2017 FLOCKing Opportunity

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F.L.O.C.K. Program

Farm Lovers Opportunity to Care for Kids

*Do you enjoy farm animals but don’t have the land, time or knowledge to have your own?
*Does the sight of a baby animal warm your heart?
*Would you like to bottle feed kids and learn about their care?

Then we have an opportunity for you!  Learn about spring on a dairy farm first hand. Join a team of farm lovers who will welcome the babies of 2017 to Mountain Lodge Farm. All training will be provided, no experience necessary.  Children over 10 welcome with a parent or sibling over 18.

On-farm training session is required for new F.L.O.C.K.ers  You will need to be able to commit at least 2 partial days per month for at least 2 months.

Goat kids will arrive early February through the end of March, so we’ll need help bottle-feeding babies from February through May.

Email  Sherwin@mountainlodgefarm.com for more information

 

 

Goats and a Gator

Goats are full of surprises. For example, you may not know that many goats have a keen mechanical interest. So here are the goats, bringing you some important vehicle handling safety tips.

Coriander would like to remind you to always wear your seat belt when operating the gator.
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Here is Cami, offering some pointers on steering.
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She’d also like to remind you to refrain from driving if the windshield is foggy or your vision is impaired.
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Finally, Questa is demonstrating an improper way to drive the gator.
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Always drive while seated.
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I See A Cria

Pronounced CREE’ ah, baby llamas are typically born during the midday hours, providing light and sanctuary from nocturnal predators. Although Bunny (the goats’ guard llama) is protected, her natural instincts moved into gear on Saturday afternoon when she gave birth to a 21 pound baby girl.
Assumed to be too young to reproduce, the sight of her cria was a shock to the whole farm. Also previously assumed by all, was that Bunny was a particularly nervous animal, but now we understand why – she has been stowing some precious cargo for the past eleven and a half months!
The cria’s presence alone was enough to excite, but with a small audience shortly after coming into the world, she stood on wobbly legs and began nursing.
As was the case with her amiable father Nickel, this baby has been “imprinted,” or has socialized with humans and hopefully gained an understanding of our characteristics to be nurturing and nonthreatening.
She is now four days old and seems accepting of gentle affection, and displays a healthy process of maturation as she nurses regularly throughout the day and walks on sturdy legs.

Meet The Kids Born In 2012

Wow, so many beautiful, healthy kids were born this year on our farm. Lucy and Jude are sisters that are full Nigerian dwarf born to Wiggles (sired by Ringo, thus the Beatle focused names) in February.  They are a wonderful combination of strength and dairy.

Our best milking doe, Fern, a full La Mancha gave us quads this year and four gorgeous animals, 2 does and 2 bucks (sired by Birch from Fir Meadow in Oregon).  Both of her does, Willow and Victoria, have precocious udders (udders that develop before the animal has been bred) which some people say foreshadows a great milker….time will tell.  Our herd queen, Reba, gave us two does with lots of potential, Skye and Jura (named for some Scottish Islands). Their sire is Coal (aka Borage, also from Fir Meadow in Oregon).

We were happy to get some does out of some of our Lagerians (la mancha/Nigerian crosses).  Ruby is ¾ Nigerian and ¼ La Mancha. She has blue eyes, wattles (skin tags) that hang at her ears and nice looking conformation.  Twenty nine does were born on the farm this spring, and we will keep most of them and add them to our foundation herd.  The hard part is deciding who to sell…as we get so attached to them…that is part of learning to be a farmer…we are working on it.

It’s Kidding Season

It’s kidding season and you know what that means…frolicking baby goats, new moms munching spring forage and cheese just around the corner….

We are at the middle of March and nine does have kidded so far, 8 Nigerian dwarfs and one La Mancha.  The count is at 13 does and 10 bucks so far.  We will be keeping all the does this year as we grow our herd and assess our bucks, but most of the boys will be for sale as wethers (castrated males).

Many people wonder if we name all our animals and how can we remember them…yes, they all get names, even the boys we are going to sell. We have no trouble remembering their names…they all have unique personalities and look different so we can quickly tell them apart.  For the first month our kids are bottle fed three times a day and handled at each feeding…that helps keep them people friendly and gives us a wonderful dose of love and joy from each of them.  They are then bottle fed two times a day for the second month and one time a day for the third month.  We start them on grass hay, fresh water and free choice mineral mix right away, and add in alfalfa hay at a month of age.

Why don’t we just let the moms raise them?

One of the hardest parts about being a dairy is that we need the milk to make cheese.  Our current kid-rearing plan is to let moms nurse their kids on demand for the first 24 hours, then 3 times a day and overnight for the next two days.  The moms and babies are separated at 3 to 4 days of age when moms are milked and kids are switched to a bottle.  The moms go back with the herd and the kids join together in a baby goat pen…lots of fun.  This year we are using frozen goats milk from last season, but that will soon be gone and we will buy store milk, add some cream to bump up the fat content and mix in some of our goat yogurt to put good flora into the kid’s rumens (the “active” stomach of a goat).

The other challenge is that goats are at risk for parasites, particularly coccidia. The young goats are new to the environment and need age and experience to handle coccidia.  Based on advice from our veterinarian and friends with goats we have decided to treat with decoquinate to help prevent the overgrowth of coccidia in our kids…they will only need this for a few months. This treatment is added to their bottle each morning. We also use boot covers to prevent transmission of parasites from our adults or llamas to our more at risk babies.  We would rather spend the time to keep our animals healthy and hopefully avoid the need to treat for illness.  As they get a little older they will go on a herbal worming program to help avoid the need for any worming treatments that could require us not using their milk…so far…so good…but we are always on the watch.

If an animal in milk needs antibiotics then their milk is separated and not used in our cheese, even if the medication has zero milk withdrawal.   So, you can see, keeping our animals healthy is of paramount importance to our milk supply and quality.

We are rolling in does!

Kidding season started here February 4th with a labor watch for Tadaah. She gave us two bucks (Wharton and Wyatt) finally on February 6th. Three days later Parsnip kidded with a doe and a buck (Boots and Crockett), followed later that day with quadruplets (3 does: Mrytle, Ellie and Charlotte; and 1 buck: Wilbur)from Leibshen. Leibshen was the fastest to kid this year and delivered in the middle of the day, greatly appreciated by all of us who like to sleep at night. Francine followed on February 16th with 2 does, and Beatrice surprised us with quadruplet does on February 18th. Our count is now at 10 does and 4 bucks. We are on pins and needles waiting for Raven to kid. She gave us 5 bucks last year, so we are hoping she has at least one doe for us this year.

Do goats like hot tubs?

In between barn checks (actually two nights of barn checks) Tadaah kidded with 2 bucks, one was rather large at 4 lbs 14 oz and the other was 2lb 12oz. We estimate that they had probably been born about 15 minutes before we walked in the barn. We helped her finish clean them off and proceeded to give assistance to get them nursing. Ideally we like them to have colostrum (doe’s pre-milk filled with immunity boosting goodies) within an hour of birth. The larger buck, Wharton, had no problem, but the smaller one, Wyatt was going through the motions but just did not seem able to suck.

I was puzzled, but my first guess was maybe he was cold. Sure enough his temperature was 93 degrees (normal 101-103 degrees). We quickly made a “goat hot tub” for him in the sink and dunked him for 5 minutes up to his neck. His temperature quickly rose to 103 degrees and after drying with a hair dryer we put him back on mom and he sucked like crazy! Wyatt is growing just fine and has not had a problem since. (photo)