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.