March 31, 2014

Lily's Turn! Triplets!

Today I let Surprise's twins out for the first time, got all kinds of cute pictures, and then went to check on Lily. She, Daisy, and Zoey have been living in the buck pasture while Ziggy and Surprise kidded. Anyway, there stood Lily with a long string of mucus hanging from her back end. Show time!

Within less than an hour the first kid was born, a doeling. After awhile, Lily started pushing again. When I took a look, I saw four feet. There are only supposed to be two! I slipped my hand in and realized there were two kids trying to come out at the same time. I grabbed hold of the feet that were furthest out and pulled with her next contraction.

Baby number two was a great big boy!

Soon the third was born, another girl.

Gruffy, my Pygmy buck, is the daddy, so these are Pygmy Nubian crosses or Kinders! This was the breed I wanted in the first place. Except I can't legally call them Kinders, because the breed is trademarked. If Lily was registered, I could register them all with the Kinder Goat Breeder Association, but since I can't, I'm not supposed to call them Kinders.

My photos aren't the best, but here are a few now that they're dried off.

Firstborn has moonspots like Lily!

At only an hour or two old, Baby Boy is already a stocky little hunk of buck.

Third born is mostly black. All three were up on their feet in no time, finding milk.

Whew, what a week. We've added eight new kids in the seven days! And I still have Zoey to go. She's not due until mid-May, however, so we can take a breather for awhile.

Lily's Turn! Triplets! © March 2014 

March 30, 2014

I Love My Mom (& Surprise Update)

I love my mom

And my mom loves me. 

Ziggy and company

UPDATE on Surprise and Twins (first post here).

Yesterday's victory was the first hurdle. Surprise went through several more slumps, which were worrisome. I followed the advice from, "More Feedback on Hypocalcemia in Goats," and repeated the injections of calcium gluconate. She responded well each time, although she fought like a tiger against the needle pricks. Her appetite is has finally picked up this morning, which is key to being able to keep up with her own nutritional needs as well as the kids.

The kids were also a worry as neither had a good sucking reflex. I found excellent advice at the Clear Creek Farms website, "Care and Bottle Feeding of Newborns" and was able to syringe feed colostrom to both kids. They eventually caught on to nursing, which was a relief.

We're still contemplating names for Ziggy's triplets, but the names for Surprise's twins came easily. Meet

Miracle (the first born)

and Grace (the second twin)

They are doing much better now, just starting to get the baby boogie bounces. I'm still researching and evaluating Surprise's problem and what I could have done differently to prevent the problems. More on that soon.

March 29, 2014

Surprise's Miracle Twins

I honestly was expecting these little girls to be stillborn, but they made it alive and well. Photos first, details below.

Born between 6 & 6:30 this morning. 

Both girls!

Surprise is an excellent mama. 

They are Kikobains - half Nubian, half Kiko (sired by Hooper)

I am so relieved everything is okay.

Now comes the all important task
of learning where to find the milk.

Yesterday afternoon Surprise was just standing near the barn with the spaced-out look she gets when she's in labor. Her due date was March 26 so I figured this was it. I had to so a quick kid shuffle, put Ziggy and her crew in the larger far stall, and Surprise in the nearer kidding stall. I made sure everyone had plenty of clean bedding and then hung around to keep an eye on things.

Several hours later Surprise laid down. There was no discharge and no pushing, so we waited. And waited. The longer we waited, the more disoriented Surprise became. She became unresponsive to my voice and could not stand up. Something was clearly wrong.

The first thing I did was to shoot an email off too the Holistic goats Yahoo group asking for diagnostic and treatment help. Two hours later the message still hadn't shown up and, by that time, I had this horrible feeling that Surprise was dying. I weighed my options but since my vet doesn't do house calls and I couldn't get her into the back of my jeep by myself, I knew I was on my own. A quick internet search of "pregnant doe lethargic" got me what I was looking for.

Surprise's symptoms fit those of pregnant toxemia. The best information is at Molly's Fias Co Farm. I followed her treatment recommendations, starting with 20 cc of molasses/corn syrup every two hours by moutn ( I didn't have Karo but did have organic corn syrup). I also gave her calcium gluconate subcutaneous injections (40 cc total over 4 sites with 10 cc each location). I tried the Nutridrench too, but she really fought me on that one. The next time I went to check on her she was alert and turned her head toward me. Within a couple of hours she was back on her feet and I gave her a vitamin B-complex injection.

It was a relief she was okay but there was still no sign of labor. More research indicated that unborn kids rarely survive pregnancy toxemia so I had to prepare myself for the devastating consequences. Still, I checked on her every several hours during the night. She remained standing and shifting her weight like she does when in labor, but there was nothing more to indicate kids were imminent.

A little after 6 a.m. I got up, started the coffee, and headed back out to the goat shed. There, on the ground, was a live black and white baby! I ran to get Dan and shortly after we got back the second was born. Both doelings! A miracle and a blessing all in one.

I'll do a blog post on pregnancy toxemia soon, explaining what it is and why I think it happened to Surprise. It's something I need to research and understand fully, so I'll pass it all on to you. For now, I need to go admire some brand new baby goats. :)

UPDATE: Sept. 10, 2014 - The promised blog post, "Hypocalcemia & Pregnancy Toxemia in Goats"

March 27, 2014

Ziggy's Triplets: 1st Outing

Two days old and doing fine. :) See their birth announcement here.

#1, a buckling

#2, a doeling

#3, a buckling

Ziggy's Triplets: 1st Outing © March 2014 by Leigh 

March 25, 2014

Ziggy First!

When I went to check on the goats right before lunch I found Ziggy standing alone in the kidding stall, nickering softly to herself. I could see that her belly had dropped considerably, although there was no discharge to indicate anything would happen imminently. I shut the gate to the stall and we went in to have lunch.

After peaches and blueberries for dessert, Dan went out to check on things. In a flash he was back at the house yelling, "Come quick!" I flew out the door and across the barnyard. The second kid was on the ground but still wrapped in the birth sack. I pulled it away from the tiny face but there was no movement and no breathing. While Dan got the bulb syringe I slung the lifeless body and rubbed all over. Ziggy started licking and after what seemed an eternity the little one coughed. Breathing was very congested but the bulb didn't pull much out. After a lot of coughing and sputtering, kid number two started complaining and looking for milk. Number three followed shortly. We've got two boys and a girl.

The brothers

First born standing, a buckling. 2nd born on the ground, a little doe

Everything was quick and smooth. Ziggy is a pro. 

3rd born, a little buckling

Ziggy's udder hangs very low to the ground but all 3 figured out where to find it

The white kid was born first and is the biggest. Huge compared to the other 2

Baby girl is on the left with two brothers on the right. 

Ziggy First! © March 2014 by Leigh 

March 24, 2014

Bedroom Remodel: Back In Business

In our last bedroom remodel episode, we had pretty much set the whole project aside for the time being. That was because the money we'd earmarked for the floor was needed elsewhere and given away for that purpose. Since nice chunks of money rarely come our way, we set the project aside, thinking perhaps the cheapest solution would be floor paint and an 8'x12' area rug. Even though we've put down hardwood floor and ceramic tiles in the other rooms, Dan had his heart set on carpeting for the bedroom. He says it's easier on his bare feet and knees. With no money, however, it didn't matter one way or the other.

The other day Dan saw a classified ad in a local trade paper for new piece of 12'x18' carpeting, complete with pad for $195. He called and we went to see it. The price was too good to be true but I was doubtful we could be so lucky as to having it match the fabric I was using to make draperies. Lo and behold, we couldn't have found a better match.

The camera doesn't catch the match as well as live, but not bad. 

There's a story behind the drapery fabric as well. I scoured every store and outlet in town but wasn't happy with anything until I found "just" the fabric at Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately there was only a few yards left on the roll. The manager said she could order a new roll, but it turned out the fabric was discontinued. That was sad, but what else could I do? I continued looking for curtains.

A couple months later I was back in Hobby Lobby, wondering if they'd gotten anything new. There it was! A brand new fat roll of that same "discontinued" fabric! With one of their weekly 40% off coupons I got it for a reasonable price. I did the same for lining material too.

Dan wants to install the carpet himself, but first he will finish the chicken coop. In the meantime, I'll finish painting the bedroom ceiling. I feel extremely blessed.

March 21, 2014

Coop Roof

Continued from here. 

I have more progress on the chicken coop to show, the roof.

Since we have more projects than money, we discussed all options. We made lists of materials and crunched the numbers. In the end, the cheapest turned out to be a corrugated metal roof.

Besides price, metal is the best surface for rainwater collection.

The drip edges come in 12 foot sections. We needed 24 feet 3 inches! Dan bought a small piece of flashing to fill in that gap rather than a whole 'nother section.

He finished right about dinner time and then it began to rain. We got almost an inch and a half and there were no leaks. Yay! Next step, walls.

Coop Roof © March 2014 by Leigh 

March 18, 2014

Garlic For Goats (And People Too)

Garlic is one of Dan's and my all time favorite medicinal herbs. Any time either one of us feels even the slightest twinge of coming down with something, it's the infamous "Garlic Drink".
  • 1 to 1.5 cups tomato or vegetable juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (helps cut the garlic flavor)
  • 1 rounded tsp pwd ginger (makes it easier on the stomach)
  • 1 or 2 raw, whole, peeled cloves of garlic

Liquefy in blender. Pour into glass. Bottoms up.

A day or two of this is the absolute best cure or preventative for beating whatever is trying to make us sick. (Yeah, yeah, I know, "That's because no one will get anywhere near you so you can't get sick, ha ha ha".)


*Tip: a fresh peppermint leaf or peppermint tincture is useful afterward.

Why is garlic so effective as an antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, anthelmintic (wormer), anti-parasitic, anticoagulant, expectorant, anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol, anti-allergy, antihistamine, cardioprotective? Because of the phytochemicals it contains. (For a complete list click here.) Specifically, it is sulfur containing compounds allicin, alliin, and ajoene. (Do click on those if you want to be impressed).

Allicin is what causes garlic to have it's strong, often objectionable, smell. It is released when a garlic clove is cut, bitten, or crushed. In the garden this is a natural defense mechanism against insects and microorganisms. In the body, it's a natural defense against bacteria, virusus, fungi, and parasites. Allicin is what makes garlic a potent medicinal. Unfortunately, the allicin quickly converts to other, less effective sulfur compounds. (For additional information, click here.) This is why raw garlic is best. Dried, powdered, or commercial forms are less effective.  For this reason we take garlic as medicine in a fresh garlic drink.

But on to goats. A number of natural goat wormer formulae include garlic, but usually in powdered form.  Knowing raw garlic is more potent I would rather give it that way. But how does one give raw garlic to goats?

My old method: Liquefy in blender with a little apple juice and blackstrap molasses. Administer with a dosing syringe. My goats love this. They fight me for the first couple of days but are quickly won over by the blackstrap (which is rich in calcium. iron, copper, B6, complete analysis here). It gets to where when they see me coming with the syringe, they fight over who's first.

New Method: Simply toss whole, unpeeled, raw cloves in their feed. I learned this tidbit over at Out Standing In The Garden. Seemed too simple. I gave it a try and it worked! Every goat I offered it to gobbled it down.

Three things should be noted:
  1. There's no milk withdrawal period, but garlic can effect milk flavor. Using it works best with a once a day milking regimen. Feed at the time of milking.
  2. Goats will eat what they need. If they need the garlic, they'll eat it. If they don't, they won't. By offering it regularly I can make sure they get what they need, and only what they need, free choice. 
  3. The liquefied method is still good for adding other things, such as herbal tinctures or powdered herbs. 

One last tidbit, garlic is a nutritious food too. It's a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and selenium. Complete nutritional analysis here.

March 16, 2014

And The Winner Is . . . . . . . .

Congratulations to Ashley A!

I numbered all your comments as they came in, giving the earned number of entries their appropriate number count. Then I used the custom random number generator at over at math goodies to select the winning number.

Ashley, you provided your email so I'll be in touch to get a mailing address, and get your copy on it's way to you.

For those who didn't win, I'm happy to offer a discount as a way of thanking you for helping me promote my book. For the next 48 hours, you can purchase a copy from my CreateSpace eStore for just $7.95 plus shipping and handling. That's $5.00 off list price! Click here, and enter code C5Z58YMW (expired) at checkout. The code is good for today and tomorrow only.

For those outside of the United States the discount is available, although I realize shipping may be exorbitant. An alternate option might be, which offers free shipping to many nations worldwide. To see a list of those, click here. Local taxes and fees still apply.

Once again, thank you to everyone who entered! Thank you for all your kind words. I hope I may always be an encouragement to you in your homesteading endeavors.

March 13, 2014

Well Ladies, Who's Gonna Be First?




Assuming my girls all settled, the first due date should be Surprise on or around March 26. She's the only one with a set date because she had only one visit with Hooper. Lily went into heat shortly after that, giving her a first potential due date of March 29. She seemed to go into heat again, however, so my calendar has a few more possibilities. Ditto for Ziggy whose first potential due date is April 9.

I do breed late with April and May being my preferred kidding months. I know a lot of folks start kidding in January and February, but I think those months are too cold. I don't really know why folks start their season in winter except, perhaps, so that the doelings can be bred the following fall. Does anyone have a good rationale to share? I'll stick with later kidding because every year there are sad stories about hypothermic kids. Some make it and some don't. I just want my kids to have the best chance possible, and staying warm is one way I can help do that.

So, two more weeks! Hopefully it will be happy and uneventful.

Ziggy says, "I'll never tell."