Saturday, August 14, 2010

Billy's Got 9 New Girlfriends

So our start in goats has mirrored the land we're working - rough. First, we lost a goat when she got into the chicken feed. Then we lost two of our girls in the past month-long heat wave either because of parasites that they brought in or dehydration b/c they'd never come down the mountain to the watering area. It was frustrating, especially because I was gone on military duty for a couple of weeks, and I probably would have caught the problems. But our billy goat, Billy, has thrived. We also feel like we understand goats a lot more now - their needs, how they think, where they'll go, ie I feel like we're getting into goat husbandry.

One of my co-workers has a sheep and goat operation, and her family's become overstocked with the recent drought. So we worked out a deal where they can board some of their goats, and we'll get some of the trees and brush worked down into goat poop to start fertilizing our poor hillside soils. We'll also probably get some goat kids, as Billy has been peeing on his beard (yeah, gross to us, but hot to the goat ladies) and some of the females are starting to cycle.

Here's the new goat ladies, they're a mix of dairy and other breeds. They're in the training pen, and man, they were happy to have fresh forage. They're in the pen to make sure that they understand that the electric fence hurts, and that "Hey, I shouldn't try to push through it, because it shocks the bejezus out of me, and I don't get anywhere anyway". The training pen is fenced with both electric and field fence to make sure there's no jailbreaks.Before turning the ladies in with Billy, we wormed them. This'll kill a good deal of their worms before they get into the main pasture. With the amount of brush and forage available and the low stocking density, the goats should be okay and need no further worming. We checked Billy while we were at it too, and although he fought like crazy, as you can see above he was still willing to gobble the treats Simmey fed him. His condition was really good, but his eyelid color was pretty pale, indicative of blood loss to parasites, probably exacerbated by the month long drought and high heat/humidity.So we wormed Billy as well. It'll probably be the last time he's ever wormed. Tomorrow, we'll turn the ladies in with him, and he'll be one happy/busy buck.

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