Friday, October 18, 2013

Breeding Update

Yesterday, October 17th, I had to re-breed both Panzy and Ginger, as they were in heat again.  Or I should say in heat for real, I assume.  This is the first time I've had false heats happen, but I've heard of it so I wasn't completely surprised.  Apparently, some does have a false heat about 5 days before the real thing.  Both of these does appeared to be in heat on October 11th, and again on October 17th.  Hopefully now they are bred, and due around March 11.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Waiting for Kids Again

Breeding has begun for spring 2014 kids!  This is always an exciting time.  Check the breeding schedule page for more info.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dairy Products From Fresh Goat Milk!

We've had enough milk to experiment with more diary products this spring. It's been great fun, and we're loving eating and cooking with my creations. Last year I did yogurt, kefir, chevre and caso blanko. This year, more yogurt, cultured buttermilk, feta and ricotta so far. Getting ready for mozarella, cream cheese, more types of yogurts, and hopefully before the year is over, cheddar cheese curds. Also have enough milk weighed and frozen for about 14 batches of soap. It's been busy and exciting around here!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Nigerian Dwarf Kids Available

My friend and fellow breeder has 6 doelings and 2 bucklings available mid July, when they're weaned.  $100 for unregistered doelings, $200 to $250 registered doelings.  Not sure on buckling or wether prices.  Many blue eyes.  If interested, contact me using my contact button on the upper right hand side of this page and leave your phone number.  She doesn't go online, so contact will be by phone only.  I'll get your number to her so she can call you back.
Here are a few picks of her kids:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Way to go, Starlight!

I waited until Starlight's triplets were 5 weeks old before beginning to separate them at night and milk her in the morning.  At 6 weeks fresh, she's SO VERY CLOSE to a quart per milking!  I am really thrilled with her production.  She's probably making more than half a gallon of milk per day at this point, considering I don't relieve her of every bit in the morning (after all, she has three hungry kids that are going to mob her when she gets off the milk stand).  Those kids are very efficient at emptying an udder, and nurse all day, so I'm sure they get more than a quart of milk from her during the day.  She is a great doe, and I'm so glad to have her!

This is really not the best udder shot, but it's the only one I have from this freshening that's on the computer for me to use.  This is Starlight's udder at 5 weeks fresh, 9 hours bagged.  Hope to add some more soon.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pics of North Forest Farm Spice

This is Spice.  He was named by his new owners, who he gets to meet in a few weeks.  He had a bout with diarrhea, I think from getting so much of his mom's milk.  He's a little piggy!  I had him in the house so I could wash him up and get him dry again.  I was also actually hoping he'd poo on the floor so I could get a sample to do a fecal on him.  I wanted to make sure there was nothing else going on.  Of course, when you want a goat to poo on the floor, he won't! ;)  Any way, after a few days of probios he was fine.  He is such a cutie!  Very unique in his coloring too.  I'm not trying to breed for color, but I still like seeing all the colors that show up.  He's a chamoise, but it's hard to spot through all the white.  I just love his big, dark eyes!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet Twister and Her Twins

I'd like to introduce you to Twister (registered name, French's Dream Twisted Sister).  I decided to get a Nubian doe, and she comes with twins! :)  It's going to be fun learning about another breed of goat, and Twister seems like she's going to be a great doe to work with.  Her son will be wethered and raised for meat.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to keep her doe kid, or if she'll be for sale in the future.  I have been long thinking of breeding my Nigerian bucks to a full size breed of doe, and then keeping the resulting mini breed as my milkers.  I was looking at Oberhasli, as I love their coloring and their body style and head/ear type.  However, I have a friend who does a great job raising Nubians.  I really trust her and think she knows her stuff!  I decided if I was going to go for a full size doe, I couldn't go wrong getting one from her.  I'm feeling very fortunate to be getting this doe.  It looks like she's going to be a great mom, and a good milker as a FF.  I'm not sure that she's a great "show doe", but she has a pretty little udder, and so far appears to be taking after her mom, Poplar Hill Magic Legs, as a true milker.  You can visit the French's Dream herd at Baa-si Farms.

Twister and twins

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sold Out

All of our 2013 kids are currently sale pending.  I expect deposits on them this week.  I'm always so happy when I feel they're all getting great homes where they'll be loved and appreciated.  I feel sure that's the case with the ladies who will soon be bringing them home. :)  I'll try to continue posting information about Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, and whats happening here at North Forest Farm.

If you're interested in future kids from our farm, keep checking back.  There's a SMALL chance I'll be breeding a couple of yearlings next month for September kids.  I'm still waiting on one of them to reach 40 lbs., which is where I personally feel comfortable breeding them.

If I don't breed them this spring, I"ll be breeding four does for spring 2014 kids.

For now, though, we're just going to sit back and enjoy playing with these kids until they're weaned in May. :)  And milking!  Of course, milking.  I can't forget that.  Of course, we had one tragedy in the loss of Cupcake, and Panzy's hard kidding has caused her to have significantly less milk than she would have.  I'm not sure that it will pick up again, but she does have a fat and happy doeling who is growing fast, so I guess she has enough milk.  Starlight, however, appears to be trying to single handedly udderly?  make up for it.  She is nursing her triplets, and yet still always appears to have a ton of milk in her udder.  Tomorrow I plan to attempt to milk her in the morning without separating her from her kids.  Not sure how much milk she'll let down for us that way, but I'm going to give it a try.  When the triplets are three weeks or a month old, I'll be separating the kids at night and milking the does in the morning.  I'll try to get some udder pics at that point, starting with only 8 hours of separation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Introducing Starlight's Triplets!

Starlight kidded uneventfully (thank God!) on Sunday, March 10th.  She had triplets, a buckling and two doelings.  #1, blue eyed doeling, 2 3/4 lbs.  #2, brown eyed buckling, 3 lbs.  #3, blue eyed doeling, 3 1/2 lbs.  All are doing well, bouncy and nursing great.  Starlight has more than enough milk for all of them.  Either buckling or doeling #3 are sale pending!  I'm a very happy, tired goat mama!

Triplets are Shere Country SH Starlight X North Forest Farm Shamrock

Laboring Starlight

baby #1

Our awesome new goat go to gal, Alisa, with one of the triplets.

Baby #1 and #2

Alisa dries off baby #2

Japanzy's Blue Eyed Doeling

Japanzy kidded on Saturday, March 9th with an adorable little doeling we've nicknamed "Kimmie" in honor of the veterinarian who helped her into this world.  Kimmie is a black and white, blue eyed doeling.  She weighed 3.8 lbs. at birth.
Kimmie had a twin who died sometime before birth.  The stillborn twin was seriously holding up the birth process, and was tangled up with the live twin trying to be born.  I couldn't untangle them so we made a trip to the vet.  Little Kimmie came out breech but pretty easily.  The twin was coming out front feet first, head wrapped over her back.  We had a long struggle getting that kid out, and it wasn't pretty to say the least!  Japanzy is hopefully recovering, but she's sore and moving slow.  She's on antibiotics to prevent a uterine infection now, and I hope she makes a full recovery.  She's such a great mother, and a great milk maker too!

Here's little Kimmie (Frostbitty Japanzy X North Forest Farm TR Aspen)
Kimmie already has a sale pending!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thankful For the Time We Had

We lost our sweet Cupcake on March 1, 2013... we are so thankful for the time we had with her.
For the love she gave...

For her silly antics...
...and her delicious milk.
Cupcake was a wonderful, sweet goat.  She will be missed here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting For Goat Kids Can Be Funny

Today marks day one of waiting for the goats to kid.  Cupcake is due first, and today is day 143.  We have the baby monitor hooked up now, and it's pretty interesting having the barn sounds inside.  When you're half asleep, you can come to some strange conclusions about what's going on.  :)  Early this morning I thought the chickens had gotten out and made their way to the house.  Dan got up around that time to look for "the crazy toy we had that sounds like a rooster".  I'm going to have to get a human kid to go to the barn and bleat like a doe in labor so I can tell where to set the volume. ;)
I think Cupcake will go a little while yet.  I can still feel tail ligaments and her udder isn't very full yet.  She's looking hollow though, so it shouldn't be too long.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Find Us On Facebook

We're on Facebook!  We'd love for you to find us there and like our page.  You'll get all the latest updates on what's happening here on the little farm, and meet other Nigerian owners as well.
 Here's a link.

Once again, we're having some real camera problems at North Forest Farm, but if one of them decides to work today, I'd like to get some new photos of the prego gals put up.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Preparing and Waiting for kids...

Waiting is the hardest part about kidding season.  The does are getting so big now, and having more trouble breathing around those bellies full of kids.  It's fun to speculate on how many each doe will have, and what they may look like.  Cupcake seems pretty uncomfortable.  She's often reluctant to move from her favorite spot now, and it's easy to see why.  As she should have about two weeks to go now, I've begun a bit of grain for her.  Just 1/2 c. per day for now, 1/4c in the morning and 1/4c in the evening.  I'll also be offering her a little alfalfa in about a week, when I can start all the pregnant girls on it without the risk of having huge kids.  I like to stay away from the chemical wormers as much as possible, especially when milking, so I try to get that over with before I start milking for the family.  I will be administering a wormer to each doe the day after she kids, and hope that combined with the earlier start to our kidding season will give us a better spring in terms of parasites.

I plan to clean kidding pens this week, and have one more kid safe hay rack to build.  We used these little wire hay racks
 Hay Rack
our first kidding season, and won't do that again.  Way too many close calls with the kids.  They want to jump into the racks and curl up on the hay, and can so easily get a leg, or worse, their head, caught in them.  I had one kid nearly hang himself that year, and the same month a friend of mine had a kid break her leg in one.  I made the racks in the following photo with old crib rails.

Much better, and no danger to those always curious and busy kids! :)

I'll also be getting my kidding supplies ready this week, and getting the baby monitor set up so I can at least hear what's going on in the barn.  I'd love to be able to see as well, but that will have to wait for now.
For anyone curious, I'll try to post about what I keep in my kidding kit soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Visiting Goats, Urine Scald and the Final Stretch

We have had two visiting goats at North Forest Farm this month. They belong to a 16 year old girl who really wanted her doe, Irena, to kid this year.  I had a separate kidding stall that wasn't being used yet, and felt like helping her out.  The buckskin is the doe, Irena and Willie, her companion, is black with some white.  They've been fun to have with us, especially Willie, who is always up to something and a big snuggler as well.  We are just waiting to see if Irena goes into heat again, which I don't expect, and then she and Willie will be going home.  I'm really excited to see what her kids are like.  She's been bred to Aspen and should be due around June 3rd.  If you'd like to keep an eye on her progress, you can find her here.
Willie and Irena
We've been struggling a bit with one of our bucks lately.  The bucks are...bucky.  They do "bucky" things, such as pee on themselves, especially on the back of their front legs.  It's less than attractive to us humans, but I guess the does are supposed to find it irresistible.  Unfortunately, it causes a condition called urine scald, where the hair falls out and the skin becomes very irritated.  Shamrock has some bald, inflamed skin that has needed treatment.  It is less than pleasant to have to wash, blow dry, trim and medicate a stinky buck, but it is required to keep them healthy.  Right now, I'm using bag balm with lavendar oil in it to treat the area, but when I get some zinc oxide, I'll make a salve from lanolin and zinc oxide for him.

We are down to the last month of waiting for new babies!  We may have our first kids on the ground around March 1st.  Our girls are getting round!  Well, two of them are.  Starlight is less rotund that Cupcake and Japanzy.  She still seems pregnant, judging by her udder, behavior, and vulva...I HOPE!  She was, after all, my best milker last year.  This last month of waiting is the hardest.  It gets so exciting!  There's a lot more to managing the herd before kidding starts as well.  I like to deworm does about a week before they give birth, and again the day after.  I also begin to feed a bit of grain and alfalfa about a week before kidding.  This means more moving goats around, so they can eat their individual diets without interference.  There is no such thing as feeding something to one or two goats when they are all together.
Once, I tried to feed them each their dose of copper in a little "sandwich".  I was mauled by five does at once, ten little front hooves all jumping up on me, and a melee the likes of which I've seldom seen. :)  It was fun!  But, not effective.