March 30, 2013

The Princess is Peeved

Surprise was not pleased with the situation. Lily, in the background,
worries she might have to share a stall with Surprise & her attitude.

"What are you going to do about the Princess?" Dan asked. He was referring to Surprise. She and Alphie had been residing in the birthing stall, but it was time for them to be moved out. We both knew Surprise wouldn't like that.

When we expected our first crop of kids two years ago, we divided the goat shed into two stalls. That gave me a way to separate the expectant doe and give her privacy for birthing and the first few days afterwards. Since Surprise had the first due date, she was the first to spend time in the birthing stall. For some reason she liked having it all to herself and claimed it as her own from that day onward. Even Jasmine, who could make Surprise mad by hogging anything good to eat, respected her territorial claim to this stall.

However, the time has come for Ziggy to use this stall.

Ziggy waddles back to the goat shed. 

Ziggy, who looks like she could pop at any moment. Ziggy, whose next potential due date is April 5th.

All of this points to our need for a better goat facility. We were happy to have this outbuilding to begin with, and glad to be able to divide it into a chicken coop, goat shed, and milking room.

In Jan. 2010 we modified one of our two existing outbuildings. We added
a goat stall on the right, and made the left side into a chicken coop. In the
middle, where the door is, we made a milking room and feed storage area.

As I've lived with it, however, I've made mental notes of what ought to be changed:
  • I'd like a large, general area for shelter and loafing
  • I'd like room for two private stalls, to be used only for pregnancy confinement, kidding, or for other hospital reasons.
  • I'd like a larger milking area, with both an "in" door and an "out" door for the girls being milked. Otherwise there's a goat clog as they try to push through at the same time.
  • I need a kid stall, to separate kids from their moms overnight, so the moms can be milked in the morning. 
  • I need a gating system to accommodate all this plus give me room for the wheelbarrow. 

Building a real barn is out, because of cost. This shed, except for the leak in the roof ("fixed" with a tarp) and the deteriorating siding, is structurally sound. While nothing is set is stone yet, the current idea we're looking at is this...

Very rough, non-technical sketch of idea for goat shed using existing shed

The idea would be to add a gambrel or arched roof on to the front of the current shed, creating a loft which is open underneath. The open area would serve as an open air loafing area and rain shelter. The goats would still be able to go inside if needed. Hopefully, we could use the loft for storing hay. The chickens would be moved to a new coop and I'll be able to convert the current coop and milking areas into stalls.

We're talking about putting a milking parlor and storage area out of the carport of the other outbuilding. 

The "Coal Barn"
The carport on the left might be an option for a milking parlor. You can see
the goat shed behind it to the left, not far away. The carport would have to
be enclosed, but it would be easy to run a water line out there. I'd love that.

There are a lot of details to work out and likely changes to be made, but this is the direction we're thinking in for the time being. The first step will be building a new chicken coop, which Dan hopes to do this summer. In the meantime I'm thankful for what we've got, and happy to make do.

The Princess is Peeved photos and text © March 2013 


daisy g said...

How very exciting! Can't wait to see all the changes you make. If it makes your life easier, it's worth doing. ;0)

Anonymous said...

Excellent plan to use what you have and see how you can make it work better. I always feel so badly when I see pics of goats ready to pop, remembering my own pregnancy days, and how I couldn't wait for it to be done lol.

DFW said...

Oh my gosh, Ziggy does indeed look like she could pop at any minute. I don't see how she's holding up all that weight. Looks like triplets?

Seeking Serenity said...

omg HAHAHA!!!
almost lost my coffee when I scrolled down to Ziggy. twins?
I truly hope the birth goes smoothly, i'd be alittle scared at her size

Anonymous said...

Leigh, great idea on the hay loft..that is what I was thinking before I even read the rest of your post...great! ;)

Ziggy looks SO uncomfortable, good thing her date is soon.

And for Surprise....jeez do I know all about Princess'! That would be our Taffeta....ha ha ha!

So hope all goes well with all!


Leigh said...

Daisy, yes, always looking for ways to make things easier! Not that we mind the work, but it helps to have things set up for efficiency. :)

Stephanie, it's at the point where the baby(ies) crowd even her breathing when she lays down, poor thing.

DFW, I noted that Ziggy's belly seems to be beginning to sag. That's one of the first signs the babies may soon be on their way. Nigerian Dwarfs commonly have multiples, so triplets wouldn't surprise me!

Peaceful, as long as Gruffy is the dad, I'm not too scared! I was worried Elvis bred her, which would mean large kids and potential problems. Multiples would mean smaller babies too, which would be good.

Pam, thanks! It really pays to try to work with what one's got!

So Taffeta is your princess. Goats!

Mama Pea said...

Dear little Ziggy has got to be one of the most pregnant goats I've ever seen. She sure looks like she's carrying multiples and, you're so right, they should be small and pop out easily. Can she possibly go another week??

I think it's truly an advantage (in more ways than one!) to have outbuildings to work with for a start. After working in them, it gives time to learn how much more efficient you can make things either by a change or addition or building from scratch when you can.

So where is Alphie? In with his mama and Lily?

Anonymous said...

She thinks Leigh....she thinks....ha ha ha!!!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Ziggy looks like she is more than ready to get this over with. I am with you hope it was not Elvis. I would think twice before building a loft for the hay. I know that was the way it used to be stored, but think about "who" is going to lift that hay up there and then "who" is going to climb up there and get it down. The older I get the harder it is to move that hay around.

Renee Nefe said...

How does this solve your immanent situation...that Surprise doesn't want to give up the birthing stall now? Is she being unceremoniously booted out or about to share the birthing stall with Lily? At any rate you're going to have one ticked off princess. ;o)

I hope that Ziggy's birth goes well and you're soon chasing tons of kids...okay at least two.

Hostetter said...

I love your blog and I am looking for my 5 acres. I'm sure you have thought about this and or read something somewhere as to what your ideal goat shed would look like. The ideas you present in this post are great but if you ever want to put it on paper in a more detailed hypothetical type way I think all your readers would be really interested especially those that one day might aspire to have one.

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, that is so true about living with a thing or situation to help figure out the best way to go. Yes, Alphie is in the far stall with Surprise and Lily. And I have to say he adapted much better than his mom, LOL

Pam, LOL

TL, those questions are at the forefront of our discussions. Dan is leaning toward a pulley and hoist to get the hay up there. As it is now, we have to haul the hay to the goats, which is okay I suppose except in the rain. The other option is another addition. At the moment he still favors the loft.

Who's the daddy? Elvis was only with Ziggy for a short time last January. That would put her with a June due date if he was indeed the daddy, which doesn't look likely! She was so uncooperative with Gruffy that I kept putting her in with him every time she acted like she was in heat. Obviously she couldn't have been all those times. :)

Renee, it will solve the problem because the current birthing stall will be dismantled. The entire area will be open so there won't be anyplace special to reign over. New birthing stalls will be off limits except for that purpose! :P

Hostetter, thank you and welcome! The ideas are still at the rough brainstorming stage, which means a lot could change. :) I do contemplate an ideal goat barn, but since we're unlikely to build one from scratch, I'm just trying to make do with what we've got. Still, I'd be curious as to what other goat owners think would be idea.

Ron said...

Love the news. Keep it up.

Practical Parsimony said...

In a loft seems like a bad idea. but, since goats and chickens will avail themselves of the hay for play time, maybe a place for feed and hay would work best. It could be next to feeding place so it could be shoved/hauled through a door.

* Crystal * said...

Haha! I love the pic of Ziggy waddling along. :)

I can relate to your need for a barn upgrade.... I'm in the same situation myself :)

Bridget said...

Hope that Goat kids soon, she is huge! It's that time of year for making plans...good luck with yours.

Brenda said...

Poor Ziggy...she really is ready to rumble. BEST OF LUCK DARLING!
Can you advertise for anyone disassembling an aluminum shed or one of those wonderful aluminum garage type structures, aluminum siding dealers? I'd hope anyone with the items you need would be willing to let them go to service the animals? OFFER to brag their name and any service provisions/products they sell on your Internationally famous Blog, free advertising may loosen pockets.
Look forward to seeing more.
Love the pics and updates. Your site is so full of wonderful, earthy information.
Cheers from Oshawa Ontario.

Leigh said...

OJD, roger!

Linda, that's a problem, isn't it. And when they play in it, the dirty it, yuk. We've thought about what you suggest. It would mean adding on to the existing building as in another room, which presents a different set of problems in terms of ground area. Being able to simply toss hay into the hay rack without being mobbed by goats would definitely be ideal.

Crystal, I hope you put up photos of your new place!

Bridget, huge and uncomfortable, poor thing. I have to admit we're pretty slow with materializing our plans. Too much to do!

Brenda, LOL, internationally famous? Sounds good though. :) We do keep an eye on craigslist for things like that and every now and then a bargain comes up. And who knows what will work out in the end?

Quinn said...

Leigh, I think we are living in a very similar situation...the ongoing redesign and reshuffle...and kerfuffle! I fell asleep last night trying to figure out where to put which goats, when, depending on which - if any! - of the does are actually bred. All of mine are as subtle as the Mona Lisa compared to your rather apparent girl! ;)

Unknown said...

Awe Ziggy is SO huge, happy to hear she is almost there now. Sounds like us over here too. Lots of plans on a budget and making do with what we have... Such as life ain't it? Looks like your new barn expansion will be awesome and i have no doubt you'll be crossing it off your do list soon.
Happy Easter!

Leigh said...

Quinn, it's a predicament!

Jen, Happy Easter to you too! I reckon we all have to deal with budget constraints. Time too. :)

luckybunny said...

I think the building and changing things never really ever ends. Ziggy is so cute and does indeed look very close to being due!!!

Cat Eye Cottage said...

I wish we all could have the barn of our dreams, but life seems to be about making do. Nice outbuilding though, and it looks like they have good potential.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my goodness, Ziggy looks like she's ready to "zag!" Poor girl . . . she's got at least a set of twins, right? My bet would be that it's gonna be sooner than four more days. Maybe she'll pull an April Fools joke on you and drop'em before midnight!