Friday, May 24, 2013

A Quick Update:

First I apologize for not updating the blog as much as I intended. Bottle feeding and staggered kiddings seems to take most of my time up these days.


A Quick Note:

 Our Breeding Plans: We have decided to intensify our breeding focus for the herd and will be making some changes to the breeding line up as things progress. Since I have limited space I need to be very selective in who I keep. We have decided to start line breeding our goats to emphasis milking ability as well as sound structure.  In order to narrow the focus, I am only keeping the adults that have similar ancestors.  Each goat also has at least one close ancestor that was/is capable of producing 1000+ a year.



Hazel will be going to a new retirement home at the end of this lactation. This years kidding was pretty bad and the one prior to (2012) had babies that presented the same way. The only saving grace with the 2012 babies was that they were much smaller and I was able to pull them out without too much trouble. Given these kiddings and her moderate milk production I believe it’s fair to retire her. She will be joining her two kids this year in Mayville.




Sunny tested Negative a month before her potential due date. She kidded 03/25/13 with no problems. She had 2 bucklings and a doe. We plan on retaining the doe for breeding this year in order to get a better idea of what sort of udders Hoodie is giving his girls. We have Sunny up for sale right now as a milking doe. I am not in a huge hurry to sell her, but I also realize that with keeping her daughter we need to make some room.



Hoodie became a year old in late March. He was fecal tested for his Birthday. (wow what a gift).

His results have come back negative. He continues to grow into a very correct, very flashy herd sire with some stellar milk genes.




Maddie is the last but not least to kid. As I am writing this, I am expecting / hoping for kids Memorial Day weekend. Maddie tested negative in late April. She is already displaying a very symmetrical very correct udder and I can’t wait to see how it fills in.  Her mother continues to improve and is actually on her 2nd year in milk w/o having to be bred again. My hope is that Maddie also has this ability and will pass it on to her future kids.


New Additions


On May 20th I made my latest and hopefully final trip to the airport to retrieve the last additions of the herd. At 2AM (after a flight delay) I picked up Desert Nanny BF Alligator Pie and Desert Nanny BE Dubliner Style. I am hoping that Dublin will be the second herd sire that will infuse great milking genetics into our herd. With these two additions I hope that I will be able to close the herd, thus greatly decreasing any chances of possible disease transmittion ( be it Johnes, CAE, or CL)


Future Plans

In the next year I hope to get a farm website up and running where I can have a list of my herd members, milk records, pedigrees, and breeding plans. I will continue to post test results on the site and hope to have everyone tested at the same time ever year going forward. (It’s a lot easier to upload that way). I plan on testing for CAE, CL, and Johnes on an annual basis. For the goats under a year old I will continue to do a fecal right before they kid to ensure that nothing is transmitted in utero. As much as I hate bottle feeding, I think it does help with weaning and it creates an easier managed goat in the long run, sooo.. I will continue with that as well.

If all, (or most at least) goes according to plan I intend on showing more does next year and possibly starting milk test. (While eating loads and loads of cheese. Lol)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Deliveries


Seven days after being on "high alert" and watching for signs of labor Hazel's udder finally filled up to the point where I knew babies were coming. I woke and checked her on Friday morning and found her restless and chattering. By around 4 that afternoon Hazel was having very obvious. I started checking her about every half hour and had a baby monitor on in the house. By around 8 that night it was time to put on the extra clothes and head out to observe.
When Hazel got to the point where she was lying down I crept up next to her with a towel ready to intercept and dry the new kids. Unfortunately, that part didn't go as planned. Hazel was obviously straining and there was no progress on that "bubble" that had now emerged. I took a closer look at the bubble- no little white hoof tips. .. this observation combined with the lack of progress began to concern me. I decided it was time to see what was up. There were no legs in the birth canal and when I did finally feel a kid, I felt a very big head and no legs. (this is when I had my first panic)
I paused and took a few moments to try and visualize what I had just felt and to think about my next move. It was now 8:00PM on a Friday night and realized there would be no vet on call. The large animal vets we do have are at least 45min away and I was not sure how long I had before I lost all the kids.  It was also getting colder. The low that night was supposed to be -3. (groan) 
I decided it was time to act- I cleaned my arm up, removed my rings, and decided I needed to find some legs. It turns out that kid had its legs bundled up beneath it and its head was down. I was able to grab a leg, point it in the right direction, and get the head of the kid up so the nose pointed to the "way out". At this point Hazel gave a good push and the leg started to emerge. I was able to grab that leg and get the first kid out. It was very nice black doe. ..but it was not moving. I got her by her back legs and tipped her upside down a few times, cleared her airway, rubbed the side of her chest .. I saw her eye twitch at one point and thought we were out of the woods. .. It was right at this time that Hazel started straining again. I covered up the doe kid with a towel and turned to assist Hazel with a second doe.
 This one came out without trouble- aside from being backwards. She was kicking and I turned my attention to her, dried her as best as I could and wrapped her up in a towel. She was placed in my "kid duffel bag". It was about this time I realized that the first doe was lost. By this time Hazel was rather exhausted and I started worrying about her, she was straining again but didn't seem to have much energy. I gave her some warm water and molasses I had brought out in a thermos and let Hazel lick her new doe. (Hazel was tested for CAE as well) This seemed to be the only thing that got mama back in the game.
Soon Hazel was back laying down and pushing...again, no progress. This time it was a large kid and all I knew was that it was not positioned right. I found some legs and had to start pulling. I had to pull HARD! The 3rd kid emerged, and I got him on the towel. He was lifeless. I shook him by the legs, cleared the airway, and started rubbing his side. .. there was a bit of a reflex.....repeat. .. there was another gasp.. Finally I placed him on his back to expose his rib cage to me- I gave him a good jab with my thumb right under the diaphragm. GASP!.. The little guy started to wiggle. I dried him off and placed him in the bag with his sister. By now, my hands were numb and Hazels wet hind end was starting to develop ice was time to move the whole circus indoors.
The kids went in their bag on the back porch and I had to carry Hazel to the porch. I put Hazel in one of our dog crates- She was soaked. I figured she deserved a warm place to stay overnight and I wanted to keep an eye on her. My attention then moved to the kids. By this time they were COLD. I used a hair dryer to clean them off. By this time the girl was looking for something to eat and I made the decision to let her get colostrum from Hazel. Hazel had tested negative for CAE, Johne's and CL and the family had been removed from the barn and moved to my back porch. I put the doeling with Hazel and focused on the buck.
I noticed the buckling was not able to use his front legs. He could shuffle around trying to move himself with his back legs, but the fronts were just not working. I got him to Hazel's udder so he could at least get a shot of colostrum. He was able to nurse but since the kennel was cramped I took him away and placed him back in the duffel bag. I didn't want him to get trampled. The little buck spent the night in the duffel bag next to my fire place. With everything somewhat settled, and it being 2am, I decided I would get some sleep and see if there was any progress with the buck in the morning.  
It was a nice surprise when I was awoken at 5am to this little guy in screaming in his duffel bag.

I took a look at him, and he was STANDING! I let him join his sister and mother, and let him get another dose of colostrum.  A few hours later, Hazel was doing well so I moved her back to the barn with the adult goats. It would now be time to bottle feed. I used a milk replacer from Hoegger goat supply and after a few days the kids were pros.



Phoenix went into labor five days later. I made the same preparations and she began active pushing around 4 in the afternoon.  Thankfully, this one went according to plan.

Phoenix gave birth to 2 kids- A buckling and a doeling. This process took about 15min.

These babies were removed right away and joined the other kids. Phoenix had the same testing status as Hazel. I gave her kids her colostrum and they were eventually put on the same milk replacer as Hazels.  

For the next few weeks the goats got used to a schedule and the bottle feeding routine continued. The kiddos went to their new home about a week later. I think my planning went as well as to be expected. If there is one thing I have learned with goats- be flexible. You never know what wrench will be thrown in the plans and you need to learn to adapt accordingly!
 I decided that the largest threat for Hazel and Phoenix kids for contracting Johne's was from the environment. Since both moms had current test results I made the decision to allow the babies to have colostrum from mom. I believe the benefits of having healthy kids outweighed the risk. They were started on milk replacer after so they would have a smooth transition when they moved to their new homes.



Coming soon..

Sunny will be due in a month or two and Maddie will be later in May. I plan to test Maddie and Hoodie closer to Maddie's due date. I hope to bring updates as things progress.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Babies Are Coming!!

 Well, February has come.. and with it 2 of my does were due. Hazel and Phoenix. I sent in the fecal PCR test 2 weeks before the first potential due date, the results came back favorable and now it was time to concentrate on the kids.


A week before the babies were to arrive I was able to borrow the home pasteurizer from one of our good friends. The unit was a little older and had not been used for about a year so a test run and calibration was in order.
It took a bit of fidgeting for sure- but, if this part wasn't right, then I would be running through all these steps for no good reason. I found the best tool to judge how hot the pasteurizer setting got was to use a digital thermometer, this way I didn't have to pull apart the pasteurizer, test the liquid, then try to put it all back together. A few calls to Hoegger Supply and I was able to calibrate the pasteurize and heat treat setting on it. 
Once the pasteurizer was calibrated I completed a run though of supplies, towels, blankets, hair dryer, cage, synthetic colostrum, milk replacer, bottles, .. molasses. ....


February first marked my official with drawl from society and the start of the endless cycle of checking udders, ligaments, and behaviors. The kitchen was filled with the static noise from the baby monitors and the midnight goat checks began. I was determined to catch the goats giving birth- for the disease prevention and because of the chill of our Wisconsin winter.
The big question of the week-- Who is going to kid first??



Friday, January 11, 2013

Hi Everyone!

After chasing around 3 goats with their own red solo cups, I would like to say the tests results came back with Sunny, Phoenix, and Hazel as NEGATIVE!.

Phoenix and Hazel are due to give birth in Feb. .. Sunny shortly after!

I will post the test results, the birth announcement and my adventures with bottle feeding shortly!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Kindness Of Others
I wanted to add a quick word about the kindness of others.
Yes, I will be totally honest, this blog started with a little dose of anger. I wanted to let people know about the potential danger of this disease and I was not really happy with the situation that I was handed. ..
Anyway, many asked, so ...where  did Maddie go?
Well, first, a little bit about Maddie. 
Her plane from Oregon got delayed the first day we had arranged,  so as ill timing goes, I had to pick her up at 11 PM after my grandmother's wake. The pick up was about as "bump free" as middle of the night pick ups can go at the airport. I had to sit and wait while airport employees radioed the cargo area meanwhile Nick had to do circles around the terminal since parking isn't allowed. The airline she was on had no personnel present and it was actually a very helpful man from a different airline that that offered his assistance. After some  waiting Maddie was finally hauled down the hall of baggage claims announcing her presence and dismay with as loud a "MAAAAAHHHHAAAAAA!!!"  as any small little goat cold muster. Nick and I got her home and as exhausted as we were forgot to even latch the gate on Maddie's pen that night. We were lucky the little goat from Oregon decided to stay put that night and we found her that morning happily  munching on "Wisconsin hay" with contentment.
..It was a few days after Maddie's pick up that I would learn of Natasha's status. Luckily the little girl was so shy I decided to keep her separate from the adults for a while..( I mentioned this in one of the posts prior)
What I wanted to report was, when I took Natasha and Chloe to the vet that day I noticed that there was a man watching while we had out "appointment". During the appointment, the goats were taken out of the crate on at a time, haltered, and then while they sat in the bed of Nick's truck, the vet gave them the injection. It seemed odd to me that there was a guy watching us as we did this. I think he was trying his best to due his duties in the vet clinic's garage but at the same time was very much glued to our dismal situation ..
A few days later as I was discussing the situation with my mom she asked, "So what could I do to help you?".. Well, aside from a good prayer, .. I told her, "You could find someone to take Maddie until she is a tad older..just to make sure she doesn't get infected." 
I didn't expect her to find someone.
But, as luck would have it she did.
 Mom had a friend from church that has a few goats as pets. They were pygmies and about 12-14yrs old. None of them had current testing, but, as a 12-14 yr old pygmy they were in very good health and it was unlikely they would endanger Maddie, or be a danger to them.
 Oddly enough, the man that took in Maddie for those few months was actually the man who was watching us put Chloe and Natasha down. (I am keeping his name off the record because he would prefer that) .  He was an employee of the vets office and was sad from watching the whole ordeal with Natasha and Chloe and he was more than willing to help us out.
I am sure most goat owners are aware of how the drought affected agriculture this year. Even taking on a small little goat could be an expensive gesture. Well,  I want everyone to know that he didn't ask or accept a shred of payment. I am sure I will find a way to repay him at some point in the future but I want this to be a note to everyone that, yes, the bad in people can come out in goats...but on the converse, there is a serious amount of good too!!!!
Looking back, this was not a good situation that I wanted to find myself in, but I can tell everyone that  I think I am better off from it because of people like I mentioned above! It was a good lesson and I hope that this experience will help me, Nick, and my goats for the better in the long run.

Saturday, November 17, 2012



What age is the animal at the highest risk of becoming infected?

Animals are most susceptible from birth to when they are weaned. It is possible for an adult animal to become infected with Johne’s disease, but in a farm setting it’s not likely, old animals or animals that have a suppressed immune system can also be at risk.


“I had been told that once an animal reaches 2 years old it is can’t become infected, is that true?”


A 2 year old goat is less likely to become infected. At 2 yrs old goats are usually strong and healthy and usually have good resisitance to the organism. Again, it should be noted that its possible to infect a healthy goat if given high doses of the organism. This scenario is not likely to occur in a farm setting.


How long does it take for an infected animal to start having positive test results?
Newly infected animals won’t test positive until at least a year after they have become infected. This can vary depending on the health of the animal.

When is that animal likely to start shedding the disease?
Animals are likely to start shedding the disease when they start testing positive. This can be periodic and they will start to shed the organism more frequently and in larger quantities as the disease progresses.  The Fecal PCR test can produce positive results before the animal starts shedding with regularity. ( by regularity I mean shedding to a degree that puts other animals at risk)

When would that animal develop symptoms?
A goat can start showing clinical signs of Johne’s disease at anytime in its life. Animals will start testing positive before they have symptoms. There are certain events in an animal’s life (stress, kidding, injuries) that can advance the infection in the animal.
REMEMBER:  by doing regular tests you can catch the infection before the animal starts showing clinical signs.

Can Johne’s disease be spread via semen? No.

Can you catch Johne’s at a goat show? No.


Example Scenerio:

A doe is bred annually and tested each year before she kids. She has negative results but at age 6 she tests positive for Johne’s disease.
What kids are at risk?

The most concern would be for the kids that she had at age 5 and if she kidded at age 6. If she was tested annually kids that were born before the age of 5 are not likely to have contracted the disease in utero.

If kids from years 1-4 were pulled from the dam and bottle fed pasteurized milk, it would be unlikley for them to be infected.

 **remember, in this case I am assuming that all the other adults in the herd have also tested negative annually.
This scenario illustrates why it is important to test annually. It’s best to set up a plan with your veterinarian to determine when /if you reach a point where annual testing is not necessary.




With regards to Fall Creek MAV Natasha ..

I received many inquires about Natasha when the blog was posted. This information sums up those communications.

Did I buy Natasha directly from her farm of origin? Yes.

Did I contact the breeder about Natasha’s status? Yes.

How old was Natasha when she was sold to me?  Natasha was a little over 2 yrs old when I bought her.

How long was Natasha living at my farm? 5 months. We decided to complete our annual testing in the fall and she tested positive.

Had Natasha ever been tested for Johne’s prior to when I tested her?  No. She was never tested.