Just like the title says- owning goats will turn you into a "hunter-gatherer" at times, it will always be in the back of your head when your out and about and you will find yourself looking at something and thinking that your goats would love to enjoy some of this.
Before I contine let me put a disclaimer out there- everyone will need to find out the best way to care for your herd that works for you. Also, please I encourage you to look up things here that I may speak about so that you can make your own educated decision on which you feel is best. I have come to my practice from COUNTLESS hours of reading and research and so on. So please find what best works for you and your comfort level. There are so many "right" ways to care for your herd.
Are you a straight modern method/full on medicine herd? Do you only run your herd naturally and dont introduce modern medicines in? Or are you like me... I'm definitely full on COMBO. I do both.
I have found that I love being able to care for my goats with knowledge I have gained and learned over time and with natural items I can collect or grow. I also like knowing that when I do have a goat that isnt doing well that when I do need to reach for a bottle of store bought medicine that I can feel confident that it will work to the best of its ability because I haven't overused it with them.
An easy way to get started on this if you are new, or just to simply want to incorporate more natural ways into your herd is to find a certified and trusted herbal provider you are comfortable with. The one I enjoy is Land Of Havilah , Kristie Miller is knowledgeable and her products I can confirm work well. Another resource I have recently been given and enjoy is the book Holistic Goat Care by: Gianaclis Caldwell .
Black Walnut: This is one of my favorites- black walnut is great for a parasite flush on your herd and is great to have around. The leaves are good for them to nibble on as a treat and health benefit and the black walnut hulls once fallen, turned black and dried out can be crumbled up and put in their water trough, added to their feed, or given straight as some like to eat the hulls as they are. If you do add the black hulls to their water make sure you give them another small bucket of fresh clean as a choice later in the day, and make sure to refresh the whole trough a day or two later. Black walnuts are something I make a point to go out and collect once they have fallen and I store them in a dry container for use through the year when they arent around.
Pine Tree: Make sure they are the short needle version. But feel free to give pine often. This is also been known to help with parasite flush and overall general animal health. My herd will see a branch coming across the yard and go crazy for it. They will strip the needles and bark in record time. I have been known to carry black trash bags in my car for a quick grab when I see them, and known to stop when I see a limb fallen from a tree and toss it into the back of the car or truck! *Tip: make sure the needles are green, not brown!
--I have a small herb garden that I planted and tend to for use for the herd. The main ones I enjoy are Oregano, Rosemary, Mint. They each have their wonderful health benefits and I encourage you to do a quick search on different herbs and such that you might have around to help you out.
Acorns: acorns can be beneficial to your herd in moderation and with care. They can add protien and vitamins that your herd may not get from their normal grazing pasture. If you do gather acorns for your herd I suggest you do so in small amounts and with a careful eye. A few handfuls as treats when they start falling are perfectly fine and should not in my knowledge hurt your herd. And your goats will love you very much for the nibbles!
Hopefully reading some of this will encourage you to learn and read some more about the things I touched on here. Find what works for you and go for it!
PS: Pumpkins are GREAT for your herd and right now with Fall on the horizon will be easy to obtain!
Well today was the day- September 1.
What is so significant about today? Well to most, or to all...nothing much special besides maybe the air is getting cooler, and we are watching a hurricane creep towards us and prep for that. But today, today on the farm was a day to start prepping for breeding season. The past couple of weeks here we have been watching our does and giggling over them in the other pasture mooning over the handsome fellas in the pasture beside them. They have taken turns coming into heat and flagging their tails and stomping their feet and talking through the short distance of 12 feet between the pastures.
Everyone took the stand today and got a full once over, their own little personal bucket to nibble from while they got their CDT booster, some good minerals, some kelp, a spray of iodine on their tail, a good famacha score check and their hooves trimmed.
I always suggest doing a good check up on your herd when breeding season is approaching and ALWAYS trim those hooves. Trimming hooves is vital for good health, making sure no infection in their feet pops up during pregnacy and to prevent a major hoof trim and stressing your does out while they are pregnant.
For our herd personally, I also always bump up minerals, good quality food, by a little- not a lot, and kelp. I suggest everyone researches what they want to do for the health of their herd and go with it. There is no right and perfect way to run your herd, the best way is what works for you and keeps your herd healthy.
During this month every week I will be making sure I have gone through my checklist to make sure my does are ready for breeding. Each week will be something different.
This week was hoof trimming and CDT, and all over check up.
Next week everyone will get a vitamin B shot-
The week after? I will evaluate the herd to see if a copper bolus is needed.
The week after that, I will make sure that they have more minerals and kelp available for them to enjoy free choice while I start watching who will come into heat in October. When the first doe hits her heat in October I will not be standing by but will instead be allowing them to have their dates with the bucks I want to match them up to. This means come March we are quite the busy little farm and I am one wore out mama, but then its all done within a few weeks and we can go back to normal and enjoying all the little babies running and bouncing around.
Its always the same year after year, its fun, exciting, and exhausting but the reward is great and the loss can be as well if things dont go right. Its fun to have all of those babies around but its also fun to see them leave, the happiness they bring to other families and farms and having some quiet for a time until the next exciting thing pops up.
For those of you starting to breed, or wanting to expand your herd and starting new and this is your first time, please feel free to ask questions, look for advice, read all that you can and enjoy your herd!
Here you see our beloved wether (male goat who is fixed) Mo- he has a very important job during breeding season helping us make sure that the ladies are for sure in the peak of their heat!
:About the Author...
Well, Im not one to much sit here and chat on and on about myself, so I had to make a list of things and figure out what I should day!
Well the obvious is, I run a small farm with my husband that we started 4 years ago. We hand built most of our fencing before we got a tractor and when they say that you ignore what each other say when you build a fence or work with animals. ITS SO VERY TRUE. We laugh now about it so no worries, but man were things said; but our pastures are up!
I am a mom to two amazing daughters who help us on the farm, and we are a homeschooling family! We made a huge life change those four years ago as a family and starting to homeschool was one of them. It has been an amazing experience and one we have never regretted.
Im a dork...If I enjoy a subject or if I am curious about it, then I will more than likely have stayed up in the wee hours of the morning some until Ive figured out what I need to, or at least started learning what all I need to. Goats, our Farm, and what our goats need is one of those subjects. I read what I can get my hands on and learn all that I can about it.
I feel like I can safely say I have many interests and small talents, but I wouldn't call myself a professional in any of those hobbies! Things I play around with from time to time are painting (total amatur) but it is fun to do, I really enjoy baking and Im positive if you follow along here you will stumble across some baking posts for sure! I also enjoy felting- you know in all of my abundunt spare time- this is the practice of using aplaca fiber to create and make whatever your heart can fathom. I was surprised at how much felting was enjoyable and satisfying.
I live for my family and wake up everyday with a thankful prayer that I am able to be the wife and mother I try so very hard to be. I am far from perfect and always fall just a little short in my opinion, but I am so very thankful.
That's a bit of me in a nutshell...Im pretty sure I know of a couple of awesome friends that will read this and send me a text telling me what I have left out.
But until then...
God is Good - Kim