Sunday, November 4, 2012

Where Does Mohair Come From?

Angoras Produce Mohair

Those who raise Angora goats brag of the animal's gentle nature and friendly ways, ranking this goat breed as one of the top among hobby farmers.

Did you know?
1. The Angora goat is a breed of domestic goat that is named for Ankara, Turkey, historically known as Angora.

2. An adult Angora can produce as much as 15 pounds of hair each year. 

Greenstone Farm
3. The USA is one of the world's leading producers of mohair.

4. Almost 90% of the mohair from the United States comes from Texas.

Make sure you visit and bookmark Goatbay for an international photo journey of this and other goat breeds.
Other shorts you may enjoy:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Goat Coat/Blanket

 Dressed In Style
Goat coats are necessary if you live in an area that gets cold during the winter months. This winter strap-on blanket can keep your goat warm, happy and fit. Goat coats are a must for our goats in Alaska.

Many folks outfit their goat with a coat to preserve that show look and others just like to "dress" their goat up a bit. That's OK.

How To Get One
There are many websites that will show you how to make your own, but that usually involves some sewing, not my strength. Below is a tiny goat coat made from an extra large, colorful sock. I made that, not too difficult. The best way is to buy a quality coat that will not allow your goat to tie itself into a knot. I prefer Amigo Goat Blanket/Coat, proudly modeled by the goats pictured.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Raising Goats - Winter Housing

Goat Igloo
When the snow falls and the winds blow, you'll want to have a place for your goats to go. In the dead of the winter and 48" of snow, this nigerian dwarf made a daily path in the snow from the barn to her house. The igloo dog house works great in the summer and is fantastic in the winter. My goats, during the day, prefer their igloo over the boring goat barn.
Other articles you may enjoy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Want BIG Aples on your tree?

How do I get big apples on my tree? 

It's easy!

1. Run a wire through the core of the largest apple you can get your hands on.

2. Cut the wire and bend remaining wire to form a hook.

There you are, a big apple on your tree. Do as many as you want and take lots of photos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guaranteed "Doe in-heat Test"

How can I tell if my doe is in heat? 

  • If you have a buck around, it will be very apparent, with the wagging of her tail and wanted to get close to the buck. But what do you do if you you do not have a buck and you want to get the doe breed at the time she is in heat?
The very best way is to get a Henry Milker "Goat Musk Rag". Easy to use, cheap, lasts the entire season and it comes with a 100% money back guarantee.


Monday, August 20, 2012

When To Breed Goats

When Are Goats in Heat?

How can I tell if my doe is in heat? If you have a buck around, it will be very apparent, with the wagging of her tail and wanted to get close to the buck. But what do you do if you you do not have a buck and you want to get the doe breed at the time she is in heat?

1. Get a rag, preferably a Henry Milker Udder Towel.
2. Find a Buck
3. Rub the rag on the bucks head behind the horn area where musk glands are located.
4. Bring the musk rag to the doe once each day.
5. If you get a reaction from the doe, she is probably in heat and ready to breed.
6. Keep the musk rag in a sealed jar.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alaskan Lawn Mower Update

That's "Oddball" out front thinking he can herd the goats!
Crooked Goat Grazing
Now I never said that the Alaskan Goat Mower would cut and trim your lawn in a neat and orderly fashion. I never said you could play golf on the turf when the critters were finished grazing. I did lay claim to the fact that you could cut down on your feed bill and keep the goats from eating all the stuff that you want to keep them away from. The goats have actually learned to push the Alaskan Goat Mower with their head when they want to munch on some new grass!

Other Henry Milker "Goat Shorts" you may be interested in reading. 
Alaskan Lawn Mower

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Alaskan Lawn Mower

The Henry Milker Mower
   It is so hard to put the goats in the backyard and get 'em to eat what you want them to eat. When left to run free, my goats go to my wife's prized hedge, the shrubs my mother-in-law planted in the backyard then to the house-wood siding near  Phoebe's bedroom. Now they are contained.
   When the goats jump on the gate side of the rolling pasture it moves just a bit to give them some more tasty grass (and dandelions) to eat.
   The plans for this goat feeder have not been put together yet but I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have. Just send me an email.

Other Henry Milker "Goat Shorts" you may be interested in reading. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

How To build A Feed Scoop

Easy To Build Feed Scoop

I think I own more feed scoops than anyone. They are like my reading glasses; I can never find one when I need it. I tried making one of these feed scoops and it is as easy as it looks. Start saving those plastic jugs and putting them to good use. I have a giant list of friends and family who will be getting one of these for Christmas. I think I'll start with the first homemade gift going to my mother-in-law. I think I'll build her a dust pan.

Other Henry Milker "Goat Shorts" you may be interested in reading.
How To Build a Hanging Hay Feeder
Goat Feeding Schedule and Good Health
Don't throw it, feed it!
Hay an Important Roughage For Your Goat 

Goat Feeders - Start Having FUN - No Hassle

How to Dehorn a Goat

Dehorning with Elastrator Bands

Let me start by saying that I believe all goats should be disbudded at a very young age to avoid the eventual chore of having to remove the actual horns. This young goat did not get disbudded as a kid and needs to have his horns removed to avoid injury to others. 

There is more than one way to remove a goat's horns. I favor using bands and not just cutting them off with a saw or a dehorning tool. Whatever method you use to complete the task it is important to secure the goat, a milk stand works great. 

When using elastrator bands (also used for castration) it is critical that you cut a groove in the horn for the band to stay put. A saw or file can be used but I much prefer the "wire saw".  The groove does not have to surround the entire horn but  should be ample to hold the band from not slipping off. An emasculation tool makes the job much easier to get the band over the horn and down close to the groove you cut. Once the band is on the horn, it's easily rolled down to fit snug into the groove.

The last step is to protect the band from being rubbed off by the goat. Using brightly colored tape will allow you check to see each day to insure that everything is still in place. If one of the bands gets knocked off just put another on and re-tape.

The band is cutting off the blood supply to the horn and will eventually cause the horns to fall off. As the horns begin to fall off, do not attempt to help, just let the process work.

Other information on dehorning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I love my Henry Milker $$ Give Away

Our contest is over and the 3 lucky winners have been drawn. The rules were easy; just tell us what you love about your Henry Milker Goat milking machine and send it in as your official entry.

$100 winner - Karla Schaerer, "As I have said before, this is a great tool.  I can't imagine my husband or the neighbors trying to hand milk my girls.  This tool makes sure the milk is exceptionally clean.  We drank raw milk direct from the farm during the entire milking season last year.  From the goat to the fridge to whatever I was cooking, or when I needed milk to drink.  My sister in law fed it to her children, too.  No possibility of contamination if you clean the teat first and give the first couple of squirts (by hand) to the cat!"

$50 winner - Hannah Pillow "Thank you so much for this genius invention!!  We just got goats in kind of a short notice and are in the learning experience mode still and realized that goats are a bit of an up-keep. The Henry Milker has saved us a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and we love it, especially at the end of a hard day when you know  you can rely on The Henry Milker to not cause you any problems!"

$25 winner - Dianna Moore "I am so pleased with my new Henry milker.  I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about how well it would work after reading  the reviews of other brands, but I am a happy believer now.  I was struggling to get 1-2 cups of milk from each of our goats a day, resulting in frustration on all our parts and sore hands for me.  The first time I attached the milker to one of our goats and the milk poured out so fast,  I was amazed and ecstatic.  I get a quart out of each side now in less than 10 minutes.  They are much more contented while I am milking and I look forward to it each day.  I now wish I had more goats to milk, but I’m getting so much milk we can’t use it all.  Your promptness in filling my order and your friendliness are much appreciated.  Thank you".
Winners can go to the Henry Milker web site and log into your account. Your cash credits have been awarded and waiting for you to spend on any item(s) listed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Home Grown Tomatoes in Alaska

Zack and Zane showing off their 2012 produce.
How to enjoy beautiful, fresh tomatoes in Palmer, Alaska. There was a time when I managed a 3,300 square foot hydroponic tomato greenhouse in Southern Arizona. 1,000 plants producing 125 giant tomatoes everyday year-round. While in Northern Arizona I grew the best outdoor tomatoes, filled with flavor and an acidic pH that would make you weep. I have been in Alaska for 16 years and have not yet learned to grow a tomato that comes close to the tomatoes from my past. 
Zane very proud of those jewels.
So how do I do it? 
It all starts with having 2 nephews who live in Arizona and love to grow tomatoes. I trade fresh halibut and smoked salmon for their fresh tomatoes grown by Zack and Zane Langenbach.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Clean Goat is a Healthy Goat

Keep it Clean

Kitchen floor, but not for long.
Goats have to be kept clean and the barn area free from waste that becomes disease infestations.  Because goats are pretty tough and relatively independent in many ways, folks often think that regular cleaning of the pen area is not necessary. Not true. You cannot take the short cut and allow your goats to live in filth.

I’m not going to list all of the health problems your goat can encounter from unclean conditions but one of the most common disease with goats is mastitis and can be prevented by keeping your goat living area clean.

How do I keep the goat pen clean?
Pallet "growing floor".
1. Be sure the floor of the pen is clean. Dirt is OK, rubber mats are great, I prefer wood. All of my goat sleeping/resting areas have 2x8 lumber flooring.
Concrete, very easy to keep clean.
2. Use bedding in the sleeping area. Pine shavings or straw both work well. I prefer shavings because it seems to be easier to remove than straw once it becomes soiled.
3. Bedding should be completely removed once/week. I mix this with horse manure to make an excellent compost.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

World Use of Goats and Milk

Maybe just a little too friendly with his goat?
How Popular Are goats?
Goats are among the earliest animals domesticated by humans,some say about 10,000 years ago, older than my mother-in-law. Neolithic farmers began to herd wild goats for easy access to milk and meat, primarily, as well as for their dung. Yea, that's right, they collect the dung to use as fuel. I'll not complain about gas prices anymore.
Go where the food is.
Today there are about 500 million goats in the world, give or take a dozen or so. The United States weighs in at a tiny 3 million of the critters, China has 170 million. Much of the worldwide goat population is in the developing world. The largest importer of goats is the U.S. and the biggest exporter of goats is Australia.  
 Goat Milk Drinkers of the World
Worldwide, more people drink goat milk than any other type of milk. (Yes, this includes cows).  It is estimated that 72% of the world's milk consumption is from goats. The taste of goat's milk is nearly close to cow's milk for most people. I actually prefer the milk from my grain fed Nigerian Dwarf Goats over any milk, cow or goat. Those that claim they can detect a difference are usually correct. Does kept close to their male friend will produce a milk that has a distinct flavor, not very pleasant. Goat milk is fairly similar in nutrients to cow's milk and can replace it in virtually any recipe. However, goat milk is "naturally" homogenized. The fat molecules are five times smaller than in cow's milk which makes it much easier for humans to digest. It is also claimed that some individuals with allergies to cows milk can drink goat milk without problems. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Preventing Mastitis

Preventing and Managing Mastitis
clean, healthy udder
Mastitis, the inflammation of the udder, is one of the most common diseases of milk goats. It has been reported that about 30% of all does have or will experience some form of mastitis. Almost all mastitis is caused by bacteria that enter through the teat end and infect the milk secreting tissue in the udder. 
sanitary living area

How Can You Prevent It?
Keeping the udder clean and sanitary at all times is the best prevention program. Having sanitary living conditions for your goat and keeping it clean of manure is a must. Cleaning the udder and teats at milking time is necessary for clean milk and good udder sanitation.   Each half of the udder is completely separated by tissue, therefore each half can become independently infected with bacteria.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How To Make Your Own Udder Cleaner

Make Your Own Udder Cleaner
Making your own solution to clean teats before milking is not rocket science, it's really easy. Your Goat deserves the best.

Before Milking
As a boy, I would complete my milking chores and carry the bucket of milk into the house for my mom to strain. Straining was really necessary because the pale of milk always had a significant number of "floaters". I probably did not do as much udder or teat cleaning as I should have.
 Basic Teat/Udder Cleaning Rules
1. Take your time.
2. Use a "wet" cleaner initially.
3. Take your time.
4. Finish with a "dry" wipe.

Making Your Own Solution

A. Start with 3 cups water.
B. Add one squirt (1 Tbs) dish washing liquid, I like Dawn.
C. Add one squirt (1 Tbs) Baby Oil

Ready To Spray and Clean
Pour the cleaning solution you just made into a spray bottle and your ready to clean. I always keep my spray bottle inside the house so it is room temperature when I go out to milk. Spray the udder and teats and wipe down with a clean dry paper towel.

Clean Milk
After cleaning the udder and teats, finish the job with a Henry Milker for the cleanest milk ever!

You may be interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at these:
Milking Stand

Friday, April 6, 2012

How Do You Like the Henry Milker ?
Last month, we gave away a couple of Henry Milkers just for the heck of it. Now we're starting a contest for FREE gift certificates in the Henry Milker Store worth $100, $50 and $25. It's as good as cash, you can use it toward Henry Milkers for your friends, Scratch n All pads or other of our 35 goat care products in our store.
Collector item Coffee Cup

How Do I Win?  

Entering is simple, just email us your 2-3 sentence positive comment about the Henry Milker or leave a comment in the comment section of this blog below. You can participate and win even if you do not own a Henry Milker yet. Just tell us what you think or what you have heard about this easy-to-use goat milking machine.

If you want to double your chances, add a comment on your Facebook page about the Henry Milker. Let us know!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bottle Feeding Goats #2

Hand Raising Goats

One of the most enjoyable parts of raising goats is to hold a newborn baby in your arms and bottle feeding. It gets a little old after about 6 weeks of having to feed 3 times every day . To give yourself some relief and the goat a little independence a substitute for hand feeding is desirable. There are many commercial products out there to assist you in getting this done but I prefer the "old sock" method
How to do it a little cost? 
1. I have a draw filled with good socks that have lost it's partner (free).
2. Cut the sock just above the heal.
3. Cut a hole in the toe end of the sock, big enough for the bottle nipple.
Mounting the Sock Bottle Holder 
Find a place that your goat can easily get to. I choose to mount my bottle holder on the side of the ferret cage and used a plastic spring loaded clamp to hold the sock and bottle to the ferret cage. As a side note, the ferrets, from the security of their cage, love watching the baby eat.

Learning to Use the New Set-Up
 It took a couple of practices to get this baby to use this new method of feeding. I actual had to hold the baby, get him started sucking, then put him back down on the floor to continue. After a few days he was able to do everything on his own.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And The Winners Are

Henry Milker owners were invited to send in photos of their milker in use with their goat, cow or sheep. These 2 contestants were randomly selected using a scientific method of pulling slips of named paper out of a bean pot to insure proper security. First place was to win a new Henry Milker 2 and the second place winner a new Henry Milker bag. I'm changing the prizes. Both of these Happy Henry Milkers will receive each a milker and a bag. If you are pictured, email me right away to claim your prizes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bottle Feeding and Weaning Goats

A large syringe works great with newborns
In the late stages of pregnancy and for the first few days after birth the doe produces a yellowish-thick milk called colostrum. It's rich in protein, and nutrients. It also contains essential antibodies. It is best to allow the babies to nurse from the mom for the first 48 hours to get this "liquid gold" but if unavailable from the doe, colostrum may be purchased in a paste form.

When To Wean Goats
Commercial dairy goat operations wean baby goats soon after birth. The reason for doing this is simple; take as much milk from the mom as possibly, as soon as possible and sell the milk for money. The American way! Many years of good results from this commercial practice has led many small-time goat farmers to do the same; wean goats at an early age to get back to harvesting milk.
                                                        Feeding From a Bottle

It is an approved practice to freeze goat milk throughout the year and use it later to bottle feed young as you remove them from the mother. Weaning the baby from the mother at an early age and bottle feeding is thought to produce goats that are much more people-friendly. There are many commercial goat milk formulas that work well also. Holding the baby goat in a secure (snuggly) position while feeding makes for a happy feeding session.

Other shorts you may enjoy:
Delivery of Baby Goats 
Nursing a baby back  
How Early To Breed My Doe 
Breeding My Doe 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nursing a baby back

Syringe Fed Kid Goats
The mom had 4 kids and not enough milk for all so this little one was fed by hand from the very first day, he was the runt and not able to get to the mom's milk.

The top photo shows the kid being fed milk with a large plastic syringe. Baby goats need to have their mom's rich milk (colostrum) during the first 12-24 hours of life. Colostrum is necessary so their little bodies can set up the defense mechanisms to fight diseases and to kick start their delicate digestive system.

How Early To Breed My Doe 
Breeding My Doe 
Milking Stand

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Does Your Goat Suffer From CAE

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE) was first discovered and reported in 1974, the year I finished my first year as a teacher of Vocational Agriculture on the Papago (Tohono O'odham) Indian Reservation in Sells, Arizona. There is much to read about this disease, and some folks get pretty excited when they talk about the spread of this disorder. As a backyard goat rancher, you should not have to deal with it if you refrain from adding goats to your small backyard herd unless they have been recently tested negative for CAE.

Top Ten  Facts about CAE
1. Kids delivered by a CAE infected dam will be non-infected if the kids are not allowed to nurse from the mother and instead bottled fed formula or stored (CAE free) colostrum.
2. Infected goats become progressively weaker with eventual paralysis.
3. The disease affects all breeds of goats and both male and female.
4. There is no known treatment for CAE
5. CAE can be easily detected from a blood test/analysis
6. The disease infects goats (caprines) only
7. According to Washington University there is NO evidence that the CAE virus is transmissible to humans.
8. Goats can carry CAE their entire lives without showing any signs, they can test negative until it is later activated by stress or other factors in a goat’s life.
9. I think CAE infected goat milk is OK to drink by why would you.
10. I do not drink milk from infected goats.

Because I really care for the health of my little herd of goats, I have done a real study of diseases. CAE for me is simple. It should be for you also. Do not add a goat to your herd that has not been CAE tested. If you find one infected, dry it up and stop breed it. Continue to test, or have your herd tested every year. If you do not mind drawing blood from your goats, you can take and send a blood sample to one of several labs around the country or give your Vet a call.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Raising Goats in Cold Weather

I prefer raising goats in cold weather. I have had the opportunity to raise goats in Arizona, moved to Alaska and I think they get along better and maybe are happier in this colder temperature.

Water is Important
I know you know how important water is to all livestock, especially goats. They are pretty fussy drinkers. When it gets really cold out and snow is all over the place, it's easy to cut corners and not keep the water as clean as it should be or as full as it should be. 

Give them Hay
Don't be cheap on hay during the winter months. Goats love to nibble when they get cold. Any left over hay will be most efficiently used to lay on. Excellent bedding is critical. During the coldest months, I do not clean the goat stalls daily, I throw more hay or straw and allow their bed to build and provide more insulation to their bed.

Goats do not necessarily need a fully enclosed barn but they certainly need constant relief from rain and snow and protection from the wind.

A few Extra Treats
I do not believe in over-feeding any of my livestock, especially goats but during the coldest nights here in Alaska, I provide a little extra cracked corn or some of my home-made goat treats just to give them something to chew on and get their minds off of the cold temperatures. On the first day of January, 2012, at the Red Fence Farm here in Palmer Alaska the thermometer read minus 15.

You may be interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at these: