Frugally Feeding Farm Animals {supplementing goats}

originally Published on: Sep 7, 2018

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If you’re a naturally minded, homesteader or farm-girl wanna be like me, then you’re probably here to learn more about something you already love- saving money and caring for your animals.

There are definitely ways to frugally feed your farm animals, and I want to share what I have learned, with you. I have been learning as I go since we got our first chickens in 2011, and I’ve never looked back! This will be a series of several posts about how/what to feed farm animals while saving money and keeping them in top-health, as naturally as possible!

Weeds

If you have flowerbeds, there is nothing better to do with your weeds than feed them back to your animals!

Goats *love* weeds, as they are foragers, not grazers.

Goats eat some of the things cows do and most of the plants they don’t-trees, leaves, bark, roses, shrubs, poison ivy, and weeds to name a few of their favorites. Please be careful with shrubs and some weeds, as speed dating ba rhein main. Goats, when given a large variety, will often overlook toxic pants. But when given a wheel barrow full of treats, or when allowed to eat in a new area, they will likely eat anything they can get their mouths on.

About 6 weeks ago I weeded the back yard flowerbed, placing all the weeds in a wheelbarrow as I went. When I was done, I simply wheeled the weeds to the goat corral and let them go to town eating!

They loved the treat, climbing in the wheelbarrow, and oddly enough- left the grass I pulled! They devoured the weeds and pruned roses, but didn’t eat the lumps of grass. I should have known!

Trees

About once every 4-8weeks my husband will cut a dead or downed tree on the property and haul it into the goat paddock. The goats and the Dexters go crazy, climbing, eating leaves, and pulling off bark.

Another favorite is hedge apples that have fallen from the orange osage trees; I smash them (usually with a stomp of my boot) to make it easier for the goats to eat them. Did you know goats have oddly small mouth openings? It is very odd …

These are our favorite ways to supplement for our goats. We don’t typically give hand treats; the farm I bought my goats from made a great point- feeding treats outside of feed times can quickly turn your goats into rude, pushy, petting-zoo type goats. You know the ones where you can’t walk, move, or be near them without getting jumped on, pushed over, or head butted for food? Yea, those. We don’t want rude, pushy goats. We want sweet, docile, snuggle, “ooooh, someone looove on me,” goats.

We have given occasional watermelon rhines this summer, but not often (those usually go to the ducks and chickens).

 

Clearing Tree Lines

Our goats really enjoy clearing our tree lines, walking on a lead and clearing weeds around fences, the barn doors, the kids’ trampoline, the chicken coop … the list goes on! My husband set up some runners along our north tree line and the goats love going out there to eat weeds and clean it up for us.  They get poison ivy to munch on, among other yummy weeds, and we get some free weed eating done!

Friday on the Farm {LGD getting comfortable}

LGD on the Farm

After losing Huck, we decided to bring Bear out of the goat pen and into the yard with the family and chickens. At first he just hung around the gate to the goats, and slept under the chicken coop.

But after about 2 weeks he really started feeling at home. And by week 3, Bear is a pro at protecting all things chicken and child. His bark at night is so reassuring, and he loves the kids. He follows along on my walks each day, and is such a sweet boy.

We are thankful for having kept 2 of Huck’s puppies, and it sure has me wanting to have some more!

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Livestock Guardian Dogs (puppies) and Goats (kids)

A little bit about how our days work with LGD puppies & goats, goat kids, their jobs, temperament, behaviors, etc. This was filmed back in June. I will do another update soon! I plan to make a series on our

  • feed/schedule
  • vetting
  • supplements
  • kidding/disbudding and banding

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Blog Intro Video

So I’m trying to re-learn imovies on my Mac, so I can get some blog videos up.  I’ve made so many, and never get them edited, so one of my goals for this summer is to start learning imovies and uploading to YouTube.

So, here is a little something I put together for the intro to videos.  It isn’t perfected by any means, and will transition more smoothly into videos, hopefully. (I should probably shorten it, but for now this will do).

Enjoy! (and follow us on Youtube)

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Signs of Goat Labor {Officially on Baby Goat Watch 2019}

To say Lucy is about to pop would be an understatement.

Labor sign in Goats

This beauty is due to kid on May 20th, but I’m pretty sure (first timer here, her and me!) that her ligaments are gone, which would mean baby goats in 24 hours or so.

I’ve read, I’ve researched, I’ve watched who knows how many goat birthing videos… yep. So here is a regurgitation of what I take as signs of impending labor.

Signs to watch:

  • Ligaments- the ligaments that go from the tail base, down towards the hind legs (pin bones) are shaped like a V. Begin feelings these ligaments in the last month before due date; once labor is close these ligaments will go from hard like a pencil, to soft, to super squishy/not there. The pic below gives a general idea of where those ligaments are. They will be firm, the size of a pencil, and go down in a V towards the sides. Once they are close to labor (24 hours do so) those are nonexistent.
  • Swollen vulva- typically the goats vulva will increase in size once they are pregnant. But when labor is very near it will become swollen and very puffy. Below you can see her bag has been filling up and her vulva is enlarged. My other doe Wendy is 3 weeks out and neither her bag nor her vulva are as larger as Lucy’s. The color will turn very pink.
  • Discharge- Typically a goat will have discharge (mucus) from her vulva very near labor become very full before labor, more full than usual. Lucy’s udder is looking very full, but first fresheners don’t typically bag up as large until after labor (they say).
  • The tail- this is sort of part 2 of the ligaments. Once the ligaments are gone, and her body is prepping for labor, the tail does a sort of “dip”, instead of being straight.
  • Does will straighten back legs, stretching and arching back. This gets the kids into position. Lucy began doing this a little on May 16, this post was started on the 15th)
  • Bedding down/pawing- this one is tricky. All my goats “bed down” even my whether. However, I would expect the pawing to increase as their pain increases during contractions and labor. It is a sign of discomfort.
  • Active labor should look something like the tail dipping down and coming straight up, as if they’re going to potty, but instead they’re pushing through contractions. Lucy is doing this, but every time it is just her pooping … She is going potty NON stop, and I wonder if goats clean themselves out before labor like other animals, and sometimes people?
  • I’ve read they will also chew at their sides, and look at their rears a lot during early labor. Lucy has been doing this a lot today.

Lucy has been grunting non stop, panting, and laying a lot. This could be because she’s miserably pregnant (ha, I know how you feel sweet girl) or, she’s close to labor. I supposed my next update will include what was early labor, actual labor, and just misery.

Below are some too cute pics- Wendy being jealous of Lucy getting attention, and the puppies laying with the goats. We have 4 boys left for sale as of today and they’re just all so impressive. I love watching them and learning about their behaviors.

 

Livestock Guardian Pups with Goats

Livestock Guardian Pups with Goats

Signs of Goat Labor

Happy Farm {spring 2019}

Life on the farm is wonderful these days!

We have 11 bouncy puppies. They’re about 8 weeks old and healthy as can be (aka, fat little babies). They’re learning their temporary places among our goats. The goats definitely don’t let them play with them, and will head butt them in a hurry. It is funny to watch the puppies reactions- they whimper and back off, just like they should! I pray each one of these little fur balls grows into a wonderful LGD for their future homes.

Waylon the Future LGD www.QuietintheChaos.com

 

Mama and Waylon www.QuietintheChaos.com

This is Waylon, the boy I chose to keep from our litter. There is one more boy I *really* want to keep, but I think 1 is probably enough. =)

The logistics of raising 11 pups has been interesting, but we have a good system/living situation for them now so it has all worked out great. They have safe place to sleep at night, and during the day can be free with Yona and the goats, which is ideal.

Waylon, future LGD www.QuietintheChaos.com

The goats tolerate 11 pups running around pretty well. Yona (their mama) keeps them in line, and doesn’t let them get too far from where she deems appropriate. I am just astounded by her instincts; she has been an amazing mama. You always hear horror stories about dogs abandoning their pups, attacking them, not raising them. She has done so well, knew when to begin weaning them, corrects them, cleans them … she’s wonderful! It definitely makes me want to do this again!

Happy goats www.QuietintheChaos.com

happy LGD pups www.QuietintheChaos.com

Each puppy has a colored collar now which corresponds to my notes from when they were born. We take notes on their personality/behaviors/reactions on the farm so that pairing them with families/homes will be easier. I want to be sure each pup goes to the right family/person, and if there are any problems, they come back to me, and don’t end up in a shelter or passed around.

Happy goats (yearlings) www.QuietintheChaos.com

Lucy the sweet {pregnant Nubain Doe) www.QuietintheChaos.com

The sun has been shining, and all the animals are happy for the warmth!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Friday on the Farm {winter 2019}

 

A lot has happened this winter on the farm- we welcomed our wirehaired pointing griffon, Flossie, to the family.

WHPGriffon puppy

Our LGDs-Yona and Huck- welcomed a litter of 11 (ELEVEN!) fat, healthy puppies. They are growing like crazy and are 2 weeks old. I just love them, and want to lay in the whelping box with 11 puppies all day … but Yona won’t let me =P

the night puppies were born, after I cleaned up our mess this was in the garage (pre remodel) because she kept wanting to have the puppies in a hole in the shop. They are now moved out to the shop and everyone is happy

LGD Puppies

We also started the remodel on our garage-it will soon be a laundry, half bath with utility sink, GIANT pantry, and maybe reading/sitting nook (the space is bigger than expected, but I’m not able to capture it well in pictures). We will gain a new master bathroom, and move our bedroom door; we’ve added a split A/C/heating unit, and we will hopefully be refinishing the stairs to the basement and opening up that area. A LOT is happening.

Friday on the Farm- remodel

And, lastly, I fell on the ice February 10th and suffered (I mean, like suffered for real, y’all) from a concussion. I’m not entirely sure why movies and tv shows make concussions seem like no big deal, I expected it to be no big deal- I was SO dizzy, nauseous, and out of my element for 2 weeks; I couldn’t drive, look up, be around bright lights or noise, and I was exhausted! This weren’t as bad the day of, it was the following day that everything set in. I seriously thought it would never end and had a break down on day 8 (which is probably kinda silly).

Now that I am feeling better, I realize just how bad I truly felt… man was I cranky, too. We are all so thankful that is over!

Later this spring we should have some baby goats arrive (end of May/early June), the remodel should be done, and we are hopefully adding to the garden.

Right now, it feels like winter will never end, so I am not sure when any of the outside work/gardening will begin =(

 

How is the weather where you are? What are your plans for the end of winter?

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Breeding Nubian Goats {signs of a doe in heat}

Ooooh yes, goats. How I love thee! =)

So this newbie completely, 100% misunderstood goats’ breeding seasons. Turns out, they are seasonal, but there is only about 24-36 hour of time to get them bred! And since we don’t keep our own buck, and were planning to take our girls to be “serviced” by a buck, nailing down that day was hard!

We instead were able to borrow a buck to show us when they were in heat. We thought he wouldn’t be big enough to breed them … we were wrong! Haha Winston definitely bred 1 girl, and I *think* bred the other; we will have tests done to check if it took in a few weeks.

breeding Nubian Does

Wendy Woo (the one I’m not certain was bred … she didn’t want to stand for Winston) giving snuggies

Signs a Nubian Doe is in Heat

  • lots of tail flagging- this can be hard, because my girls already flag when they see me, and rub up against me. But it definitely increases during heat.
  • sticky/wet under tail- there will be evidence of sticky/creamy discharge under their tails, from ovulation (much like human female’s cycle when preparing to get pregnant)
  • swollen- under their tails, their vulva will go from regular sized (pay attention before season hits to what it normally looks like, take pics if you need to!) to swollen. It will be a very distinct difference from one to the other
  • dominant behavior- OH YEA! if you have 2+ does they will definitely start showing dominant behavior. I *think* when Wendy was in heat, Lucy was mounting her. When Lucy was in heat, the girls were head butting, fighting/playing rough, and in general being snarky… and I do mean, snarky with each other
  • buck rag- if all else fails, find a buck, rub a rag on him (get lots of stinky on it), and then put it in a covered container in the barn with your does. When they start going crazy over that rag, trying to get to it, you have heat!

Everything I’ve read about does and bucks during season was definitely true!

  • Those boys go stupid! I mean, they’re ridiculous, funny, sweet, they really do try to persuade the lady!
  • Depending on your doe, there will be flirting. Lucy was all about some flirting-flagging, rubbing, waving her tail right in his face, prancing around like she was queen, then finally standing so he could breed her.
  • You may need to help out =/ Wendy did NOT want to stand- Usually the doe will give the buck a run for his money, fussing, running, head butting, running away … but after a bit she stands for him. Not Wendy! So after the first afternoon of no bueno, I *did* hold her the following day so he could breed her. We will see if that took? One of my goat mentors told me (and shared video) that sometimes, does just don’t like the buck, and you have to help some.

I can’t wait to test for pregnancy and find out if we will have goat kids this year!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

First Time Goat Breeding {Friday on the Farm}

Well … here I am. Waiting for my goats to go into heat. I’m 99.9% sure I missed it a few weeks back, at least for one of my yearlings. I am waiting again for the “signs”-like tail flagging, mounting, screaming, squatting to pee non stop, and possible wet tails. We will see if I am able to pin point it next time?

Everyone says I can borrow a buck rag-the scent of a buck rubbed onto a rag, placed in  jar- and when she goes crazy to get to the rag in the jar, it is time. I think after Thanksgiving that is what I will …

We will be taking them back to their breeder, to use one of her bucks (not related to our girls) for breeding.

Friday on the Farm {first time farmer}

 

They sure are pretty! And fat! haha

Right now we are giving herbal wormers weekly, a handful of organic alfalfa pellets, a handful of organic black oil sunflower seeds, and a handful of organic barley each evening, along with a supplement of alfalfa hay.

It sounds like a lot … but it is all nutritious feed, they’re happy, and we are hoping they stay healthy! Trial and error is the name of the goat game right now. Being new to anything means learning from others and reading a LOT; in the farming world everyone does something different. So we have chosen what works best for us in this season.

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

My Best Goat Helper

… is an almost 4 year old girl that loves deeply. She is endlessly full of snuggles, dances, hugs, smiles, and spunk.

She reminds me so much of how I played and saw life as a child-  She would rather love on a cat, a dog that weighs 120 pounds, or goat than be surrounded by things that don’t interest her.

Miss cares so deeply for those that walk into her world; the strangers at the store, children at the ball park, friends and family.

While she lives life in her “la-dee-da” world, and much of  her character K also saw in my Granny- she doesn’t superficially care- if this girl welcomes you into her world, if she says she loves you, SHE LOVES YOU.

It is hard to believe Miss will soon be 4; she lit up our world the day she was born with her endless smiles and happy disposition, and she hasn’t stopped yet!

God has big things in store for this little package of wonder. (Lord, I just pray I can survive her! haha)

 

My Best Goat Helper

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

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