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.