Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Are goats good for your "kids?"

Written by Lindsay Henry

I wasn't raised on a farm. I lived in a zoo and sometimes I felt like my life was a circus. But I didn't grow up on a farm. I think my mother,  the single mom of 6, dirt poor, and driven as all get out, had a dream of raising us up just like The Waltons!    It's quite hard to do, however, in the middle of Scottsdale, Arizona, on the side of Camelback Mountain, in the very midst of some of the most famous and richest people in the world.

Our house didn't look like theirs. The roof was questionable, our family room had pink walls, and on a really good day you might find us "kids" folding laundry in that room with a baby goat on the coach or in the laundry basket itself.

As we came and went in our yellow square FIAT Granny the goat would call goodbye and hello as those  little black tires crackled over the gravel.   She lived right next to our swimming pool. Soon it was too much for her to bear that we were separated from her so of course she rode with us.  She rode In the front seat. She sat straight up surveying  the road as if she was the copilot of our lives.  Off she would go to the high school, to swimming practice, soccer practice and football practice.  In order to make ends meet my mom had a paper route - Granny rode along.  When we had the station wagon we would hold our goats in the very back, ducking when we saw officers of the law as there was no such thing as strapping in.  We just had to make it to the fairgrounds.

We smelled like a goat. We had goat hair on the clothes we had saved our money for to try to fit in. And people gathered at the high school drop off just to catch a glimpse, not of us in our clothes but of the goat in the car.

We hated goat milk. We wanted sparkling white milk from the store. We didn't want milk in a big plastic jug, but in a fancy carton. Well we got it.....once. The rest of the time we were tricked into taking large swigs that regularly contained hair, dirt, and a little dust even though the warm elixir had just been strained through a fresh knee high and disguised as carton milk. We picked all of that gingerly from our teeth.

The goats came inside. They played with our dogs and or cats. They strutted around our Scottsdale home like they owned the place.

There were chickens, too. They all had names and personalities. Frequently we were called the the neighbor's house to fish the chickens out of their crystal clear swimming pool. Humiliated and hoping they would not report us to the ASPCA or recognize us at school, we coaxed our treasures out and carried them home.

We eventually had other guests. Spotty, the Schlitz Malt Liquor pig as it charged us and ran down the door every time we fed him. But Amber, the Golden Retriever thoroughly enjoyed taking Spotty round the neighborhood via leash and collar.

There was the turkey that sat uneaten at Thanksgiving and the geese that attacked anyone or anything unfamiliar.
Lindsay and daughter Phoebe Henry

It was wild. It was weird. It was what it was. I complained. I feigned humiliation. I pretended to be
the victim of parental abuse. But what people don't know is that I woke up everyday with a view of our goats and chickens and dogs and cats and rabbits and whatever else wandered into the yard after being rescued.  I would lay there in my bed looking out my turn of the century window with peeling paint. I knew that this day wouldn't bring me sudden popularity or a date to anywhere. I wasn't going to gain a passel of friends or find that one of my teachers had nominated me for an anything.  I knew that these moments and those too few moments I spent with my little brothers and sister and my mom were the best moments. No one knew that I couldn't wait to see that square little roller skate on wheels turn the corner to the high school to pick me up. I rode in the back seat amongst the unfolded newspapers feeling safe and needed.

So of course there are good things about goats and kids. There are traditional things like empathy for another being. There is responsibility, consistency and teaching little ones about the circle of life when you have goats or any other animal. However, these things are all  things that show the reverse, that kids are good for goats.

Goats are good for kids. They can love them, depend on them and can make them feel like they belong to something and belong somewhere. Goats can bring a family together and set kids apart - making them resilient and giving them purpose to get up another day.

 I wasn't raised on a farm. But we were famous in our own way and as it turns out we were the richest family on the block.  Granny the Goat helped make that happen.

Other shorts you may enjoy:
Milking Stand
Goat Care  
Life Span
Making Your Own Goat Treats 
Does You Goat Have Bad Breath?

Friday, May 3, 2019

How To Milk a Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Milking Smaller Goats

Cy Henry milking his first goat
Goats have been milked by hand for centuries. There is really not much to it after you get the hang of it. Milking by hand does have it's drawbacks, hoof in the bucket, spilled milk and then the straining and filtering of the milk from the milk bucket to holding container and from there to the storage container for refrigeration. 

With the Henry Milker,
A home made carry box makes it really easy for a kid to use.
cleanup is now a snap. No hooves in the bucket, no milk spilled, and the same quart jar that collected the milk gets a wide mouth canning lid and goes directly into the frig. After many design improvements the Henry Milker has been sold in each of the 50 States and in over 50 countries. It's easy enough for a kid to use and I still milk 4 goats twice each day. It was a real honor to be featured in the Dairy Goat Journal this past year. However you choose to milk your goat, happy milking to you! kids milking goats teach a kid to milk kids learn to milk goats

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Build a better Mouse Trap

Enough is Enough....
These mice are pretty cute but they are taking over our farm. Generally speaking, a mouse trap will do but these animals are too much. They are eating my horse, dog, cat, goat and chicken food. Their droppings are too much. Bringing in the big trap.

All you need:
  • Peanut butter 
  • Plastic bottle (old water or juice container)
  • Empty 5 gallon bucket
  • A rod (long enough to span the top of the 5 gallon bucket)
  • Piece of cardboard to serve as the ramp.
  • Some water.
 Simple Instructions
  • Drill holes in the top of the 5 gallon can, a little larger than the rod you have selected
  •  Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of the plastic bottle
  •  Work the rod thru the hole on one side of the bucket
  •  Work the rod thru the plastic bottle
  •  Work the rod the the other hole on the other side of the bucket
  • The plastic bottle should rotate freely on the rod
  • Smear some peanut butter on the center of the plastic bottle
  • Pour about 6 inches of water in the 5 gallon bucket
  • Using cardboard, build a ramp from the floor to the upper rim of the 5 gallon bucket


Friday, March 3, 2017

To hump or not.

Oh My Humping Wether......
Why does my wether keep humping other goats and sometimes my dog?  A very common situation and question I frequently get asked. No one seems to know exactly why but I have been around goats for several decades and can offer a few suggestions.
Currently, we have a wether named Charlie. Charlie is a good goat and has a favorite hobby, humping our sweet doe, Meg. He is merely showing and proving his dominance over her. I have also noticed his “hobby” is accelerated when people are approaching him. It’s kind of his way of saying hello, by humping Meg.
The humping may increase when Meg is in heat. Most does come into heat every 21 days. Even though Charlie is unable to successfully breed, he still has a natural tendency to try his best and he can certainly still detect “does in heat”. Some say that when your doe is mounted, it’s a sure sign she is in heat. I do not believe that, Charlie humps Meg everyday of the month.
         At times it can really become bothersome to Meg with all of this specially attention but overall it's natural for goats to do and no real damage caused. Charlie is young and I know he will grow out of it but I am not too sure if Meg has the same positive outlook.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Goat Milk For Zebras?

Yes...Goat Milk

This family is using goat milk to nourish their zebra and baby pet skunks. "We are in love with the ease of our Henry Milker 2!  We have added a baby zebra to our daily routine & she is being raised on our goat's milk along with our baby skunks!"

Other shorts you may enjoy:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Grandma Vi's - Homemade Beans

You will love these beans!
One of the most requested of all Red Fence Farm recipes, so I decided to post for all to try.

Violet Henry's (Grandma Vi) recipe is over 75 years old and was responsible for helping feed 7 Henry children.

I will admit, Grandma Vi did not use a crock pot, there was no such thing back then. She used a cast iron dutch oven.

Lets get started. You will need:
  • 3 cups pinto beans
  • 1 cup mixed beans
  • 2 smoked ham hocks (whole)
  • 8 oz cured salt pork (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (rough cut)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper 
1. Dump all into the crock pot.
2. Fill with water, 1/2 inch from top.
3. Cover with lid
4. Set crock pot to 8 hours slow and sit back for a real treat. 

 I love making these on a Friday night and waking to the smell of Grandma Vi's Homemade Beans.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to Keep Your Goat Water Algae Free

Keeping algae at bay in a water trough is often a real chore, especially if it is located in the full sun. I have introduced gold fish into all of my outdoor water troughs and am pleased to say that it has been an absolute success. The fish are not some sort of an exotic species, they are the very inexpensive "feeder gold fish" that can be purchased at almost any pet store. I am very proud of the fish featured in the photo, they are going on 4 years old and that is old for Alaskan gold fish. Yes, I do keep the trough heated during the cold winter months here in Palmer, Alaska. By the way, I have never fed the gold fish. They thrive on bits and pieces of feed left by the goats as they drink, and of course, from the algae. Hope you'll give this, it's efficient and fun!

Other short stories you may enjoy reading:

Heated Water Bucket - How to Build
Don't dump your livestock tank heater
Goat Water System
My goat is getting shocked at the trough

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Milking Goats At Midnight

People, when asked about Alaska, often think of cold and dark with maybe a mental vision of some igloos in the background.  One of our best kept secrets is our summer. In Palmer, Alaska home of the Red Fence Farm and the Henry Milker, we have nineteen hours, twenty two minutes and twenty three seconds of daylight in June.

Other shorts you may enjoy: 

 How to Build a Milking Stand 
Buying a Goat For Milk
The Henry Milker: How Does Goat Milk Taste
Does Your Goat Milk Taste Like Your Goat? 
How to make Goat Cheese?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pasture for Goats

Using pasture as a nutrient source for goats makes good sense and tends to save money on your feed bill. Here in Palmer, Alaska we pay as much as $50 for a bale of hay.

A mature pasture, that has about 3-4 inches of growth is preferred but only meets the nutritional requirements of dry and early pregnant does. Does in early lactation, and young goats will have to have their feed ration supplemented. 

Fencing for goat pastures is essential in keeping the plants healthy. The photo on the right shows a mobile grazer I built for controlled grazing. As the goats run out of pasture inside the enclosed area, they simply push the pen to "greener grass".

Other Henry Milker tips you may enjoy: 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How to Build an Electric Fence Tester

Build Your Own Electric Fence Tester

Electric fence testing has always been a challenge for me. The expensive meters work great but they are too expensive for me and I always misplace it and can never find one when I need it. The cheaper testers are cheap and I can never get them to work. By the way, the cheaper testers I can always find in my shop. I'm tired of being shocked when trying to test a fence. When I install new fencing or add on to existing, I just want to know if it works. I went to work in my shop, using stuff I had on hand and built a tester using some wire, a spark plug, an alligator clip, some PVC pipe, fittings and tape. It works every single time! You can get fully illustrated, step-by-step plans to build this by visiting the Henry Milker site. 

Many More Goat Tips and Fun Stories
Do goats chew their cud?
Goats Grazing 

Feeding Hay 
Feeding Scraps 
How To Build a Hanging Hay Feeder
Proper Feeding of Goats
Making Your Own Goat Treats
Does You Goat Have Bad Breath?

Friday, June 26, 2015

What's So Good About Goat Milk?

Fresh milk after using his Henry Milker!
Not trying to tell you to switch to goat milk, just saying...

Store Bought Goat Milk
First let me say, if you have only tasted goat milk from the store, you have not lived! Goat milk bought in a store has a very goaty taste that I do not even like. It has been processed differently than fresh, raw goat milk. Most often goat milk from the store has been pasteurized (it is not even necessary).  When pasteurized, the freshness of the milk is always compromised. The fresh taste is also diminished because of the time it takes to process, handle, package, and deliver the milk to the store.

Better For You
About 70% of the milk consumed by humans worldwide is supplied by goats. That is mainly because goats are easier to keep than cows and also because it is better for you. Some reasons why goat milk is better:
  • triggers fewer milk allergies
  • acceptable to many people with lactose intolerance
  • more nutritious
  • produced more naturally
  • great tasting
  • available raw (especially if you have your own goat)
  • supplies more vitamins and minerals than cow milk.
More Goat Tips and Fun Stories
Proper Care of Goat Milk
How to Build a Milking Stand 
Buying a Goat For Milk
The Henry Milker: How Does Goat Milk Taste
Does Your Goat Milk Taste Like Your Goat? 
How to make Goat Cheese?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shiloh Hill a Heavenly Place


At Shiloh Hill, James and Catherine Crawford raise American Alpine and Boer goats. I have to say their goats are amazing. A few years ago, the couple dreamed of raising a quality herd and now in 2015, have accomplished just that.

The Crawford's invested in Alpines to have milk and cheese. They do not show their goats, though they come from show quality genetics. To the left, James is using the Henry Milker 2 to finish the milking chores. The folks from Shiloh Hill were kind enough to write an article on their website about their experiences with the Henry Milker.

James and Catherine have goats for sale and you can see some along with many other great photos like the one to the right. I would bet that the largest animal with the white nose might not be for sale.

The Crawfords are the perfect example of what makes our great country a place where dreams do come true. Well done James and Catherine.

Other shorts you may enjoy:  
 How to Build a Milking Stand 
Buying a Goat For Milk
The Henry Milker: How Does Goat Milk Taste
Does Your Goat Milk Taste Like Your Goat? 
How to make Goat Cheese?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Goat Barns That Work

Goat Barns that work provide good protection from wind, rain and snow. Yes, I know, there is a big dog in one of the stalls. All of my goat feeders are on the outside to avoid waste.

Other shorts you may enjoy: 
How To Build a Hanging Hay Feeder
Heated Water Bucket - How to Build
Don't dump your livestock tank heater
Goat Water System
How to Build a Milking Stand
My goat is getting shocked at the trough