Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goats Grazing

Goats have a long standing reputation of being able to eat things that most animals will not touch. This makes goats one of the very best natural weed trimmers and bush whackers around. Goats are often referred to as "little cows" that eat what cows will not. Goats will walk through succulent green grass and go eat the weeds. Goats raised for meat are much better suited for grazing and clearing land than are the dairy breeds.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goat Water System

I believe I have used almost every type of container there is to provide my goats with fresh, clean water on a consistent basis. I now use hook-over buckets. I have placed the containers in the corner of the pen, at the far end, I have even hung them from trees with a rope. None of those worked to my satisfaction. Goats can make a mess of their water really fast. I caught my big buck grabbing a mouth full of hay and soaking it in the water. After it moistened to his liking he would then remove it (most of it) and eat it. What a mess. I now have all of the goat water containers on the outside of their pen. I am able to clean and fill very easy now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Dehorn Goats

Removing Scurs From Goats

This particular job is not a one-person event so I called on David Quilinderino to provide some muscle. One of the toughest jobs on our farm is "horn duty". I do not like disbudding baby goats, nor do I like removing horns that were left to grow naturally on older goats and I most dislike removing scurs from goats. Scurs are not full horns but partial horn growth. They usually occur when a part of the horn bud remained after disbudding the goat as a baby. It happens all of the time and is a normal chore if your raise goats. Scurs tend to curl as they grow, usually headed toward the goat’s skull. It’s important to keep scurs trimmed on a regular basis, they can become uncomfortable for the goat and dangerous if left to grow without trimming. Making sure the goat is held steady is necessary when working on the head of the goat. A milking stand works very nice for this purpose and helps the goat feel most secure. There are a variety of tools one can use to remove the scur. I normally use a wire saw so I can accomplish the cutting by pulling instead of using a saw that cuts by pushing. I have heard of an electric dremel tool being used. I am sure it can be a real time-saver but I am not confident enough in my ability to hold the goat's head still to use a power tool. On this goat, a hacksaw was used on Mattie's scurs. Mattie is a Nigerian Dwarf, 6 year old buck and dreads scur removal as much as I do. Just a little blood, a few goat screams and it was all over.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keeping Goats For Pets

Just Get One
If you are considering a goat as a pet, you have a friend in me. Don't just dream of it, don't over plan, please don't over think it, just go get one or better, get two goats. Much is written about the milk production of goats or their ability to keep your backyard free of brush. Little is said about the absolute joy of raising goats for fun. I do enjoy the milk, cheese, butter and soaps I get from my goats and I love the fact that they keep my backyard mowed for me but I must admit that I most like just having them around.We have a little farm in Palmer, Alaska. When we have visitors, the goats become the instant magnet. There are chickens, horses, ponies, bunnies and cute little puppies but the goats are always the number one attraction. I cannot remember going to a petting zoo without seeing at least a couple of goats. People love goats. There are many breeds of goats to select from but my personal favorite is the Nigerian Dwarf as a pet. They are curious and their friendly nature make them wonderful companions. Goats are herd animals so I really could not recommend having only one lonely animal; a pair of goats is always a better idea. Their care is not complicated; fresh water, some roughage (usually hay or grazing in your backyard) and some sort of grain (I use cracked corn mixed with rolled barley). If you are interested in more information please visit these Henry Milker blog posts:
Feeding Hay
Goat Barn
Goat Care
Life Span
Milking Stand
Trimming Hooves

Monday, August 8, 2011

Goat Milk For Wildlife - Even Kangaroos

We have new friends in Queensland, Australia. They wanted a little assistance in getting a Henry Milker. It started with a short email, "Dear sir I am a wildlife carer and we have a goat we use the milk for feeding our 17 baby possums in care at the moment. We care for many wild animals that need our assistance. We are members with the wildlife group and also with the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) . We care for everything from frogs, lizards, birds and kangaroos. We are on call 24 hours a day everyday of the week everyday of the year." Across Australia, RSPCA shelters receive more than 144,000 animals every year. While a large proportion of these animals are cats and dogs, RSPCA shelters also offer sanctuary to horses, livestock and a wide range of wild and native animals. Red Fence Farm donated a Henry Milker to Denis and Kristy. When they learned of the donation, they quickly replied "We have 2 new possums that have come into care today and call one Mike and the other one Henry (after a very special person) We can not thank you enough for you generosity we are so overwhelmed by it ."

How to Build a Goat Milking Stand - The Henry Milker

One of the most common concerns from new goat owners has to do with the goat milking stand. I have milked goats while they stood on the ground, or on a bale of hay or while standing comfortably on the "Henry Milker" milk stand. The stand is easy to build. I have released detailed, professionally designed  plans and photos at a very low cost so everyone can build a goat stanchion that will allow for the best chance of goat happiness and easy milking with the Henry Milker.       CLICK HERE TO SEE PLANS

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What is the Life Expectancy of a Goat?

Goats can live to be about 10 to 12 years old. Some goats live much longer. I knew of a goat to live to 20 years old, now that's an old goat. The old goat belonged to my neighbor. Most does will live longer than the bucks usually because they receive better care. Pictured is a 9 year old, Missy, from New Zealand. She just delivered 4 beautiful kids.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Henry Milker Makeover

New Lids Top Off the Milker

I will admit, it doesn't take much to get the Henry family excited out on the Red Fence Farm in Palmer, Alaska but have to tell you, the excitement level was running above normal when the brand new Henry Milker lids arrived today! Over 1 year of discussions, design, prototype development, finding an engineer, a mold maker and a manufacturer. The very first milkers were shipped out today with the new plastic lids.