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

 

 

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).

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.