Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goat Frenzy

If you've ever been inside a goat frenzy, you know to extricate yourself -- and FAST. The following pictures show just how forceful a herd of goats can control of a situation.

Bentley, the horse, and I didn't have a chance. We were out muscled. Each goat weights more than 140 pounds; multiply that by nine or ten goats then you'll know how much muscle controlled this frenzy. This 'herd' clearly out-weighted us.

It all began when I fed Bentley. One goat, Sherry Red, stuck her head in his bucket. Usually I can retrieve the feed bucket with a little bit of effort; but, not this time. She was determined to get that grain; I couldn't budge her. In a heart beat e-v-e-r-y goat ran to the bucket. Their cumulative herd-think clicked in and they owned that bucket.

Silly me, I FINALLY let go. There was no way I could get that bucket. So, I grabbed my phone camera and clicked away.

Normally Bentley can control his feed but not today. His size meant nothing to the 'ladies'. Mine either. Sigh ... .

Don't worry about the goats being too slim or mistreated. They get plenty of food; you can see how fat they are. Besides, I'm with them every day. My mistake was feeding Bentley first instead of them.  Lesson learned.

Oh yes, Bentley eventually got his feed. That horse is well cared for. Me? I wear steel toed shoes. HA

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby goat breaks his toe

Mama Crystal comforts Gene when he returned from the vet's office.
My heart breaks when one of my babies gets hurt. So naturally I scoop them up and head to the vet. Here, our 2.5 month old buck is photographed with his cast on. Luckily he only broke one tie. But a bone break still hurts.

Be on the look out for more photos of him as we turn him into a pet. He'll start by learning to be a pack goat, carrying our water with we go hiking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The sauna is working very well.

You just gotta love this humidity. That's why I look forward to cleaning the barn every morning. Morning is the ONLY time it could be cleaned because it's the coolest time of day. Apparently I'm the only critter out there who suffers.

We have two very large fans, ceiling fans, and a gentle breeze flowing through the barn most of the time. I can always tell when it's cooler in the barn than outside. No one is in the pasture. ALL the critters are not only in the barn but they're in front of the fans.

A site to see is Bentley, our horse, with his nose in the biggest fan. Watching the air flow through his thick main makes me smile. Our vet told me how spoiled he was. One of these days I'll send her a picture of him with his nose in the fan. THAT's  spoiled horse. That's OK. he's worth it.

He's not suffering the heat. Today is Gatorade day. Gotta keep the critters hydrated. Everybody enjoys Gatorade.

gotta go,

Friday, August 06, 2010

Just returned from my morning exercise

My morning activities begin around 7:30 a.m., just like most businesses. The big barn houses our does and kids. Actually, the big barn is where the babies are born and kept until they're about three months old. With so many critters in there and the surrounding pastures, it's a challenge to keep it clean and healthy.

When we first built our big barn we put sand in as the flooring. The good thing about sand is that it doesn't harbor bacteria so the goats could live in the barn more comfortably. But, on the surface, no pun intended, what seems like a good idea caused us to dig out the barn floor every year. We've grown tired of digging.

In addition to the sand, this past winter tons of hay, poop, and other unknown materials had built up and up and up. Cleaning the barn manually, like we did last year, was no longer an option. This year we hired our favorite landscaper/land-grader and his front-end loader to help clean it. I've learned that big jobs require big tools. We could move the contaminated sand but the urine smell was deadly -- we couldn't breathe. We quickly rounded up every fan on the ranch and turned them on full-blast to give us some relief. Sigh ... . Those living conditions had to go.

Well, the barn is now clean, most of the sand it out, and the odor is, although not fragrant, it won't kill you. The trick is to clean it every day. What may take about 30 minutes a morning, if neglected for even one day, takes more than an hour. I don't have to do the math for this one. Cleaning every day is much easier. Besides, I need to check out my goats every day anyway. This gives me more time with them.

We're looking for a new flooring material. One that will be comfortable/healthy for our critters while allowing the humans to maintain it easily and quickly. Got any ideas? Please let me know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Released new family into common area in barn

New baby is spunky, jumpy, and ready to run everywhere. This little lady is a power house. She and mama did well with the other goats and babies yesterday. Other babies checked out the new lady, with mom an inch away. Fun was had by all.

That is until ...

New baby got separated from mama. Then the squealing never stopped. Neither one of them could yell loud enough. That lasted all of about 5 minutes. but sounded like a lifetime. It's fun watching their relationships.

With this confusion between mom and baby, I put them back into their pen for the night. Do NOT want them to get separated at night. Not good.

Three days is just a bit too young to be released in the common area. More bonding is needed, along with stronger legs, voice, and self-confidence. Yes, goats need self-confidence, especially the babies.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Looking for gift ware sales firm in the southern region

We've decided to expand our market and are looking for a sales firm to pick up my line of handmade goat milk bath and beauty products. If you know of anyone in the Charlotte, North Carolina region, please let me know.

Sales firm must know gift ware industry in the southern Region with possible expansion to the west.

Independent representatives are encouraged to contact us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Make that 16 babies

Finally Wynonna had her baby. Her first and all went well. Her instincts kicked in a bit faster then some of the other goats. Apparently she had an easy time during delivery. She had her daughter while I was at the grocery story. Thank goodness she had no complications. Even though I checked her before I left and was gone only about 2 hours, she could have gone into stress while I was gone. Enough of the 'what if's'.

We'll announce her name as soon as we come up with one. Gotta go finish feeding the barn critters.

Just got in from the Barn Sauna

What may take a spa sauna about 20 minutes to heat up took my barn about 10 minutes this morning. I was wringing wet while feeding our critters. The humidity was so overwhelming I had to stop feeding and come inside the house and cool down.

The critters seem to have adjusted quite well, though. They show no signs of stress. But then again, they have two huge fans, cool water, and shade to loaf in. After stressing out so quickly with the heat/humidity, we make an extra effort to make sure our goats and horse are comfortable.

Seeing Bentley, our horse, with his nose in the fan, his mane gently blowing in the breeze is comforting. Our vet would call him spoiled but we love this guy and want him to be as happy here as possible. After all, I'm still sucking up to him 'cause he's only lived with us for abut 6 weeks. We're still getting acquainted. But I will tell you that he is so gentle around the baby goats, it's remarkable. His foot could squash a baby but so far he's made no aggressive gestures. Actually, he's very gentle with all the goat and they can move pretty fast.

The goats, on the other hand, would suck his grain out of his mouth if they could. They are so funny. As far as staying cool, they curl up on either side of Bentley catching the wind from the fans.

Keeping the poop picked up has reduced the flies and cleaning twice a day makes the chore go fast. Now if only we could air condition the barn, I'd be as comfortable as our critters. Sigh ... .

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dairy goats for sale

Many new babies are ready to be weaned and move to their new homes. See what our goats look like at our website.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne have joined our merry band

I've always said that if we have triplet girls, we'd name them after the World War II trio. We've been so graced. Triplet goats are not as common as twins but we've had our share. They've been any combination of boys and girls so we feel like we've hit the jackpot with these three ladies.

Ah ... my cell phone was fried last Thursday so the photos are a bit delayed. But as soon as I get a new phone, I'll take pictures then upload them for you.

We also had a little boy born about the same time so we put all four of them together. Over the past two weeks, they've become fast buddies and are inseparable. We can't decide on a name for him. Should we call him Andrews to complete the trio's name. Or should we name him after one of their songs. I'm think Boogie Woogie or Bugle Boy.

What do you think?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Make that 15 baby goats

Two mamas delivered twins today. Even the one I didn't think was pregnant. Silly me.
Only one more doe in waiting. I'll keep you posted.

We're up to eleven baby goats

... with two more does in-waiting. Yup, I promise. This is the absolute last year that I breed this many goats. While I get great joy in working with the mamas and the babies, caring for them (a labor of love) is wearing on me. On day one (the first 12 to 16 hours) I make sure the babies get their colostrum by either milking mama then force feeding baby, or by holding baby on mama's teat for about five minutes.

I've seen too many babies become weak before getting their colostrum. To keep them healthy and on the right development track, helping them with this task is an easy fix. Colostrum is truly a magic elixir.

Having said all that, feeding them every three hours is becoming a bit too much for me, especially the night-time hours. I've asked the ladies to deliver in the mornings around 6:30 so I'll have daytime hours to help them. Naturally, there was no response but I'll keep asking.

The second night is every four hours so I divide sleep time in half. That's easier on me.

Do I have to do this? Well, yes, most of the time. In a real world, babies are standing and nursing within minutes or they die. In my barn, I do what I can to help them. As long as I personally observe the babies nursing, I'll leave them alone. But putting a little mouth on a life saving teat is a small task to ask.

I do love my goats.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Man moves in

Meet Little Man. He's our new horse and will be moving in Friday, March 26th.

Bob and I have wanted horses for several years but never found the time nor the right horse. That is until ... Monday. Jordan, my goat-helping-angel, mentioned that Little Man was for sale, thank you very much. The voice inside my head screamed, "Little Man! For sale!"

I remembered that husband Bob had ridden Little Man, a TWH, a while back during a visit with our vet Amy and her family. Bob and Amy rode her horses in a nearby field while the rest of us stayed in the shade.
Following his ride on Little Man, Bob was aglow for days, babbling about how smooth the Walker's ride was. He had fallen in love with his smooth ride. We had to get this horse before anyone else did.

I immediately called Bob to tell him that Little Man was for sale. I didn't know the facts yet but would keep him in informed. Then I talked to Amy about LM. She confirmed that he was for sale and told me the price. Without hesitation I said, "Fine, I'll take him." She asked if I was serious. "Well, of course. Does this price include delivery?"

She said that she could have him ready by Friday, if I could wait that long. Hey, it's better she come to closure by preparing him, than me rushing in. "Fine," I said. After all, health checks and current records are important.

Minutes later I called Bob back to let him know that LM would be delivered sometime Friday. Wonderful, we had wanted horses for so long, now we were getting one that we had been introduced to. Another dream is coming true.

I'll keep you posted on our progress. We have much to learn and Little Man is the horse who can do it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Check out the view

Welcome to the arbor view. Getting the arbor up took a few years but it's there now and we love it. Isn't it nice when visions pan out.

I bought it about four years ago and had visions if it on the north side of the house. This side of the house is extremely windy so without exception every time we'd put it up, a wind would knock it down and into pieces. I got tired of rebuilding it so it just sat for a while.

Well, one thing lead to another ... rust set in just a weeeeee bit and the iron rods started warping. Sigh ... .

Welding it together was one answer and anchoring it was the other solution. Terrific! All I wanted to do is have a nice arbor leading to the secret garden. Now I've got a bigger project.

You can hardly see the welding spots and the crooked lines make it look more Art Nouveau-ish

We have so many projects out here it's hard to keep up with them. At least we were smart enough to not put a time line to all our projects. After all, the goats and soaps come first.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Goat Garden Compost

The north pasture is closed right now because we're cleaning up THE poop pile. What a mess. Maybe we ought to clean it out more than once a year. But it stinks and no one is looking forward to working with it -- including me.

We clearly need a better solution to our barn waste management. Maybe turning it into a compost. That might work.

But the main use for it will be our new garden. Yup, we're going to build a garden so the barn poop can enrich our veggies.

The two pictures show the site we've chosen. That red structure is our well house. So placing the garden in this field was a natural decision.

I'll keep you posted on our progress so please check back.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dealing with goat barn waste

The goats got their hay in their back pasture yesterday. Those guys are barn sour.Of course the weather hasn't helped any either. But they just MUST get out of that barn.

My regret is that we don't have a feeder in that pasture so I had to toss their hay on the ground. That isn't a good feeding practice because they'll more than likely poop in it then someone will eat the hay that's been on the poop. Yup, there goes the internal parasite infestation cycle -- again. We've worked so hard to keep the parasites down and I go and do this. Shame ... ! But I had to get them OUT of the barn.

Guess the hubster will be building a feeder for that pasture pretty soon so we can keep our little guys healthy. He's asleep right now so it's safe to write this. Come to think of it he asked if we needed a feeder in that pasture. What a guy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feed Plan for Sleeping Dog Ranch Nubians

For the most part we feed orchard/fescue grass every day as a supplement to grass. Ah ... we'll be reseeding this spring or as soon as it quits raining, which ever occurs first. Our pastures have been divided into goat management needs. For instance, our foundation does are with Bucky, our main buck. Then we have two up and coming new bucks that we wanted to test so one each has been pastured with three yearling does. Next we have four bucklings who need to grow more so they're by themselves. These groups get hay every day and receive medicated grain every other day.

Last but not least, our retired does, new babies, and a few wethers are in the back barn. This group gets plenty of hay and a bit of grass.

But above all, each and every goat has our free-feed supplements available at all times: minerals with copper, Kosher salt, baking soda, and Apple Cider vinegar and fresh water. When the water lines aren't frozen they're filled automatically. Otherwise, we (me and I) haul water out to them.

We frequently check everyone's eyes to make sure they're bright pink. Any less than that receive a Red Cell/ glycol cocktail based on their weight. Herd fecal tests are taken as needed based on their eye color or the rainy weather. Internal parasites are our biggest killers. So, we always on the lookout for trouble signs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parasite prevention is an every day affair

More wet weather. Terrific. My little goats haven't been out of the barn in months. Or, so it seems.

Goat don't do wet. Nor do they do well in wet weather. But staying in the barn isn't good for them either. We clean it as often as we can. But in wet weather, we end up putting the poop in a corner. Sometime they get into it; sometime they don't. Sigh ... we definitely need a better poop management process. I'm working on it.

Because of this wet weather, we've increased our parasite prevention. They're eating feed with Decoquinate (Deccox) in it. Deccox is a coccidiosis preventative. Coccidia is my greatest enemy when losing goats. Winter time or moist grounds increases their growth rate thereby increasing the odds of infecting goats. I have lost more goats in the winter than any other time of year. Each winter I say 'this year I won't lose anyone.' So far ... so good.

This year we started 'winterizing' everyone back in November. Everyone has been dewormed and vaccinated. Their eyes are nice and pink (see Famacha articles) and they have all the free-feed essentials: minerals (with copper), kosher salt, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. Keeping them healthy with a strong immune system seems to be our best defense against parasites.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleeping Dog Ranch website now with Goat Milk Bath

After several years of maintaining two different websites, I've decided to incorporate Sleeping Dog Ranch Nubians with our Gran' Nanny's Goat Milk Soap website. Working with two sites was just too inefficient! KISS is a successful business strategy; staying on target requires constant monitoring. Hey, we're all about goats any way. One website is a natural progression.

If you use the address, you'll be forwarded to our Gran' Nanny's Goat Milk Soaps masthead. Beneath the masthead is the navigation area, look for the Sleeping Dog Ranch Nubians button. Select it to go to our Goat Home site. It's masthead follows:

Once on the Sleeping Dog Ranch Nubian site, you can preview the goats for sale, our goat cart, pack goats, as well as a few barn activities.

Being a small business owner, new lessons show their faces every day. Having had our two businesses for six years now, we're continually improving our efficiency by adding a few services, streamlining our products, enlarging our facilities, and selling a few goats (very few goats). I'd rather find them good homes than sell them.

Being a better communicator is always a desirable trait. After all, we want our customers to know more about what we're doing. We really have two initiatives: We raise Nubian diary goats and make goat milk bath and beauty products with their milk.

It appears that another one of our lessons this year will center on sustainability. For example, how can we keep up this pace and for how much longer? To that end, I'm streamlining where ever possible. Combining the two websites is my first improvement.

I'll keep you posted on our successes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Purebred Nubian Dairy Goats for Sale

Just put an ad on craigslist for purebred nubian goats for sale.

Our website has photos:

check it out!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Freezing temperatures, internal parasites, and our goats

For the most part goats handle freezing temperatures quite well. That is, if they have shelter, food, water, and are healthy. Our focus for the past several months has been to boost their immune system, reduce their internal parasites as much as possible, and put a bit of weight on them for added insulation. Next we added a few heat lamps and several large dog houses so they could huddle together and keep each other warm.

So far they look fine. Our efforts are paying off. BUT ... winter is just beginning. We have to keep up these businesses practices throughout the winter so MAYBE we won't lose any body this winter.

We lost two breeding bucks last winter. Both had internal parasites and lost their battle against the winter weather. Coccidia and Barber Pole parasites have been our main killers so far. Maybe ... just maybe, we'll win this battle this season. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Redesigning a coffee table

We have a square coffee table that extends into a major aisle where everyone can run into it. We're a busy family with four dogs, two humans, and two cats. With this mix of family members someone is always either chasing or being chased.

The table measures about 42 inches square and is about 18 inches high. Each corner has a drawer on it that is seldom used but we like the look. Although, we would gladly sacrifice one of the drawers to have one corner cut off.

In the first picture you can see the fireplace hearth; we want to open this aisle. In the second picture you can see that this aisle leads to the back door (a door that is used almost every 15 minutes. Or, it seems like that.)

I'm thinking that the sacrificed drawer face could be used on the cut off part for design continuity and new legs could be turned to match the existing legs. We'd like for the re-designed area to match as much of the existing table as possible.

The finish is a distressed white oak -- worn, very worn or ranch rustic. We're a working goat ranch and need tough stuff.

However, I eventually want to refinish this table to a turquoise washed effect because we are Native American fans and have decorated our home with many Native American artifacts.

Ah ... do you refinish furniture, as well?  If so, this piece and a dresser in the bedroom both need to be refinished in a turquoise wash effect.

I am open to design options if you have better ways of redesigning this table. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about redesigning our table.

Did I mention that we got a barn cat?

The mice were running off with too much goat food, leaving too many nests, and otherwise terrorizing us ... flashing throughout the day and night. Brazen little hussies. Chewing parade halters and scaring the barn help is not nice! They had to go!

Mr. Dillon came from a friend's home who had just had their first grand baby and the cats were too much. Hey, I understand just 'too much.' I was happy to have him. Thank you.

His name is Mr. Dillon 'cause he's in charge of protecting all the food supplies in the big goat barn. We figured since he was marshaling the area, he needed an appropriate name. Mr. Dillon stayed in the barn for about a month, never leaving it and always greeting us at his food bowl. He was getting fat and the mice became scarce. Perfect!

Anyway, Mr. Dillon looked kinda lonely making his barn rounds by himself so I was on the lookout for a companion. Mother's apartment complex, for some reason, always had stray cats roaming around so I started looking their first.

Within the first week, the cutest kitten just walked right into my arms. Keeping within the theme of Dodge City, Mr. Dillon's new companion would be named either Festus or Ms. Kittie. Didn't know; didn't care. Mr. Dillon needed a companion.

Ms. Kittie is home from the vet stay (being spayed, of course). Now I had to contain her for 10 days so her stitches would heal. Terrific. Now the winter weather was settling in and the barn would be too cold for cats. (The goats would be fine in these temps but the cats would be too cold.)

Did I mention that we have two basement cats?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bucky's Merry Christmas 2009 Injury

On December 23, 2009 our buck, Bucky, ripped several inches of skin off his shoulder. I had gone out to feed when I noticed that his shoulder was bloody. Upon closer inspection, I found that a strip on his shoulder about 10 inches long and from 2 to 4 inches wide was missing. AWK!!! MISSING!!! Bob and I searched everywhere for the missing hide but couldn't find it anywhere.

Needless to say, I was on the phone to our vet, Dr. Amy Betka. With goats, your vet should be on speed dial. She's a 7. We decided to take him to her hospital because it was about 20 degrees in the barn.

She sedated him then started sewing him back together. Yup, she found the skin. Luckily it was still attached but had folded under his skin.

Following are photos as of January 5, 2010.

Following her stitch-work, her instructions were to clean his wounds daily, give him antibacterial shots for seven days, then keep her posted on his recovery. Here we go ...

EVERYTHING is covered with a chlorhexidine-medicated salve to help keep his would clean. All-things chlorhexidine are wonderful. I say 'help' keep his wounds clean because, hey, it's breeding season and there are clearly no ends to which a buck will to go reach his does. Sigh ... .

On the shoulder part without skin, I thoroughly cleaned it daily with warm water and a surgical scrub, coated it with a heavy layer of salve, covered with gauze, then secured the gauze with a clever bandage devised by Dr. Betka. The strings you see are for a 'shoestring bandage' that helps hold the gauze cover the raw muscle. After covering the wound with gauze, I gently tie a shoestring criss-crossed over the bandage to hold it as securely as possible. It works! Well, most of the time he leaves it along.

His stitches look good; he has no fever, and his energy level is as high as ever.

Bucky has been our main buck for years and although this is his first/only major injury, we've decided to nurture a few more bucks as replacements. He's given us several handsome boys that are vying for the job.

Yes, we're late in the breeding season but health first is our motto. Besides, I prefer late spring babies anyway. I like that the babies will be inside their mama during the LAST frost.

Happy New Year,
Pat Allen