Tag Archives: Baby Goats

Food. (what goes in, comes out, and gets eaten)

Food.  It’s what builds everything.  Plants, animals, fungi, even those little things swimming in the bottom of puddles we can’t see without a microscope. Like one of our favorite suppliers says, ‘you are what you eat’, and for us that extends to our animals. As a family, we have made some big changes to allow us to eat about 90% organically. There are a few treats, a tiny bit of dining out, and one or two quick meals that we are loath to give up, but in truth, 7 days a week we are scratch cooking out meals. Our meals come mostly from either our farm, or another in the area. It occurred to us several years ago that spending money on organic food, but feeding conventionally grown feed to the animals that make things we eat (milk, meat and eggs) was silly. Then we got to thinking about the few animals we don’t eat (pet bunnies, llama….) but who’s poop amends our garden, that grows food we eat… There is a point where this gets a bit crazy, as for us animal health trumps our desire to live ‘chemical free’. We will administer antibiotics to sick animals. Just like we do to ourselves and our kids. Cause we love them all.

So, on this vein, we have tried lots of different feeds in our animals. Our chickens get organic pellets, and scratch grain. Our other poultry also gets similar treatment. Last year our goats were a bit of a challenge. We had access to pelleted organic goat feed for a while, but then it’s availability became iffy. We ended up getting organic grain from a mill up in Burlington, which was cool, only that the milk goat was not fond of it. In fact, she didn’t like it. We tried mixing some watered down molasses, and that worked for a time, but in the end the go-to amendment for her feed was alfalfa pellets. We ended up getting Standlee alfalfa pellets (similar to alfalfa hay, but easier for us to handle), which are non-GMO (big plus) but were not certified organic. And that’s about the only rub with it. This year we picked up a bag of the alfalfa pellets just in case we ran into picky girls (we have three in milk this year, not just the one). We also were able to get reliable organic goat pellets. One of the girls isn’t a fan, but with a couple handfuls of the alfalfa she will suck it down (if their beet pulp was organic, we’d give that a shot, it would probably work better too). In fact, her milk production went up by about 10% when she started getting the pellets, so we added them to our older girls ration (we have to watch her as she puts all she has into her milk). We are happy with the results, but again, not knowing all that goes into it, once we don’t need the milk for the baby goats, we may drop it from their ration and take the cut in milk production that will follow. We also started adding a small handful of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) to each goats ration, and they act like we tossed candy on their plate, but it’s also non-GMO but not organic…. We’ll see how this all works out.

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Handful of food/milk/meat

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July.

July was a lot of work, starting with the Haying, then fair, then haying.  And more haying….  But here’s the first of two fairs our eldest showed her goats at.  She had some real hurdles to overcome, but came through better for it…  Even after the ‘rodeo’ she still said that she wanted to do it again next year.  That’s our girl!

Setup is up to the kids.

She has a lot of support, everyone in this shot was there to see her (well, all but the older couple in the middle)

“reigning it in” after the breakaway…

All done!  Marbles got to go to the second fair, but was there as company for the babies…

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All sideways

Goats are fun.  And funny.  Especially the little ones.  I think the ears are part of the personality too.  Daisy is as goofy as JarJar Binks, and has the attention span of a 2 year old on a sugar rush.  But I need to be careful, cause I keep thinking ‘she’s acting how I feel’.  She are her ‘sister’ Beauty are growing like a couple of well watered weeds (between the two of them almost 4 quarts a milk a day).  I can’t wait till they are weaned (not that I don’t enjoy being a goat jungle gym at 5:30 am during feeding time) as I have cheese, yogert and other goodies finally within my grasp.  Almost.

For now, I get to enjoy the kind of acrobatics that only a long legged, hyper active two month old goat can provide…

   
And then there is our little ‘Beauty’ practicing for this summer with her proud owner.

More to come….

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We can’t keep them all….

It’s been hard to put this up.  She’s so cute.  So cuddly.  So zippy and full of mischief.  “Curious” Georgia is one of the two twin girls born to our herd boss “Crescendo”.  We have a limit to the number of moults that we feed especially if we can’t eat them or drink their milk..  And Georgia is just too cute to eat.  Please e-mail me if you are interested, she will need to go to a home with other goats.

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New Baby. ((gasp))

Goat.  Had ya for a second there though didn’t I!?!  At the moment she’s so new she doesn’t have a name.  What she does have however is a heart for people that is going to give our Golden Retriever a run for his money.  She’s a bottle baby in the worst way.  We are mom and dad.  No if and’s or maa’s!  For now it’s ‘baby’ or ‘goose’ or ‘bubble dot’ or ‘map’ or ‘marble’ or ‘baby goot’…  depending on who you ask.  We will let you know once she tells us what her name is.  With her arrival we are moving away from the ‘fun but we don’t use it much’ fiber goats into the utility of a dairy goat.  Nubians are large, people friendly goats with long drooping ears.  Originating in Africa, they were refined in Brittan and brought to the USA after the turn of the century.  Although most folks can’t get past their drooping ears, I love their nose.  That large roman nose.  We did have to make room for her.  As sad as it is to see a friend leave, Legato and Solo went to live with a wonderful family from the Woodinville area.  They will be missed, but we know they went to a great home!

She is only about 45# at the moment, hopefully she’ll put on the extra 30# she needs by fall to be freshened.

She follows us everywhere.  I can walk all the way out to get the mail and back and she stays closer than any of our dogs…

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Goat milk….

So this really is just another part of the dream coming true.  One of our primary goals in living on, managing and having a farm is to be able to provide the safest, most wholesome, humanly treated, lovingly cared for food we possibly can for our family.  Yes.  We take it seriously.  Well, except for apologizing to each and every carrot we pull out of the ground.  Everything from the economics of getting a chicken from ‘fuzzy’ to freezer, in feed cost and time commitment, to the value we place on knowing how they were treated…

Some of the animals on the farm are more pet the livestock.  Really, until a month ago, the goats fit that bill.  Fiber is fun, but neither Farmer ‘J’ or I knit with any diligence.  Enter Ariosa.  We are ‘borrowing’ her at the moment, and she will return home by the end of July (for fair season).  She is a fiber goat, not a dairy breed, but she does well despite this ‘flaw’.  Our biggest hang up with transitioning from a ‘work for money, buy food’ to ‘spend time, harvest food’ has been the impact on our schedule.  We both grew up in ‘the White Ghetto’, and the flexibility to run here, and there, and back over there again is deeply engrained in our subconscious.  Dairy animals have a way of impacting that.  Even if you leave the kids on mom for a few months, you still have to be there, once a day, at the same time, to milk.  It’s kind of like having another job.  We weren’t sure how well it would work for us, and after several weeks, the novelty has worn off, and really, it’s cool.  We all like the milk (even the baby, who will tell you “No” if you ask her, but at the moment she can only say “No”, unless it’s candy).  We have made some yummy yogurt, and once we’ve gotten back up to a gallon in ‘reserve’ we will run a batch of feta and see how that comes out.

We are only getting a shy half gallon a day, and could use more, but we’ve heard of dairy goats giving up to a gallon per milking..  So we’ll just see what comes.  Next up is saving the $ for a good bottle raised dairy goat.  We’ll get her freshened in the fall and be counting the days till next spring…

Oh, and as far as the raw milk (gasp!) thing goes, read up on it if you want to pick a fight.  I still think what we bring in from the goat yard is safer than the half gallon of organic milk we buy from the store.  I know what the goat is eating, how she’s feeling, how the milk was handled, and soooo much more.  In my mind, pasteurization is a band aid for a lack of trust and faith in our food system (probably well placed).

So here it is.  One half gallon half gone, another one behind, and the morning quart chilling in an ice bath.

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Baby Goats!!

I am not sure of any other animal on our farm that has brought us as much happiness as our goats have.  (Don’t tell the dogs, or then again, go ahead.  Maybe then they’ll stop puking on the floor after eating too much grass…)  They are happy to see us, and are friendly and full of personality.  Our herd has risen and dropped in number over the last few years.  Most of this is in reaction to the pure cuteness of them, or having too many mouths to feed (see this post, and this one,  …)  And here we go again.

“Crazy-chendo” (really Crescendo) and Legato have both kidded over the past week.  Crescendo threw twin girls (YEA!) and Legatto had a single buckling.  It’s going to be interesting to see how this summer progresses, and it’s already been worth it to see the little ones scamper about like wind up toys…

Answering the age old question ‘him or her?’

Sweet little girl…

Poor little boy, soaking wet and sticky…  Momma had to take some talking to before she got to work licking him…

Meeting our guard Llama ‘Sampson’.