Monday, March 14, 2011

The Kidding Stalls are Done

Well, there's nothing like waiting til the last minute but finally the kidding stalls are complete and in use!  Every farm uses them differently I suppose.  We are putting the girls in the stalls at night.  We have three stalls and we know that Daisy, Rosie and Blossom were bred first so they are the first ones to go into the stalls.  We do put Buttercup in with Daisy, since they are mother and daughter.  Gives her someone to cuddle with.  We have also moved Rumble into the barn.  We built him a very nice run right across from the kidding stalls.  He is much more content now that he has another goat within sight and doesn't feel all alone.  Now he just lays in his stall, chewing his cud and enjoying watching the activity in the barn.  The idea behind the kidding stall is to give the doe a private and clean place to have their little ones.  In the event that they kid in the middle of the night they will have their own stall where they won't be bothered and they will have time to bond with their babies undisturbed by the  their herd-mates.
Here Snowy is checking out the new stalls.
Daisy and Buttercup, her daughter, check out the new stall.  The pink spot on her rear is livestock paint.  We use this to mark them after we vaccinate to ensure we didn't miss anyone.

Daisy gives Joshua a show of gratitude.
Daisy smiling.  I think she likes it!

 There seems to be a lot of opinions in the goat world about how goats should deliver their young and how involved their owners should be.  I have been reading a book called The Meat Goats of Caston Creek by Sylvia Tomlinson.  Their farms philosophy is to make their goats habitat as close to as if they were in the wild as possible.  They have several hundred acres and let their goats kid in the woods with their guard dogs to protect them.  Minimal human input is probably ideal when you are managing a large herd.  I should also add that she lives on a large ranch in Oklahoma.  What I have found disheartening is that there are a few producers here locally, in Minnesota, who also seem to have adapted that philosophy.  I wish I could shake a couple of these people into reality.  That kind of management system just doesn't work here in the arctic Midwest when you're kidding in January.  These poor animals are left to kid in frigid temperatures in overcrowded lean-to structures with little to protect them from the elements.  Fed a diet of only grass hay to sustain them through their pregnancy they are already at a disadvantage.  How do they not understand that that the big ranches in Texas they are emulating have browse year round for the goats to forage and their climate supports a January kidding schedule.  If you're in Minnesota and plan to raise goats do yourself and your goats a favor and don't pretend you're some big rancher.  If you want to run that kind of operation GREAT...move to Texas.  If you want to be successful in producing a high quality, disease free product then you are going to have to put in a little more effort.  Have an enclosed structure for your goats to have a chance at protecting their newborns from the freezing cold.  Ignore the advice from large producers who say to never give grain to your goats.  Chances are they are somewhere farther south than here or they care more about preserving their pocket book up front than the losses they'll encounter in the end.  A goat may be able to sustain a pregnancy on only hay but at what cost.  Be diligent in making frequent trips to the barn during kidding season.  Even if I didn't care so much about encountering a loss a two, the financial risk really isn't worth it.  If I take the average market price of a weanling at 80-90 lbs and figure that times two (goats normally have at least twins)  then factor in the market price of the dam and the food it took to raise her and feed her through the pregnancy my investment would be substantial.  If I lost the doe and her kids for poor management practices or any other unfortunate reason I am out a minimum of $800.   Here is my very simple math; Doe investment ($200) Market value of weaning ($190 x 2 for twins=$380) Feed, vaccines and misc supplies to raise the dam from kid to having kids of her own ($250).  My initial investment may only have been a couple of hundred dollars but the loss would be great.  And take care of your buck.  He is half your herd.  Don't let him get so thin during breeding season without fattening him up again before winter.  Ok, I'm done with my rant.!

Rumble settling in to his new digs.

We have also been doing some remodeling in the house.  I recently bought a claw foot tub and am having it restored.  Now to start the demolition of the bathroom in preparation of installing my new tub.  I look forward to sharing the pictures with you.  And I look forward to sharing the pictures of our newborns as soon as they arrive!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait!!! You and Gary have fun kidding around over there :)