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Posts Tagged ‘jacqsonne’

Tuesday morning we decided that if Memphis wasn’t showing any signs of progress we would give her a shot of lutalyse to induce her.  The theory is, the average dairy goat gestation is 145-155 days.  Monday was day 150 for Memphis’ pregnancy, and we were worried about having her hold the kids too long.  Then we may have run into a series of problems created by too-large kids.

Let me state: from what I understand (from reading and talking to other goat people), you should only induce a doe if you are completely sure of her breeding date.  Otherwise you risk inducing a doe too soon – which can cause another set of problems.  After inducing with lutalyse, it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for the doe to go into labor, with most averaging around 36 hours.

So, we gave Memphis a shot of Lutalyse on Tuesday evening and went to bed.  Wednesday our neighbors checked on her and called to report that she was very vocal and nervous.  We moved Jacqsonne back into the stall with Abba and her kids.  We watched them carefully through the evening and everyone got a long fine.  Jacqsonne was quick to remind a kid that her udder was not for them, but otherwise pleasant to them.

I got up periodically Wednesday night and there was no forward progression into labor.  I sadly went to work, worrying that she would go into labor while I was gone and have trouble with no one around to help.  Our neighbors visited again this afternoon and called to say that she was very serene – “the calm before the storm” as they said.  HB got home this evening to find Memphis drying off a little buckling!  HB named him “Fred Astaire” and we marvled at his size.  Memphis is a larger goat than Abba, and I bet her kids are twice their size!

Memphis and Fred Astaire

We let Memphis work on Fred, cleaning and drying his coat.  An hour later, she laid down and began to push, and with some effort out popped a dark buckling that HB named “Humphrey Bogart”!  Memphis laid their quietly for a few minutes and I started to worry.  Bogart started struggling within the amniotic sac and finally broke through.  Memphis got up and resumed cleaning Fred.  I waited a few minutes, washed my hands, grabbed a towel, and went to help Bogart dry off and get the mucous out of his mouth.

Drying off Bogart

Almost immediately Bogart started trying to suckle on my hands.  I tried to get Memphis to cooperate and let the boys nurse, but she would have nothing to do with it.

Humphrey Bogart

Eventually we put Memphis on the milking stand and I milked her.  We bottle-fed Bogart, but Fred wouldn’t latch onto the nipple.  He has limited sucking reflex, I guess.  We went back later this evening and offered a second bottle.  Bogart sucked it dry, but once again Fred wasn’t cooperating – and neither was Memphis.

Luckily, I had brought home a syringe and red rubber catheter from work (a homemade “Save-a-kid” syringe, we wanted one to leave in our kidding kit) and after doing some reading on line decided to syringe feed Fred.  At that point it had been 3 hours since being born and he hadn’t taken in any colostrum other than a few sips.  We felt it was necessary.  It went smoothly and he seemed stronger afterward.

I just peeked in on them and everyone is resting quietly.  I had hoped that relieving some of the pressure in Memphis’ udder would make her willing to let the kids nurse, but she is still not allowing it.  We plan to get up at least once through the night and make sure they’re eating, and bottle feed if we need too.

Little Doris and Rock, Abba’s kids are doing very well.  They’re small, but spunky!  Tomorrow night I’m taking them over to my Jennifer’s for a lesson in disbudding.  Hard to believe that you disbud so early, but it makes sense.

Rock Hudson

Doris & Rock playing with the hay manger

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As you can tell, the neighbors came over to visit little Rock and Doris, see the horses and other animals, and help me milk Jacqsonne last evening!

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Abba, 148 days

Today marks 148 days bred for Abba and Memphis.   This morning I measured the circumference of their ever-widening abdomens.  Their last measurement was at a month out, so about 3.5 weeks ago.

Today’s measurements:

Abba – 50 inches

Memphis – 51 inches

That’s a gain of nearly 5 inches each!  It’s been a lot of fun watching their bellies (and udders) swell as the time draws closer.

They say their tail ligaments soften as they approach kidding time.  You see the same things in horses, the tail head begins to feel very flaccid.  I’ve been feeling the ligaments for over a week now, at least twice a day, and I don’t really know if they feel “soft” or not.  They’re certainly a lot softer than Jacqsonne or the other goats!  I figure one day I’ll palpate the ligaments and be like “OH!” and know what it’s supposed to feel like.

The girls have been loving the break in weather, warm days combined with extra sunlight and fresh green grass in the pastures has made them very happy.  Yesterday Jacqsonne’s milk production increased by 2/3 of a pound!  She gave a full 3/4 of a gallon yesterday – her biggest production day yet, and definitely the biggest increase we’ve seen in her production.  I couldn’t believe how full her udder looked last night.  I’m sure I insulted HB when I questioned if he had milked in the morning – she was just that full!

We’ve started letting Sweet Roll, Donut, and Xenia out in the barn lot during the day.  Xenia is cooperating with the new schedule, and Sweet Roll enjoys the sunshine so much.  I hate that it’s bad for him – UV light aggravates his pemphigus (go figure).  While I figure out the next step for him, I figure why not let him enjoy sleeping in the sun?  Today is such a nice day, that as long as everyone gets along, I’m letting Huck roam the barn lot with the boys and Xenia.  They adore Huck’s haynets to the point where I’m considering getting them their own!

Well I better get busy.  HB and his dad are putting the roof on the barn shed today.  I picked up some summer-blooming bulbs that need planting (glads and dahlias) and I really want to start some seeds today too.  And Huck needs a ride.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

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It's not Camembert, but what is it?

In November 2009, using the last gallon of milk from Anita, HB attempted to make a goat’s milk Camembert.  Nearly two months later, we decided to try the cheese.  What we had wasn’t Camembert, but rather something much harder.  HB took a sample with us to Caromont to review it with Gail Hobbs-Page, and it was decided that what we had created was something more reminiscent of a an aged Spanish cheese.  Interesting.

The flavor was good, the cheese perhaps a little too hard (think, aged Parmesan), and we had a few air bubbles in the wheels.  HB discussed the cheese with Gail, pulling out his notebook where he writes his cheesemaking notes, and reviewing the process.  It was decided that to make Camembert we needn’t cut the curd, but rather just ladle the curd into the molds.

Cheese making is all about the technique, you know.

Over the end of last week I saved up two gallons of milk from Jacqsonne (about 3 day’s worth of milk) for us to turn into a second attempt of Not Camembert.  The picture above is the following day, after removing the cheese wheels from their molds.  So far, so good.  The wheels are aging away in our converted wine fridge.  It will be interesting to see how these wheels compare to the last attempt!

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Xenia introduced herself to the other does today, by jumping out of her stall where she has been living with the wethers and into their lot.  Whoops.

HB had wanted to introduce them soon, so I figured she had just jumped the gun.  Taken the initiative.  Good for her.

I put Jacqsonne on the milk stand and let her start eating, then went to feed the other does – now a threesome with the addition of Xenia.  I doled out their allotted grain, then shut their stall door so I could let Huck get out and stretch his legs before his evening walk.

Well if Xenia isn’t the bossiest little piglet I’ve ever seen!  She eats very quickly on the milking stand but was a bully in the stall!  I have three wall-mounted buckets I use for feeding, spaced around the stall.  She would run from one bucket to the next, pushing poor Abba or Memphis away to grab a bite from that bucket before rushing to the next.  What poor manners!  Poor Abba and Memphis, bumped at every bucket they went too, looked so confused and called out to me.

I left them alone, hoping Xenia would settle if I wasn’t watching her antics.  I milked Jacqsonne (who gave me a full half-gallon today!) and then walked her back to the stall.  You could tell she wasn’t keen on the “new girl” but let her have space.  I filled their hay manger with fresh hay, and Jacqsonne got really protective.  If goats have hackles, Jacqsonne’s were raised.  She glared at Xenia.  She repeatedly blocked her from the alfalfa hay.  Then she got aggressive when Xenia went to the feeder of alfalfa pellets and rammed into her shoulder.

Once again, hoping the girls would settle in my absence I left the stall to ensure Sweet Roll got his evening feed and medicine.  While he ate, I tiptoed back to the doe’s stall to check on them.  I peek in, just in time to see Jacqsonne chase Xenia around the stall and see Xenia sail over the stall door (I probably should have shut that, eh?).  She looked like a little deer.

If this doe carries a full term pregnancy and delivers viable kids it will be a miracle.  She’s sooooo nervous.  At times, I feel like the world’s worst in goat husbandry.

So then Xenia is out in the barn lot, again, with Huck (my horse).  The three does from TN were (and still are) nervous about being close to a horse.  Xenia, who as far as I know has never seen a horse up close, is unfazed.  Or perhaps he’s less threatening than I am.  Who knows?

I left her out with Huck while I finished evening chores and tried to figure out what to do with her.  In the end, I put Huck up, and settled for opening the wether’s stall to the barn lot.  Hopefully Sweet Roll and Donut’s presence will calm her.  Hopefully she won’t jump the fence.  Or teach them to jump the fence.  Or get hurt.  I hope she hasn’t already hurt herself; from afar she looks fine.  No lameness that I could tell.  But I can’t catch her in the barn lot.  I’m hoping she’ll come in with the boys in the morning when I shake a bit of grain for breakfast.  If not, I guess I’ll leave her out with the other does.

With that, I better go make sure they’re all still contained in the barn lot.

Oh, goats, they keep you young. 😉

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we’ve got an udder!

Part of preparing the yearling does for motherhood and milking includes getting them accustomed to the milking stand.  Once a week (at least) I try to get them on the stand, feed them, and mess with them a little while they stand there.

One by one I let the girls out of their stall and let them wander down the barn aisle to the milking stall.  They’re getting the hang of the process, and pretty readily jump on the stand.  I then give them a scoop of grain, shut the head gate, and let them munch for a few minutes.  Next I brush their coat.  And since they needed their hooves trimmed, I started doing that.  No rush, just taking it easy.

While I’m brushing and handling the girls I like to give them a thorough once-over and check their udders.  Memphis has the cutest little udder starting to form.  I would have taken a picture, but the barn has terrible lighting at nigh.  Sorry.  But trust me, it was really cute.  If an udder can be cute.

It’s been a day for hooves.  Huck and pH got trims, then tonight I did Sweet Roll, touched up Xenia, did Jacqsonne’s front, did two of Abba’s and one of Memphis’s hooves.  After Anita did Huck and pH (the horses) this morning she helped me with Jacqsonne’s overgrown hind hooves.  I watched her walking around tonight and she already looks better.  I think with careful, frequent trims her hind legs will start to look close to normal.

I slipped and fell on the ice (we call it the glacier) outside the barn today when I got home from the feedstore.  I just had a moment to check and my thigh has a huge swollen lump.  I guess I’ll retire to the couch with an ice pack and watch my recording of Masterpiece Classic’s Northhanger Abbey.

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Abba and Memphis were bred October 23, 2009.

As of today, the yearling does have been pregnant roughly 117 days (16.5 weeks).  Xenia is approximately one month behind the yearlings.

We are barely a month out from their expected due dates!  This means it’s time to do some preventative management.  The care of pregnant goats revolves around keeping them happy and healthy.  This includes minerals, immunizations, hoof care, and nutrition.  Please keep in mind that this spring is my first time freshening goats, so what I’m about to share is simply what I’ve picked up from my own reading.

Making sure the does are current on vaccinations in important, not only for their own health but also for the health of the developing fetus(es).  It is recommended that does be vaccinated one month out from kidding.  Thus, this week I plan to vaccinate the two does due mid-March with a “CD&T,” which is a vaccine against Clostridium perfringes types C and D (the cause of enterotoxemia, aka overeating disease) as well at tetanus.  There are other, more comprehensive, vaccinations available if such diseases occur in your location – such as Caliber 7 or Covexin 8.  One vet in the area recommends using Covexin 8, others say it’s not necessary.  Last year the wethers were vaccinated with it, this year I think I’m just going to use the regular CD&T unless something changes.  Jacqsonne, Memphis, and Abba will all receive this vaccine this week.  In order to maximize the exchange of antibodies to the developing fetus, Xenia will be vaccinated in late March.

Some people use a vaccine called Lysigin, which is for the prevention of Staph. aureus.  S. aureus is a bacteria known to cause mastitis (inflammation of the mammary tissue that can affect milking ability and potentially be career or life ending for a dairy animal).  S. aureus is a pathogen frequently found in the soil so it is hard to avoid.  I’m still debating about using this vaccine, this year I’ve chosen not to but as time goes by I may consider adding it.

Also at this point, each doe will get her hooves trimmed.  Hoof care is a very important, often overlooked, aspect of caprine management.  With horses there is a saying, “No hoof, no horse” that stresses the importance of hoof care to a horse’s athletic ability.  Goats, while not athletes, are productive animals who deserve the best care possible.  I like to put the goats in the milk stand, give them a little grain for entertainment, and trim them.  The goats don’t seem to bothered by it this way.  Today, after trimming my horses, Anita helped me trim Jacqsonne’s hind hooves, which are overgrown.  HB and I worked on them individually about a month ago.  Before we trimmed again, we wanted a little input on how to advance their growth and try to return them to normal.

Nutrition is important to any animal, let alone a gestating animal, and especially one you plan to milk.  It is important to not let them get too overweight during pregnancy because that can cause birthing problems.  However, you don’t want them too thin when they kid, because once they begin lactating it’s hard for them to recover any lost weight.  Some people offer free-choice grain, but for now we offer grain twice daily.  We are currently using Blue Seal’s 20% dairy goat pellet.  Since Jacqsonne is milking, she gets more milk (close to 3 pounds daily) and right now we’re slowly increasing Abba and Memphis’s grain intake.  The plan is to slowly increase grain so that by the time a goat gives birth you are giving them the amount of grain they will be receiving on the milk stand.  This way their digestive system slowly adjusts to the increase in grain.  If you suddenly offer  a lot of grain, it can upset the bacterial population of the rumen (and other parts of the digestive system) and cause problems – and potentially be fatal.

We do, however, keep good quality hay (75% alfalfa, a legume, and 25% orchard grass) available at all times.  We also keep alfalfa pellets available.  In a separate container, the goats have access to special minerals as well as baking soda (there seems to be a 50/50 split on whether offering baking soda is a good thing) for them to munch on if they feel they need it to neutralize and upset tummy.  We started offering baking soda when we were using a textured grain with a high percent of molasses – we’ve recently switched to a pelletized grain, but for now are keeping the baking soda out.  Grains high in molasses and other starches are thought to potentially increase the chance of acidosis and other problems.

Selenium is an important mineral known to be an autoimmune stimulant and is often linked to Vitamin E, since they typically work together in the body.  Selenium is an intracellular antioxidant while vitamin E is one of the major antioxidants in cellular membranes.  When deficient, immune responses are impaired.

Bo-Se is an injectable supplement available through licensed veterinarians.  One ml of Bo-Se supplements 1mg selenium with 50mg vitamin E; making the vitamin E work 6 times more efficiently and making the high amount of selenium non-toxic.  While most research suggests that the concentration of Vitamin E negates the potentially toxic effects of such a high level of selenium, some people only want to supplement it in selenium deficient areas.  Unsure if your area is selenium deficient?  Click here for a map of the country showing Se levels (from the USGS, you can zoom into county-wide statistics for a range of minerals).  Keep in mind, that if you’re feeding local hay and grain then you’re not really changing your selenium status.  Selenium deficiency occurs when the soil contains less than 0.5 mg Se/kg of soil (source).  So, in my area of Virignia, the Se level is 0.138ppm or 0.1338mg/kg (conversion factor is 1).

Copper bolusing is another relatively new addition to goat care.  Copper deficiencies are linked to a number of ailments such as anemia, lack of growth, hoof deformities, parasitic susceptibility, and autoimmune deficiencies.  Because of this, many breeders have added regular bolusing of copper to their management schedules.

Keeping the parasitic load at a minimum is critical to maintaining herd health.  It is important to monitor the herd’s parasite load by performing regular fecal counts and dosing according to the types of parasites present.  If you are planning on consuming the milk, it’s important to remember that many types of dewormers (and other drugs) have milk withdraw times – check the list.

Looking for more information?  Click on the “Favorites” link at the top and scroll down to the Dairy Goat Information links.

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