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

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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

 

 

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Have A Nice Day!
May God Bless You!
Margarita

Look Mom Hands Free

 

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Working outside with the livestock, driving the tractor and more I need both my hands to be able to do the job.

One of the best things invented is a hands free headset. I don’t know what I did before I had one. I guess stand around and talk on my phone. LOL!

I can continue doing my work while talking on my phone.

If I don’t use the headset I have to stop doing my chore and talk on the phone. When working with animals that isn’t always possible. To save time I like using a hands free headset. Then I can say “Look Mom No Hands”.

The headset I like to use is the Bluetooth Headset For Cell Phones,Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Mic,Hands Free Earbuds for iPhone X 8 7 Plus 6s plus iPad Samsung Android Galaxy S8 S7, that I bought from Amazon.

 

 

 

I hear the person I’m talking to very clear. I can also listen to music while I’m working. Great sound, light and comfortable. I have small ears and the smaller ear bud works great for me. For a small device it works great!

 

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Blessings, Margarita

 

 

 

Bottle Babies “Goats”

It’s that time of year here on our farm. We have baby goats everywhere. With all these babies we always end up with bottle babies. We are always making the bottles up for the kids. 🙂

I was doing yard work and the triples (the bottle babies) got out of their pen and came running. I knew it was getting close to bottle time. I let them follow me in the house to get the bottles ready. They followed me just like they knew where we was going.

Stace was reclining in his chair after work. The triples Ross, Joey, and Rachel saw Stace and was in his lap before he knew it. We laughed and laughed at the three. They are just like puppy’s wagging their tails and happy to see you.

Stace played with them while I got their bottles ready. After the bottles were ready they followed me back outside. Fed them their bottles then they were ready for a nap. Belly’s full so its sleepy time. LOL!

Can we say rotten baby goats 🙂 🙂

We are very blessed to be able to enjoy our farm life. Our livestock (four legged babies) keeps us on our toes and smiles on our faces. 🙂 ♥♥

 

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Blessings, Margarita

New Chute For Our Goats

Our new chute for the goats. I love it! We bought it from Northeast Gate Company.

Now we can take care of the goats and we don’t have to man handle them. 🙂

We got the chute all set up Saturday. Just in time to do the booster vaccines.

Jennifer came over and helped us. We would of not got as many goats done without Jennifer’s help. ♥

Our bottle baby Ross was the first one to check the chute out. Isn’t he so cute on the new chute?

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Blessings, Margarita

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

In 2010 I was having a lot of pain and just was not feeling good at all. My husband (Stace) took me to the ER. At first the doctors thought I had a stroke. After all the test and blood work our family doctor said I had Fibromyalgia.

This was the first I had even heard of this disease. Fibro what?  This news blew me away. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my life changing as I knew it.

Before fibromyalgia I was a very active person. A real go getter. Well, guess what…I was stopped in my tracks. I had so much to learn about fibromyalgia.

Over the last eight years I have learned what I can eat or not. What activities I can do or not do. I now know to pick my battles. If there is something I really want to do I know that I will be down for a few days.

If you would ask me what fibromyalgia is, my response would be pain; from the top of my head to the end of my toes. It’s pain intense from day to day and persists even with the use of scientifically accepted medical treatments. The pain experience is described as deep muscular aching, shooting, throbbing, stabbing, pounding and at times it is unbearable. I don’t sleep well, waking up feeling like I have been hit by a “Mack truck,” with morning stiffness or spasticity that makes it difficult to move. Repetitive movement seems to accentuate the pain and forces me to severely limit my activities, including exercise routines. This lack of exercise results in becoming physically unfit, causing my symptoms to become more severe. The other major complaint is fatigue so severe that I have a tough time performing everyday tasks, enjoying hobbies, staying employed. Sometimes I feel as though my arms and legs are weighed down by cement and my body feels so drained of energy that every task is a major effort.

My faith has been my rock to stand on. With my world falling apart  my faith is what keeps me a float.

Also I’m blessed to have such a loving, caring husband. We have a farm with livestock. Even on my bad days I still have to feed them.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia also known as: fibrositis, fibro myositis Syndrome that affects muscle and soft tissue.

Very common (More than 3 million cases per year in US) diagnosed by medical professional.

Diagnosis doesn’t require lab test or imaging. No known cure, treatments available

Fibromyalgia can be lifelong.

The exact cause is not known. It may be due to infection, genetics, or trauma. Symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties. Treatment includes medication and lifestyle changes.

How fibromyalgia pain is described
Fibromyalgia is a specific kind of pain that’s chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness.

Chronic
The pain lasts a long time, at least 3 months or longer. Many people experience fibromyalgia pain for years before being diagnosed.

Wide Spread
The pain is felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of the body. Many people with fibromyalgia feel their pain in specific areas of their body, such as in their shoulder or neck

Tenderness
Even a small amount of pressure can cause a lot of pain.

Symptoms
Symptoms may include:
Pain: constant dull pain that lasts for more than 3 months. Pain occurs on both side of the body.
Sleep problems
Cognitive difficulty: it is usually referred as fibro fog, difficulties in focusing or paying attention.
Fatigue: people with this condition often feel tired and weak, sleep for longer periods and wakes up with pain
Other co- existing symptoms may include:
Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep.
Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long.
Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome).
Tension or migraine headaches.
Jaw and facial tenderness.
Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold.
Feeling anxious or depressed.
Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet.
Shoulder pain
Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder).
Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise.

Treatments
First of all work with your doctor to focus on treatment is to reduce the pain associated with the disease condition and improving the quality of life.

Medication
Pain relievers: Relieves pain and body aches. Ibuprofen · Acetaminophen · Tramadol
Antidepressants: It is used to treat anxiety or depression associated with the fibromyalgia. Duloxetine · Milnacipran
Ant seizure drugs: Helps reduce symptoms. Gabapentin · Pregabalin

Self-care
Exercise Regularly
Get enough Sleep
Reduce emotional and mental stress: techniques such as meditation, praying, relaxation, breathing may help.
Eat balanced diet
Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Therapies: Physical therapy · Occupational therapy · Counseling
Causes
Exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, recent studies suggest that changes in the central nervous system, the brain, spinal cord, and nerves may be responsible for fibromyalgia pain. Fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. These nerves may be responsible for the chronic widespread pain and tenderness many people feel. It’s believed that the following are responsible for disease development:
Genetics: Family history, the genes you inherit from your parents may increase the likelihood of developing fibromyalgia. This tends to run in the families.
Infection: Prior infections can trigger fibromyalgia and can worsen the symptoms.
Physical or emotional trauma: People with physical or emotional trauma have been linked to fibromyalgia.
Stress: Stress leaves its effect for long time, this can also be a trigger factor.
Autoimmune Diseases: People with disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

 

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Blessings, Margarita

Easter Fun 2018

Easter Fun with Our Family! Celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection on this Easter Sunday.

We had lots of good food. More than we could eat.

But most of all we spent time with our family. LOVE THEM ALL!!!

We hid 400 plus Easter eggs for the kids. There was only 4 kids, that didn’t matter to us.

We enjoyed watching them run from egg to egg. As they was running for one and passing up ten. 🙂 🙂

I have to say we are so Blessed!

 

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Blessings, Margarita

New Feeder

We have been looking into creep feeders from different company’s for over a year. Stace looked into them all and spent his evenings reading different reviews on them.  The cost and how they are made was important to us.

We decided to go with Northeast Gate Company to buy our creep feeders from. They are so helpful and answered all my questions.  If you would like to see more of Northeast Gate Company has to offer check out their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Northeast-Gate-Company-155463131131934/

The feeder holds 200 pounds of feed.  We have babies and they are able to eat out of the feeder also. Its low enough for them. 🙂

We got to pick what color we wanted our feeders painted. I think they have like 10 colors to choice from.

I would highly recommend this company for any of your farm equipment needs.

We are very pleased with our equipment.

 

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Blessings, Margarita