cage and a lot of times that makes her decide to get off of her nest to eat.  I can tell if they've gotten off to eat by seeing if there's any fresh poop.  A broody hen poops one very large, stinky pile of poo each day when she gets off her nest for a quick drink and bite to eat.

Here are a few of the broody gals:


I leave them in the cage, removing the nest box after all have hatched, until they're a couple of weeks old.  If there are eggs left after 24 to 48 hours and the hen is still sitting, I remove them with the nest box.  I do make sure there's no live chick inside before getting rid of them.  So far, there never have been.

Here's the result of around a 21 day wait.  These are from last summer:



I love letting the hens hatch the eggs and care for the chicks.  They do it so well, of course! :)  No pasty butts to worry about.  No heat lamps needed.  The chicks are hardy and happy, and so much fun to watch as mom teaches them to eat and drink, scratch up seeds and insects, and perch on a perch.  They're so young when they manage to fly up with mom.   It's really the sweetest, most natural thing.
After a few weeks the chicks and their mom go into the coop with the other chickens:


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fun With the Does

Here are some pics of the girls on the last day of February.  Ginger was bred on March 1 to Shamrock, so now we have two does due in July (hopefully).  We'll breed the other two girls in the fall, so now they're on opposite schedules and we should have milk for more of the year.  I hope it works out that way, anyway.

Starlight enjoys some "greens"

April

Moon shows off her balancing act

Moon

Starlight

sisters

Ginger

Ginger


the girls

Sunday, February 22, 2015

NFF Blue Moon X NFF Mr. Tumnus for July kids!

Moon and Mr. T will be first time parents around July 10 to 15.  Here are a few pics of the lovely Mini-Nubian parents to be.  Click on photos for larger images.



Mr. Tumnus, about a month


Mr. Tumnus, about a month

Moon at 9 mo.

Moon about 2 mo.

Moon about 6 weeks

Mr. Tumnus, day 1

Moon and the girls, 4 mo.
Mr. Tumnus, 8 mo.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter Update Part 2

The short of it is, I've reduced my herd, or two herds, really, down so far that I'm very low on breeding possibilities.  I retained only two ND does and one ND buck, and two mini-Nubian does and one mini-Nubian buck.
When I decided to sell both of my Nubian does, I hadn't researched the process of creating a line of mini-Nubians to the fullest yet.  I'm still getting a handle on that process, and realizing that it would take a lot of time and a lot of good goats to develop my own line from scratch.  Yes, I can breed my does and buck for 50/50, second generation mini-Nubians.  Yes, they will be some really nice, mini sized goats, and they should be rather milky with nice udders and teats.  But they won't have any more breed character than my current mini-Nubians.  I need more Nubian in the line first.
I'm also not ready to leave the Nigerians behind.  I love the little darlings who give so much in terms of loving personality, rich and creamy milk, and even some meat for our table.  All on so little space and so little food!  I can't fault them for much, unless it is their short stature and smaller teat size.  It is hard to get a pail under them.
SO...
Right now I have a loose plan for moving ahead.  I would like to keep the Nigerians that I have until they grow old and pass away; at least the does.  I will be breeding the mini-Nubians I have now for milking, and selling the doelings they produce.  I expect them to be quality, and worth investing in. They just won't have the roman nose and floppy ears of the Nubian.  At most I suppose they'll have airplane ears and straight noses, like their mothers and father.  I hope in a while to get a 5th or 6th generation mini-Nubian buck who has great breed character, and breed him to my current does, and perhaps a daughter or two.  It will be years down the road when I can say I am producing doelings with the character I'm hoping for.
This has all been a huge learning experience, and I'm not sure that with the relatively small resources I have as far as land and $, that I've made a "wise" decision as far as breeding mini-Nubians.
However, I think I have made a wise decision about the goats I've kept for my homestead.  These first generation mini-Nubians of mine are feeling like a perfect fit here.  They're just what we need.  Great size, great personality, don't seem to eat any more than the ND's so far.  I'm really pretty sure their udder and teat size is going to be really nice for hand milking, and they are tall enough to get a bucket under with ease.  I'm really looking forward to freshening them, and I don't think I'm going to be disappointed.
All that said, I still don't know exactly where I'm headed in the future, but I like where I am right now.