Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing Goats

Wrong Lead by The Goat
How To Teach Your Goat To Dance

I receive many emails and phone calls everyday from nice folks from all over the world. I get to answer questions about raising goats, about the Henry Milker and on a whole variety of other subjects. One of the all-time favorite questions is "My goat has 3 teats, will the Henry Milker work on her"?

I have to report, the question most often asked has nothing to do with feeds and 
Correct Lead
feeding, gestation periods or goat shelters. One would think that the number one question would somehow be related to the complications of goat birthing or proper mineral supplements. I'm here to tell you that it ain't so, goat owners from all over the world want to know the secret of "goat dancing".  I do not know all things goat but I am a leading consultant and world renown expert on dancing with the goats. You will be able to identify from the photos on the left that I am light on my feet and have some get-down barnyard rhythm. Be looking out at your local Wal-Mart for the "Henry Dances with Goats" video and instructional manual that will have you dancing your little hooves off. You too will become the envy of your County.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How To Build an Animal Operated Gate Latch

Pony Opens Gate When She Has Finished Her Meal!

Many animals love to share the same pasture or paddock with equestrian friends but need to eat alone without interruption from others in the herd.  Our girl, Tinkerbell, is 37 years old and needs a special diet and cannot be fed with other animals. She has to have plenty of time to slowly eat her meals without getting bugged by equestrian friends who eat their grain and hay much faster, usually in about 5 minutes. 
The setup is really pretty simple: first modify a gate latch that can be opened by an animal's nose. The latch pictured has a 3 inch threaded screw with washers and a nut that support a piece of PVC pipe.

The next step is to install a mechanism to open the gate once unlatched. We use a rope attached to the gate, run through a pulley, then tied to a counter weight. 

 Finally, you will need to train your critter to open the gate. Phoebe Henry is smearing a little molasses and grain on the latch to get her miniature horse, Carmel, to figure out how to open the gate. I am now converting all of my goat feeding areas to individual feeding stalls complete with the HenryLatch. It works!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to build a Milking Stool

3-legged is the only way to go

I love working with tools and wood and all of the cool equipment that goes with it but I am not very good at it. If a project calls for precision in measurement or requires cuts that are "right on" I always win the white ribbon and end up with a product that is usually non-functional, not level and out of balance. 
But then.....I started building milk stools, something I could handle; rough wood construction, a design requiring only estimated measurements and never out of balance. When I was a young man I did not need a stool to milk goats, I would just crouch down like a baseball catcher and milk. 
As I got older I then graduated to an ice chest. 
It provided a nice place to sit while milking and enjoying refreshing ice cold beverages. Now I use a 3-legged stool to milk my goats. I have several stool I have built, they all balanced.