We had a FEC day last week. I walked around the farm with my cooler and collected samples in ziploc bags. We had battled the scours about 1 month ago around here, which ended up being coccidiosis. We have a few young bucklings that have started again, so there's only one way to find out the culprit....Look at it under the microscope. I guess it's a blessing that I absolutely loved any form of science in high school and college. ( My nursing experience has come in quite handy for the farm as well.) Most people just look at me cross-eyed when I tell them that I look at goat "poop" under the microscope. Personally, I think it is the best tool here on our farm. No guessing...
Training them young....Dillon appears to be as interested in scientific things as myself. He said, "Mom are there any eggs in there?" Wonder what he'll be teaching the kids at school now.
Ended up finding quite a few of coccidia in several samples. I'm beginning to wonder if those nice cement water pads are a good thing for the goats. We've not had this sort of issue until they were installed. The verdict is still out on that one.
Yesterday a pup followed Jael way out into the pasture and ended up getting caught in the middle of all of the goats. I noticed it was missing from the rest of the litter. When I got out into the field, it was just hanging out there with the goats by itself. Jael went back to her other pups. It has started taking it's job very seriously at such a young age :) I thought it was pretty neat to see it out there in the middle of the goats, like that is where it belonged.
There is a bridge being torn down close to our home, and we have been the "lucky" ones to get the debris from it. Shane was approached after church one Sunday about it a few months ago; and here we are with it in our pasture. Shane directed the men to put in on top of an old road bed that used to go down beside the chicken house that used to be in that area. The ground there is super hard and doesn't grow grass well. I guess our goats are going to be the envy of goats around this area due to them having their own goat playground.
Shane called me the other morning to tell me what he had found down at the barn....Evidence of dung beetles and other wonderful critters that are helping spread the manure! It may sound totally crazy, but we are excited that we have a "natural" thing going on here. We have been trying to rotate livestock through some of our pastures to create even more "foragability" (if that is even a word). We've been reading the Stockman Grass Farmer for a couple of years and have been working towards growing good grass naturally. I can remember reading that the farmer/rancher ultimately isn't a cow/goat/sheep/horse/etc farmer, they must be a grass farmer first. Without grass; the whole raising livestock would be a definite challenge. (of course, there is sack feed, but I am not going there.) Back to the manure.......Here are two photos; a before and after ...Be prepared...Yes it is photos of a pile of POOP! These photos were taken to show the difference beetles/other critters can make for a pile.
If you would like to learn more about dung beetles and what they can do on your farm click here.
We made a whirlwind of a trip to Poteau, Oklahoma! We left on a Thursday night around 7pm and drove all night to drop off our bucks to participate in the buck test held at the Kerr Center in OK. Shane wanted to try driving them at night to reduce the stress of such a long haul. He had just bought the goat tote earlier Thursday morning (kinda last minute). Usually we use our cattle trailer, but have decided to invest in a goat tote instead of hauling that big trailer around for a few goats. He covered it with a billboard tarp that we had to keep the wind out, rather than buying a cover for $120. We had to stop to get some bedding to soak up the "mess" they would create in that tote. We stopped to get gas to realize too much wind was coming in and blowing the bedding around, so we went to Home Depot to get yet another tarp. That did the trick. Here are the bucklings below, before we put that last tarp on.
We decided to send 4 bucks this year from 4 different does than we sent last year. The smallest goat had a time with our LGD pup chasing him around until we finally weaned him off. His dam has had the best FEC that we have checked on our farm. Next year, we plan on sending some of Rooster's bucks with the same does to see how his offspring perform.
We arrived at the Kerr Center a little after 8am. Mary, Andy, and Courtney were waiting for us to arrive to check our bucks in. There are a total of 60 bucks in this test with ours included. Our 4 missed out on 1 week worth of the "warm up" period, but we hope they will do fine.
We also looked at their Pineywoods Cattle herd. Mary and Andy drove down to Mississippi to get some of the genetics in their herd. Their bull came from down south and has been given the name Mississippi Mud.
We finally left there somewhere around 10am. Meanwhile, Shane still hadn't had any sleep after driving all night. He finally pulled over right before leaving OK, and I drove to the other side of Memphis while he took a power nap. He said he wanted to drive again, so I took the passenger's seat and started with my camera. I look back now at all of the crazy photos I took, and I do believe I was a little deliriously silly with my sleep deprivation. I decided not to share all of my crazy photos, but here are a few.
This is us about 20 hours into the trip.
Thank goodness for that nasty coffee at the gas stations. I guess I shouldn't knock the coffee, after all that is what keeps you awake!
Shane's truck, Besse or Betsy (he said she'll answer to both), rolled over to 287,000 miles before we arrived home. She has been a good 'ole girl for us. We decided it would be nice to document the mileage for our trip. Notice the dust had to be wiped to see the mileage. I think she deserves a little clean up after taking us to Oklahoma and back safely. :)
It has been extremely hot and dry around here, so I'm guessing the horses decided to water our pasture for us....I was making my rounds the other day and I noticed they had pulled the water hose out of the top of the float. This is what it is supposed to look like....
This bowl was empty while the water hose was blasting water all over the ground. This is the mess that was left.
Doesn't this group look innocent of causing any added stress to the farm load?????
Just about as innocent as this gal thinking the grass is always greener on the other side......
Now for the good stuff........We have ended up purchasing 18 %kiko does and doelings. Some are 1/2 and up to 3/4. Mr. Sonny told Shane he was getting out of the goat business, that he was just getting to old to keep up with cutting hay and having to come in every afternoon to check on the goats. Shane jumped at the opportunity to get some of his does. They are very nice goats, and it is good to know and trust the owner too.
Here they are meeting our does for the first time. Those poor girls don't stand a chance though without their horns. They have been disbubbed and will be on the lower end of the goat heirarchy around here because of that. Mr. Sonny said he despised getting a goats head out of a fence, so he fixes the problem before they begin.
The same day we purchased the does, we originally were making a trip to Petal to a commercial producers home to purchase his Purebred kiko herdsire. Mr. Shows called Shane about an ad in the market bulletin.....and here we are.....the VERY PROUD owners of this amazing buck. A friend of Shane's came over to see him and ended up helping him get this buck on our livestock scales. He weighed 220 lbs. I have been trying very hard to get a good photo of him, but he will not be still long enough for it to be halfway clear. All of the bucks and bucklings are in a field together, so the introduction of new testosterone has caused things to be very antsy in that field. No one is just standing around long enough for me to get a picture. So here is the best I can get for now. I can't wait any longer to share this with you guys.. I promise to get a better photo of him along with the other bucks hopefully very soon.
Here's the story on this buck. The guy who owned him had never trimmed his hooves since he owned him. He has had him for several years, and had some of his daughters out in the pasture with him. I can't even put into words how impressed I was with his daughters. Come to find out that he had started with some boers and this buck has been breeding everything out there for years. Basically his daughters out there with him have been linebred. And boy did they look AWESOME. The only way I could describe them is that I told Shane they looked like steers running around out there. They were so meaty. He also had told Shane that the herd he has now is what has survived. He gives no special treatment, shelter, or grain. Survival of the fittest seemed to be his motto. On the way up his drive to his house, there his goats were in a torrential rainstorm like nothing was going on. Now that was the first sign to myself that these were some kind of goats. We will be putting him in with all of our purebred does as well as the % does coming up the first of Sept. I am very excited to see what he will produce.