First, two of them gave birth at night. I’d never had anything but afternoon births before. Bummer, because I’d hoped to film it to share with y’all. Second, one of them (Desert Rose) was in labor for 20 hours, which has never happened to me before. I count labor from the time a pair of ligaments that hold the tailbone to the hips loosens and disappears. Babies should be born within 12 hours of that time.
But Desert Rose had a little trouble. Her first buckling was huge, and his front legs were folded back (The hooves and nose are supposed to come out first, together.), and this was her very first delivery ever. Not a good combination. We worked to get hold of those front legs and get them straightened out. Rough on Desert Rose, but everything else went smoothly. His brother was much smaller and was easy for her.
After twenty hours of watching and waiting and helping Desert Rose through her delivery, I was exhausted and ready for bed. It was 6:00 in the morning before I finally got a nap. Then when milking her later in the morning, I checked the other goats, and Desert Rain’s tell-tale ligaments had disappeared. I spent the rest of the day in a zombie state, taking care of newborn baby goats in the kitchen, and watching Desert Rain. Mercifully, she gave birth around 10:00 that night. Two more bucklings! What are the odds?
All mamas and babies are doing well. Desert Rose has a dream udder and is exceeding my expectations as a milker. Desert Rain has the typical not-so-fun first-time milker’s udder, but she’s giving me a generous amount of milk. I am content.
These bucklings are for sale. If ever there was a time to build up a goat herd, this is it. Our future is uncertain and I’m feeling more than ever a need to rely on chickens, goats, and gardens to sustain us. Nubians are a dual purpose breed, meaning they can provide both milk and meat, making them a great breed for small farms that need to conserve space and resources.
Here are the “bullet points”, plus a link for more information on dams, sire, and pedigrees.
* Four Nubian bucklings, born March 10th *Closed herd; clean tested yearly for CAE, CL, Johnnes; last test January 2020. *Fantastic pedigree; champion and grand champions on both dam’s and sire’s sides. *Disbudded and tattooed for ADGA registration between 7-10 days old. *Sold with ADGA registration application ready for you to send in. *Bottle fed, loved, and handled often by our family of six. These guys are super sweet and friendly. *Perfect show goats for 4-H. *Kids’ dams are sisters and share the same sire, so pedigrees will be essentially the same. I own dams and sire. *Pedigree info here: http://www.desertsongurbanfarm.com/introducing-desert-song-nubian-goats/
$250 each if you pick up before they are three weeks old–You bottle feed. Or I will bottle feed to weaning at nine or ten weeks for additional $150 non refundable fee. Cash only.
More information on pedigree, and photos of dams and sire, at this link:
It’s nearing the end of citrus season in the Valley. New flowers are blooming, making the air so fragrant. It smells sweet and lemony in my back yard.
Unlike most other fruits, ripe citrus will stay healthy on the tree for many months, sweetening and continuing to grow. Usually there’s no rush to pick it before it’s needed. However, in January this year I found myself suddenly with over sixty lemons that needed immediate attention when a couple of over-heavy branches broke. And now, too, I want to free my tree up to put its energy into making new lemons. I need to do some heavy pruning. I’m going to have more lemons to use. A lot of us are in that same predicament right now: What are you going to do with all those lemons?
After you’ve made lemon meringue pie, and lemon bars, and let your kids have a lemonade stand, and gone on that awful lemon-cayenne pepper cleanse until your bowels are squeaky clean and you think you’ll never, ever again want another lemon, what ARE you going to do?
Well, start by sharing: neighbors, food banks, someone who just lost a job, a mom with too many teenagers (ahem!)….. A friend of mine took this last route, which is why I ended up, in February, with a bunch of Meyer lemons that needed to be used or preserved immediately. So grateful!
There are so many recipes, and so many ways to use those lemons. Lemon curd is on my list, but every time I make up my mind to make it, I remember I don’t have a double boiler and it just gets pushed into the “someday, but not today” part of my brain. I need a quick way to preserve them….preserve, and not think about until I want them again.
Last year I zested and then dried the skin of a bunch of them, and then juiced them and froze the juice. Easy to do. Kind of messy and even that’s sometimes more than I have time to do. I also salt-preserved some. VERY easy and fast and uncomplicated. If you know about salt preserved lemons you’ll laugh at this, but after they were ready I stuck them in my refrigerator and left them there FOR A YEAR because I didn’t know what to do with them! I’d Google what to do with them, and the response was either fancy stuff I don’t have time to do, or the response was something like, “What DON’T you do with them?” And then one day I made stir-fry and all I had to season it was soy sauce, so I took some of that lemon out, mashed it with some of the juice, added that and soy sauce to my chicken…..and my kitchen-world was abruptly turned upside down. I watched family member after family member take that first bite, eyes widen, and rave to me. I used the rest of what I’d preserved within two weeks.
So PLEASE try this! It’s so, so easy.
Start with a setup something like this:
Slice your lemons. Traditionally they are simply quartered, with the bottom left intact, like this:
Or, slice them this way. This is what I did last year. I don’t think it matters that much, unless you’re only going to use the rind and not the pulp. These, by the way, are Meyer lemons, but I also preserved regular lemons. Both are delicious!
Generously sprinkle the cuts with sea salt. Maybe a tablespoon for each extra-large lemon. The ones I grew up seeing in the supermarket would probably need only a teaspoon. These Meyer lemons are more teaspoon-sized.
Drop the lemons into a glass jar. This year I used gallon and half-gallon jars after the mistake of using only pint-sized jars last year. Keep slicing and salting and dropping them in until you’re pushing them down to get more in. You want that jar as full as possible. You don’t have to be aggressive; the salt is going to do most of the work, but it’s better to have more lemons and have that jar as full as possible. I try to jam the lemons in under the “shoulder” of the jar.
Lid and label them and leave them overnight to draw out the lemon’s juices. After a few days the lemons should have sunk down and be now completely covered in juice. At this point, if you’re at all worried about mold, you can add a thin layer of olive oil that will protect them. I’ve done this once but it’s generally unnecessary.
Store your lemons for at least a month. More time is better! Something subtle yet profound happens to the flavor and the texture that makes me wonder if lemons were actually made for this purpose. Give them time to work their magic. Remember: Mine were a year old when I used them and were still delicious.
Most people today are most comfortable keeping these lemons in the refrigerator, which is fine, but traditionally they would have been been simply stored in a cool spot such as a cellar or cheese cave. I have an extra refrigerator that’s been “hacked” to stay at 55 degrees, and these will be stored there. Honestly I’d otherwise be comfortable just storing them in a cool pantry.
I’ve used salt preserved lemon to marinate chicken and fish; blended it for salad dressing or pasta, and of course mixed it with soy sauce and added to stir-fry. I ran out of lemons and juice before I could experiment any more. I’d love to get more ideas if you have them. Can’t wait for these to be ready!
This is a long post. Because, lots of things need doing before welcoming new baby goats. And it illustrates Reason Number One why I can’t ever have my fantasy tiny house.
I’ve been writing lists and assembling supplies. Rose is looking close to ready, and those babies are coming soon. I’m not in a panic yet; her ligaments are still firm, but she’s showing signs that the time is near. Her udder looks a little more developed every day.
If you’re a visual learner it might be helpful to see, in photos, how I’m getting ready for kidding season. But heads up: I’m learning that there are two types of planners: Those that plan and purchase for every contingency, and those who are more laid back. I’m in the second category. My neighbor and goat partner (She owns Nigerian goats.) is in the first. There are good lists for every type of planner, but you should be aware that this is the fairly laid back list. Another caveat: I live in a warm climate. I’m not worried about babies freezing. They still need to be kept warm, especially for the first three days or so, but this is definitely a plan for warm weather.
So. I’ve got plans for five parts of goat birthing. Not all will necessarily apply to your situation. They are: Paperwork, Birthing, After Care, Milking, and Bottle Feeding. I’ll lay it out in that order, and you can skip the parts that don’t apply to you.
First—Because I have ADGA registered goats and plan to sell the babies as ADGA registration applications, I have to get my paperwork in order first. This includes: Lab results that show that my goats have been recently tested for certain diseases (CAE, CL, Johne’s). I need extra copies in case purchasers want them. And I’ve learned not to count on my printer working at the last minute. Disbudder/Tattooer’s contact information. Needs to be done 7-10 days after birth. Pedigree, and registration papers for dams and sire. Blank registration forms for each kid that’s born. I fill these out for the buyer, unless we do the forms online together during the purchase. I also fill one out to keep for myself, even if the buyer chooses not to register. It keeps a record of every kid born here. I’ve many times been glad the information was on hand. This year’s tattoo information. So I’m not looking it up last minute.
If you’re intending to sell kids, you need to plan how you’re going to market them. Craigslist? A website? Goat forums? There are pros and cons to each one, but you do need a plan. Unfortunately, you can’t sell animals through Facebook. This is hard; Facebook groups allow us to get to know members, to create online and real-life communities, making it easier to “police” each other. A bad animal owner will be called out and people won’t sell to him or her. But now that Facebook has banned animal sales we’re all scrambling to find new places to sell. With Craigslist, I have no idea who the buyer is until he’s at my door to pick up a goat. I’ve had good success and made good goat friends through Craigslist, but I’m always nervous. I’m not selling if I don’t feel ok about the buyer.
Next up, the actual birthing list. This is the long one, and you can’t skip it.
The very first thing on the list is a leg snare, for pulling on the leg of a stuck baby goat. Full disclosure: I don’t have one, so you won’t find it in the above photo. I have small hands and I like to feel what I’m pulling on, so I don’t know when I’d ever use one. But if I had really large hands I’d get a leg snare. Don’t ask Amazon for one. When I searched “Leg Snare” the search engine was confused and suggested that maybe I was looking for “Lego Star”. I tried other combinations with “snare” and got “snare drum”. Another website called it a “kid pulling snare”. At that point I started wondering if Google would notify Child Protective Services if I searched for that. So if you want a leg snare, you’ll have to go find it yourself. Vinyl or nitrile gloves. (I’m allergic to latex.) For touching icky things, and keeping germs off vulnerable things, and going in after stuck kids. Garbage bags. Also for icky things. Iodine, for dipping umbilical cord ends Unwaxed dental floss, and small scissors, for tying and cutting umbilical cord, if necessary KY Jelly, or similar lubricant, for going in after stuck kids, or smoothing the way for them. In my 50s, I’m still not mature enough to buy this without blushing. Surgical scrubwash, usually made with iodine. Mine’s called Povidone Iodine Prep Solution, and Amazon can actually help you with this one. Wash with it before going in after a stuck kid. Nasal aspirator. We called it a snot-sucker when our children were babies. And that’s what it’s for: Clearing snot and birth goo out of kids’ noses so they can breathe. Clean old towels, two for each expected kid. I’m expecting Desert Rose to have two, but I’m preparing for three, ’cause this ain’t my first rodeo. If she has four, I’m not prepared. OMG Head lamp. Would you believe I’ve never needed one for the actual birth? All my goats have kidded in the mid afternoon, every single time. But the first couple of days I’ll be milking for more colostrum in the middle of the night, so I do need it eventually. Battery powered barn lamp. Optional, but if you don’t have electricity in your barn (I don’t.) this is the best thing ever. You can literally stick it to the wall, or hang it on a nail, IF your goats can’t reach it, and then you’ll have bright light in the barn. If they can reach it, you have bright light buried under the hay on the floor. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/Super-Bright-Switch-Wireless-Basement/dp/B01N03PQ65/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=flip+it+bright+light+where+you+need+it.&qid=1583541600&sr=8-7 I don’t make any money if you buy from Amazon, so if you prefer buying them elsewhere, go for it. Heating pad. Can’t skip this one. Goats’ body temperatures are higher than ours (102-103 degrees), so, while cuddling them does help, if a goat is really cold your body temperature isn’t high enough to get its little body up to a number where it’ll be able to eat. A cuddle under your shirt WITH a heating pad is perfect. Feeding tube and a 60cc syringe. This is the other one that I don’t have, and I should. However, before tube feeding a weak baby, try warming it up with the cuddle and heating pad. This has worked for me, and I’ve never tube fed a baby. They’ve always gotten hungry when they’ve warmed up. When I tried searching for a tube feeder and syringe on Amazon to provide a link, they suggested stuff to put oil in my car… Clean buckets and new clean rags; access to hot water within minutes. For washing up you and mama goat. Fresh bedding for before and probably after the birth. A clean space to birth, and then a clean space to rest after the goop of birthing. Pine shavings, clean straw, or clean hay that your goats already picked through are all ok. Emergency phone numbers. Vet, second vet in case first vet isn’t available. Husband. I have a goat partner that lives down the street that also has goats, and also a couple of really great neighbor girls that are a big help. I need all their phone numbers on hand. Don’t invite everybody. Your goat needs peace and safety to do her best labor and delivery.
And that’s my complete “Delivery” list.
Next up: After Care
If you’re only going to pay attention to one category of the five I’m presenting here, please let it be this one. The care your goat gets after delivery can be life and death for your goat.
Unsulphured blackstrap molasses, and a bowl of lukewarm water. Add molasses to the water for a strengthening drink for your doe right after delivery. She’ll appreciate it and likely drink all of it really quickly. Thermometer. To take goats’ rectal temperatures over the next few days. Goats’ normal body temperatures are 102-103 degrees. You’re going to want to check your doe, especially, twice a day for 3-4 days. If it gets higher than that after delivery, you’re probably calling the vet, ASAP. De-wormer. This is a hard one. Right after a goat delivers, she’s really vulnerable to worms. You’ve got to do something to help her. I’ve used Safeguard for years. I’ve felt conflicted about it, but scared to go the natural route. Last time I used Molly’s Herbals and my goat had no problem at all. It felt like the right thing to do, but scary. I’m going to try it again this time, but I’ve got Safeguard on hand, just in case. You can buy Molly’s Herbals here: https://fiascofarm.com/herbs/mollysherbals.php/categories/herbal-wormer Goat minerals. Your goat should always have access to minerals, but especially now. If you’re not feeding alfalfa hay, you also might need extra supplements at this time. Calcium and selenium are recommended a lot. I just have a salt block with minerals formulated for goats. You can get loose minerals, too. Make sure they’re for goats, and have plenty of copper in them. Kid hut. The kids need a cozy little hut to snuggle in. A 3 x 3 x 2 foot box, open on one side, is fine. Because my kids are bottle fed, this box is in my kitchen for the first few days. It’s made of cardboard. If they’re out with other goats it will need to be made of sturdier stuff.
Supplies for milking your goats will be needed at the same time as your after-care supplies, but will continue (hopefully) for many months. Even if you aren’t raising dairy goats, you need some plan for what you’ll do if your babies die, or your goat has some other reason she needs to be milked. I raise dairy goats, so milking them becomes a regular part of my life and my relationship with my goats. If you don’t have dairy goats, you can maybe be more loosey-goosey with this list.
A milk stand. I have two. I’m a fast milker; the goats take much longer to eat their grain than it takes me to milk them so having two of them on the stand at the same time is more efficient for me. And goats are always happier with a buddy. It’s a win-win. But you only really need one stand. Train them to get on it, eat their grain, and be handled before they deliver. Your life will be easier for it. A bucket for water. For washing goats’ udders before milking. You’ll want to add things such as: a single drop of Dawn dish soap, three drops of tea tree oil, a couple of drops of iodine. Use a clean rag to thoroughly wash her udder, and another one to dry it, before milking. Add a couple of drops of lavender if you like, as well. A small cup for each goat you’re milking. Use this as a “strip cup” to examine the first squeeze of milk from each teat. If there’s blood or any other strange thing, you’ll want to give yourself a heads up to check for mastitis. Don’t worry too much if a new goat has a bit of blood: Her udder is stretching, and a bit of blood for a day or two is probably normal. That first strip also clears germs from the opening of the teat, so it’s a safety measure for you, the milk drinker. Throw that first strip of milk away. Another small cup for dipping teats after milking, to protect against mastitis. Add water and three drops of tea tree oil. A stainless steel milk pail. You need something to milk into. Make sure it’s easy to clean and doesn’t have any seams that could hide germs. Milk straining equipment. My first several years I just folded these discs into cones and poured the milk into them. https://www.amazon.com/KenAG-disc-non-gauze-filter-discs/dp/B01J2I8CO6/ref=pd_sbs_86_3/144-4602253-1459510?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01J2I8CO6&pd_rd_r=0acb9a1a-c22a-4070-8173-41ba7935cffa&pd_rd_w=DPs77&pd_rd_wg=aaJ4p&pf_rd_p=7cd8f929-4345-4bf2-a554-7d7588b3dd5f&pf_rd_r=76WN6EWAJM6FJ3NZK7GF&psc=1&refRID=76WN6EWAJM6FJ3NZK7GF
And you’ll need clean glass jars with lids for storing milk.
Finally, you’ll need bottle feeding supplies.
Even if you’re not planning on bottle feeding baby goats, plan on it. If a mother can’t or won’t take a baby, you’ll have to feed it, and you need to be prepared.
Gather glass soda, beer, or sparkling water bottles, enough for each anticipated baby, plus one. You’ll need to top these with rubber lamb nipples. If your goat doesn’t seem to be getting milk quickly enough, you can slightly cut the hole a little bigger at the tip. I’ve used this system since I was a little girl and like it still. Dried, powdered colostrum. It’s expensive. Hopefully you’ll never need it. But new baby goats MUST get colostrum, and quickly. In the terrible event that mama doesn’t have it for her babies, you’ve got to have it on hand. It’ll keep for years; hopefully it’s a one-time purchase that you never have to open. A bottle brush that fits into the baby bottles. To wash bottles, of course. If you’re not keeping mamas and babies together, you’ll need a pen and shelter for your babies to live in–and much sooner than you anticipate. Set this up now before they destroy, for instance, your beautifully planted side yard. A feeding schedule. Post this somewhere so you don’t forget when and how much to feed the babies. Feeding schedules are discussed pretty hotly in groups I’ve been in: It seems like everyone’s got one and thinks everybody else’s is wrong. This is the one I use. All I can say is I’ve raised happy, healthy goats, and have never lost one. Yet…
Finally, you’re really gonna want to have a camera. Of course.
As much as this seems like the “laid back” list, it’s a lot, isn’t it? You should see my dining table right now! Between our March planting season and kidding season, it’s a mess of goat stuff and spring seeds and planting charts.
Questions? Let me know if you need more help locating some of these items. If you’re considering having goats, does this seem daunting or exciting? And, experienced goat owners: did I miss anything?
All three of these girls, due March of this year (2020), have been bred to our buck, Bluestem Caesar, a gift from my parents’ herd. Neither we nor my parents show goats, since, for biosecurity, we keep closed herds; but his pedigree is really wonderful too.
Since these girls are sisters with the same pedigree, all bred to the same buck, the above pedigree applies to all kids born this month.
Many of the goats in their lineage are show champions; there are grand champions on both the sire’s and dam’s sides.
Our goats are tested yearly for CAE, CL, and Johnnes. We’ve been 100% healthy all the years we’ve had goats. Last testing was done January 2020. The vet who drew blood for labs raved about the health, physical structure and robustness of our goats New babies will be bottle fed. They are tattooed and disbudded when they are 7-10 days old; we have never had a horn scur on any of our kids since we found an excellent couple to do the work for us.
Whether you’re looking for ADGA registered show goats with wonderful pedigrees, or excellent milkers for your home herd, or a new herd sire, we’ve got goats on the way for you! Doelings will be available for $350 each; bucklings for $250.
Check back soon for good news: Desert Rose is due to kid any day, and her sisters will follow within a week or two.
For more information, contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.