Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Goat Update

The goats waiting to be brought up to the barn after grazing in the field all day.  Amelia and MiniBell are the two all the way to the left.  Haven't they gotten big!

Carolyn running the goats to the barn from the field.  They all just follow her up to the barn.

Many of you know I am in the middle of the "Great Goat Experiment" here on our farm. I have raised full sized dairy goats for years (Lamancha's and Nubians) and loved and enjoyed every moment.  They were just what we needed at that time.  I had so many children drinking milk and two children with g-tubes that I used goat milk for their nutrition.  I worked for years in my herd trying to come up with, thru breeding, my idea of the best "back yard" milker for myself and family.  A goat that is hardy, healthy, and easy to hand milk with long teats.  I didn't care so much about pure bred anymore because I found over time the hybrids to be healthier.

Now that my children have grown up so much. We don't use as much milk as we did in the past.  So I can move to a smaller, easier to handle goat.  Also, the larger goats have been pushed thru genetics and heavy graining for high milk production.   They really need to be grained year round to maintain good body condition.  That gets to be expensive with grain prices going up and up, I am now really wanting a moderate amount of milk, smaller goat to feed and a goat that can produce a nice amount with out to much grain. 

Thus the introduction to the Nigerian Dwarfs into my life.  They are smaller, easier to handle, have not been bred for a huge amount of time for huge milk yeilds and don't need grain in most cases to maintain body condition unless in milk.
               Twinkie and Bluebell
So I sold my herd of full sized dairy goats.  All but my two best Milkers. (Twinkie and Bluebell, Just in case I was unhappy with my new goats)  Twinkie and Bluebell give over a gallon a day each.  I did a lot of research to find and purchase clean Nigerian Dwarfs that all had the genetics to easily be hand milked and purchased four doe kids and three unrelated bucks. 

I sort of have two things going on here right now.  I am crossing my great full sized milkers with one of my Nigerian Dwarf bucks to come up with a mid-sized or "mini-milker"  And then now that my four pure Nigerian Does are old enough bred them straight to the pure Nigerian Bucks. 

So far on the farm this year 2013, we have had two goats to freshen/deliver babies.  I guess phase 1 of the experiment.  Twinkie kidded end of January with triplets. Two does and a buck.  I didn't need the buck so he is gone and I kept the does for my experiment. (Amelia and MiniBell) 

Amelia and MiniBell  are just a few days short of three months old now.  They were disbudded at a few days old.  They are chewing their cud.  Eating grass, hay and a bit of grain and drinking water.  They are about 40 pounds each and have both been dewormed for the first time.  They are doing well and large and healthy enough to spend the days out in the pasture grazing with the rest of the adult does.  Since they are crosses between the Nigerian Dwarfs and the full sized goats they are already taller than the adult Nigerians that they graze with.   I weaned them last night.  They had their last night bottle and are officially weaned.
Bluebell kidded in the beginning of April.  She also had triplets.  Two bucks and a doe.  I don't need either of the bucks so one is gone and the other staying to keep the little doe company till she is big enough to be put in with the other does.  They are about two weeks old now and drinking one 20 ounce bottle in the morning and one 20 ounce bottle in the evening.  They were disbudded at a few days old.  They are nibbling around at things but I have not actually seen them eat anything much yet.  We have not named the little doe yet that is staying.  But she is a cutie pie.  Carolyn has been calling her Calfy because her face is split white and black and looks like a calves face.  Carolyn calls the little buck Dinner!  But I doubt we will eat him.  There is a huge market for goats in our area and I have never had trouble selling them.
      The unnamed doe also known as Calfy for now.
The very nicely put together buckling that is staying for a short while to keep the little doe company.

So Amelia and Mini Bell are weaned and I have a ways to go on bottle feeding Bluebells babies as they won't be cut back to one bottle a day till they hit 8 weeks old.  The next phase in all this should be around June 1st when all four of the Nigerian Dwarfs should start to freshen for the very first time.  They will be the first pure Nigerian Dwarf babies born on our property.  So should be fun.  I have been waiting a long time for this as I will see who out of the four does are going to be easy to milk good milkers.  And will know what does to cull and what babies to retain for the future. Bottle feeding babies is not my favorite job.  I just can't catch a break from it this year I think.  :)  But Carolyn helps me and I am happy and grateful that God blessed us with three does from the first two kiddings of the year.  Very blessed.


2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

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