“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise”

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise”
-Laurence J. Peter

From the start, Lorie and I have been adhering to half of this philosophy (the middle half). With our busy schedules it is very unlikely that we’ll ever be “early to bed”.

Advertising however is within our control. To that end, we’ve decided to run a series of small ads in the Goat Rancher Magazine this year.

For over a year now, we have been listed in the breeder directory with a small add with our contact info (Page 39 of the Feb. edition). This ad has brought us several inquiries and even a few sales. Above is a preview of our first color ad that can also be seen online on Page 45 of the Feb. edition @ http://goatrancher.com/ 

We are very optimistic about the potential that these ads will have on our operation. We’ve collected a great genetic base for our breeding herd and have bred some wonderful goats. It is now time to let the word out and show off our available stock.

Stay Tuned…………………

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Break A Leg!

If you’ve raised goats for a while you’ve probably already experienced a goat with a broken leg. We’ve actually had 3, the latest one happened at the youngest age so far, 1 month old. The day after we weighed the month old NZ kids, we noticed that the largest buckling was holding his leg up. We caught him and felt his leg, didn’t notice anything out of place, and he didn’t scream so we let him go. As the days went on, he continued to hold his leg up and it started to swell lightly. We knew there was something wrong but really didn’t think it was broken. The earliest vet appointment we could get for an X-Ray was 5 days after the day he started to limp.

Lorie had the pleasure of taking the goat kid to the vet’s office while I was at work. She claims that the waiting room full of lap dogs and their owners were astonished by the sight of a goat. I can believe it as with every other time I have taken a goat off the farm for delivery or to the vet, I’ve had passer bys honk and waive and shout out at the goat. Has this ever happened to you?

Back to the goat. The X-Ray confirmed our fears, the goats front right leg was shattered. Luckily it was just above the knee and out of the growth plate. The vet claims that it will heal quickly without any permanent damage.

Broken Front Right Leg just above the knee.

The vet instructed that we keep the goat’s leg dry and clean for 4 weeks. This sounds easy while your at the vet’s office but not very practical in the middle of January on a farm. Since our barn is unfinished, we’ve had to make a temporary goat resort out of our livestock trailer for this kid along with his twin and his mother since they are one month old and we have no time for bottle feeding.

Goat Leg in Splint

 
 Our first goat with a broken leg was much more tramatic. He was a 3 month old kid that had a compound fracture on his back leg. Best that we could guess is that he got it stuck in the brace wires on our High Tensile electric fence. That one was much easier to diagnose with the bone stick out, leg dangling, and blood squirting out into the white snow. We’ve known others who have had adult bucks fight and get their legs broken in each others horns but so far ours have always escaped without permanent damage.
 

Warm Weekend in January!

This past weekend we were blessed with above average temperatures and sunny skies. It’s a rare occurrence to have a weekend be warm and dry so we were sure not to waste a minute of it.

Everyone’s heard the saying ‘Make Hay while the sun is shining’ but for us it was bring in a load of hay before it gets rained or snowed on. As mentioned in our previous post, we have been feeding round bales to our larger groups of does and their respective bucks. However, we still have one small group of 4 does and their month old kids who are getting square bales b/c it just doesn’t make sense to give them a big round bale or risk the kids getting trapped in the center of it. I was able to get a great deal on a ton of square bales from a co-workers farm.

Bringing Home a Ton of Hay

We purchased the approximate ton (50 bales) for $100. Granted this is first cutting hay, but it is green, free of mold, and the bales are much larger than we normally get. I can normally put 50 square bales on my 5’ x 10’ pull behind trailer comfortably. For this trip, I was glad to have the pickup bed for the overflow. I had to go about 35 miles with the load and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be restacking the hay alone in the dark along side the road.

On Saturday, we unloaded the square bales in the barn overhang and fed a few to the goats to see what they thought of them. The goats were all happy to have good hay and went straight to eating it. They did seem to be out foraging more all weekend with the warmer temps and drier ground. It was enjoyable to watch the month old kids foraging in the woods with their dams.

Lorie and I had a long list of things to get done and we tried our best to mark them off as we went along. We started out by catching all of the month old NZ kids and recording their 30 day weights.
 
For birth weights, we use a digital hanging fish scale that we purchased during the 2010 scholarship benefit auction at KikoFest. We have a flat vet type scale that we use for all other weights because the kids have all outgrown the bucket or bag that we use to weigh them in at birth.
 
For the kids, we take a small wire dog kennel and place it on top of the scale and then Zero the scale. The scale is placed on our working stand to ensure a solid base. This works out great b/c the kids are too small to reach the head restraint on the working stand. After each goat’s weight was captured, it was transferred to a holding cell (X-large wire dog kennel) for it’s photo shoot and for the 2 legged kids to pet.
 
The goat kids were very excited to get away from our kids and back to their dams. It’s amusing to see them make a mad dash from the gate where we return them to the pasture back to their respective does and drink milk like they’ve been away from it forever.
A Solid Red NZ Buck was the best performer at 30 days with an on farm index of 122

The only doe out of 8 kids, a mostly white doe with brown mask, impressed us with her 30 day performance coming in with an on farm index of 116.

 Our next ‘to do’ item included working one of our breeding groups of goats. Usually we spend an hour (and often more than an hour) chasing goats around the pasture and catching them individually. Usually this means that there are some goats we don’t get too because we run out of energy or daylight. This time we got smart and decided to put in a little extra time up front to construct a catch pen in the corner of the pasture utilizing the existing fence and extra cattle panels that we had laying around. This also allowed us to bring in our working stand and all the items we needed to work the goats without a few of the nosey goats and the LGD being able to escape through the open gate or get in our way of setting up.
 
Once we opened the catch pen and threw out some sweet feed, all but three goats went right in the pen.They’ve had nothing but round bales and an occasional protein block for the last few months. Of course there were 3 goats of lower intelligence that appeared unable to find the opening in the catch pen and instead tried to stick their heads through the cattle panels and get stuck. Once we chased them in and sealed the catch pen we were able to get started. We trimmed hooves, checked FAMACHA scores, and vaccinated all of the goats.
 
Only 2 had borderline FAMACHA scores and needed wormed. We worked Warsaw, the 2 year old NZ buck breeding this group of does, first and got him out of the catch pen. He didn’t require worming or hoof trimming so we quickly vaccinated him and let him go. He is a mild mannered buck but his sheer size is reason enough to get him out of the confined space with us and the group of pregnant does.Next we went down the pecking order of the does and got the ones who were head butting other worked and out first to reduce the chance for injury or abortion. This group of does should kid in March.

 We finished up by setting out new round bales for all of the groups of goats and cleaning out and refilling their water troughs. It is a rare occurrence here in January when the garden hose is thawed and able to easily fill all of the troughs. Did I mention how enjoyable the weather was? I’m sure 40 – 50 degrees isn’t unusual for all of you this time of year but for us here in WV it was a pleasant surprise. Just last week it was 11 degrees one day and the water seemed to freeze before it hits the troughs. 

 
 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from M. R. Goats!

We are trying a few new things here on the farm in 2012. Starting in January, we will be utilizing this blog to help keep you posted of the happenings around the farm.

M. R. Goats, Goat Rancher Ad

Starting in February, we will be running an advertisement campaign in the Goat Rancher Magazine. For the past year, we have had a breeders ad in the Goat Rancher and it has paid off for us. We are hopeful that the new ads will be just as fruitful. This is our current breeder ad.

We have also started something new in regards to feeding our goats hay. We purchased round bales and decided to give them a try. This also required me to purchase a bale spear for the bucket of my tractor.

Feeding hay the easy way

We are definitely experiencing a reduction in the labor required to feed hay. We are feeding 1 round bale per week per group of goats where we were previously feeding 1 square bale per day per group to the goats.
Seems like each group has their own preference on how to eat the bales.

Tastes better on top

This yearling NZ doe always jumps directly on the top of the new bale and digs right in. Barry, the LGD made a dry place to lay and guard the goats out of some excess hay in the round bale.
We are slightly concerned that the goats may eat the middle out of the bales and then climb inside of them only to be crushed by a collapsing bale, but we believe the reward of only feeding hay one day a week out weighs the risk of loosing a goat to a collapsed bale. We are only feeding the round bales to the groups of adult does and bucks.

Eating out the middle

This group of goats decided that eating out the middle of the bale first was the way to go. These bales were first cut hay cut mature and late in the year but the goats seem to be enjoying them regardless.
We do however continue to feed square bales to the group of 4 NZ does and their 8 kids that are in a separate pasture for the last 3 weeks since kidding. It is too big of a risk to have a young kid nested inside the hollow center of a big round bale. These kids were born outside in sub freezing temperatures and are doing great.
Happy New Year!