Sunday, March 30, 2014

Milking Machine Cleanup

Sandra asked me about cleanup on the milking machine. One thing I didn't want to do is replace all the time I was saving on milking with time spent on cleanup. Yards of hoses filled with milk? No thank you.

That's why I decided on the Hoegger Supply Bucket Pail system. This is what I have to clean each day:

A stainless pail.

The pail lid with inflations.

The milk does not run through the hoses on the inflations, only through the inflations themselves.

This is what the pail looks like assembled. There are two vacuum lines that attach to the pail and run to the vacuum pump. Only air goes through these lines, so they don't need daily washing.

The little pail sits on the milking stand under your doe and the inflations reach up to her teats. I am finding this challenging on my mini-mancha, Trixie,  since she is so short, but am having no trouble on my standard sized does.  I think with a little more practice, I'll have it working for Trixie too.

The instructions say that the entire pail, lid, and inflations are dishwasher safe. There is a little piece to attach to get water from getting in the vacuum line part of the inflation if you decide to toss it in on the top shelf. I'm finding that washing it takes no longer than washing up my pail, jars, and little hand pump from hand milking. I think I'll keep washing it in the sink instead of taking up the room in the dishwasher.

The pail holds 6 quarts, so once my girls are all up and running, I may have to empty it a couple of times between does.

Milk Machine- Day 3

Milking went even better this morning. I got about 2 cups shy of a gallon. I still wasn't getting the machine to work on Trixie. But feel like I made progress. At least I got the inflations with suction on her teats!

I listened to my more experienced friend's advice yesterday and left the inflations on until milk stopped. Those stinkers still held up a ton of milk. I didn't go back at Onyx, but when I let her kids out, her udder looked half full again. She did that to me all last summer! The kids have their own pen now and will be weaned much sooner this year. I just need to put some finishing touches on their shelter.

I did go back and hand milk Scilla after and got another pint of milk! I know they are just saving for their babies but sheesh! I really don't want to have to pull kids and bottle feed. I guess I just need to learn to share.

The last few days have been insanely busy. I'm going to try to take a "down day" today. That's in quotes because I'm sure you can picture what my down days look like. Mom and I got a double batch of soap made, cooked and canned 6 quarts of chicken stock, and got the soaps and eggs packaged for the market. I know there was more but it's making me tired listing it all.

This evening I am going to set up some chevre so it will be ready for Tuesday. I wish I had more to bring, but with this late spring, I'm lucky to have what I do.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and please come see me at Loconomy Tuesday afternoon!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Milking Machine- Take 2

This morning went so much better! I am only milking one goat at a time until I get the hang of this thing.

First up was Trixie. She's very short, so I'm having a hard time getting the pail and inflations positioned up under her. I finally got it without her kicking, but I wasn't getting any suction. Duh! I'd forgotten to open the valve to the pump.

I wanted today to be a good experience for her, so I just left the pail and inflations under her and milked her using my hand pump. Everything went smoothly except for the fact that she only gave me about a pint of milk. She's really off so far this year.

Next up- Scilla. Here is her udder before milking (please excuse all her goo, I need to clean her up again today. Having kids is messy work). Everything went as smoothly as could be hooking the machine up to her. Milk was a-flowing!

The directions said to watch for the rate of flow to decrease to know to remove the inflations. I think I could have left them on longer than I did, but better safe than sorry. See, she still has milk here.

Now this is her after her kids got done with her.

Things went equally well with Onyx and Phoebe. By the time I got to Phoebe, I left the inflations on slightly longer and think I got her milked out better.

I just let Betty Buttercup's twins nurse on the stand. The boy was ravenous again, but Lulu just kind of played with her breakfast. BC wasn't full, so someone had been nursing overnight. A couple more days and these two will be joining the other kids in lockdown overnight so I can start milking BC too.

Look at those legs! Lulu is already a diva! 

I got this picture a few days ago of Lulu and Opal. Lulu was such a monster baby! Opal is on the left, Lulu on the right. Opal is 3 days older and Lulu is bigger!

They look so similar, their mamas have to do the sniff test to tell who is who. Pretty girls! I can't wait to see Kat's babies.

Milking Machine Woes

Yesterday was a very frustrating morning. It was pouring rain out. I'd been up from 3-4am contemplating using the new milker.

I managed to get it out to the barn and that was about the only success I had! I couldn't get it to create any suction on Trixie's small teats, so I had to run back into the house to get my hand milking stuff.

Then I tried it on Onyx. I got about a pint of milk until she decided to kick it off and start stomping on it. I hand milked her out too.

Finally I tried it on Scilla, but whatever Onyx had done to it made it lose its suction. I hand milked Scilla and Phoebe too.

By this point, the river had started running through the barn again, all the chickens were up in my business to stay dry (I'd forgotten to lock the coop door the night before in my effort to get all the goat kids locked up), and the kitten decided he wanted lap time. I was so frustrated I locked the kitties back in their crate and proceeded to forget about them for a couple hours. Poor kitties.

I finally called the number given with the milker instructions and was pleasantly surprised to have reached Mr. Hoegger himself. He was very patient, talked me through the entire operation, and gave me some good tips.

I'm still nervous about trying it again this morning, but he said a learning curve is normal for me and the goats. This time the chickens are locked up and kitties can stay in their crate until I finish. It's still raining so there's not much I can do about the muddy barn besides bringing plenty of bleach and paper towels in case muddy hooves try to kick inflations off again.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quick Update

Very quick because I have to get out there and milk! Cara Bleu's eye is looking much better. I'd say it's 70% open now.
I still need a home for Guinness so I won't have to bottle feed him. His dam and sister are moving next week.

Cheery and Gleeful are growing like weeds. Trixie was very upset when I took them away last night. I tried to show her they were safe in the storage side of the chicken coop, but she wasn't buying it.

Onyx's kids are such long, tall, drinks of water. They are all legs! I disbudded them yesterday morning. Asher decided to lick all the burn off Jasper's head while I was disbudding Opal. Rotten dog. Even worse because I had him clean up Buttercup's kids' bottoms earlier that morning. Yuck. I sprayed him with plenty of Blukote and he seems none the worse for wear.

Betty Buttercup is still rejecting her boy. I'm having to feed her and rub her sides to get her to let him nurse. I hope she gets over that soon! Her daughter is enormous! Lulu is already bigger than Onyx's Opal.

Little Vee needs a good home. I put him on Facebook. He's got great bloodlines and I only want $150 for him to keep me from having to feed him/see that he's fed 4 times a day.

Kat is due in about 3 weeks. I will have to put a yard stick on her back so you can get a true picture of her size. I'd be shocked if there were only two babies in there. Then again, I was shocked that Buttercup actually had two.

My milker is scheduled to be delivered today. Signature required of course and I have lunch plans with my mom and aunt and Cole's baseball game tonight. I really don't want to miss it! I'm going to leave a signed note on the door for my FedEx guy. Hopefully that will be enough for him to leave it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Betty Buttercup's Kids

Betty Buttercup had girl/boy twins today. I thought she only had a single because she was so tiny. You would have hardly realized she was even pregnant before about 2 weeks ago. I would have doubted it if I didn't have a positive test on her.

First she delivered an enormous girl. This little girl is bigger than Onyx's kids- and those kids were born 4 days ago. She needed a little help getting her out.

After seeing how huge the doeling was, I figured that was it. But BC started pushing again and out came a little Magnum look-alike buckling.

She was very attentive to the little girl but wanted little to do with the boy. I made sure that they both nursed and then came back in the house to have breakfast at 1pm.

When I went back out an hour later, I found that she wants nothing to do with either. They were both up and hungry and chasing her around the stall on their little wobbly legs. She was running from them. I gave her a bucket of sweet feed and she reluctantly let them each nurse for a little bit. I really hope she accepts them. Any suggestions?

I named them Lichen Lilac, "Lulu" and Magnus Vulcan, "Vee". Lulu will be staying with us at HHF. If Buttercup doesn't prove to be a better mama, she may find herself a new home next fall.

I need to get some pictures of all the bouncy kids. They're too cute! I have 2 Alpine Bucklings, 1 Alpine Doeling, 2 Minimancha Doelings, and 2 Lamancha Bucklings that need new homes. All are registered.

Stay warm tonight. The wind is howling out there. I just lit the woodstove and it down-drafted until I could get the door closed. Hope the fruit trees do alright.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cara Goes to College

Little Cara Bleu got a trip to Auburn University today. Everybody at the Large Animal Teaching Hospital is amazing! I am happy to have such a great resource only an hour away- wish they were closer.

This morning her little face looked even more swollen. I pinned her down and flushed out her eye best I could. I couldn't pry it open for the life of me to see if there was anything in there. So it was off to Auburn.

The vets sedated her and still couldn't get in her eye. So they ended up doing a block to the eye as well. It was still hard to see anything, but they seemed pretty sure there wasn't anything in the eye and the cornea is not scratched.

They injected the eyelid with Dex, gave her a systemic antibiotic and more steroid systemically. I have another shot of Dex I'm to administer tomorrow.

Little girl had a rough day, but she's a trooper. The vets think things should look better in a day or two and would like to see her again at the end of the week- about the time Betty Buttercup is due to kid.

My friend Hilda brought me 4 huge bundles of Vidalia onion sets straight from Vidalia. So of course, we had to get those in today as well. Thank you, Mom, for the help!

And then there's the Little League game tonight......
Stay warm, y'all. I'm off to cover the citrus trees before the game.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We farm bloggers tend to share all the good stuff that goes on around the farm and just deal with the bad stuff on our own. That's okay, most people don't want to see blood and manure, but some days I just need to vent.

If you're here just for the good stuff, stop after the second picture.

The Good:

The kids are bouncy and active and too much fun to watch.

Asher got introduced to Onyx's kids and loved them. How could he not? He insisted on staying with them while I put Onyx on the stand.

(Some semi-bad: Onyx came down with mastitis the day after I brought her home two summers ago. Now little tiny babies eschew her damaged teat. I think the milk comes out too fast on that side and seems to choke the little bitties. I put her on the stand this morning and milked that side out. I ran a CMT test on it and got a little bit of gelling, but that's not uncommon in colostrum. She seemed much relieved to have some pressure taken off. I also treated her feet which seem much better but we have rain here today).

More Good:

Hubby brought home a package of beef liver from a customer. I don't like liver, so I thawed it and was going to throw it in the crock pot for the dog and chickens. When I removed the freezer paper, I was greeted by two lovely steaks. Dinner was delicious!

Next up, The Bad. You can stop here. I'll "see" you tomorrow.

The Bad:
I disbudded Cheery and Gleeful this morning and was just starting to feel good about my disbudding abilities. Everything went well on Cheery. I put her back in the barn and did Gleeful. That went well too. Then I went to check on Cheery again.

Poor little thing was a bleeder. I had to heat the iron back up to cauterize the bleeding. It took two more times with the iron with 15 minutes between attempts to finally get the bleeding to stop. Poor little tike. I felt awful. Of course, she's up all cheery and bouncing around now. Sometimes I think it's harder on us than it is on them.

The Ugly:

And finally, The Ugly- Poor Cara Bleu's eye. She's not even opening it a crack like she did yesterday. I treated it last night with livestock eye ointment and this morning I washed it well with saline and treated it again. Cara Bleu may get a trip to Auburn U. tomorrow if she's not looking better. I wouldn't wish this on any of my kids, but why couldn't it have been one of the bucklings?

Thanks for hanging in there with me and I'd appreciate any more advice y'all may have on Cara's eye.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Next Up...

Betty Buttercup.

Pretty girl is due 3/27. I'm guessing a single baby since she's so small, but I'd like to be surprised! 

Onyx's kids are the prettiest things ever. I'm smitten with Opal. 

Her brother, Jasper, is gorgeous too and needs a home. 

Hubby helped me move "Poop Mountain" today. I'm sure the veggies will love it!

I bought that eye stuff you suggested, Kimberly, and treated Cara Bleu with it this evening. She looks so pitiful but is spry as ever. 

Onyx's Kids

Miss O gave us boy/girl twins this morning. I think I'll call them Jasper and Opal. Baby O will be staying here at Hammock Haven- our first homegrown milker!

Baby O is grey and Jasper is red and white. They're both so gorgeous! Onyx makes the prettiest babies. 

Yes, we know you helped too, Magnum. I clipped him yesterday and truly had no idea he was so good looking under that shaggy coat.

I disbudded Guinness and Shamrock last night with the help of Shamrock's new owners. Then poor Guinness proceeded to come back into the barn and bust his scabs open. Bloody mess! We had to heat the iron back up and cauterize the bleeding. He's good to go today. 

Cara Bleu, Scilla's doeling, managed to hurt her eye this morning. It's swollen shut. The eyeball itself appears to be okay. I washed it out with saline. Anybody else had one hurt an eye? It would be the girl too...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Baby Girl's Turn

My poor Onyx is so over being pregnant. Her feet are better today, but still paining her. She needs to get this weight off them. She's so uncomfortable that she's taken to propping her front end up when sitting down.

Don't scroll down further if pictures of goat "lady parts" bother you.

Her ligaments are nearly gone. This picture is from this morning and her udder is much fuller now. I'm thinking maybe tomorrow. Today is day 145. She went a couple days early last year.

Because you survived the goat "hoo hoo" picture, here is your reward- Asher with Guinness and Shamrock. I'm very excited that the people who are buying Phoebe are interested in Shamrock too.

That leaves 2 Alpine bucklings and 1 doeling left to sell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Odds and Ends: Fodder, Kids and More

My kitchen has been overtaken by fodder! It's so pretty. I love seeing this bright spring green on these dreary, wet days.

I picked out this tray to feed. I started with 5 cups of wheat (which I haven't weighed) and ended up with about 4 pounds of fodder. Not real scientific, eh? I'll be sure to weigh the starting wheat seed today. I also managed to have 3 trays of wheat fodder that look ready to feed today. Go figure.

I broke some of the fodder up into their feed buckets and they turned their noses up at it. Silly goats.

When I offered it by hand, they went crazy for it. Goats are just crazy, what can I say?

I brought a bucket of warm soapy water up to wash Onyx's hooves. I cleaned them up and sprayed them with blu kote again. My hands, clothes, and milking stands are perpetually purple now. She seems to be getting along a little better today. I wrote to a vet about her, but he really didn't have any ideas.

The chickens loved the fodder too. They've been locked up the last couple days since I planted some wheat in the temporarily empty buck pen. Magnum is still living with the ladies until his new buckling friend is here and big enough to move into the bachelor pad with him. Unfortunately, the ducks seem to be doing a good job of eating the wheat seeds. I hope enough of it washed in with the rain that we get some growing out there.

Trixie's girls have been introduced to Asher now and released from the kidding stall into General Population. I'll have to go check on them soon, but they seem to be doing well.  I can tell that Trix is getting up in age as she doesn't seem to be bouncing back as quickly as the younger girls. I think she's 7 or 8 this year.

I disbudded Cash and Cara on Monday. I went slowly and really took my time at it. I went over them both several times and made sure I burned down to a copper/white mix this year. I still can't help but second guess myself after the fact though. 

I suppose if I see scurs, they can always go back in the box. I just hate to torture the little things twice.

Phoebe's babies will get disbudded this weekend. Then I'd like all Alpine and Mini-Mancha babies gone. Get them on a bottle and move them out before I become too attached. The market is starting soon and I need the milk.

 I love the three little white spots on Shamrock's nose and her pink lower lip. She has "lipstick" like Betty Buttercup.

Cash is all tuckered out.

And Kat is enormous. She is not due for another month. This picture does not even capture her truly immense size.

Next up to kid- Onyx 3/25 and Buttercup 3/27.