They say necessity is the mother of invention. Or, perhaps it has more to do with work smarter, not harder?
It seems all I’ve been doing is shuffling does and ewes, kids and lambs between barns, stalls and pastures. I’ve been cleaning a lot of stalls. I’m tired of cleaning stalls!
Finally, the ewes and lambs have all re-united with the rest of the flock. There’s been a few power plays. We have re-established a hierarchy and all is well.
Normally, by this time of year my stalls have been mucked-out and the sheep and goats are ‘dry’ bedded. They seem to prefer the bare, cool earth floor during summer. Bedding retains moisture (ie urine!)! I won’t bed with straw again ’til winter arrives, but the cold wet spring has resulted in greater use of bedding, both straw and wood shavings. Cha…ching, not to mention the growing compost pile!
I also began to separate the Alpine bucklings from mom at night…we’re sharing some of mom’s milk.
I use this ‘portable’ pen; two sides rigged into a corner of their stall. The kids are in plain view of mom and vise versa! No undue stress. But, tonight we’re trying something different. All the goats will be back in the loafing stall, free-access to pasture, and all six of the bucklings in one stall – in plain view – of all the mom’s.
We fitted a stall – adjacent to the goat’s loafing stall – with a make-do, visible, see-through reused horse hay feeder – door to the ‘new’ kid stall. We had to buy hinges at the hardware store. We already had a section of hog panel attached to minimize hay waste. Now, the moms will get a good night sleep, I’ll get some milk, kids will all be housed together in plain view of their mom’s. A brilliant idea. ..and one less stall to clean!