Anyway, I tend to head out sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 am this time of year so you better get up and get dressed. Find your coveralls, pull on your muck boots, cover your head with a warm cap, put on some leather work gloves and let's go! I hope you've had a cup of coffee (or tea) cause it's gonna be cold out there.
|Dressed for sucess.|
Heidi will greet us at the back door. Sometimes she has a deer leg, sometimes not. I wouldn't kiss her.
The pregnant does and kids are just a few steps outside the door so let's first check on our very pregnant Nigerian. She's visiting for a few weeks and is due any second now. Hi Jam! NOTE: She kidded on Feb 7th and you can read that here if you haven't already.
|Jamboree awaiting our arrival.|
As it turns out the goats will be checking on us as well.
|Meet Starr, my LaMancha, who is due to kid in about 2 weeks with Mini-LaManchas.|
|This is Tinkerbelle. Tinkerbelle: "Got any Doritos???"|
Now that we've said "Hi" to everybody, let's make sure everyone has water. You're in luck because we have hot and cold water in freeze-proof faucets (well almost freeze proof) just steps from the barn. When it gets below 20 degrees, these tend to freeze up a bit but don't worry, there is hot water just in side the back door. So lucky for you, you won't have to carry buckets very far and I keep extra empty buckets so you won't have to deal with ice either. The girls just love their steaming buckets of hot water in the morning.
Now that everyone has water, let's toss a bit of hay into the feeders to give the goats some roughage in their rumens. The rumen is a bacterial digester that breaks down fiberous feed and serves to keep ruminents warm in the winter. It is located on their left side and it sticks out when it is full of food. The bump on the right (see Celia below) are full of babies! We'll feed hay first, then give them some grain a bit later on.
|Munching a bit of hay and Celia sporting her baby bump.|
Now that the girls have hay, we'll head out to feed the boys who live in a separate barn in the back field out-of-sight of the girls. It is a bit inconvenient but it keeps the boys calmer without all those girl hormones in the air. If you don't feel like walking just jump on the back of my ATV and we'll ride out. Come on MOOSE!!
|Moose, my older Spinone still loves to come along.|
I have been using round bales this year for the boys. They are stored next to their pen under cover. Just peel off a couple of large armfuls and put in in the feeders while I fill their water bucket with hot water. Let's also give them a dab of pelleted feed to help put a little weight back on after the fall/winter rut. The bucks burn a lot of calories just being boys, even without the girls close by.
|This looks more orderly than it really is.|
Now that we've cleaned the boys' pen, we'll head back to the house and feed the girls their grain ration. It consists of a pelleted sweet feed mixed with sunflower seeds and alfalfa pellets. They also get a mix of Diamond V yeast and Thorvin kelp in addition to a balanced goat mineral.
|Sweet feed and sunflower seeds for carbohydrates and energy.|
|Alfalfa pellets add protein and calcium to the diet.|
|Kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals that keep dairy goats healthy and productive.|
|Goats really look forward to their breakfast.|
Now that everyone is fed lets go in and have a bite of breakfast. Don has volunteered to prepare our delicious breakfast this morning. This morning we're having wonderful fresh eggs from our hens, fried apples, and homemade bread. Stick around for tomorrow and you'll have freshly rolled oats with various fruits and nuts. I can't wait until we'll have fresh goat milk with our oats. YUM!!
Now that we've eaten let's go back outside and clean the girls' pens. Take this pitchfork and remove the wet, wasted hay and put it in the wheel barrow. Now, take this little rake and scooper and remove the remaining wet bedding and goat berries.
Spread a bit of barn lime in the damp areas and add a bit of fresh bedding. I'll check water buckets again and top them off.
Well I think we're done for now. I hope you enjoyed your morning rounds. Come back soon because we'll be checking on those precious newborn goat kids!
|A little blue-eyed girl just a few hours old.|