Crazy me though because as if I don't have enough to do, I keep adding more. Remember that I brought home two more goats? I mentioned Jujubee, a doe, (Isn't she a pretty one? Love her confirmation.) and
her little buck, Jubal. If any doubt that it is a boy just take one look at the curled lip and you know it is. Yes, he is smelling the air for hormones. Jujubee is still a might thin and you can still count ribs and see a large ridge across her back but her coat is slick and she is as shiny as a new penny. She is slowly putting on weight. It will take up to six months, if longer, before I will be satisfied with her conditioning. I've had horses that took me a good year before I was happy.
When I look out at all the goats, and there are now TOO many, it looks like a "what doesn't look like the other" picture in a pre-school work book. Yes, poor Lilly here doesn't quite fit in. Five does, three kids -- and sheep. A Columbia no less. Never liked their wool and they aren't much of a meat animal either. Having eaten them, sheared them, raised a few of them, spun, and knitted with their wool, I've got to say they are not in my favorites list. But look at that cute face. I just couldn't leave her behind. She's weaned and best of all she was free.
The plan is for her to buddy up with the little buck and we will house him and her together, I HOPE. He hasn't exactly said yes yet. Then when we separate him off from the other goats, because after all he is a buck, then he will have a companion. One that he can't get pregnant. One that can go into the freezer when winter hits and he is allowed in with the does. That is the plan since plans always go just like they are first laid out. Right? Wrong? We shall see. Right now poor Lilly doesn't have a buddy. Watching the little kids play and Lilly looking on longingly, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer comes to mind. Yes, I did sing the song while I was weeding the garden watching the whole episode. Kind of brought a tear to my eye.
It isn't like I haven't tried to team her up with the kids. I left them all in the barn after letting everyone else out and offered grain. The kids just cried for their moms. I had to build a small separate pen in the barn just for Lilly she gets beat up in the confined space. Jujubee is especially notty around her. She was tortured by the other goats and now she thinks she has someone to inflict pain upon. What is it with revenge? If Lilly liked being cuddled, I would, but she doesn't seem to appreciate my affections. Oh well, I try. Bringing another sheep home isn't in the plans unless the good Lord drops one in my lap. The history on this Lilly is she was found abandoned beside the road and brought to the same home as Bella. Apparently the flock moved off and was nowhere in sight and she was left behind. It occasionally happens.
Since I now have too many goats, I've got to sell two. Daisy and Meagan have got to go along with the weather called Thunder, a name bestowed upon him by our seven year old grand daughter. He has to wait until he is weaned. No he says that is not his real name but what does it hurt to call him that. It isn't like he is staying or that he comes when called. That will drop me to my limit of five goats maximum.
Since this blog is about giving advice. I'm giving a little since I'm feeling a bit irritated. I have to close my eyes time after time when passing by animals because I see neglect. I get tired of seeing wormy animals especially. If they have a big belly and their ribs and backbone feel sharp, then they are really, really, wormy. It is wa.....y past time that they need treated.
Check the ribs and backbone of your animals regularly. Do they feel sharp to the touch. They should feel like the knuckles across your hand where the fingers meet the palm. If a person is of reasonable condition it should feel the same. Fat bellies mean all kinds of things like mine is cortisol medication that I take. Don't see a fat tummy and think the animal is fat. Know where your particular species of animal holds extra weight. I check my goats frequently throughout the month. Yes, occasionally I get really busy and fall behind but never for very long. You have to feed them, take a couple more minutes and check. With beef I've trained my eyes to observe. Most destined for the freezer can't be that easily handled. Toes down isn't good enough. "You are what you eat!" Or as in goats, you are what you drink so make sure it is of the best quality. That means they are in the best shape possible. Feed moldy hay and you have a animal with poor health. Don't expect the milk or meat to be full of vitamins.
I get pretty cranky about the care of animals. Yes, I'm picky. I've been told that many a time. Yes, I have a talent for conditioning an animal but I've earned it. I've worked to gain the knowledge and train my eye. I've been told by many a county and state judge, besides a few vets, and animal breeders that I'm exceptionally good at conditioning an animal to perfection. It is something everyone can learn to be at least moderately good at. Look for the details. Know where a species of animal holds their excess fat deposits. A fat belly tells many stories, sometimes it means wormy, obese, or dying of malnutrition.
If you can't keep your dairy goats feet trimmed once a month, you've got too many goats. Comfortable feet to walk on helps in milk production. I have gone a couple months before I got feet trimmed but I don't make it a habit. The thing that works best for me is to plan on trimming the middle of each month, around the 16th. Long feet take far longer to snip than ones with a small bit of growth. I had to get out the bolt cutter with Bella to get one of hers started. The pasterns of one hind foot was completely on the ground, the ligaments were so.... stretched. Bless them, the two owners that I bought from realized they couldn't keep up with the number of animals they owned. My limit for small livestock is five. I've learned that the hard way. I just couldn't keep up.
If you can't keep them wormed, you've got too many for your time and pocket book.
If you aren't checking your doe's udder to make sure their isn't any mastitis developing even though they are nursing kids and you aren't milking them, shame on you. Check for heat, massage the udder and beware of what each does udder normally feel like at different stages of lactation. Call it a breast exam if you will but don't do it once a month. This is a several times a week thing. Only takes a few minutes per doe. The consequences are that the doe will have damage and that damage can block the milk from passing through the orifice. The worst case of mastitis means the loss of an udder. I run my nursing does onto the milk stand regularly and give them a little grain while doing an exam of their udder and conditioning. Both does I bought have damage. One very mildly in one udder but her bloodlines and confirmations are outstanding so she came despite her poor health. I really want a couple girls out of her.
The other doe, Bella, has it in both sides. Not too bad but on one teat you have to milk around it. Just too bad that there is any. Mastitis occasionally happens to all of us. Years can go by without a case and then you will have to deal with a bout. The faster you catch it, the faster you can get ahead of it. I'm researching to see if massaging the scar tissue will help and if like my scar tissue from my surgeries which with time mostly disappear, if hers will improve also. Bella was being dried off and was almost dry when I picked her up. To me a milk goat means milk. Mine are in production most of the year. This young doe has a beautiful udder and gives lots of milk, too bad the damage. She had three girls in two years and is two so hopefully she just continues having girls. Her momma predominately had girls.
I believe love can easily be measured. It is in attention and care. It is in the sweet mannerisms of the animal. Animals who are poorly behaved either don't know any better or have little respect for their owners, usually both. A wise Linear Appraisal judge once told me that your bucks should be as well behaved as a show ring doe. After all you do have to trim their feet and lead them around also. I spent months recovering from a poorly behaved buck of another owners. I've have the privilege of handling three of the sweetest and most well behaved bucks also. It was a pleasure. Don't neglect your bucks. Love means wanting the best for them. No, not the most expensive. True love can't be bought. So if someone says they really love their goats. You can see it in the conditioning of them, in the care of their feet, and in the high production of milk. You can see it in the cleanliness of their pens. Yes, love can indeed be measure.
So since I love my goats, I know my limits. I can not properly care for more than five. Some have to be sold. Anyone want does that are linear appraised, CAE and CL free, are heavy milkers, kid with ease, and have good bloodlines. Daisy had twins her first year and fed three with ease. She is two. Meagan is four and gets a huge udder on her. Both are presently dry due to a buck who only impregnated one out of the four does last fall. For the first time in my life my cup is not running over with milk.