Sunday, March 31, 2013

disbudded 9 Nubians

Easter Sunday March 31, 2013 - Mike and I have been married 23 years today. So what special thing did we do today? Disbudded 9 newborn Nubian dairy goats.

Why should you get your goats disbudded? and at an early age?
Disbudding - by Jackie Clay

Very few goats are born naturally polled (hornless from birth). Yes, horns are natural, but goats used to be wild animals and roam in herds. They needed the horns to protect themselves from predators. Today, goats are not wild and they are milked and otherwise handled by people. And they are kept in fences, led with collars, and otherwise domesticated. Horns are now a danger to goats and their handlers.

A horned goat can always squeeze its head through a fence square (field fencing or welded stock panel), but very, very seldom get back out. Sometimes they will strangle in the attempt to free themselves. I've seen a horned doe hook a kid and catch its front leg in the V of her horns, breaking its leg--even her own kid! A horned goat can catch its horn in its own collar or one of another goat, choking it to death. A horned goat doesn't fit into a keyhole manger or an average milking stand.

And, of course, a horned goat can hurt you. It may not mean to, but when it swings quickly around to bite a fly, it can smash your face in a
heartbeat. Or when you are leading it and it doesn't want to go, a twist of its head and your knuckles are bleeding.

It is very difficult to dehorn an adult goat, so it's best to disbud the kids soon after birth. This is done with a disbudding iron that heats up like a branding iron and fits down over the horn bud, burning the skin down to the skull. This sounds horrible, but minutes afterward the kid is playing with you and
nursing its dam unconcerned.

When using the iron, make sure it is heated up well; if it is not you won't get a good disbudding and the kid may grow scurs. These are little, misshapen horns that the goat will spend a lifetime catching on things, breaking them off, bleeding, and looking untidy at best.

The kids are best disbudded between three and four days. The longer you wait, the more chance you'll have for scurs to grow, as the horn buds will have started to grow. Place the kid in a tight disbudding box or have an assistant hold the kid snugly in their arms, restraining the kid's head with a gloved hand. (Occasionally the person doing the disbudding will slip and touch the assistant's hand with the iron; the glove is necessary protection! )

Only a few days old, young kids venture outside for the first time.

Repeat to yourself, "I'm saving your life... I'm saving your life..." as you press the hot iron down on the trimmed hair over the horn bud. Keep pressing down firmly and don't breathe. It stinks! Slowly rotate the disbudding iron so that all of the surface of the skin is burned. Then lift the iron. There should be a white ring completely around the horn bud, with the "fried" horn bud sticking up. Flip the black cap off it with the iron and
apply the iron again for a shorter time. Repeat with the other side.

I like to have a bucket of snow or shaved ice handy to slip on the kid's head when I'm done. At the time you disbud, it's a good idea to give the kid its first tetanus vaccination. While it isn't common for a kid to get tetanus after disbudding, it can happen and it pays to be safe.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Saturday

Mike had an opportunity for overtime today, so he worked all day but now has Sunday and Monday off. Weatherwise, was a very nice day here, and I got to do my favorite thing of just piddling around at home. 
This girl was looking down at me from the hayloft, and she's not supposed to be in the hayloft. bad bird! but a pretty bird!

The little cockerals are back under the heatlamp now, I was just showing them the world. They liked what they saw.

We also run a retirement home for old chickens. We love Spec.

When feathered, the 9 red silkie chicks will move in with Bulli and Bebop.

Aren't the 3 boys gorgeous? They were out enjoying the sunshine today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Red-Velvet Cake & Snow

My mother-inlaw made this Red Velvet Poke Cake last night, oh my, so sinful, so good. Shhh, please don't tell my doctor that I was near the stuff, she'd slap me straight. 

Weatherman says it's gonna snow for the next three days but I'm ready for Spring. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday - sausage & silkies
I made this Bob-Evans recipe
but instead made 'em in a muffin tin.
Easy and very good. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Red Silkies and Address Labels

I have 9 red silkies in the brooder. Received them last Thursday through US Mail as day-old chicks from Ideal Hatchery. This is a photo of what mine will look like when they are grown. 

We have two black silkie hens, Bulli and Bepop, but no rooster. 

If you want to read up on silkies -  

Of course, I like red critters, so I ordered the red variety. 

I got some new address labels.  And yes, I raise mostly RED Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats.  Notice the conformation of the goat, that's what we breeders are shooting for.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

From a bloodlines perspective, I'm quite content with my herd, and I've got lots of good options for breedings. Except that MariGold goes around biting everybody in the barn because she's a brat and thinks its funny, the chemistry is good.   

At present, we have: 16 Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats -
green = naturally polled

In 2012, we had 12 bucklings and 5 doelings born. We sold all the bucklings except Ancho. We kept 3 doelings - Ruthie, Chili, and HollyBerry - and sold 2 - Tulula and Black Dahlia.

In 2012 - we purchased:  Trophy, GoldMedal, and Tank  

8 Senior Does - and 2012 freshenings
Rhubarb (twins - C-section Mar 28, 12. Ruthie and Rhutroh)
MariGold (single buckling. Mar 30, 12. Rowdy)
Tulip (triplets - Apr 2, 2012. Spud, Tulula, and Black Dahlia)
Cherry (2 bucklings - Apr 10, 2012 Bing and HashBrown)
Casablanca - (2 bucklings - Butch & Cassidy 5/24/12)
Cali (1 male, 1 female - July 23, 2012 Ancho and ChiliPepper) GingerBreadGirl (3 bucklings - July 27, 2012)
Holly (1 male, 1 female - Oct 4, 2012 Hootie and HollyBerry)
1 Senior Doe - we don't breed: SweetPea - (just a pet)

4 Junior Does - Ruthie, Gold Medal , ChiliPepper, HollyBerry

3 Bucks - Bordeaux, TigerTank, Ancho

Today on  the 13 girls, we did hoof trimming, udder shaving, and general spa treatments.

Quiz - How can you tell when Cherry is pregnant?  When she starts sitting on her butt a lot.

Although these 4 girls are part of a herd, they never forget that they are family.  It's always amazing to observe these dynamics; which occurs within the bucks too. Not pictured is HollyBerry, Holly's daughter. 
Here's HollyBerry!