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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Animal of the Week: Ember

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Meet beautiful Ember, a cross between a Nigerian Dwarf and a La Mancha. She was born in 2011 and is almost 3 years old.  Her sire was DeVine, a Nigerian buck who shared his bright red coloring and striking blue eyes with his daughter. Her dam was Reba, the La Mancha herd queen.

Breeding Ember’s sire and dam was a bit of a logistical challenge, as Reba is almost twice as large as DeVine. We tried various strategies, from digging a hole for Reba to stand in, to using ramps for the buck, to tying Reba’s tail up. Ember and her sister Honeysuckle were the first Lagerians on the farm, and they still snuggle sometimes.

Ember has attitude, is very cute and smart, and knows it. She does things her way. Last year at her kidding, Ember had three does and one buck. She likes to kid in the middle of the night, and this year was no exception: at midnight she started labor and by 2:30am had four beautiful kids, two does and two bucks named Barney, Baker, Taffy, and Sparkle.

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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.

2012 Goat Names for the first 23 kids

The goat names so far this year include: Wharton (my husband went to school here for business…helps us buy goats), Wyatt (friend has a child with this unique name), Boots (4 brown boots), Crockett (Davey Crockett…cowboy theme, has 4 black boots…cute), Myrtle, Ellie (short for Eleanor), Charlotte and Wilbur (going with the old fashioned name theme), Lucy and Jude (sire has barn name of Ringo), Abby (Abigail), Harriet (friend), Tilly (Matilda), Bella (Isabella)…going for more old-fashioned names, Lucky (when you are the only surviving animal in a group of 6, you are lucky; Buckle: had both front legs buckled up under him at birth…hopefully they will straighten out with time; Teddy (president fame), Luke, Jasper (red color), and Chloe; Domino (black and white), Fiddle and Harper (the dam is named Piano, so the musical theme).

Meet the Girls

There’s Reba, our self-appointed herd queen; Lola—what a joy—sweet milk from a sweet doe and you must meet Fern…

Fern is one of our foundation La Mancha does.  She came from Gothberg Farms (Bow, Washington) at a month old in spring 2010.  She was brought here with Reba, another La Mancha doe from Gothberg.  Reba was about 14 months old and wondering why she came to a farm with such small goats (the rest were Nigerian dwarf).  Reba may be tough, but her sweet side became apparent when she decided that Fern was good enough to nurse off her and so Reba and Fern bonded as adoptive mother and daughter.  (Reba had kidded a few months earlier and her kids were still at Gothberg Farms).  Fern grew quickly off Reba’s milk and by summer of 2010 we noticed a precocious udder forming…unusual, but happens.  Fern is sweet, mellow, smart and a good worker.  In spring 2011 she kidded with 2 beautiful does and a lovely buckling. Since they were born the week of the royal wedding we named the does: Duchess and Pippa and their brother was named Flint. All three are on our farm and have wonderful personalities…definitely people-friendly and happy tail wagging goats.  Fern may not have the prettiest udder, but boy she produces milk!  We look forward to seeing what her production is like this year after she kids in early April.

Lola came to us in summer of 2010 from Pholia Farm (Rogue River, Oregon).  We have decided her name is appropriate because she thinks she is a show goat.  It probably didn’t help that she became the model for our bronze goat statue developed by Washington artist, Jeff Oens.  Lola will not kid until May this year. We are hoping to get at least one doe out of her.  Her mother, Hera, has good production and has done quite well in shows.  How do we know she has sweet milk?  We sample and taste the milk from our does to make sure it is “good enough” to go in our cheese.  Last year these samplings happened around the dining room table during farm meeting time…never know when your skills as a wine taster might come in handy…amazing how the milk flavor can vary with the lactation cycle, browse and many other unknown variables.  All part of the crazy things we do on our farm to make the best possible cheese.

Introducing Mountain Lodge Farm

 

We are a new farmstead creamery nestled in the foothills of Mt. Rainier. Amazing cheese from one amazing place!

Farmstead means the cheese is made from milk from animals we raise.  We have both Nigerian dwarf and La Mancha dairy goats that we milk twice a day. We have selected these breeds due to their very sweet, rich milk that makes awesome cheese.  We also really enjoy the personalities of these goats.  Yes, goats do have different personalities, similar to the variation among dogs.  The La Manchas were developed in the 1930s in Oregon and is most recognizable due to their very tiny external ears.  They are a medium sized dairy goat with good production and temperament.   They produce high butterfat milk and tend to be calm and quiet.  La Manchas tend to be quite smart and curious and love to explore things with their mouths.  So, no sleeping on the job when the La Manchas are around…or they will be running around the barn doing the chores (or undoing the chores).

The second breed of goat we have are Nigerian dwarf.  They are miniature dairy goats of West African origin.  They are gentle and friendly with high butterfat and protein in their milk, which make them perfect for cheese making.  They come in a variety of colorful markings and typical females stay under 21 ½ inches tall at the shoulders, making handling easier than a larger dairy goat.

We are also trying some crosses of these two goats (we are calling the cross, lagerian) which is a being bred for milk amount and components.  We have started on monthly milk testing (DHIA) to assess the amount, protein, fat and somatic cell count of each of our milking animals.  This data will be helpful for cheese making, breeding and assessing the health/quality of our animals.

 

 

Penny the Guard Llama

Since we live in the country we are surrounded by the normal country wildlife: deer, bobcat, coyote, cougar, bear, etc. We use a 12 year old llama, Penny, to guard our current herd of 32 does. Penny is on guard for predators and will alarm call if she sees one. She can do a nasty spit if needed and finally would stomp if the situation required it. At 300 pounds she can fend off most predators, but luckily since the wildlife is wild out here they typically have enough to eat so avoid having to tackle with fencing and a guard llama. Penny will eat food out of our hand and allow us to scratch her back, but she is much more wary of people she doesn’t know and is constantly on guard to protect her flock of “goat children”. She has been known to let the young goat kids use her as a jungle gym in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

Myrtle

Nigerian dwarf goats are big on the cuteness factor, but Myrtle seemed to have more than her share of cuteness. She was the smallest of a set of quads born to Leibshen this year. While supporting another goat in labor overnight we heard Mrytle crying intermittently. She appeared to be nursing on mom just fine, but the cry was concerning so I decided to lie on the ground and really see if she was getting any milk from mom. She could find the teat, bump her head up on mom to help the fatty milk fall into the teat, but her suck was not impressive and she was not doing the wonderful tail wag typically seen by a happy goat when they are filling their mouth with yummy mom’s milk. My suspicion is that with 3 other larger siblings she was in a competition for milk and not getting her fair share she was hungry and getting weaker. I decided to try a system that worked with newborn babies I had cared for in the hospital. I took one of our small nipples and syringed milk into it. Mrytle was smart and had a good suck. She mastered the nipple immediately! I kept her on mom but supplemented her several times a day. She quickly got stronger and then decided that she had both a goat and human mom. She would come over to us requesting milk whenever she saw us and got strong enough to beat her siblings to the teat for her fair share of milk. Now she is thriving both on milk and love.