Steve did it.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of having livestock. Growing up in a suburban California beach town, I couldn't understand why we couldn't have a lamb pen on the side of our house. I went to UC Davis to study biology, mainly because of the school's aggie reputation. Funny though, the only time I have ever passed out in my life was when I was learning to castrate sheep in my animal husbandry class. The hog slaughterhouse part of that class really sickened me as well. So, I decided to stick with milk goats, ones that could become pets and not have to face that fact. We've also ventured into dairy sheep, with visions of sheep milk cheese (yum.)
I have been naive to think that you can have livestock without the meat, especially when you have to breed for milk production. Well, yesterday we took the plunge and slaughtered our ram that we bought for breeding last fall. Actually, Steve did it. Himself! (with guidance from his buddy) My part is to go pick up a new chest freezer.
Here's a pic of our new ram lamb born last weekend. He's cute, but don't get too attached to this one.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I've been trying to post, but everytime I start, I have to run out to catch a new kid!
We now have SEVEN baby goats on the ground (4 boys and 3 girls.) Cookie and Cupcake each gave me a girl, so I'm thrilled to have two little purebred Alpines to keep on the farm. Coca just had a beautiful jet black girl I've named Licorice. Love, love, love.
Unfortunately, I've had to learn all over again about hypocalcium, with the misnomer "milk fever." Mocha went off feed for a week and delivered a little buckling a week early. So cmpk and antibiotics, she's OK now, but I've decided not to milk her this year. Easter was not so lucky, and cmpk didn't pull her through... we lost her, and I'm so upset I cannot even think about it anymore, sorry girl :-(
But when Coca had her baby, I was ready. TUMS as soon as she went into labor, and my cmpk concoction as soon as she gave birth (thanks to my drugstore.com order coming in the same day!)
C = calcium
M = magnesium
P = phosphorus
K = potassium
My mix was crushed vitamins, mixed in yogurt, given with a drench syringe, the goats do not mind it:
Posture D, 1 tablet (calcium and phosphorus)
Magnesium, 1/2 tablet
Potassium, 2 tablets
1 TUMS tablet for the extra calcium ration to go with the phosphorus in the Posture D.
Coca got this mix every couple hours after giving birth, and the day after which was most important when that milk comes in. I continued to give this twice a day for several more days, and once a day for a few. IT WORKED! She still gets a TUM tablet as a treat after milking :-) And Easter's death was not in vain, as I've learned that hypocalcemia can be treated if started right away at freshening, instead of waiting for symptoms.
Apparently this problem of not having enough calcium in the blood is a result of overfeeding calcium-rich foods (like the alfalfa they were getting) during the DRY period. Too much of a good thing. So now only the girls in milk (Cookie, Cupcake, Coca) get the alfalfa, and the dry does (Mocha and Thunder) get the grass hay.
What was I saying about "just when you've got it all figured out..." Why is it that I am always having to learn the hard way???
Steve built this new kid pen a day before they all started arriving. So happy to have a nice place for them with a large play area. Everybody is now healthy and happy. After these kids are weaned, we're taking a nice, long vacation! ThenThunder is due end of May.