Thursday, April 30, 2015

Burning, Banding, Breeding and Bloat

It's been a "Busy B" kind'a week here working with the goats.

We were finally able to put the dreaded disbudding box away for the season.  For the past few weeks, it's been sitting on the front porch, reminding me every time I went past that there was still the nasty job of burning horns off baby goats.  Paul and I disbudded Lily's doelings yesterday and unplugged the Rhinehart X50 for the season.

Speaking of horns, and the reason we disbud every kid here, MamaGoat is really getting on my nerves.  She and Annette are head-to-head when it comes to pecking order around here, but MamaGoat has horns.  Annette is smart enough to know to avoid them.  Even though her horns are tipped, they are still a weapon that needs to be reckoned with, especially if you're a slower, and not as observant herd mate.  And now that MamaGoat is in ultra-super-protective mode since popping out her little buckling, Prince Pissy Pants, those horns are a dangerous weapon.  I've seen her fling kids halfway across the barnyard and pick up the other goats by their back ends.  This is the reason that Nettie lost half her udder, and almost her life, last year.  We had another horned goat (with small, but pointy horns) and I sold her.  The only thing that is saving MamaGoat is that she's my main milker now.  I keep saying that I'm going to band her horns, but was reluctant to because we have the cattle panel fence and I didn't want her ripping a horn off (and the potential blood loss) in the fence.  But I think it's either she gets her horns banded or she gets shipped off.

Speaking of banding, the two bottle bucklings I got a while back were banded this week.  They took it very well and were pretty much back to normal after a few hours of walking funny and shaking their back legs.  They'll be ten weeks old this weekend and I don't want them breeding anybody so it was time to relieve them of their buckhood.  I'm still bottle feeding them, but we're down to twice a day and I plan on weaning them completely by twelve weeks.

Pickles and Dilly have also been dealt with a nasty blow this week.  I put both of them in with a buck.  I haven't seen signs of heat from either of them, but figured what the heck.  If they have any chance of staying here, then they need to be bred.  Just throwing them in with the bucks isn't going to guarantee a successful breeding, but it's definitely not going to happen if they aren't in with the bucks.  I won't know an exact breeding / kidding date (which will probably drive me nuts five months from now), but I want them bred ASAP and figured that was the easiest / surest way to do it.  I figure I'll leave both of them in with their boyfriends for two months, and then have a blood test done to see if they're pregnant.  Because Pickles and Dilly were the ones who had the kids with White Muscle Disease, I'm going to give them Bo-Se shots today and right before they kid.  Hopefully that will prevent the WMD in their kids.  If the kids still have problems, they'll be slaughtered immediately and Pickles and Dilly will both be either off to the sale barn or into the grinder for sausage.  I hate to do that to a doe, but for the sake of the herd (and our pocketbook) it's just something that has to be done.  And actually, even if Pickles does have a decent kidding, I'm going to sell her for the simple fact that her yelling drives me completely bonkers.

And last, but not least...the "Bloat".  Luckily we totally dodged that bullet, but just by a hair.  Paul attached some more temporary cattle panels to the main pen to give the goats some fresh greenery to munch on.  We left for town for a few hours and came home to goats on the loose.  Which isn't so bad as far as rounding up errant goats goes (they'll run to you from a mile away if you shake a bucket with grain in it), but it was most detrimental to my lilac bush and grape vines.  Buggers stripped them clean.  Oh.  And got into the metal trash can of chicken feed.  Luckily it wasn't "real" chicken feed though.  Since the smaller baby goats can get in / out of the cattle panel fence, I stopped putting Chicken Crumbles in the chicken feed pans because the kids would be able to get into it.  Instead, I've been feeding an "All Grain" feed, which is safe for both chickens and goats.  So even though the goats did bust into the chicken bin, it didn't have any serious consequences like it would have had it been the chicken crumbles.  So although I did keep an eye out for bloated goats, none of them came down with it.  The only ill effect was that everyone had "grain poops" (i.e. solid instead of pelleted) for a day.
Classy goat eating supper.  Totally UN-like my goats.


  1. Good lord! Goats are a lot of work! We have never had goats or sheep......maybe this is the reason why. Glad you didn't have bloat too. I have dealt with bloat in cattle a few times.

    Can the vet dehorn them?

  2. What a whole lot of goatie adventures. Glad to hear the break-out didn't result in any harm . . . well, except for your poor grapes and lilac bush. Although it must sometimes seem like a crazy mad shuffling of goats, I think you do a good job of managing your herd. (Watch out, Pickles. This could be your last year in your happy home!)

  3. Band those horns, honey-bun! Sounds like too much potential damage. I had a week of Cs - I wonder who's next with a week of Ds?