Monthly Archives: May 2013

Might be Bloat

I wasn’t able to get alfafa this weekend and monday the feed shop was closed so this morning during milking the girls got extra grain. Tonight Ash was standing in her stall stomping her foot over and over.





*stomp stomp stomp*

I thought maybe she didn’t like the new bedding i put in (tried pellets, ain’t worth $4 a bag!), but when i went to look at her she had froth on her lips. a little, but thats not a good sign either way. I figure her stomping may be general stomach discomfort so i jumped on it and forced some water/oil/baking soda goop down her throat and tapped her tummy to try and burp her.

She still had an appetite, so that was good, but i gave her limited alfalfa because its so rich.

I don’t know for sure if its bloat, but im not one to take chances on my animals health. We’ll see how she is in the morning.

the great thing is both the girls have upped their milk production for me and I got over a gallon in two days. Remember: I only milk once a day and leave some for the lambs. That means they are doing a good job producing milk. Not as much as i expected, true, but now that I know some milk goats don’t even make a quart a day I’m happy.

I also sold my first gallon of raw milk (as pet food*) this weekend so the girls paid for their feed. Maybe I can sell some more and they can buy a few straw bales.


*not really. I told them how to pasturize and don’t drink my milk raw. really. don’t.Polly is a poop monster and I cannot keep the stall clean enough for me to feel comfortable with the milk being raw. Yes I wash sanitize the udders…but still. no. just don’t.


I Relieved Myself of A Goat

Sometimes we have to accept an animal is not in a good place. After a week of caring for Cap he continued to yell the majority of the time. He was happy when I stood near and he grazed, but I can’t live my life in the pasture babysitting a goat! Plus, he was so small still he could slip between gates and would run off to the neighbors to hang out with them, knock over their booze, eat their cigarettes and eat their chicken feed. Clearly, he was not a good fit.

ImageIt was a hard decision to make, but while I loved how affectionate he was he needed a better home. He was screaming so much he was going hoarse! So I returned him to the folks I bought him from and now have no goat to eat my thistles (or to give kisses to). The fact he had not been weaned probably played a part in his yelling: i realized it when he greeted his mother by diving into her udder.

Anyway, its a bummer but it is what it is.

Pigs in the Garden

I know permaculture theory suggests using pigs to rototill, and as we know my pigs are quite good at the job. However, setting up a  space around my garden and herding the pigs into it seemed like a sizable undertaking so I went with a more conventional method to breaking ground for the new garden: a rototiller. The soil had the right amount of water, but being clay it was still hard as heck and after an hour of hard labor my wrists that are prone to tendonitis hurt, I was breathing fumes and the grass roots had hardly been cut into. i had a 20×40 square of ugly:large clods of dirt and grass with only 1 inch “fluffed” and holdouts from the former lawn waving their grassy blades like green standards in a war against my invasion into their property. Three weeks later those bunches of grass are looking fine and healthy with the added root space.


Thanks for nothing, rototiller


I then attempted to spade the space as Steve Solomon suggests….for all of two minutes. With as much weight as it took me to spade a single foot of ground no way could i do the whole garden.

So I gave in. I don’t feel comfortable using polyrope outside of the big permanent fence because the pigs still bust through it sometimes, but the garden needed tilling if it was going to do it this year i needed to do it NOW. First time I tried there was a heat wave and I didn’t want a wallow in my garden space (compacted dirt!) so i put them back with the other pigs. That movable pen i ended up giving to Cap the goat, so once the weather cooled down…nada. I finally made a electric fence around the garden this weekend and the pigs happily followed me in  (?!!)



The kids got to work right away now that the weather has cooled off. But what really surprised me was after a day of “hard work” in the garden I treated them to an extra scoop of grain and they didn’t eat it! Infact, they weren’t even excited at feeding time. Whatever they are finding in the ground is filling them up, the grain is just supplementary. While I wasted a few pound of feed at least its in the garden where it will add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. Yes, this whole process works well to fertilize the soil for the coming plants.


Okay, so maybe you can’t see it but that is a hole. A huge, fluffy hole. Its fluffy clay. PIGS! YOU ARE AMAZING!


I should have done this much earlier in the year. The whole space should have been managed totally differently, but life got in the way. Anyway, its May and I’m finally working on my garden space. Luckily it is going to heat lovers like eggplants and peppers that don’t have to go in for a few more weeks.


I got a goat



I got a goat. His name is Cap.


Short for Capricorn, he is a stubborn, friendly and affectionate.

I thought, stupidly, the lambs would accept him. They did not. He looked funny so they greeted him with head-butts. Poor guy: he woke up from his nap, got picked up by two strange humans and within ten minutes was transported to a land WITHOUT goats, but sheep, dogs, cats and pigs. Oh he was so confused.

I put him in a pen with Blaze inside the sheep pasture so the sheep could get used to him. Today I let them all intermingle and the sheep pretty much ignored him. Good! No one is attacking the funny looking baby. BUT….when I left he freaked. He likes humans and ran around the house screaming until he decided to bolt. Off to the neighbors he went. He likes hanging out with the neighbors in their garage and he spent all evening with them eating, drinking, and climbing on stuff.

He’ll fit in just fine.

Is This Mastitis or What?

A few weeks ago I finally committed to milking the sheep (a month or two later than i should have) and got that creep made. But something had been bothering me. Polly’s udders were uneven. ALWAYS uneven. WHY?Image

I was getting concerned and for a while was milking her at night, too, assuming she had mastitis. But the weird thing was although her udders were kinda hard, they just felt volupious. Not what i think of mastitis possibly feeling like. Her udders were warm/hot…but like i imagine full boobies to feel like. However, she did seem like it was tender and would proffer me her wimpy side so i could massage it.

But what the heck is going on? I was getting 1-2 cups milk out of one udder and 1/4 a cup out of the other! Was the lamb only using one side so that side was the only side producing? Meanwhile, Ash in mid lactation looks like this, still:


Ah, but what happened? I finally caught him in the act early morning, getting up before i normally do and sneaking up on the animals

ImageA little thief! Polly would let him milk one side when i wasn’t around, always the same side. When I was around she’d kick him off on and not let him milk. I assumed she always kicked him off, but no. It was a sheepy conspiracy!

These animals are not as dumb as we think they are. Meanwhile Blaze is doing well, though still much smaller than her sister or Mooney.



Happenings Happens While I Was Away

I left this morning to ewes and lambs in pasture 1, ram in pasture 2, dog in house and cat outside.

I came home to ewes in pasture 1, ram and lambs in pasture 2, cat in the house and dog outside.


Clearly, there were happenings while I was at work. Thankfully, though the back door blew open, the ram only seems to have walked so far in to the laundry room, got scared, peed and fled.

Sadly, my rose bush has been denuded *again*.