I was busy baking bagels last evening so Bekah gave Mo' his bedtime bottle. I glanced over to on the progress Bekah was making and noticed that our cat Sophie was busy "helping" by licking the milk dribbles off of Mo's chin.
As far as I know that is the first time they have had contact outside of Mo's kennel although she does like to hang out on top of his kennel with a paw dangling where he can sniff at it.
By the end of next week I should have a spot ready for him in the doe barn and he will graduate from living in the kennel in the breakfast nook to living with other goats. I wonder if Sophie will go visit him there.
It wasn't raining this morning so I took little Mo outside with me to do chores. He is so much fun to watch and he sticks pretty close to me. When we got close to the doe pen I noticed that the new doe Tsunami was acting like she was in heat, even though she was supposed to be bred. The closer Mo got the more interested she got. Apparently he's got the mojo at less than two weeks old.
I finished chores and then took Tsunami over to see if the bucks agreed with me - they did. But she was more interested in Rio than Sunshine. I had other plans and attempted to segregate the bucks like I always do, but our wether Stormy decided to get in on the act too, and when push came to shove all three boys escaped along with a few chickens and the chase was on.
Tsunami took off running back to the doe pasture with the boys in hot pursuit. Rio was faster and wasted no time when he caught up to her. Sunny was still trying to do a little sweet talking when I caught him and took him back to the buck pen.
So far my luck with getting bred does hasn't been very good. If I come out and find Mystery in heat in a couple of weeks the failure rate will be 100%. I really hope that doesn't happen or almost all of this years kids will be out of Rio.
What a way to start the day off, but at least it wasn't raining....
Bekah went outside to visit the new does this morning and she and Tsunami just really hit it off. Tsunami was playing follow the leader over obstacles and running up and down the hill with her. I have a feeling they are going to be buddies for years to come.
Mystery (above right) wasn't around children in her previous home and was initially a little taken aback by Bekah's energy, but when Bekah started running down the hill with Tsunami at her heels Mystery just couldn't resist and had to go along for the romp. That seems to have broken the ice, and while she isn't quite as friendly as Tsunami, she is now actively seeking attention from myself and Bekah.
Bekah and I were supposed to leave for Reno at 6am on Friday morning but I didn't wake up until a few minutes before six, so we actually made it out to I-5 at 7am. We encountered fog in south Eugene that lasted until Rogue River but other than that and a lot of construction we made good time.
We stopped just north of Weed, CA for lunch and let the Jasmine and Rosanna out for a little walk to stretch their legs. Boy did we get stares! Reminded me of when I was traveling out to Colorado many years ago with my pet mini pig.
Since their was no hot water available at the rest area we stopped a few miles down the road in McCloud where the nice guys at the Chevron station let us fill up the bucket to heat the bottles for the LaMancha buckling we were taking down with us. While I was giving him his lunch, Bekah was having fun playing in the snowbanks.
A few miles down the road from there we stopped at a view point to take more pictures of Mt. Shasta and let Bekah do some more playing in the snow. The pavement was dry and clear and traffic was pretty light so we made good time through the mountains.
Just before we crossed from CA into NV I got a call from Bob who said his drop off location was north of Reno and maybe we should meet him there. I found the right exit off of HWY 395 and stopped at the Shell Station and called Bob back. While we were talking he got a call from the gal he was delivering a mini horse too, and she said "There is a Shell Station at the exit....I'll meet you there". A few minutes later they were both there and the exchange of goats and paperwork was completed by 6pm.
My original plan was to spend the night in Reno, but since I wasn't feeling tired I decided to drive back as far as Susanville. In Susanville, we stopped and fed our new buck kid (he was just born on the 13th) "Mo" his bottle and then I decided to drive on a little further. I ended up driving all the way back to Weed, CA and stopped at a truck stop there about 10pm.
We re-arranged the kennels, leaving just one in the back of the minivan and then Bekah and I crammed ourselves into the remaining space. About midnight I woke up and checked on the buck kid. He was shivering so I wrapped him in a towel and tucked him into my sleeping bag with me. About 3:30am Bekah woke up complaining about "freezing!" And she was right it was freezing - it was 20 degrees outside and there was ice inside the van! At that point additional sleep was futile so after using the facilities and grabbing a cup of hot coco for her and coffee for me we ht the road.
We arrived in Medford about 5:30am and figured that was too early to call the lady that we were picking Mystery up from, so we waited until after we had given the buckling his breakfast and called her at 7:30am. Unfortunately we still managed to wake her up, but she said we were welcome to come by and pick Mystery up.
We left her place in Rogue River about 8:30am and made it back home just a little before noon. Bekah did very good for most of the trip although at one point just before we crossed into NV she said to remind her "not to sign up for another trip like this!"
We are very excited about the does and buck kid we brought home and looking forward to seeing them grow and mature here on the ranch.
Every since we lost our blue eyed buck kid Donavon I've been keeping my eye out for a replacement. It's not easy finding a blue eyed buck or buck kid that come from strong milking lines that isn't related to the two bucks we already have. In fact I scoured the nation looking for one.
Stephanie at Aura Acres in southern California had some very nice prospects, but they were just too closely related. But after some consideration she hit upon an answer - kids out of a buck she had bred. Mojave Blue or "Mo" is related but far enough back, and to such quality that I just had to take a chance on the little fellow.
Mojave Blue was born on the 13th of February and was part of a litter of quints. Unfortunately the fifth kid was still born and didn't arrive until the following day. Needless to say his dam was not doing so well, so all the babies are bottle babies.
They already had goat transport trip in the works to Reno, NV this coming Friday. And since Reno is closer than the meeting spot we had been discussing, Bekah and I are headed down with a couple of does that we are trading for him and a bred blue eyed doe. Bekah is very excited to have a bottle baby to care for again.
A sure sign of spring is when the "Easter Egger" hens start laying again. I only have three of that breed, and they all lay slightly different colors of eggs ranging from olive green to almost blue. Based on color only one has started laying, but it won't be long now until we will start seeing more greens among all the browns.
The other sure sign of spring is when I start "nesting" on behalf of my pregnant does. This afternoon I started in on finishing the interior of the does barn. A chore I have been putting off for months! With hubby's help we got the permanent fence up that divides the the barn in half. One 12x12 half is the general shelter for all of the does. And then the other half has two 4x6 kidding stalls and the remainder of the space (8x12) is used for feed storage and milking. It may be a little cramped but compared to our previous set up its a dream!
Next up is to get the kidding pens fully set up. I had hoped to have concrete floors but that was way beyond my budget, so the kidding pen side of the barn has horse stall mats down and it really works very well. Eventually I hope to have those mats down in the whole barn.
We are very blessed to live near a top notch veterinary college which periodically has clinics that are open to the public at no fee, so that the students can gain experience. Last week I took two does for ultrasounds and on Monday I took Sunny for the annual de-horning clinic, to see what, if anything, could be done about his scur.
There is no fool-proof method to prevent scurs, which are small pieces of horn that grow in after a goat has been disbudded. If caught early they can sometimes be easily removed and the horn bud reburned. (Which is what happened with Rio's scur.) But in Sunny's case, his scur appears to be from the two horns merging into a single x shaped horn, that is larger in diameter than any disbudding iron. The scur is fairly flat on top and very slow growing so it really isn't a danger to him or to us.
It isn't very tall at this point in time, but the base is actually wider than it appears at first glance. The instructor said she had never seen anything quite like it before and took numerous pictures. And after much debate about the best way to tackle its removal among the students she finally said, "Here is an option no one has mentioned yet, we do nothing." She then pointed out that while it looks small, its width would mean removal would create a rather large gaping wound on Sunny's head, and would probably do more harm then good. I agreed with her assessment - the last thing I need to be dealing with is a gaping head wound!
Dr. V. asked me to bring him in again next year so she could evaluate it, and give a new crop of students something to puzzle over. Most likely all we will ever do with it in the future is a yearly trim with a Dremel tool.
Sunny sure didn't like walking into the building, but once inside he stood like a champ and let the dozen or so students all get a close look at him. He even stood still for the complimentary hoof trimming. I told them any time they wanted to do a hoof trimming clinic I would be happy to host them on the ranch. :) Oh and I may have a couple of students try and come for some of the kiddings this spring. I'm doing what I can to encourage the next generation of vets to pay more attention to learning about caprines!
I've been working on creating pedigree pages for all of my goats. I could just buy them, but it is actually more interesting to do the research and learn about the various does and bucks in the family tree.
For example, I found out that Rio's paternal grand-dam had a 6 lbs (3/4 of a gallon) one day milk test score as a three year old. And I found pictures of her and her udder the day of the milk test was done.
I have also created a new form for the pedigrees that goes back one more generation than I previously had, and I am planning on slowly updating (or creating) all pedigrees using that new form. So far both bucks are up-to-date.
And speaking of pedigrees I am on a search to add another buck to the herd, but he absolutely must be unrelated to either Sunshine or Rio, and he needs to be out of a high production doe. Blue eyes would be a bonus, but the other two criteria are by far more important. So if you have a buck or a buck kid that you think would work please let me know!
This afternoon I took Mame' and Jasmine over to the Ultrasound Clinic at OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. Both were confirmed pregnant! Jasmine was the only one I wasn't certain about, since she was in with Sunshine for a month and she sometimes has silent heats, so its hard to tell if she is pregnant or if I'm just missing them.
I was certain that Mame' was pregnant and since her due date is close to the last possible due date of Jasmine, I was hoping that a comparison might narrow down Jasmine's due date. But they are both far enough along that you can't see a whole baby, so a comparison of fetus size wasn't really possible. So I am going to go out on a limb and guess March 10th as her due date. :)
The students did a great job of dealing with the girls, and even gave them a hoof trimming while they were at it! On Monday I will be taking Sunshine in to have a small scur removed at the annual "De-horning Clinic".
With the weather mild, the doe(s) well trained, and the gentle sound of the milk swishing into the pail it all combines to create a very pleasant, relaxing experience. Right now I'm down to just having Allie in milk, and I am starting to dry her off in anticipation of her kidding in a few months. She may be down to only giving a cup a day, but the children are sure going to miss having that rich creamy milk on their oatmeal.
Some goat breeders prefer to dry a doe off before breeding her. But since I come from a cow background where drying a cow off before breeding would result in an unbred cow, I prefer to be certain a doe is bred before drying them off.
So my days of milking are numbered, at least for now. And I will miss it during the approximately two month break until Mame kids at the end of March. Two weeks after she kids I will start separating her kids at night and milking her in the morning before letting the kids out to spend the day with their dam.
With the increased size of the herd, I shouldn't have any problems with gaps in milking once the first doe kids this year. Although the later half of the year will be all first fresheners. I am going to bred Ramie and Rita in late spring for November kids, and the other 5 doelings will be bred in late fall for March/April kiddings next year.