Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fencing for your Goats

I really don't like my goats letting themselves out and touring my farm without my supervision. For those of you who have experience with raising these Houdini-like animals, understand that when they do get out they usually don't go find a shade tree to lay under and take a nap. They are magnetically drawn to your most exotic flowers or the little tree you have been nursing along from a seedling to a sapling. The last time my little buck escaped his pen, he found my wife's 2010 Ford F-250. He was sure that this fairly expensive vehicle was Ford "tough" and needed to be tested for toughness. I found him on the cab roof. He was easy to find, I tracked him from the hood to the fender, cab, bed and back to the cab roof.

Cody Henry finishing the last panel.
I have used many fencing materials but have settled on what I believe is the best, chain link panels. These are most often used for dog runs and can be fairly expensive when purchased new. I happen to think they are certainly worth the "purchased new" price but have never bought new. I keep an eye on Craigslist and find that if I am diligent and watch for these items daily, I can usually find a very good price. The last 4 panels I purchased included a gate and the total price was less than $100.

The chain link fencing panels are durable, sturdy, goat proof and are easily moved to configure new pens. I like for my goats to stay where I put 'em so I use chain link panels.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goat Milking Team

Lindsay, Phoebe, Millie and Oddball

This is the team that does all of the work. Milking, feeding, cheese making and loving all of our animals are the jobs of Lindsay Henry and daughter Phoebe Henry. Another important job they both have is exercising plenty of patients with me (below) and all of my projects, inventions and weird ideas. One that did work well is the Henry Milker (held by Lindsay). The Goat milking machine is now being sold in 36 countries and every State in the US.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goat Feeders - Start Having FUN - No Hassel

Feeding your goats should be fun. 
Just like milking, if it's not fun you need to find a different way. 
These are very inexpensive BUCKETS I purchased at Home Depot, much less expensive than "feeders".
I love to jump right into the pen and mix it up with my goats, especially now when the boys don't smell so stinking bad. MoJo our big, really big buck, has finally had his fun and doesn't smell like 20 skunks and settled down for the season with his wife Millie.

I have been trampled, pushed, shoved and kicked, just trying to be a nice guy, you know; feeding the goats. Do NOT  enter their pen, or barn or shed with a bucket full of sweet feed or cracked corn or rolled barley. You will probably be knocked down. Maybe it's just my goats, they are not polite, they do not wait their turn in line and they always take cuts. Feeding should be fun.

I have 7 goats and needed to have an efficient and fun way to feed each morning and night. I found it,  I love feeding again. It's not new or revolutionary; goat owners have been doing it since a goat stuck it's head through the slats of the barn divider where baby Jesus lie in his manager. Feed the goats by making them stick their head to the outside of their pen while their body stays inside the pen.

Eating without wasting, the cracked corn on the floor is what I put for the little chicken.

Other shorts you may enjoy: 
How To Build a Hanging Hay Feeder 
How to Build a Milking Stand
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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Urban Dairy Goats - Back to Basics

Misty and Minerva from the Henry Milker Farm

    The joys of raising goats are equaled only by the time, money and energy required to properly care for these wonderful animals. I currently have 7 goats and can't seem to stop. As time consuming as it is, I believe it to be great for everyone; owners and neighbors. Often, when my neighbors have friends or family over, they bring them to visit the Henry Milker Farm in Palmer, Alaska. They love to see and pet all of the animals. The baby goats are always the hit of the show and of course milking is very popular, especially if they get to milk a goat with the Henry Milker.

   It is so refreshing to see America, especially Urban America getting back to the basics, self reliance and good old fashion fun. You do not have to have a big place to raise goats. Novella Carpenter, an Oakland-based urban farmer (GhostTown Farm), owner/worker at BioFuel Oasis, and author of Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer teaches like she writes.  Novella has written a book with down-to-earth ideas on how you can turn small spaces into productive areas. It's really worth reading!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Dairy Goat Barn - Milking Goats

David working on the front fence

I am very proud of our new Henry Milker barn. It's small but does a very nice job of housing our Nigerian Dwarfs during the long Alaskan winters. Since I have a total of seven goats, it is really nice to be able to finally feed them all in peace and quiet from the "outside of their pen". We are not finished but can stand anything the cold can bring. All water troughs are hooked up with water heaters, all goat areas are equipped with dusk to dawn lights since the hours of light decrease to about 5 hours only in December in Palmer, Alaska.

John finishing the roof.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Goat Milker Part #1: the Henry Goat Milking Machine to the Rescue!

I often receive letters from happy users of the Henry Milker, but this recent one may take the cake. In an "Open Letter to Mike Henry, Inventor of the Henry Milker" Heidi of Itty Bitty Farm in the City writes:

Dear Mike Henry,
I love you. I know these are strange words coming from someone you don't even know, but they had to be said. This morning, the first morning I have been able to successfully milk my goat, I tearfully praised your name for inventing such an ingenious, simple contraption, the 
Henry Milker...

Wow, very kind words. She later says:

You have saved my very milky doe from becoming dinner, rekindled my excitement for producing my own dairy products, and prevented GPS (Goat Protection Services) from being called out to my little urban farm. I promise to name my first cheese after you.

Haha, can't wait to try that goat cheese!

Happy milking,
Mike Henry

Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome to the Henry Milker Blog

Hi folks,

This is the official Henry Milker blog. I'll be updating this whenever I can with information about my milking machine. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy milking,
Mike Henry