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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: goats

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Little Thor was born during a heavy thunderstorm on June 13, 2013.

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He is the son of a Nubian Billy and a Pygmy Nanny. Pygmy goats are very hardy and resistant to disease/parasites. Large dairy breeds are brush-clearing experts.

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“Little” Thor is very tall so far and is an active, good eater with a shiny coat. He started off black and white, but has developed a few brown moon spots. This baby is a very pretty boy.

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Thor has been banded, making him a wether (neutered male). He has not been dis-budded, so will therefore have horns.

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Little Thor has the mild mannered attitude of his sire and the peaceful qualities of his mother. This lovely boy should make a good pet, companion goat and/or brush clearing machine.

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Little Thor is good with children. He is also used to dogs and other goats.

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Goats become very unhappy when separated from their pals. If you have never owned a goat before, please keep in mind that they are herd animals and therefore need a buddy or two.

We had our first goat bond with our dogs, so it is possible for them befriend other species after a few days of complaining. But, goats do best with other goats.

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Little Thor is eating greens, hay and grain regularly. 

August 24, 2013 Update: SOLD

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I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But,

Beatrice

“Beatrice”

Abbey

“Abbey”

Luna

“Luna”

Tony

“Tony”

Mozart

“Mozart”

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl

Bantam Chickens

Bantam Chickens

Annie & Muriel

“Annie” & “Muriel”

Rocky

“Rocky”

Bigs

“Bigs”

“Now, Abbey! now, Annie! now, Tony and Rocky!
On, Beatrice! on, Bigs! on, Muriel and Luna!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.”

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And me in my ‘kerchief, and dadda in his cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

Crazy Bird

“Crazy Bird”

Button Quail

Button Quail

Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish

Deirdre

“Deirdre”

Cecilia

“Cecilia”

Penny

“Penny”

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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excerpts courtesy of

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

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In the United States of America, Christmas has become a holiday that includes a variety of customs. They stem from the melting pot of people that live here. Although based in Christianity, these traditions are the culmination of many different cultures. The ones we take part in are based on the hopes and dreams of all mankind.

It is a time to remember that we have much more in common with each other than we have differences. It is a time that helps us to become closer to our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. It is a time to make bright the eyes of children, show extra kindness to those less fortunate and to share with everyone the warmth of the season.

In our home and on our land, Christmas is also an earthly reminder to gratefully finish up the current year in preparation for the new. On the farm, we end it with hopes of a warm Spring bearing little chicks, baby goats and a fresh garden.

My favorite expression of this splendid holiday is the lights – lots of lights, pretty lights. It has over-spilled into the rest of the year, as we always keep strings of them on our front porch. They were recently added (in a year round display) to our pony run-in.

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The night is always alive on our farmette and usually with much more than holiday spirit. “Bigs” happily eats his hay just beyond the shelter. A giant night bird, most likely a Barred Owl, flew overhead while I was taking this photo (we have had this species frequent the farmette before). Maybe it was gliding on the aspirations of the wild creatures that make their home here – wishing survival through the cold Winter darkness.

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The little barn sparkles, faintly illuminating the pasture (left), as the brighter house lights echo in the background (right). It is not an especially chilly evening, so I linger a bit to watch the light fade from the sky.

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As I walk up to the door, I pass the chicken coops on the front lawn. The inhabitants are quiet. Are they comfortable? Are they warm? Are they dry? Are they snug in their nests with dreams of sugar plums dancing in their heads?

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Are they dreaming of new chicks in the Spring to come? I hope so.

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The week would not seem right without a little Farmette 1769 blogging. But since it is late afternoon on Friday, I will keep this short, sweet and pictorial.

Abbey – Pygmy Goat Nanny

And

Luna – Pygmy Hermaphrodite Doe Goat

Also

Anthony, our up & coming Nubian Dairy Buck, would not stand still.

Young Tony was very confused and uncooperative.

There’s our beautiful boy!

Then there is

Beatrice – Nubian Nanny Goat

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They all love being up to their ears in food.

Goats are SUPER COOL. The Nubians are my favorites since they are naturally friendly. If you are fond of dogs, you might like Nubian goats too.

“Maa, Maa!” translation “Have a great weekend you’all!”


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Our dogs are our pets first. We love them and they love us too. If you care about your dogs, the will know it and will protect their family at all costs. Out on the country roads, you need the protection.

Thieves are very fond of the widely-spaced homes overflowing with lawn equipment and metal-laden supplies. These items can readily be traded for quick cash.

There are also coyotes and other wild predators that will gladly relieve you of your livestock. Our dogs treat our goats as their friends and protect them too.

There is a difference between guard dogs and watch dogs. Guard dogs are bred/trained to attack intruders. Watch dogs run around, announcing the arrival of visitors.

Our watch dogs are especially proud of barking at the mail/package delivery people. Their tails normally wag away while they do this job. It is only when they feel aggression from someone that their tails stop wagging.

We keep friendly dogs here on the farmette. Once introduced, any dog or human is welcome in their pack. This is why we are able to foster dogs so easily via OneBlackDog.

This is also why our guests are the not-so-eager recipients of sloppy dog kisses. The happier a person is, the more enthusiastically our dogs greet them. Children are favorites of our dogs.

Our two black Collie/Retriever Hybrids, are inside/outside dogs. The latter have access to our mud/laundry room at all times by the use of a dog door (sometimes they are inside along with our full time house dog “Penny”).

They lay out on the deck when it is cool and/or dry. Lounging inside is something they prefer in the warmer or wetter weather. When a vehicle comes down the gravel drive, you can usually hear the flap swishing. The sound comes from their scurrying outside to trumpet their presence.

Penny, Deirdre & Cecilia looking down into the fenced goat/dog yard.

We keep an auto-fill trough of water attached to the yard faucet. A few drops of bleach are added periodically to keep the well water bacteria free.

Our dogs are also provided with Iams lamb and rice dog food. Corn based food works for many dogs, just not ours. All three of them are prone to the skin/food allergies that come with Retrievers/Retriever crosses.

Sometimes farm dogs need cleaning too. They do not like baths much.

We used Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Mint Soap this time. Later tonight we will apply some “dog oil” to ward off fleas, ticks and other external parasites.

Cecelia is our son’s dog, so he was happy to help bathe her. He was actually glad to assist on scrubbing all three of our dogs.

They did enjoy the biscuits they get as a thank you for their cooperation during bath time. They have been taught to sit and patiently wait for treats.

No matter what the priorities of your home are, residential, country, city, farm, mobile, etc., dogs can add quite a bit to your life. You take care of them and they will take care of you – not only physically but emotionally too. They have the ability to put a smile on your face, no matter what your mood, as your enthusiastic, delightful companions.

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It is almost one year since my major surgery. We have been able to get a lot done to reorganize the farmette since then. The work has helped me to build up muscles (including the ones supporting my fused neck) and to retrain all the crushed nerves. Things in that medical arena are far from perfect, but my ability to move is vastly improved in comparison to the two years prior.

We built a new pony run-in just in the nick of time before the cold Winter weather really struck:

Old Run-in

New Construction


New Run-in


Decor added September 2012

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To bring the livestock count up to date:

Dogs (Pets, Watch, Retrieving, Service, Herding)
1 Female AKC Golden Retriever, 2 Female ACHC Gollies
(Golden Retriever x Rough Coated Collie)
Ongoing but not currently: One Black DOG project
pulling a pound dog from local shelter to re-home.

Goats (Brush clearing, Lawn mowing,
Milk – hopefully this Spring, Kid sales)
1 ADGA Young Nubian Buck, 1 ADGA Nubian Nanny,
1 Pygmy Nanny, 1 Pygmy Doe, 1 Pygmy “It” (female-ish)

Ponies (Transport pull cart/ride, Pasture ornaments)
1 (14 Hands) Blind, Quarter Pony Stallion /
1 (10 Hands) Grumpy 21 yo Shetland Gelding

Poultry (Eggs!!!, Insect control, Chick sales)
1 Chinese, Female Goose /
1 Shy, Free Range, Ameraucana/Wyandotte, Standard Sized Roo /
1 Angry, B&W, Polish, Top Hat, Bantam Roo / 1 Blue, Sizzle, Bantam Roo /
2  (Red, Birchen) Cochin, Bantam Roos / 1 Mille Fleur, Cochin, Bantam Hen /
1 Pair B&W, Ugly, Project Bantams / 1 Silkie x Cochin, Bantam Hen.
17 Young, Bantam Chickens for grow out (new breeders needed,
heat wave drove raccoons out of woods for giant raid on our main coop).

Inside
1 Parakeet that throws seed as far as outer space.
No particular use. But, he is very cute.
1 (55 gallon) fish tank w about a dozen fish.
Calming living room centerpiece.

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New coops are being built or re-built. The truly scrappy ones made from reclaimed everything were burned along with their hornets/wasps nests. Making solid, super sheltered, predator-proofed pens for our poultry was long past due.

One of the new coops:
1) Frame, 2) Digital Plans, 3) Final in use


We barter/traded our one man auger for a working nuc box of bees
(we lost our queen last year in our top bar hive and inevitably
lost that colony).


– The back pasture needs fencing, but has been cleared of coops.
– We need to move the two fruit trees to the front and plant the third
(still in pot from purchase months back).
– The farmette needs to buy a few pure bred hens for laying and
Spring chick sales.
– More coops will be necessary. Bobwhite quail, diamond doves and/or call ducks may be in the mix soon.
– A tree-house style goat house or two (with easy cleaning bases) need to be built, so that we can leave the well shed for storage alone.
– The pony run-in will have additions as time goes on.

The projects never end. Thank goodness we enjoy them!

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It started out like a normal day. The previous day, we attended a wedding and reception. It was so nice to have a break for some fun. I had decided to continue the break by sleeping in until 9am the next day.

Sunday morning, April 29, 2012, at about 10am – late to be getting out to feed the goats.

As I looked across the fenced yard, I noticed something on the ground. It occurred to me that it appeared to be a goat. Somehow that little goat did not seem familiar. I did my count, adjusting for the change in our small herd that happened the day before (Saturday morning, one of our pygmy goat kids left for her new home).

The wheels were turning slowly in my brain as I was still reveling in the uninterrupted and solid night of sleep. Something was not right in the world. Finally it registered that our Nubian dairy goat, Beatrice aka BB, had given birth.

I ran across the yard. As I am not as young and able as I once was, running is not currently my strong point. I fell on the cement walk, scraping my knee and bruising my elbow. Managing to get back up quickly, I clamored the rest of the way to the lifeless body that lay
on the ground.

Picking up the lanky little kid goat, I received another shock. It let out a screechy ma sound. Alive! My heart, that had already moved far up in my chest, jumped into my mouth. Turning to the right, I saw another small lifeless body.

There was a little clear goo (some afterbirth membrane) on its head with crumpled dry leaves stuck to it. Convinced that this one was truly dead, I mournfully picked it up. It was cold and limp. Breathing!

The race for warmth began. My kids (the human ones) welcomed a hysterical Mom into the house and began to help. Towels, laundry basket, heating pad, milk replacement recipe, etc.

Beatrice wanted nothing to do with her two little girl kids. I was not expecting to bottle feed and certainly not this soon. These were pre-term kids. From that point on, it was a “make it up as you go along” process.

Here is their first pic. They are so tuckered out.

It has been such a rush that I did not weigh them. I think they were under 2 pounds (which would be fine if they were pygmy goat kids).

This is a short video clip of bottle feeding on their first day.

Bottle-feeding one of two Nubian doe kids

I have helpers for their care. Our 23 year old daughter Eko,

9 year old son Dorian,

and 7 year old Golden Retriever.

Twin #2 aka Sally (R) standing well with Penny (L). This pic was taken Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

My husband is sure to join in on his days off (the girls arrived Sunday, which is currently his first day of the work week).

Monday, April 30, 2012 was a blur. I was running on very little sleep.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012, I was able to take a quick short video of the Nubian kid girls waking up after they slept ALL night. The room is dark, so the audio is actually the best part of this clip. You can hear their little baby cries. They sound a lot like human babies and the fact that say mama is just irresistible. I cannot help but take care of them. The feeling is reminiscent of caring for my daughter and son when they were infants.

Waking Up

Despite her very large size, Beatrice has been picked on by our herd of pygmy goats beginning with her arrival here. She is hornless and the little goats all have theirs, so they win. This may have contributed to the early kids.

BB was acting weird Friday evening, April 27, 2012. I checked her – no swollen milk bag (utter) and no signs of change on her “who-ha”.

During the day on Saturday Beatrice was acting normal until she got tangled in the electric fence. I was outside and rushed to get her out. BB untangled herself in less than 30 seconds, before I made it through the gate. But, that was quite a jolt for any animal, no less a pregnant nanny goat.

Maybe this brought on the premature labor. It can be difficult to determine the cause when it happens. There are many possibilities.

I would have locked her in the well shed for the birth and also for after care (24-36 hours) if there had been any signs of labor. It has half doors and therefore plenty of ventilation. It would have been nice to have the little does born on dry straw rather than randomly in the dirt.

It is not her fault at all, but I am frustrated with BB’s abandonment of her kids. The feeling is just in me, no matter how much I try to step out of the situation to look at it rationally.

Beatrice did what nature intended. The survival of her kids was unlikely and she left them. They would have been taken back into the energy of the world so that BB could focus on her own survival.

Nanny goats often wander away from the herd for kidding, even if it is out into the rain or snow. My mistake was not separating Beatrice earlier. In retrospect, she needed to be in a non-electric pen by herself. Since goats are herd animals and do not like to be alone (at all), this is not the best option, but the necessary choice in this case.

Looking back on all this requires that we create some separation pens with their own shelters. Caring for and bottle feeding twins will certainly serve as a reminder to get this done ASAP.

The ins and outs of keeping up a hobby farm are limitless. You try things. You get better at making it all work. Then a coyote will sneak in and steal a duck. A big storm will arrive at that same time that life has you focused on some other important thing. Work (paid employment/freelance gigs) is keeping you very busy. You fail. You mope. You think about shutting the whole thing down. You get back up and brush yourself off. You really love this lifestyle.

Beatrice identifies her own kids as non-goat-friendly-food items and quickly moves on to look elsewhere for the snacks she was expecting from me. What was I thinking, trying to hand her two, furry, squeaky things?

I imagined her new kid(s) keeping her company, but BB does not want to make friends with them. She is also now picking on our pygmy doe kid (who she TOWERS over). I thought that our hermaphrodite goat, Luna, would hang out with her more since she doesn’t have a close buddy, but neither her nor BB seems interested.

BB is such a sweet, people-friendly goat. She loves getting pet and will follow you around the yard – leaning into you. She may have been bottle fed, since I have heard that they identify themselves as humans and wish to hang out with them instead of their herd mates. My strange feeling of frustration with her is going away. I do love BB quite a lot.

Beatrice passed on her beauty to her kids. They will likely also follow in her footsteps as far as temperament is concerned.

We initially named BB’s kids doe #1 and doe #2. The one with the lower initial body temperature is referred to as doe #1. She picks up energy and then fades and picks up energy and so on. On Tuesday evening, she gulped down a considerable amount of homemade milk replacement – more than her stronger sibling. This behavior was encouraging.

The next morning, Wednesday, May 2, 2012, doe #1 managed to stay on her feet for a few minutes.

Her left eye was cloudy compared to the right, but she was eating and her plumbing was working. I was not worried when I took this pic. She had survived the first 72 hours.

My husband, Jamie, named doe #1 after a Levon Helm song called “Anna Lee”. Both of the girls are slight, but in this pic you can see just how scrawny Anna Lee is.

In the evening on Wednesday, things were not going well with this tiny doe. She wanted to be held more than she wanted to drink her bottle. She sounded congested. Her energy began tapering off at a fast rate.

Jamie stayed up as long as he could to help. He kept her warm on his chest and talked to her. I stayed up with her until she was gone, shortly after midnight.

Our daughter is at a friend’s and our son is at school. At this moment, they do not know that she died.

I thought that I was done crying, but it started up again as I write. It is so wonderful to have Spring babies on the farm. It is so incredibly difficult when you lose one. There is no escaping this.

Death is part of life. My husband and I are big fans of the show “Six Feet Under”. In one scene, speaking of her beloved aunt, a character asks “Why do people have to die?”. The answer given was “Maybe it is to make life more important.”.

What would life be like if you knew you would live forever? Would it be as rich? What would we have to compare things to? I could continue with this line of thinking, but it is best to move on now.

Thursday morning, May 3, 2012. Sally (doe #2) was sprawled out in the laundry basket. It almost made me laugh. Without her sister there, she had made herself more comfortable. Sally ate heartily from the bottle of farmette formula this morning. Along with the milk, evaporated milk, and buttermilk, I added some plain Greek yogurt. It is not part of the milk replacement recipe, but a little may help give her immune system a boost.

The last pic of the day is Sally in her warming blanket made from a long t-shirt sleeve. She is putting on weight, but until she is hopping around like kid goats do, we’ll need to keep her close-by. I hope I don’t pester her too much by checking in on her so often.

In the evening, my husband Jamie took this video of Sally bottle feeding while standing. It is important that she get mobile as much as her strength allows and eating is a good motivator to get her up on her feet.

Sally the Goat

It is now early on Friday morning, May 4, 2012. Sally just had her breakfast. She seemed a bit constipated, so I added 1/2 of a very small egg yolk to a 9 oz. bottle of our version of goat milk replacer. That bottle should be enough nutrition for most of the day.

Egg yolk is an optional ingredient for fresh goat formula, but can sometimes give a goat diarrhea, so I thought a tiny bit might help loosen up her stools. At the least it would add some protein to her diet.

I had found a trick that uses a warm wet cloth to replace the mother goat licking her baby’s bottom. This stimulates their bowels. It is dangerous if they don’t keep things moving out as more food comes in.

The trick worked well when I noticed Sally straining on Thursday evening. It did not work this morning. If the warm cloth does not work, you can give them small enemas of warm, soapy water. If the soapy water does not work, you can try olive oil.

10:15 am

I am on the all the goat web sites right now, awaiting a call from a livestock veterinarian. Having found a good site for emergency supplies, I rummaged through the cabinets for some and looked through my own current bin (my bag of animal care tricks). I chose a few things, one of which was vitamin B complex. Another was a syringe with a needle.

Sally had already been offered a bottle of electrolyte solution made of water, corn syrup and a pinch of salt. This and the vitamin B mix can help them get through a rough day.

She was whining with every breathe and periodically tightening her abdomen. Our little doe may be very constipated. She strains but only wets. I thought she was uncomfortable from pressure in her digestive system.

Her temperature was 102.4 (normal) when I checked it mid-day. She was able to lay with her feet tucked under and head upright – not on her side. I thought she might be getting ahead of whatever was wrong with her.

Sally perked up a bit on the long ride over, but was very hot with fever when I arrived at the vet appointment. It was now 5:15 pm. Her respiration was labored and she could not hold her head up. She was fading fast.

The vet said that her chances were slim. It was likely that pneumonia had set in. I accepted the help of antibiotic injections. On the way home, Sally’s eyes were shaking strangely (neurological?) and she cried like she was hungry.

She had a big seizure minutes after I arrived home with her. She had a few. I could not believe she was still alive after that.

Sally kept trying to stay with us, just like Anna Lee, but she passed away within 1/2 hour. I then wished that I had never gone to the vet and had let her go more gently by staying at home.

My feelings are that I wish that I had found the twin kid goats sooner, before they ever got cold outside. I wished that I had found them gone already. I wished that I had never gotten any goats. I wished that I did not have any pets. I wished that I had never gotten attached to any pet and, for that matter, any person.

I remembered what I wrote earlier, the quote that I had actually agreed with “Death makes life more important”. Thinking of that again sparked an older memory.

I moved to the city (Atlanta, GA) at 18 years old, after having grown up in the blue collar suburbs of Burlington County, NJ. It occurred to me, when I had lived there a while, that there was a poignant difference between urban living and where I had spent my childhood. There was so much more life happening. It was faster and there was more of it, all at once.

Now I am 48 years old. And we have a farmette. It actually reminds me of the city. In an average household, there is more focus on individual pets, since the number of them is lower. Our pets are also livestock, which are used as sources of food (eggs and milk), sales (chicks and an occasional goat kid) and labor (watch dogs, cart pony, brush clearing by goat power, etc.). On a farm, the population of animals and related activities is greater. The pace of life here is sometimes fast. Plants and farm animals and wildlife are all around us growing, and helping us to grow.

I enjoy this life – overall, but it can be so extreme. It is such a thrill to watch an egg hatch or to experience the birth of a kid goat. It is heart-wrenching watching a young animal die. You learn a lot from it – quite a lot.

Again, I cry. But, I am glad to have known the little goat kids. I hope that they felt loved and taken care of. I hope that my decisions did not cause too much suffering.

Today is Saturday, May 5, 2012 – Cinco de Mayo

Click the following link for good advise on the care of newborn goats.

Today is Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lastly, there are two things that I would add to preemie goat care. The next time we have goat kids, I will steal a bit of colostrum from the mother right after they are born and freeze it for future use. This is produced the first few days by the nanny goat (and other mammals) providing immunity to diseases/infections. Secondly, I will use inject-able antibiotic (available at most farm supply stores) at the first signs of stress in a newborn kid. It certainly would not hurt as a short-term treatment, even if infection is not the issue.

Anna Lee and Sally were beloved babies. I truly hope that there is a heaven, even though my beliefs don’t really work that way. And, maybe, I will see them there – that is if I am worthy and, if I am lucky.

Posted on May 7, 2012

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