Welcome to my side of the fence. . .

Welcome to my side of the fence. . . Here you will
enjoy some good laughs, maybe some frustrations,
and hopefully (if I'm a good enough writer), a few tears.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh no.

We are having a little run-in with a bout of coccidiosis. Basically, it's an infestation of parasites in the body. It's pretty common in kids, but as they grow up, they build an immunity to it. For the doelings, it can kill them if not treated. At the first sign of diarrhea, I emailed Melissa of Left Foot Farm and asked her what to do. She gave me the dosage and name of the "antidote"--Sulmet 12.5%. I also did a goat drench, which is a mass dose of vitamins and nutrients. After dosing them, about two hours later I noticed the girls were very energetic and playful. I guess the stuff works fast! And they even ate a little bit more than breakfast! I am hopeful that I will have nipped this in the bud. The girls will have four more days of dosage and if they still have diarrhea after the total of five days, then we will have our first vet visit. :( I hope not!

When I dosed the girls, Arabella took it with almost no problems. Of course she tried to not take it, but when I got it into her mouth, she swallowed like a good girl. Star, on the other hand was a hoot! Whenever I got the stuff in her mouth, she would make the most interesting faces by turning her bottom jaw side ways and showing me her tongue. It seemed like she was holding the medication in her mouth and not swallow! And then she would let out this over-dramatic, exasperated exhale. Being a newbie to dosing goats, I thought she was gonna roll over and die on me! I was so stressed. When I was done, I came in and emailed Melissa again, asking if it was normal for Star to be making all those "faces". She emailed back and "lol"ed me, saying it was perfectly normal. Now that I know, I am ready for Star's face-making today! LOL

I am super-thankful that Melissa was there to help; I never would have figured out that I needed the Sulmet 12.5%. I would have ended up taking them to the vet and spending a couple hundred dollars. She has been so kind to me and I am so grateful!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ode to my cats.

I got this picture of three of my cats (I have five in all--four indoor, one outdoor) and I just thought with all the goat hub-bub going on, I should pause a moment and recognize some other animals that we are always feeding, lol!


We went to True Value and they gave us some spools for the goats. Star is the most ambitious with climbing it right away and being Queen of the Hill. She even tried jumping to the bigger spool from the smaller one, but she didn't quite make it. They are so fun to watch play!

Getting to Know You. . .

This weekend was all about getting to know the goats and for them to get to know us. During different times of the day, I would find someone sitting at the barn, petting the goats or just being with them, so I would break out the camera that I kept in my pocket all day. As you can see in one picture, we even ate dinner with the goats! Don't worry, they didn't get any pizza!
Right now the doelings spend most of their time in the barn because it is their safe zone. However, if one of us get up and walk across the yard, the goats are quick to follow. I have caught them playing on the spools we've left out for them, too. I will post pics of that next!
Star and Arabella are opposites in personality. Star is very outgoing, affectionate, and pleasantly aggressive and is adjusting very well, very quickly. Whereas, Arabella is my more gentle doeling. She doesn't necessarily question everything, but is a bit more timid. She just hasn't felt comfortable enough to come out of her shell yet. And understandably so! How crazy would it be to leave your home and be the center of attention of a bunch of strangers!
The first day of feeding was very scary for me because neither would eat at first. So at Scott's suggestion, I got them to come out into the yard and play a bit, to hopefully work up their appetites; wouldn't you know it--it worked! They have been eating since! Weird thing is, their schedule from Left Foot Farm is twice a day at twelve hour intervals. At my house, they are demanding food three times a day! I feed every six hours, starting at 8a.m. til 8p.m. then they don't get anything until the next morning. I am wondering if they are eating more often because they are out and about playing? Oh, and might I clarify: they are bottle-fed. They eat about 10 oz every time I feed. I would like them to actually eat a total of 40 oz of milk a day, but they seem to be doing fine at 30 oz a day. In their formula I put 1/2 teaspoon of Probios powder in the milk. It's like vitamins and an immune booster. It does their body good, lol!
The milk they drink is cow's whole milk. A lot of people have been stunned to learn that goats can be raised on cow's milk. Well, it's true! They thrive on it just as well as goat's milk. Actually, in some cases, feeding a goat another goats' milk has lead to diseases. This seems to be the case more frequently when it's a goat drinking another breed of goat's milk, like a nigerian dwarf goat drinking from a boer goat. At least that's what I read.
Emotionally, I am on eggshells, waiting for something to go bad and I just need to realize and appreciate the moments of good. I worry about cocciodisis with the girls, I worry about if I will do something wrong and make them sick. I worry about whether or not they are getting enough alfalfa. . . I am trying to learn to just chill.
So all in all, it is well thus far on the Little Red House Farm. I have a lot to write down in my homesteading calendar of things that are happening to remember for future reference. It's good stuff!

Friday, March 23, 2012

They are home!

Today was another busy day at our place. Scott and Joe took down chicken fencing, put up temporary gates, a permanent gate, goat feed, and a heating lamp. And we clipped chicken wings. Then we went shopping for the goats. Finally, we went and got the doelings in Eatonville! Star and Arabella are adorable! Melissa, despite her busy day, took the time to show me hoof trimming and bottle feeding. They got their mineral shot and we whisked them off from Left Foot Farm to our place, The Little Red House Farm.
I hung out with the baby girls until I absolutely had to come in and start thinking about dinner for the humans. Then I headed back out there to feed them their dinner! Star can eat; no, let me rephrase: she inhales! Arabella tho is being timid and wouldn't drink her bottle. She wanted to be held, but not fed. I'm not going to freak out because she skipped dinner; she did eat before we left Left Foot Farm, so she's not starving. I will begin to worry if she doesn't eat breakfast. From what I have read, it is kinda normal for Arabella to not eat right away. She's just been moved from her home to a scary new place and she's unsure of everything, so. . . we will have to see what tomorrow holds.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My barn is here! The original plan was Scott was going to build me a barn. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and he being a novice carpenter, he knew he would need more time than what we had left. So we ordered a "barn"! I highly suggest this company to anyone who is interested in small buildings, sheds, and the like: All Stor Sheds in Rochester. They are a good Mennonite company that take pride in their work and they are sooooo nice!
Joe is giving me a lot of grief because the barn doesn't match the house color, but I love it! I love the mixed, eclectic look!
It makes my heart skip a beat to see how much time, money, and effort we are putting into the new adventure!

Oh my goodness, have we been busy! On March 14th, my little brother came to visit. He'll be with us until the first week of April. And I have got to say, the boy can't stay still! He is a worker-bee!
First, it started out with the fence. We have had to take it back up to make room for the barn we ordered; in order for it to be delivered in the spot I want, the fence was in the way and it had to come down. However, I think it would have been coming up anyways because Joseph (my brother) thought our job was a bit amateur. He, being a carpenter and mechanic, put himself to the task of redoing said fence. And the side that he could work on so far (not in the way of the barn delivery) looks great! Here's some pics of him taking a phone break. . .

Also in the way of the barn is the burn pile we have been accumulating for a few months now. So the boys got to work on that. . .

What's left? Well, the other side of the fence, which Joe is working on as I write (I feel super-guilty writing right now while he's busting his butt), building a gate for the fence, situating the barn (delivered this morning and pics to follow after this writing), taking down the chicken fence (they are going to co-mingle with the goats), and last but not least: picking up the doelings on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fencing was MOSTLY put up.

Saturday, the 3rd of March, was spent putting in T posts and fencing. I, of course, did it in style: when Scott snagged his red t-shirt on the fence, I ripped the t-shirt hemline the rest of the way and adorned my beautiful forehead with it! Wa-lah! Scott said I looked like an indian. I said, well, I am a drop of Oto. He said, you dork.

ANYhow. . . T posts were easy to put in, a little too easy. When something is too easy, we get nervous, like we don't deserve a good thing? What up with that? Then the fencing went in just as easy. We still need to go back and reinforce it with ties. And we need to build the gate that we are putting up in the middle. Scott said that should be as easy as the T posts, lol! Now, just as a FYI. . . we are not professional gate-makers, so of course it isn't perfect! But it's up!

We rethought as to where we are putting the goats; originally, they were going to be on the right side of the yard. But then a couple factors came into play: one, I can't see my babies from the house! Two, the bigger plan of someday having more goats would mean that we would have to eventually move the layout anyways, sooooooo. . . we went ahead and did it now. Instead of having 940 square feet, they now have 1650 square feet! Which leaves room for a couple more girls, later down the road. If I get the hang of the two, first! Oh, and the chickens will be co-habitating with the goats.

So that is that. We did our best. Scott asked me if I was happy, to which I replied I was. I have been putting so much down on paper and "what-if-ing", that it's nice to see it in motion. I like getting my hands dirty and putting what I was thinking into action!


I was ecstatic to get these pictures yesterday! In fact, I was having a rough day: wondering what I was doing all this work for and if these goats were even worth it. . . and then all was well when I got to see their sweet faces!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

From Left Foot Farms. . .

Got an email this evening:

Hi Rachel,
Haven't forgotten pics, the girls sort of got a new hair-do today. They were disbudded so a bit of a stressful day for the babes.