Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clipping goats

I never considered giving my goats a serious clipping before now.  Last year I did kind of a tentative clip to get the worst of the winter fuzzies off but not a down-to-the-skin close clipping.  Scott from Fel-In-Luv Farm did a great presentation at our goat club meeting on the whys and hows of clipping your goat. It is a great way to ease the stress of summer heat so that the girls keep producing and to also find any hidden skin issues that might be hiding under all that hair.  It also discourage lice infestations and other bugs that want to inhabit your goat's hair and skin.

With the heat building for the Memorial weekend I decided that this was a good a time as ever to dive in. We set up in the shade on our deck where we have electricity and hot and cold running water.  My equipment included:

A stanchion to hold the goat
Oster A5 clippers with number 10 blade
A can of spray blade lube
A bottle of generic Betadine
Food to occupy the goat
My husband to distribute food
A glass of iced tea for me

My goat's coats were pretty clean so I didn't give them a pre-clip washing.  I started clipping at the rear of the goat and clipped against the lay of the hair.  Belly areas, heads, udders and legs were harder and the goats got a little happy-footed but we manged to pretty well clip the entire goat without incident.  I learned as I went and clip marks were less prevalent as I went from goat to goat (six in all).

The girls were pretty easy because they had shed much of their winter hair.



The bucks were harder, especially Phantom.  He still had a dense undercoat which was matted and difficult to clip.

Matted undercoat.


I did find a couple of skin boo-boos which just needed a bit of Nu-Stock creme to clear up.  Below is an example of one.

Skin sore.

After clipping, each goat was scrubbed with Betadine to remove any dead skin and to disinfect everything.

Betadine scrub.

The goat are now more comfy out browing in the warm weather and are much cleaner to milk too.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The bucks have a new house too

This winter and spring we embarked on an ambitious project (at least to us) to add two new goat barns and pasture areas. The area for our does was finished earlier this month and after some adjustments by everyone, they are now mostly settled in their new barn.  Did I ever mention that goats don't really like to move?  Well at least mine didn't.

The other area  we were working on was new pasture space for the boys in our front field along our driveway. The beginnings of that project are described here:   http://intermittentfarmreport.blogspot.com/2012/02/fencing-update-update.html .

 In mid February it looked like this:

By mid April we had progressed to this:

and this:

By mid May we were nearly ready to bring the boys down.

Now it looks like this.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Faces of Goats

Raising goat kids is hard work.  This year we had 17 babies born here.  We are present at every birth to attend to the newborn's needs. This includes cleaning birth fluids from their faces so they don't aspirate liquid into their tiny lungs,dipping navels in iodine to prevent infection, and giving special attention to the extra tiny ones to make sure they are strong enough to nurse.  The new mom's are exhausted so they are given a steaming hot energy drink.  Kids that are extra tiny or appear that they will not get their fair share at the milk bar are put on a bottle.  

 In a week or so the babies are disbudded, and in another two weeks they are put on twice daily oral medication to prevent Coccidia infection.  This continues for 7 days and then is given weekly until weaning.  At 5 to 6 weeks each kid gets vaccinated against Enterotoxemia, tetanus, and pneumonia.  Kids that stay until 8 or 9 weeks get a booster shot.  That works out to be a lot of needles and syringes!  Each kid is observed to make sure that there are no digestive issues such as constipation or runny poo which can be devastating to young kids.  By 7 weeks or so any boys not remaining as bucks are banded to castrate them so they will make fine pets or companions to a buck or doe.  Each kid also receives two ear tattoos which uniquely identifies each kid for registration. 

Sometimes during all this activity we have time to just play with them and marvel at their development.  The faces below make it all worthwhile.