Why Goats

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Why Goats

We bought our farm in Stockdale, Texas in 2008. I retired from training horses. That was a fun ride for 25 years.

We bought all the same livestock we grew up with to have on our farm. We thought that cattle were the answer for our farm and for the ag exemption. We went off what we were taught growing up.

Due to the very dry weather the drought here in Texas we had to sale off the cattle. Our farm just didn’t feel complete without the cattle.

Our good friend Ike recommended that we should get goats in place of the cattle. We tossed the idea around for weeks. I never thought I would own a goat much less a heard. Although we had a goat that stayed with a stallion that I had in training years ago. The goat went everywhere with that horse. (It was fun when we went to horse shows with a goat tagging alone.)  Oh, and my youngest daughter had a three-legged Barbie doe that someone gave us. It ate and ran with our horses. LOL! That was the only experience I had with a goat.

We went over to visit Ike and Barbra to look at their goats. Most of all Ike gave us so much advice about owning goats. The more I was around his goats and worked with the goats the more I liked them. I came to realize that a goat is much easier to handle than a cow. They are smaller than a cow. So, I can handle them by myself. Which is a plus because I will be the one doing the milking and handling them daily. Also, a goat will do all most anything for a treat.
But, we didn’t know where to start, or what breed would be the best for milking. Ike told me in his opinion Nubian and Saanen goats make the best milkers. I did know one thing, I wanted to milk the goats, so we could have fresh milk.

Ike let me borrow two does (female goat) that was in milk. He sent two goats because goats are herd animals. Which that means you need to have at least two goats together to keep them happy. I was so excited about milking the nannies. The two nannies were Nubian goats that Ike loaned me.

Milking a goat is not as easy as you might think. Goats can be fidgety, stubborn, moody critters. The nannies were not trained to milk. I had my work cut out for me. It was much easier to train a goat than a cow. Milking a goat is much different than milking a cow. So much for thinking it would be like milking a cow. Hahaha! After a few days, I could milk them without any trouble.

I knew I needed a better set up for milking after a very brief time. If I was going to milk goats I needed a milking area with a milking stand. Like the old saying “work smarter not harder.”
We bought four Saanen nannies goats from Ike. We are in the goat business now. All four of the nannies were bred to his Nubian buck.

A goat’s gestation period is five months (approximately 150 days). So, we had a few months to get ready before we had kids (baby goats). Goats are known to have twins, single or triplet births are common. Less frequent are litters of quadruplet, quintuplet, and even sextuplet kids. Birthing is known as kidding, generally occurs uneventfully. Just before kidding, the doe will have a sunken area around the tail and hip, as well as heavy breathing. She may have a worried look, become restless and display great affection for her keeper. The mother often eats the placenta, which gives her much-need nutrients, and helps to keep her from hemorrhaging. Also, is reduce the chance of predators finding the baby.

A doe doesn’t just reach a certain age and suddenly begin filling it’s utter with milk. A doe needs to be bred and give birth. Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding. Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the doe. Dairy goats generally produce between 1,500 and 4,000 lb. of milk per 305-day lactation. After nursing her kids to at least three months old you can continue to milk the doe.

A doe that is treated properly, fed well, milked daily will continue to produce milk for ten months to one year. An excellent quality dairy doe will give at least 6 lbs. of milk per day while she is in milk. A first time Milker may produce less. Occasionally, goats that have not been bred and are continuously milked will continue lactation beyond the typical 305-days. After her milk dries up she will need to be bred again and the process starts all over.

Does of any breed come into estrus (heat) every 21 days for two to 48 hours. A doe in heat typically flags (vigorously wags) her tail often, stays near the buck if one is present, becomes more vocal, and may also show a decrease in appetite and milk production for the duration of the heat.

Bucks (intact males) come into rut in the fall as with the does’ heat cycles. Bucks may show seasonal fertility, but as with the does, are capable of breeding at all times. Rut is characterized by a decrease in appetite and obsessive interest in the does. A buck in rut will display lip curling and will urinate on his forelegs and face. Sebaceous scent glands at the base of the horns add to the male goat’s odor, which is important to make him attractive to the doe. Some does will not mate with a buck which has been descended.

In addition to natural, traditional mating, artificial insemination has gained popularity among goat breeders, as it allows easy access to a wide variety of bloodlines.

Don’t try to do it all at first. Raising show goats, breeding stock, milk goats, and slaughtering meat goats are four different goals for raising goats. Pick your main focus because you’ll need to manage your herd differently depending on it.

Here is a list of books that could help you with more goat information.

        

 

  

 

 

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Blessings,
Margarita & Stace

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day always gets me feeling so emotional, simply because it’s such a blessing to be a mom and such a remarkable task to raise children — and mostly importantly, because I’m so eternally grateful to have such an amazing Mama!

My mama is in heaven now…I can still see her smiling face and hear her guiding words. I love and miss you Mama!

Since I can’t dig deep enough to find the words to express just how precious it is to be a mother and to have a mother, I put some of the quotes I remember hearing when I was growing up. Hope it will help remind you of why your mom is and should always be the most valuable lady in your life.

These familiar saying have somehow been handed down from mother to daughter/son through the years. How many of these did you grow up with?

  1. Who do you think you are?
  2. Ask your father (closely followed by “Ask your Mother”)
  3. Bored! How can you be bored? I was never bored at your age.
  4. I’ll treat you like an adult when you start acting like an adult!
  5. Look at me when I’m talking to you.
  6. Don’t you roll your eyes at me!
  7. Don’t pick it, it’ll get infected.
  8. I don’t care if “insert child’s name here” Mum said yes.
  9. You’ll put your eye out with that thing!
  10. I’m going to give you to the count to three.
  11. Don’t put that thing in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been.
  12. Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident and have to go to hospital.
  13. Don’t cross your eyes like that, one day they’ll get stuck that way
  14. I don’t care who started it, I’ll finish it!
  15. Don’t EVER let me catch you doing that again!
  16. Why? Because I SAID SO, that’s why!?!
  17. If such and such jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?
  18. If I catch you doing that one more time, I’ll…
  19. Your father is going to hear about THIS when he gets home!
  20. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
  21. How many times do I have to tell you, don’t throw things in the house!
  22. Do you think your clothes are going to pick themselves up?
  23. “I don’t know” is NOT an answer!
  24. I know it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair.
  25. You can get glad in the same paints you got made in

I’m sure you can think of a few more. Just putting this list together makes me laugh. 🙂

I hope your Mother’s Day is full of Love, Happiness, Joy, Fun, Laughter, Lots of Blessings!

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Blessings,
Margarita & Stace

May 12: International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

May 12: International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

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The battles people with fibromyalgia fight against symptoms like widespread pain, fatigue and brain fog aren’t always visible to the outside world. But that doesn’t mean the battles aren’t happening, or that it doesn’t take an immense amount of strength to get through each day. That’s why people with fibro often call themselves “fibro warriors” — because you know how hard you have to fight to not only get through your symptoms, but also how hard you have to fight to be believed and to get the treatment and support you need.

May 12 is the day to raise awareness about this autoimmune disorder.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a:
physical trauma
surgery
infection
or significant psychological stress.

In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

You can help spread awareness about Fibromyalgia by sharing this post. One of my favorite ways of spreading awareness is wearing a t-shirt about Fibromyalgia.

I ask that you help spread the word about Fibromyalgia awareness. Thank You!

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Blessings,
Margarita & Stace

Making the Goat Herd Profitable

Making the Goat Herd Profitable

Can Goats pay their own bills, or even better bring in some additional income or help supplement in other areas of expense reduction?

With my husband having a Business degree, helps keep me in check with these questions and reminders from time to time.

We are a Dairy and Meat Goat Breeder and our Goats here at Tailspin Farms have been what we call working pets. 😊 We enjoy our goats and the relationship we have with them. Goats would be simply too much work for anyone to keep up with if they did not really enjoy them, so the real question then is how to get them (and our brains) working to get them to pay for themselves. There are two things to consider, 1: Is how to create or increase goat income. 2: Is how to reduce expenses without short-cutting quality care.

First is the investment of the Goats, and keep in mind for the most part with goats the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true. Reduce the headache and expense of bringing home goats that are not productive or not healthy. Understand that a goat that has been bred by someone who understands proper conformation is going to cost several hundred dollars more than say an Auction Goat. The purchase price of a goat is more than just money it includes the Breeder’s experience of managing their bloodlines, and production quality animals. On more note: if you are purchasing Registered Goats make sure you get the Papers at the time of payment, once money has changed hands you could on your own.

We often say the buck is “half of the herd”, so investing in a quality buck from a quality Dam will usually give a positive result in quality of milk and meat production of its offspring. Important to know that some Bucks and Does will cross well and some don’t, so do not be afraid to get rid of a buck that is not working with your Does. Spending money feeding and maintaining a Buck or a Doe that is not putting quality Kids on the ground is not going to be profitable in the long run. The primary goal of any goat breeder looking to make money is to produce quality kids every year, so that the sale of Kids can keep profits up over and above feed prices.

Feed prices always have a way of creeping upwards every year. There are some things to do that can help in keeping up with increasing Feed prices.

1: Do your research on proper feeds (there are many great articles on proper feeds for Goats), purchase quality feeds with at least a 14% protein and check that it contains a balance of vitamins and minerals.

2: Is to develop feeding methods that will help decrease waste of feed, especially hay. During spring if possible plant hay or grazing pastures to aid in supplementing hay purchases. When purchasing or baling your own hay make sure to store hay properly to prevent loss from weather damage, this will help reduce costs from waste and health problems. Animals that are exposed to mold in hay are susceptible to problems. If there is not enough space to properly store hay, consider investing in heavy duty tarping and it is Very important make sure hay is dry before tarping it. Also it is best to keep hay off the ground, otherwise it will just mold under the tarp. Another way to reduce hay costs is in the spring (if at all possible) try to buy a years’ worth of hay before winter to avoid rising prices and decreasing availability during the winter months. Top quality hay will have least amount of health problems and the most productivity. Spending money on good quality hay and feed will result in faster growing kids and better producing does.

Sometimes a goat owner needs to consider cutting back their herd. Consider letting go of a couple that don’t work for your growing herd. We did this many times early in our goat ranching. We would sell two or three does and reinvest in one a nicer Doe. It was a much faster and a lot less expensive way of upgrading our herd than trying to breed up to get where we wanted to be with our herd. That is a lot of feed money and time.

It’s easier said than done but try not to keep pets around if possible. I know this is a hard one, and we have had some pet goats on our farm. It gets costly to keep pets with the cost of feeding them, trimming feet, supplements and all the up keep. Remember the goal is to have goats that pay the bills.

To budget you first need to figure out what it costs per month, and then per year on average to keep goats where you live. Don’t forget to factor in feed, vet supplies, supplements, facilities maintenance and repairs, and equipment costs. It can be a real surprise to see how much our hairy friends are “milking us dry”.

How about barn costs? Goats do not require fancy setup, but they do require shelter from the weather. Having animals that get sick because of inadequate facilities can drain the budget and add unneeded stress. Shelters must be able to allow relief from wind, rain, and extreme sun beating down on them. They should have good air flow to help keep down urine fumes that have evaporated from their stall or shed. The floor should stay dry and are able. Search the internet for barns and stall ideas.

I’ve seen really nice and creative goat stalls and pens built from recycled materials such as pallets and materials left over from other projects.

Fencing should be able to keep goats in where you want them and everything else out. A no climb fence wire is the best but can this type wire can get expensive. We also use cattle panels to make some of our pens. Electric fencing with a GOOD quality charger can also be an option.

Keeping goats healthy will drastically reduce expenses. Medical supplies, Vet fees, and your time can add up quickly when dealing with health problems. Educate yourself on what a healthy goat looks like before buying goats. Also talk to Vets and others who own and raise goats on parasites and how to control parasites. Learning about these issues can help reduce herd losses, loss of productivity, and increased feed and care costs.

You can save money in other way around your farm by helping pastures and gardens be more productive. When we clean out the manure from stalls and pens we move it to our compost pile where it sits and composts and turns into “black gold.” This helps plants and pastures grow with a noticeable difference. You can also make a little extra cash by selling it. Using it as fertilizer will go a long way towards improving a pasture or garden as the microbes in the soil help break nutrients down for better water absorption. Our garden produces better and that saves money at the grocery store.

Think about advertising, there is several ways to advertise. We prefer the inexpensive and free types like on Facebook, Craigslist, and word-of-mouth. Some of our best customers have come from Friends, Family and other customer referrals.

When people come out to look and buy they will almost always try to talk you down on your prices, so decide in advance on a firm price and stick with it. We try to avoid the price negotiation process by posting a price in the ad and state that “This a firm price” and generally people hoping to haggle a deal won’t bother to contact us, but people look for a nice goat are willing to pay for it will.

On the same note as purchasing when selling registered animals, even if you have a written contract with remainder of payment terms spelled out in detail NEVER EVER give the registration papers until payment is made in full.
On non-registered animals, unless a negotiated contract is made ahead of time with a partial payment made in cash, DO NOT let animals leave your property until they are paid for in full at time of pickup. Let’s just say this is experience talking.

Probably the most important thing to me when it comes to considering how to make money with goats is to raise happy, healthy quality goats without taking shortcuts on care and feed. It is also important to take care of your customers so that you get repeat buyers, and new buyer referrals. It is much easier to retain good customers than to have to try to find new ones all the time.

 

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Blessings,

Margarita & Stace

 

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you information free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in many (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links is much appreciated.

When at all possible it’s better for the kids to be left nursing from their mom. Sometimes, however, this isn’t an option. There are times its just not possible. A doe may have more kids than she can feed. A kid may be born too small or weak to be able to nurse. And on rare occasion, a doe may reject one or more kids. So, if you find yourself with a bottle baby, what do you do? I usually try to work with a doe and newborn for at least 24hrs before giving up and bottle feeding the kid(s) completely. With a newborn, it’s best if you can allow the kid to nurse some colostrum from its mom for the first 24-48 hours. If this isn’t an option, then a powdered form of colostrum.  Obviously, it would be best to have some of this on hand before the kids arrive.

Provide colostrum for very young goats. Colostrum is the milk a mother produces when a goat is first born. In the event your young goat was rejected or abandoned by its mother, you will have to provide colostrum yourself. It is difficult for a goat to survive without a steady intake of colostrum.

You need to give a baby goat colostrum within its first 24 hours of life. If you have a goat on your farm that recently gave birth, milk that goat and bottle feed your goat the mother’s milk.
If you know you’re raising goats, freeze milk from goats who have recently given birth or keep colostrum substitute on hand. It’s vital to get colostrum to a goat as soon as possible.

What to Feed
Goat milk is best, and I prefer raw milk because it has all of the antibodies intact.
There are two other options, either a commercial powdered goat milk replacer or make your own using a cow’s milk-based recipe that you mix up yourself (recipe below).
Beyond that, you’ll hear people argue all day long about what to feed. We’ve used milk replacer, and we’ve used whole milk from the store, and we had equally good results with both. Without mom’s antibodies in fresh goat milk, the kids will be more likely to have problems with worms and coccidia, which is why some people use medicated milk replacer, which helps prevent coccidiosis.
I recommend that all people new to bottle feeding use the powdered milk replacer. I personally find that it’s easier to use, there are less steps (and  less chance of making a mistake), plus it’s quite a bit cheaper in the long run. There are many brands to choose from online but be sure you purchase one labeled for “goats” if at all possible. Some companies make a multi-species milk replacer for horses, cattle, goats, & sheep, but these are all different species with quite a variety of needs nutritionally. If a goat specific milk replacer isn’t available in your area then you may want to try the goat milk replacer recipe below.
1-gallon whole milk (homogenized)
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup buttermilk
Take the gallon of milk, and pour out about 1/3 and set it aside
Pour in 1 can of evaporated milk and 1 cup of buttermilk into the gallon then pour to the remaining milk that you set aside until you reach the top. Mix gently each time before making up a bottle.
I’m not sure who originally created this bottle-feeding recipe, but it has been used by many goat breeders for way longer than I have been around. The kids seem to grow well on it, though I still prefer to use the powdered formula due to cost.

What Type of Bottle to Use

It really isn’t a big deal what type of bottle or nipple is used as long as the kid is able to nurse from it. Many breeders swear by using the Pritchard Teat nipple, while others prefer the thicker lamb nipples. Both of these can be used on a 16oz or 20oz soda or water bottle. Over the years I’ve found that regular baby bottles work just as well and the kids seem to be more willing to take these nipples than the larger varieties. I typically buy the cheap ones.

How Much to Feed

This is a basic guideline to follow.

Kids less than 1 week old will need to eat 4 times a day. Typically newborn kids need to be fed every 2-4 hours the first 3 days and then you can gradually start spacing out the feedings.
It’s very important to weigh bottle fed kids weekly to assure that they are gaining weight, especially for the first couple of weeks. When in doubt about how much to feed always give less and leave the kid wanting more. You don’t want your bottle baby to have a belly that looks like it swallowed a basketball.

How Often to Feed

Baby goats will always act hungry when they see you because you are acting as their mom. It’s very important to not give them too much milk at one feeding because over feeding causes diarrhea which can quickly lead to dehydration. As the acting “parent” of a baby goat, it is your responsibility to stop feeding them before they get full. A bottle-fed baby that stops sucking from the bottle and isn’t interested anymore has been fed too much and the amount should be reduced by 1-2 ounces at the next feeding. A general rule of thumb is if a kid lets go of the nipple offer the bottle one more time. The second time they let go of the nipple do not continue to offer the bottle.

If diarrhea occurs you can use Pedialyte instead of water to mix up the next bottle. If loose stool continues this is typically caused by either over feeding or mixing the formula up too strong. Try diluting the bottles with more water (or Pedialyte) for the next 48 hours. As always, call your veterinarian if you are concerned.

FREQUENCY OF BOTTLE FEEDING BABY GOAT

1. 1 week of age feed every 2-4 hours as needed
2. 1-2 weeks of age feed every 2-4 hours as needed
3. 2-3 weeks of age feed every 5 hours (can go 6 hours without feeding during the night). Hay or grass should be available at all times from here on.
4. 4-5 weeks of age feed 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime). Start offering grain twice a day from here on along with hay or grass.
5. 5-6 weeks of age feed 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Continue feed and hay.
6. 7-9 weeks of age feed 2 times a day. Continue feed and hay.
7. 10 weeks of age until weaned. Feed 1 bottle a day, gradually cutting back the amount of milk given each day.

Should only take 1 week to be completely weaned. Note: Kids will still want a bottle, but they don’t need a bottle. Should be eating plenty of grass and hay by now. Continure offering grain each day.
Feed 1 bottle a day, gradually cutting back the amount of milk given each day. Should only take 1 week to be completely weaned. Note: Kids will still want a bottle, but they don’t need a bottle.
Should be eating plenty of grass and hay by now. Continue offering grain each day.
We recommend feeding a 16% protein goat feed with Decox (Decoquinate) in it. This can be found at most feed stores and may be listed as a Medicated Goat Feed or may have DQ at the end of the name. The Decoquinate helps to prevent coccidia in young kids. Once they reach 4 months old they can be switched to a non-medicated feed.
When changing grain or milk type/brand, change gradually over 5 days adding more of the new type & less of the old type at each feeding but keeping the total volume the same.

Things to Remember

Do NOT give too much milk at one feeding.
Diarrhea (aka scours) is a symptom of a problem and should not be ignored. Typically, it is caused by over feeding though it may also be caused by switching type or consistency (not enough water) in milk replacer.
Prevent dehydration by using Pedialyte instead of water in the next bottle and resolve diarrhea by reducing the # of ounces you are giving at each feeding.
Deworm kids at 4-5 weeks old and to treat for coccidia around 6-8 weeks old (coccidia needs a repeat treatment 14 days after initial treatment).

***Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. The information on this page is based on information gathered from long time goat breeders, veterinarians and our past experiences. This is not intended to replace professional veterinary and/or medical advice. We disclaim all liability in connection with the use of these products and/or information.

Have A Nice Day!
May God Bless You!
Margarita

Fibromyalgia Causes Soreness

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Soreness from Fibromyalgia “Tender Points”

I wrote a blog post not long ago about fibromyalgia. I talked about when I was diagnosed and some of the symptoms.

Through my eight-year fibromyalgia journey, I have learned so things that help me with fibromyalgia soreness, stiffness, tender points, over all pain.

When diagnosing fibromyalgia, there are specific areas of the body that are examined called “tender points.” If a patient exhibits pain in many of these areas, it is suggested that they are suffering from fibromyalgia.

The truth about tender points is that they are actually tender “areas” rather than points because the pain within and around a muscle radiates to the surrounding tendons, or what is called “trigger points.” The interesting thing about fibromyalgia related stiffness is that it doesn’t matter whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down it is a constant reminder of pain or soreness.

In the morning when I first get up is when the stiffness is the worst.

What helps me is:

  1. Do some stretching before getting out of bed. While you’re lying flat on your back, and then while sitting on the side of your bed.
  2. Taking a hot shower in the morning can help promote circulation and relax your muscles. Just simply stand in the water and relax.
  3. Take long soaks in the tub with warm water and Epsom Salt. I like to use Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt for Pre & Post Workout. My doctor recommended I try it.  It relieves my body, and the aroma is wonderful. I was very happy with the suggestion. I hope if you try it,  it works as good for you.   
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout your day, and eat as healthy as you can. Try to avoid problem foods, such as those containing artificial colors, white flours, and artificial flavors and sweeteners.
  5. Get some exercise throughout your day, even if you are just doing lots of walking and stretching. Every little bit helps!
  6. Dress warmly for the winter months. The cold air will cause your joints and muscles to stiffen up.

Fibromyalgia can bring with it extreme and debilitating fatigue, which makes pain and other symptoms even harder to handle. Moreover, fatigue can significantly affect your ability to work, care for your family and also take care of yourself.

Have A Nice Day!
May God Bless You!
Margarita

 

 

Aaffiliate Program

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Thank you for stopping by!

My goal at tspinfarms.com and Tailspin Farms is to provide helpful tips, tools and tutorials for those getting started with a farm/farm live. I cover topics such as how to care for livestock, living on a farm, gardening, crafts and more.

More often, I participate in affiliate programs. Both provide some income and allow me to devote time and energy to the growth and upkeep of Tailspin Farms.

The information you see on this site Tailspin Farms is free to readers & subscribers, but represents many, many hours of time and research for me. As such, I feel compensation is appropriate. I have agreements with some companies who pay me. I’ve worked hard to make this process not attract