Crazy Day!

Today started out normally with the Commander and I having breakfast down by the wood stove.  It quickly went downhill from there.

The Commander went upstairs and noticed that our builder was working out in the goat barn.  He was adding additional support to the loft, very nice of him.  With him out there working in the cold guilt quickly set in so both the Commander and I went outside to do a few chores and to chat.  I had no idea how cold it was out there.

The next thing I knew an audio alarm started to go off – a fire alarm from the house?  I rushed in and realized that the sound was coming from the OUTSIDE.  What the heck?  I walked around the side of the house and saw the alarm light on the septic mound and found the source of the alarm.  I went inside and called our neighbor (who runs a septic company) and through some miracle he was home and said he would be right over.  On Sunday morning!  He arrived and stated that we were lucky to get him as he is flying to Florida first thing Monday morning.  After a bit of trouble shooting he found that the pump was bad.  As luck would have it he had one at home!  Thirty minutes later he returned and everything up and running – whew.

So the goat loft was now reinforced, the septic pump was replaced, what next?  My hay guy called and wanted to deliver 100 bales.  My hay guy is the greatest.  He not only delivered but he was able to drive the hay wagon first to the goat barn then over to the sheep barn.  This allowed us to cut down on wheel barrow time and load the goat, buck and sheep barns directly from the truck!  The Commander only had to haul 26 bales to the Ram barn – much easier.  I spend most of my day stacking hay in four different lofts, I’m exhausted.

Just as we were finishing up the Commander noticed Dominick walking around inside his barn with the oatmeal tube stuck on his head.  He somehow worked the cap off the tube and jammed his head inside to eat the grain stored there, ugh.  That meant he needed to get some probiotics to prevent bloat.

As I was finishing up that chore the Commander called me over to the Rams.  Both Killarney and Hoss had large bloody gashes over their eyes.  After a bit more doctoring I was done for the day, I’m dead tired.

The Commander put everyone away tonight and he said everyone had noticeable hay bellies, that happens here on hay delivery days.  I’m sure the barns will all be full a poo tomorrow morning.

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The Smell of Hay

I sometimes have to put hay in the outside rack for the little ones as Chip pushes them away from the inside feeder. The outside feeder also creates less of a mess in the barn.

Of course putting the hay in the outside rack has its own dangers. I don’t think hay has a very strong smell but then I’m not a sheep.

It never fails that as soon as the babies start eating their hay outside the sheep come and get their share – even if they have to pull it though the fence!

The NOT Empty Chair

Cascade sheep are easier to handle than Icelandic sheep because they are about 1/3 smaller but that doesn’t mean that the process of trimming their hooves and giving shots is effortless.  I’m always looking for ways to do things better so when I saw the Sheep Chair on the Premier web page I figured I’d give it a try.

Here is Brighton after getting his ear tag and hooves trimmed in the chair, he may be a bit too small for the contraption.

The goats came into the sheep barn to steal some kelp from the free choice mineral feeder so Gidget had her chance at using the chair.  The Nigerian Dwarf goats were just too small to fit comfortably in the chair so Gidget had to get her hooves trimmed with the Commander holding her while he was seated in a lawn chair.

I keep sheep minerals, kelp, and baking soda available for the sheep at all times.  The baking soda is supposed to prevent bloat.  I have never had a case pf bloat here and the sheep eat it as needed so I think it works.  All the animals love kelp – who knew?

He thinks he looks like a pirate with his new ear tag!

Belle looks very lovely and delicate.  Both her and Bablo have very thick and soft fleece.

Berkley fits the chair perfectly.  He was so easy to handle, it was almost as if he ran into the stall and took a seat.  He is a very handsome and gentle fellow!

I don’t think we could have handled Zoe without the chair.  It did seem like she was laboring to breath, I wonder if the chair was at the wrong incline angle?  Does anyone else use this type of chair?  If so I would love tips on how you do things.

Milking

I have been milking three goats twice a day for a few weeks now and the novelty of milking has worn off.  I enjoy spending time with the goats but I’m not sure my poor cramping hands can take it.

The Commander wanted me to get a milking machine so I did some research on the web and found that the Henry Milker was getting great reviews.  I decided to give it a try and I even splurged and got the advanced version, it milks two teats simultaneously.

It really is a simple design and is quite easy to use – it came with a three page instruction manual.  The milker caps fit my mason jars so I was set to give it a try.

Addison, my best milker, was easily hooked up and milked in no time flat!  Her teat orifices were such that the suction filled the feed line and the teat cup almost immediately.  She was totally dry in less than two minutes.

One of the reasons I got the milker was because Gidget had smaller teats and orifices so she was difficult to milk.  She now gives almost as much milk as Addison and she enjoys the suction cups much more than hand milking. 

I highly recommend the Henry Milker.  It is easy to use and works like a champ.  The time savings is incredible and I am once again enjoying spending time with my girls during the milking process.

Pebbles

Meet Pebbles, she is our new Mini-Alpine goat! 

I got Pebbles from the wonderful people over at Carl B’s Farm.   They have some of the best goats in South Dakota and have won numerous awards.
 

I decided to try a Mini-Alpine as they are larger than my Nigerians (no where near as large as regular Alpine’s) and they should give me more milk.  I want something that is still easy to manage and not a huge hay burner.  An increase in the milk production will give me a chance to try making some cheese, most of the milk I currently get gets drunk before the day is out.

Pebbles is enjoying exploring her new surroundings, all the goats around her just love going in and on top of the igloo.  Pebbles markings are unique, she fits right in with the herd as no one looks anything alike!

The Herd

I just love seeing the goats out grazing in the high bush.

They vary so in color, a rainbow of vegetation eating machines.

“Hoss, meet Addison – Addison, Hoss!”  It helps to let the goats eat down the plants on the other side of the ram area fence, it reduces the temptation for the rams to force the fence for a juicy piece of grass.

A good shot of the chocolate color of Gidget’s baby Emma, I just love that shade.

More color variation, this is one of my favorite things about Nigerians.

Hoss longs to join the “little” herd.  He has wonderful horns.  Nothing is more fun on a sunny day than to let the goats out to graze.

Sold!

Emma (the one with the Chocolate hair color) has been sold!  The Commander really likes her but I can’t keep everyone.

I have begun the weaning process so she will be staying until the middle of July.

Addison’s buck Elijah will be going with Emma so she won’t get too lonely.

The same farm will be adding the first two Cascade sheep that I have sold!  Bronson with be the first half of a breeding pair.  Bronson looks like he carries more of the Icelandic traits.

He will be joining Bristol.  Bristol seems to be stronger in the Soay gene pool so they should make a really good match.  I hadn’t planned on selling Bristol but the buyer wanted a lamb breeding pair and she was my only Cascade ewe lamb this year.

The rest of the lambs are in the weaning process too, things have been loud around here lately.