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September 10th, 2012

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I HATE Bucks.... 07:49 am
They got out - AgAiN. Granted, we've just been patching the fences, not repairing them properly, but STILL....

We live in an area of caliche. Crisco-over-Concrete is a good description; it's diggable to about 2" right now. With the tractor, we can dig post holes, if we want to take a good 1.5 - 2 hours per HOLE. :sigh: Hence the patch jobs - it's just too damn hard to put posts in! We were waiting for a good rain to come, so that we could replace the buck fence completely, but today the bucks decided it was a good day to go a-Viking.

Yup. They decided to knock down the corner post and go pillaging in the doe pasture (they figured out the *1* weak spot in the doe fence (behind the small shed was - WAS - an area about 12" wide of just the no-climb horse fence. They pushed that down and had a ball. :sigh:). I saw the first rape....and we ran out and got them OUT of there in about 10 minutes, but I don't know how many does got bred. (And....NONE of the does had shown signs of heat yet. :big sigh:) IF we're here after RH, I get to Lute ALL of them, just to be sure we don't have any oops babies. (They'd pop in Jan/Feb if they caught - and *I* do not like baby goats in my house in cold weather. So......I try to breed in Oct/early Nov, to kid in April/May.) :sigh: Such is the life of a goat farmer.

Hint: If you want goats, don't plan on keeping a buck. Buy a buckling the first year, breed everything, then sell/eat the buckling. Keep 1 buckling from the next freshening, breed everything, then sell/eat him. And so forth. Seriously, if you only have 1 breed, it's not worth keeping a buck. They STINK. Badly. And do horrible things when in rut......

And, notekeeping: (for just in case I don't get my papers in order before RH)

We have changed our feed. Prices have gone THRU the roof, and it's just not feasible for us to keep feeding goat feed AND the horse complete feed (not to mention that our feed mill went kaput, and we can no longer get the complete feed we've been feeding for over a decade. :sigh:)

We are now feeding all the livestock (except for the hens) Tractor Supply's pelleted "sweet" All Stock. It's $9.95/bag, has 18% fiber (not quite as good as the 25% I was feeding, but it's close enough to 20% to pass as a Hay-Stretcher), and all the other numbers are almost identical to the goat feed we'd been feeding. It's $2 cheaper/bag of goat, and $5/cheaper/bag of horse. We're still buying Alfalfa pellets for the goats - we mix the All Stock with them 50/50. That ensures that the lactating does are getting plenty of calcium.

I *might* - should we be here! - start mixing my own grains for the dairy girls again. Corn/Oats/Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and Beet Pulp - about 30/30/20/20, if I remember correctly; it'll get top-dressed on the regular rations on the milk stand.

Anyway.......that was our day. How'd yours go? :lol:

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It's Monday.... 02:39 pm
and it was a work day. Somehow, I had "lost" a week - *I* kept thinking that today was RH, not NEXT week - glad I was wrong! I'm not ready for RH yet.....

Got home at 1:30 - would have been home sooner, except - sing it with me, folks! - FA's girl sent me changes again - at *10:30*. :bangs head: We begged FA to PLEASE enforce the "no changes after midnight Saturday" rule that HE put in place...but he just shrugs. :arrrrrrgh:

I think the Am Ex is about to go up again - the coyotes were in our neighbor's back yard last night. Twice. I HATE being in debt (at ANY time, not just now)....but I don't want to deal with dead, half-eaten goats, either. The doe fence along that side is OK, but not perfect - it's on t-posts, with the cattle panel attached by zip ties (AKA cable ties. Don't judge me - they work. In fact, zip ties are my emergency fence repair kit.)

Anna, you mentioned chain link panels. Tried that - they'd probably work for our does, but we have a LOT of space to cover (the doe pen is approximately 100' long, and 60' wide), and our goats are big enough that if they lean into the fence (as they do) to rub their itchy sides (as they are), they eventually push the chain link off of the stretcher bars, and can then wiggle thru the space and go on walkabout. That's why I had to cattle panel OVER the chain link gate in the doe pen.....because they were getting out and it had gotten to the point that it wasn't worth trying to re-stretch the link again. :sigh: You've got cute little goats.......I'm beginning to rethink my love of Nubians. :lol:

The BEST fence we've found so far, for ALL the critters, is welded cattle/utility panels. My backyard is t-posts, with the panels welded to them, topped with angle iron. Ugly, but has been pretty indestructible AND escape-proof (except by a dog that can jump.) Since we don't weld (my fence was done by the guy that actually owns the property next door; my neighbor IS a welder, but getting him to actually, y'know, WELD something for me has proven impossible. Money doesn't seem to work....), we're using 8' tall, 5" diameter wooden fence posts, sunk 2.5' in concrete, set 8' apart. Staple the cattle panel to it in 6 or 8 places, then top with another 5" diameter post. Looks good, is STURDY, and even the horses respect it.

The problem? EXPENSIVE. The panels are $20/each on sale, and the posts run about $8/each. We got a deal on both last year; we have enough of both to finish out the buck pen and to do the 2 long sides of the doe pen. We'll have to buy more to do the pastures - that's the long-term goal; to have ALL the fences on the property be the same. :sigh: I'm trying to convince SG that the no-climb horse-wire will work, IF he staples it to the top rail - now, on t-posts the horses lean and lean and LEAN, and push it down the posts and step over it. If it's attached to the top rail, they can't do that - and we'd save quite a bit on the fencing. (The posts will still be expensive, but it's hard to find them free/discounted. :sigh:)

Ah, well......at least we're all here and safe for the moment. Hope the coyotes stay away until we get something to deter them......

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