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Life on the Farm.... - Random babblings of a fiber-obsessed nutcase

About Life on the Farm....

Previous Entry Life on the Farm.... Mar. 30th, 2010 @ 10:27 am Next Entry
is always busy. There's always something going on. Yesterday, Sweet Geek finished the goat fence (Finally! A kid-proof fence!), and tidied up the place. I bought Calvin some sweaters, because he is officially no longer a house-goat!!!



Since Calvin's been living in the house, I was a bit worried about him. Yes, he's an animal, and should be able to adjust. He's also 16 days old, and without a Mama to snuggle with...going from a 70* environment into a 50* one (last night - Monday AM was 41*) would be hard on him.

Plus, Wally world has all the dog sweaters on clearance. :lol: I bought 3.....2 for next year's crop, 1 for now:




Yes, it's a "wife-beater". :snicker: The back reads "Size Doesn't Matter!" - which is hysterical, seeing as it's on a buckling. He HATES the barn, but was content this AM - very hungry, and very hoarse, but he wasn't freaking out or anything. Helps that he had been outdoors Saturday and Sunday.




He met the Twins, and wasn't quite sure what to think of them. LaDue watched him, and let him play a wee bit before decided he wasn't up to her standards. :lol: Still, it's good for him.




He and Saffron were having a "stand off" with the 2 milkers. No one was quite sure what to do...it was So Funny!




Here you can see the "final" configuration of the milk room. Maybe. Mocha doesn't like that her stand is turned 90* - it's WEIRD. And NOT RIGHT. :lol: She'll get over it - Annie hops right up, and doesn't mind the fact that her head has to go in the stanchion. By moving the feed barrel, it freed up a lot of floor space - it's not as crowded in there, even with the 3rd stand. With the feeders attached, it's easier to keep the goats where they belong - they don't "wander" around the stand while milking now. (That's Herself, filling the feeders in preparation of the evening's milking. She's getting to be a big help - she even - VOLUNTARILY!! - feeds the horses while we milk. WITHOUT being asked! This is a HUGE thing for her - I am so proud!)

Dunno if you can see it, but I have the teat dip cups hanging on each stand. Ours are the non-return ones from Hamby's, so you don't contaminate the dip. Each stand has it's own, on an eye bolt. I'm planning on hanging the strip cups from there, too - once we have water in the barn. I don't see the need to wash them after each milking; rinsing should be fine. We can run them thru the dishwasher once a week or so - we don't do anything with the strippings, after all - it's just dumped, and very very very little actually gets IN the cup - - the screen catches most of it, and you're only talking 1 or 2 squirts from each teat anyway. I'm trying to figure out a way to store the wipes on each stand, too...maybe a small shelf under the platform? 1 container is working right now, though.....gotta think about this some more.




Here's the twins, getting used to the whole barn thing. They are so cute and snuggly - they look like little stuffed toys.




Sunny sunning herself - it was in the mid-70s on Sunday. She's due to pop Friday....I dunno if she'll make it. :lol:




Zorra's due Monday....she's nowhere near as big as the other 2, so I'm thinking we've only got 1. It'll be 3/4 Nubian, and 1/4 Cashmere - I'm hoping for a doeling to add to the milk string.

We've just about decided that the Cashmere's will be mostly fiber/meat, and the Nubians will be our main milkers. But.....I still like the marketing angle of the Cashmere milk. (Not that I'm planning on SELLING a lot, you understand, but it's something to keep in mind, even as gift-giving.) Right now, we'll be milking all 5, since that's all we have (and cheese-making and soap-making both take a LOT of milk!). Once we get a core Nubian herd going, we might re-think that.



Ali had asked about the Porta SCC test. I ordered it, when? Thursday evening? Friday? Anyway, it arrived last night (FAST shipping! USPS, too!!). We took it out to the barn and tried it out.

It's very easy to use - you open the packet, which has 2 test strips in it (it suggests you use them within 4 days of opening). You strip the teat, then milk out like normal. It suggests you collect a bit of milk from each side mid-milking in a clean (but NOT sterile!) container - we took a sample out of the milk bucket. It only takes a drop - it has clean pipettes (reusable!) for that - on the spot on the strip, then you add 3 drops of the reagent.

The test takes 45 minutes. IF the color changes faster, you know you have a high count. Ours? Well, here:




This was at about 60 minutes. Annie's turned a pale, pale blue - meaning her count is 500 or less. Mocha's didn't change at all - Sweet Geek said he thinks he just got foam instead of milk. We'll test again in a week or so - I'm not worried, since both goats' milk looks clean, there's no heat, and they both are cared for identically. (I wasn't worried, anyway - I just like the ability to test on-site, with minimal waiting.)

It's a good way to keep an eye on your goat's udder health, without having to wait on a lab. It doesn't give you any concrete numbers - but I am happy with this. I *might* send samples to a lab at some point, but....maybe not. For home use, this is adequate - and it pencils out cheaper in the long run.

I also have a California Mastitis Test kit that I'll be trying at some point. Again, it's for peace of mind. (It was only $13, so...:shrug:)

Again, I don't think either one is an absolute necessity, but.....you do need a way to confirm mastitis. IF the test comes up positive, THEN you can send a sample to the lab so you know what you're dealing with. You don't want to risk losing an udder....cleanliness goes a long way towards prevention, as does sticking (pretty much :grin:) to a set milking schedule. And milking them completely out will help prevent it, as well - I just like having some sort of way to quantify data. If that makes sense.
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