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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: billy

We had a new billy reserved to replace the one we sold recently (“Billy Bob”). I was not planning on picking him up yet. But, when I went to get a round bale of hay, it was weaning time. I was urged to bring him home instead of waiting until the next hay run.

"Jeffrey"

“Jeffrey” is extra small, which will make him easier to handle when the hormones start to kick in. He will also have curved horns. Our first billy had straight horns. Curved horns are a little safer since you can avoid the points more easily.

"Billy Bob" (Sold)

Another reason that we want a small breeding billy is for head size during kidding (birth). If the male goat is considerably larger than the female, her babies may be too large. One of our girls goats is very small. We especially don’t want to put her at risk.

I have heard stories of standard size billy goats breaking into the pens of pygmy or nigerian dwarf nannies. The outcome is usually death for the kid(s) and the mother during birthing.

The other male kid we have is now neutered. “Billy the Kid” is actually no longer considered a billy. He is now a wether. Billy is not only related to our Nanny (her son from this Spring), but too large to be our herd sire. He is only a few weeks older than our new boy kid. If you look at the next pic, you’ll be able to tell why Jeffrey was a good choice as a small breeder.

"Billy the Kid" and "Jeffrey"

Jeffrey will be ready to breed mid to late Fall 2010. This will give us our Spring 2011 babies and access to goat milk.

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Goats are fairly easy to care for. They need a sturdy, dry shelter and constant access to water. If in a fenced area with limited foliage, just drop in a bale of hay and give them stock feed twice a day. Those are all of the necessities.

Our Little Goat Herd

You can do more for them if you’d like to. Goats like to play, especially the kids. They love to climb and jump. Right now they use the arm chairs on the deck and our outdoor dog’s house for fun. I have been keeping my eye out for some toddler play ground equipment to salvage.

Olivia, Billy the Kid, Luna (up close) and Abigail

We decided to sell our Breeding Billy. “Billy Bob” was getting too hard for me to handle. Between my neck injury and being female, my upper body strength was no match for him. Even though he only weighed in at 50 pounds, he could pull himself out of my grip. I began to tire of the little bruises from his horn poking antics.

We are keeping the Billy Kid. He is actually no longer a Billy. “Billy the Kid” is now a Wether. This means that he is a neutered male. This was done by banding. There is a little contraption you can purchase at the farm supply store. It is shaped a lot like pliers. If you are male, you may want to stop reading here.

You put special rubber bands in it and tie off the testicles. You can also use them to tie off wattles. The blood supply is cut off. After about two weeks, they simply fall off.

I wonder why this technique is not used on dogs. It is easy to do and inexpensive. The kid was playing as usual within an hour. I’m sure that complications can arise. All procedures of this nature have their risks. You must choose one that you are comfortable with.

The great thing about this is that he will remain calm and easy to handle. Without testosterone flowing through his body, there should be no aggression. The boys make better brush clearing machines, so he will have a job. And our son just loves his sweet personality, so he will be a pet too.

We have a mini Billy reserved for the Fall. The herd sire of his family is about 25 pounds and has small horns. He is also not territorial. Hopefully these traits will be passed on. If not, we’ll sell him off after breeding season.

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Mom, Kids and Luna's Tail

Within an hour after being born, the kids are wobbling around and getting their first meal. The Nanny is still working on finishing up the birth. The placenta is on its way out as her babies nurse.

Goats are nearly complete on their first day in the world. Their eyes are open, they can hear and kids even start to play. Our one year old doe, Luna, had to be separated later that day since she was a bit too enthusiastic about her new playmates.

We now have two beautiful kids, bringing our total of goats to five. It is very tempting to keep both babies, but the billy must be sold in eight weeks. One billy goat is enough to keep the herd going and we have to be practical. He also earns his keep clearing out brush, especially from the gully, but the girls can do that too.

However, we will keep the black and white doe. We need to give her a name soon.

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Every birth is quite a miracle. If you think egg hatching is exciting, you are sure to find live birth a monumental experience.

First we’ll see Mom to be at the beginning of this breathtaking event.

Olivia - Stage 1

She has lots of Colostrum ready and full of immune system boosters for her kids. In a few days that will turn to milk and hopefully she will be willing to share. We are hoping to make some cheese.

Two sacks of fluid usually emerge first. The nanny has a tendency to walk around during this part until the hard work begins.

Olivia - Stage 2

Some goats stand and some lay down to push their babies out. Olivia decided on the latter. It was a good idea. This is just the head and front feet (in the sack). Sorry this is blurry, but taking photos at this time was not the priority.

What a big boy! When I realized that this was not the whole kid, I dropped the camera and got hold of him. Olivia had put forth so much effort to get this far, I thought that she might like a bit of help getting the shoulders out. Luckily, he came out smoothly with a gentle tug.

Kid #1 - Pic A

Kid #1 - Pic B

Kid #1 - Pic C

Kid #1 - Pic D

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It has been a long day and it is only 4:30 pm. I had work to do in my home office. But, starting at 8 am, “Olivia” the nanny goat, started to spout goo (at least, that is when it came to my attention). It was a small amount, but enough to indicate the beginning of the birthing process.

I went back to work, keeping an eager eye out the window. Three plus hours went by with no change.

The birth will be documented in tomorrow’s blog. Today is baby picture day.

Kid #1 is a tan/black/white boy (billy).

Left - Kid #1

Kid #2 is a black/white girl (doe).

Right - Kid #2

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Our Nanny goat is named “Olivia”. She is due to “kid” soon. Nanny = a female adult goat that can be successfully bred. To kid is to give birth to a baby goat(s). If she has a girl, it will be called a Doe and a boy would be called a Billy.

In order to produce milk, a nanny must become a mother. This is called “Freshening” your goat. After the kids are weaned, you may continue the production by milking for your own use.

Some people start by milking their goat and bottle feeding the kids. This way the milk can be shared right away. Either way, you can make cheese.

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Hi You’all, Welcome to Farmette 1769… your simple source for getting back to basics, combining our high tech lives with the richness of simple living. We are the ultimate technology meets dirt information location on the web.

I will get back to the story of how we got here, but our current life centers around Farmette 1769.

A bit less than 5 acres, there is room for only so much. We can’t have a herd of cows (as much fun as the sound of mooing would be). Although we are not currently vegetarians and are tempted to pull out the frying pan when the layers (chickens) are on strike, we cannot bring ourselves to eat any of our animals. However, dairy is part of our intended produce.

We’ll slowly introduce each member of our extended family, starting with our top contributor. Although he is quite a villain, he clears out brush like there is no tomorrow and services our nanny.

Goats

Billy aka Bastard

He is an intact male Nigerian Dwarf billy goat affectionately referred to as a “Bastard”. Mistakenly, we played “Let’s butt heads” when he was young, not knowing that the testosterone would kick into a strong sense of territory and leadership. And then the horns started to grow – quickly. Although he will walk on a leash, Billy starts his day by trying to kill us.

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