Monday, January 24, 2011

The Learning Curve.....


Otherwise known as my goat herd queen, Sunshine..

This is her and her first baby, Sassafras
This is her and her quads last year...
Pixy(baby up on mommas neck) we kept. 
The Boy went to a good home as a pet..
The other 2 girls went to a Very good home too!

All dried off a few hours old..

This is her a week or so ago..
She is as big as last year..
 But I told her she didn't have to out do last year...
Twins work well!....
 Okay now on with why I am posting about her... She was one of the first 2 goats that were mine. I helped my mom for about 18 months before she bought Sunshine and her sister Tulip for me. It was in trade for feeding all her bottle babies that year.. Which included all of 4.. And she gave me 2 of them.. I had been planning for about a year to get a milk goat.. I had a goat house, fence and was looking at goats..
 I have pictures some where of when she was little but they are on 35m film some where. The girls and I would sit out in the pen while the 2 babies would nap on our laps..
 At about a year old I borrowed a buck.. A Boer buck from my mom.. I wouldn't ever put a Boer buck on a first freshener Dairy doe again. They didn't have any trouble but I have seen others have trouble.. We didn't have to much trouble that first year..
 Sunshine had a single but didn't do well and being a newbie I panicked and brought the baby inside.. Now I know a few tricks.. I started milking her right away and she is a dream to milk so easy and patient with me even as a First Freshener.. Her sister Tulip kidded a day or so later.. Twins.. One very small and one very big boy.. Not good.. Now I know that is caused by selenium deficiency.. I lost the little twin to White Muscle Disease also caused by Selenium Deficiency..
 Tulip did not milk well at all. She fed her remaining kid but was a pain on the stand. the next year the same thing and she took to biting everyone's ears and butting the babies.. I sold her eventually..
 But Sunshine was my baby. She loved me!lol She would stand at the corner of the fence and  watch the back door at chore time and wait for me to come out.. As soon as she saw movement she started hollering.. She still does this.
 However I was worming like some people still do just every once in a while and not checking fecals. She was now a 2 yr old and had triplets. I had added 5 new does that were either pregnant or nursing..  I sold one of her babies as a bottle baby and she raised the other 2 till weaning and they went to a new home. She started getting really thin.. So I wormed with panacur.. one time.. No follow up 10-14 days later or 5 days in a row either..  She didn't improve.. So I asked the vet about it. She did a fecal and said parasites But not what kind I was dealing with. She had me giving Panacur ever 2 weeks for 2 months.. Still NOOO real improvement. She got so thin that I picked her up and carried her to the shed.. She was weighing Maybe 100lbs.. I almost lost her that day. She was dehydrated and I followed my gut feeling and started drenching her with electrolytes. I like my vet but this is one thing we disagree on now and that is the type of wormer she used and how it was given.. I wormed her with Ivomec. She improved over the summer.. I bred her that fall and she had twins. Was doing great.. She milks alot and hates to dry up..
 Then we moved to the farm that we managed and everything had to be done as naturally as possible which I agree with some. But Sunshine's system wasn't built up enough to just go all natural(whole different subject) and while she held on and had triplets she still look like a movie star.. All bones!
 We moved and she started improving drastically.. Then I was looking more into the Selenium issue and the more I studied up on it the more I thought it may be the problem.. I gave the Selenium/VitE gel and it made a difference. All of my goats were a little thin when we left that farm. I fed either alfalfa hay or red clover hay all winter and it was what they needed..
 After having quads she was putting out the milk! She was an excellent mom and was doing so good. Then she got in the scraps for the chickens and got something that made her sick.. The only thing she ate or drank for over 2 days was what I drenched into her!  I was giving her electrolytes, Baby cereal(oatmeal), milk, Slippery elm, Vit C and activated charcoal. I had no clue at first what was going on only that she had major stomach upset. I was still milking her and then she got mastitis!.... I felt so horrible. She would lay her head on me and I would tell her she could NOT die on me! And yes I prayed for her too. God care for our cares.. She didn't die. She improved but one side of her udder dried up. I had been feeding the 2 babies still with us by bottle.. She accepted Pixy back but not the boy. One side had dried up completely.  However the udder is not damaged and is filling up evenly this year...
  With getting regular Selenium and now Copper boluses has made a world of difference in Sunshine and my goats in general. A couple of weeks ago I notice the hair on her neck looking a little dull. So I gave a dose of Copper they were due for and with in a week it was gone. She seems to have lost a little weight so I have been giving her and Abby extra Vitamins lately. It has B's iron and a bunch of other stuff. I melt it in a little water and drench her with it. I tried giving it to her straight but no go.. I had thought about giving her children's chewable vitamins is what I have on hand. I have also been giving her tums for the calcium since she is older and I dont want her getting milk fever.. I am also a little worried about Ketosis/Pregnancy Toxemia because she is getting a little older. She will be 6 in February.. Molasses is added to their water every once in a while and they have a little corn in their grain it should help ward it off..
 She is looking and acting better. Her and Abby both have bellies that popped out all of the sudden. They are both fine boned goats. Abby is having a little difficulty too. I think her biggest problem is the copper requirements seem to be higher for her.. Where the dose I give her works for everyone else she gets a little extra.. Her and Sunshine also get an extra shot of Selenium.
 Sunshine is an excellent mother and milker. Her udder needs improvement but I cross her with bucks that have good udder attachments in their history and her baby girls are good so far. I cant wait to see Pixy when she is milking. Sunshine is also very friendly and loves human kids. She also loves Kyle! Haha.. Anytime he is helping or working in the goat pen she comes and rubs on the outside of his leg. He doesn't even have to look to know who it is!!lol If the girls milk her more than 2 days in a row with out me being there she gets kicky till I get out there. They always say Mom YOUR GOAT is acting up she wants you out there!!
 My plan for the last 3 years have been to NOT breed her that year but she puts up such a fuss that I finally give in!.. I dont know maybe this next year I wont breed her and give her a break.
 So that is the story of my Learning Curve goat and how she so far has survived me...

16 comments:

Carol............. said...

You make me want to have goats!!! LOL

Linda said...

You've learned a lot! It's amazing how many vets don't do the minerals nor do they recommend them. There is so much us goat keepers could teach them if they were only willing to learn!

WeldrBrat said...

Wonderful! Some of the best learning comes from those that share their journey down a really hard road taken by their own choosing. Takes a lot of guts, Girlie. But it looks like you were blessed with confidence supported by your Mom having your back door covered. And THAT'S something that makes ALL the difference!! Thanks for sharing!

Tina said...

You are so smart to know what to do with your goats, how to make them healthy and all...ever thought of writing an 'E-book'?
Matilda is TrapperDude's goat...he pulls up in the yard and she is at the fence watching to see if he has brought her a treat...she's rather fond of donuts! He can play with her, grab her horns and roughhouse with her, but me? She'd rather give me a swift headbutt if I tried that.
We need to do some serious culling if the goats! Thanks for the info on the wether...I think we will be doing that in the next month or two.
Hoping you have a "sunshiny" day :)

Amanda said...

It wasn't until about 6 months ago that I read an article written by Sue Reith on calcium/phosphorous ratio in regards to hypocalcemia and ketosis. (http://goats.wetpaint.com/page/Hypocalcemia+-+Feed+for+Prevention)It a very interesting & very informative read. I urge all goat owners who are not aware of the important balance to read up on it. I mention it because you mentioned calcium and ketosis :o).

Before moving to Kansas this past summer from Ca. Alfalfa was the most readily available and nearly all you ever hear about for dairy does is the importance of calcium and protein for milk production. Or, at least it seems to me to be that way so that's all I ever fed. Come to find out now, my phosphorous had to be way off and it showed! Another year down and hopefully a little wiser :o).

Anyway, like I said, an interesting read if nothing else.

MilkMaid09 said...

I'm right there, smack-dab in the middle of the learning curve. Funny thing is, my girls have taught me so much by NOT doing anything! I keep thinking that something could go wrong so I research everything. Well, I'll be prepared when something does go wrong!

Brenda said...

What a touching story ... and, a very sweet goat! I remember when she was so sick last year. I still get a lump in my throat when I read about it. I am so thankful she pulled through ... with your help and with God's help.

Nancy said...

Isn't it amazing what we can learn when doing something we love?

You are my go-to-gal for goatie information -- if I ever get any. :)

Barbara said...

Excellent post! As you know I too have had a learning curve. I too mix cracked corn, not to much, just a bit into my feed and my girls love it and it encourages them to eat the vitamins and minerals I add. Many people say you should not feed corn at all to goats. They say it causes to many problems. I have to disagree. When Sweetpea was down for a week last year and had not eaten or drank water for the week and I was giving her IV Fluids it was the handful of corn my husband gave her that got her started eating again. The corn stimulated her to eat her goat grains and minerals.

goatpod2 said...

We used to have 72 goats here now we have 25 though! We first had Shetland Sheep and Nigerian goats then we started our venture in Mini-Nubians!

Blessings,

Amy

http://goatpod2.wordpress.com

tree ocean said...

great story and pix!

the Goodwife said...

I don't know a whole lot about selenium deficiency. The loose mineral I feed free choice has selenium and copper in it of course. I've never had a problem, but I suppose it could start? I've read that Illinois soil is selenium deficient. Thanks for a great post!

Deanna said...

My guess is that you have just shortened the learning curve for many others. Good for you. This was an intereesting read.

Nezzy said...

It's the live and learn method and now you are a informational queen on how to raise goats! It's a habit we all have with our critters.

I'm sure you will help many out there who raise goats.

God bless and have a glorious day sweetie!!!

Periwinkle Farm said...

o wow that is the one thing i really have to study up and one thing i am scared the most of. I would hate to have a sick goat and not know what to do it would drive me crazy. I am glad that you did not lose her : )

matty said...

Not only did you save Sunshine, you saved my Mary! You are a very wise goatlady! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge! Your stories make a difference!

Take care,

Matty