It is now mid-February and we are approximately half-way through our first winter on the farm. The first part of the winter was very mild with limited snow and high temperatures through the holidays. Late January and early February have been much colder and snowier than the early part of winter. The actual temperature hit -23 degrees a few days ago and it was closer to -30 with the wind chill!
How are the goats doing? The goats are doing well! While they generally don’t mind the normal winter temperatures (as they have thick mohair coats), they usually stay inside while it is snowing or if there is a strong wind.
As the fields are now covered in snow and the goats are unable to graze, we have been providing them with more grain than we do in the summer.
We spread the grain around into multiple feeding bins so each goat can get some grain without having to fight for it or wait their turn. The goats typically spread out to separate bins at the beginning. After a minute or so, one goat will decide that another feeding bin is a better option and attempt to move. This often sets off a chain reaction where the goats switch bins to find the best grains. Here is a video of the goats in action:
One morning while tending to the flock, I noticed that Elf’s head was covered with blood. He had broken his horn and was bleeding from the wound in his head.
Goat’s horns are actually a living part of their skulls. As a part of the skull, the horns contain blood vessels and usually bleed when broken. A broken horn can cause significant blood loss, and even death in some cases.
Luckily, Elf’s horns had mostly already been removed earlier in his life and he only had a small scur on his head that broke off. It was a small break so while there was a decent amount of blood on his head, the active bleeding had mostly clotted on its own.
I managed to separate Elf partially from the main herd. By the time I got him separated from the others, the bleeding had stopped. I sprayed his head with a veterinarian antiseptic spray called Blu-Kote. The spray helps prevent infections. It also turns everything very blue to help you tell where it has been applied.
As you can see in the below video, Elf’s head is now blue!
Click continue to see more pictures of Elf’s recovery.
Our most independent hen, Mindy, often spends a part of her day hanging out with the goats. While most of the other hens are either unable or unwilling to get over the fences separating the pastures, Mindy goes right on over the gates to search out the best places to scratch for food.
Below is a picture of Mindy out in the middle of one of the larger pastures as the goats graze in the background.
Mindy out in the field with the goats.
Click through to see more of Mindy with the goats.
Don’t worry, knowledge of calculus is not required!
So far, we have needed to integrate new goats into our main flock twice. We received a lot of varying information about integrating the goats. The local advice ranged from no isolation period to over two months of isolation in separate pastures. We decided to go with Continue reading →
We recently adopted 2 additional goats from a great rescue / shelter in the Rochester area, Lollypop Farm. When we went to visit our potential new goats, Lollypop Farm had around 40 goats and sheep, along with various pigs, roosters, horses, donkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, llamas, cows and emus (and of course cats and dogs).
When we first moved in, we had only 2 goats, Harriet and Butterbean. As Harriet is starting to get old in goat years, she is not as active as younger goats and Butterbean seemed a bit lonely (and he was really getting a bit too fat and not building muscle). We wanted to get another goat or two to add to the flock so Butterbean would have someone to play with and get a bit more exercise. After searching the local area for kids (i.e., baby goats) and coming up empty, we contacted a local farmer who was looking to downsize her flock. (Click continue for the rest of the story and goat headbutting videos!)