Kid Disbudding Box

Disbudding is probably the least favorite ‘chore’ of raising dairy goats! In fact, most people are surprised to learn that most goat kids (except the few that are naturally polled, that is ‘hornless‘) start growing horns a few days after they’re born. Both bucks (males) and does (females) have horns. Most people don’t want their goats to have horns (4H goat projects typically do not ‘allow’ horns, so check with your 4H Club first). Horns are safely removed when the kids are babies — from a few days to a week or two, depending on the breed and the rate of growth of the ‘horn bud’ — using a process called “disbudding” (see “Disbudding Goats” for more on this).

This year, The Hubs, [finally] made me a ‘kid disbudding box’ which is an invaluable tool for disbudding and tattooing baby goats [especially if there’s only one person doing the job]. My NEW disbudding box features a Hoegger designed head piece which provides you full control and a broad base for safely supporting your hand and securing the kid’s head during disbudding.

Kid Box

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Rather than The Hubs latching onto the kids with his ‘death grip & stranglehold’ — which is probably more frightening to the kids than the actual act of disbudding…gasp! — we used a disbudding box.  The “disbudding box” is  essential for keeping the kids relatively still and CALM during the process! Here’s an easy to build plan from ‘Better Hens and Gardens’ for one (the picture below shows the finished box with their goat, Ruby, inside serving as a model).

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You can build your own with their ‘free’ kid disbudding box plans!

Build Your Own Plans

After all, we want happy goats!!!

…take five

Take five… as in give me a desperately needed break! It’s been a busy last couple of weeks. Our two dairy does have both kidded and I’m pleased to say all are doing well! The goat milk is flowing [I love the tranquility of hand-milking — a very happy place for me]… and my bottle-babies are drinking every last drop!

Cassiopeia’s, our OberhasliXAlpine doe, produced twins: a doe [Meriadoc Brandybuck a.k.a. ‘Merry’] and buckling [Peregrin Took a.k.a. ‘Pippin’]. This was Cassie’s second ‘freshening‘ [last year she produced a single buck kid] and is a very heavy milker, producing an excess of 8-pounds per day!! Her kids are now 16-days old and growing by leaps and bounds! BTW, my daughter Katie, decided on Lord of the Ring name theme for her goat kids this year!

Coriander, our Oberhasli dairy doe, produced triplets: two doelings [possibly ‘Arwen’ and ‘Eowyn’… too similar sounding for me???]  and a buckling [Gimli] last Thursday!  This was Corey’s third ‘freshening’ and her very first doelings! YAY! We were monitoring Corey’s progress hourly through the night when the ‘goo’ first appeared. At 1 a.m., we found the first doeling wet and in the straw, apparently missing the birth by minutes!

A peak of the second kid’s hind legs were already visible, slightly extending from Corey’s vagina, heel-up/toe-down! A quick pelvic exam also revealed a blockage… a large head… to the third kid… with no legs in view[by touch/feel, that is]… a malpresentation! Everything went blurry from there as I worked quickly [ no-time for hysterics if you want to save the kid/doe] to push the breech back into the womb in order to manipulate the large head of the fetus and identify corresponding legs. Thank God, we manage to deliver the buckling [aka Gimli] and shortly thereafter, retrieve the ‘breech’ doeling…all alive and well! Phew! TOO MUCH DRAMA!!! I NEED A VACATION!!! That’s why I never the the barnyard when babies are due…cuz you never know when mama may need a little help!

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Corey’s triplets about 12-hours old, Gimli in the middle.

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Goat kids on parade!

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Exploring the great outdoors!

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Happy goat family.

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Looking for a good home soon!!!

Something constructive.

Weeooo! I’ve been busy busy busy! Busy with my farm shop ‘make-over’ (~which continues to evolve~) and re-opening***just in-time*** for the holiday ‘shopping’ season!

And, also busy with the barnyard menageries’ health preventative maintenance tasks [ie trimming feet, worming, breeding plans, winterizing, etc.]. Then there’s the busy-ness of the veggie garden(s) clean-up, storing of garden hoses and draining outside spigots, decorating, cooking and cleaning and re-cleaning [I hosted the family Thanksgiving celebration and had to clean my dining room!!! eeek!!!].

Then there’s the fun, but, seemingly endless holiday preparations/decorating… best taken in small dosages!!

I’ve had several outstanding special requests that have been pushed to the back-burner, and only now getting around to responding! So, please forgive me while I may be late, I’ve not forgotten them!!

This is an oldie…. remember our goat play fort that we re-constructed/salvaged [whoa…back in 2009] from the demo of our now-grown children’s play fort? You can read the original post here.

…and another view

ooops! That’s a nosey goat’s nose!!!

Ahhhh! That’s better! I’ve had a number of requests for dimensions/drawings, but honestly, you can build whatever suits your needs. We were limited by the amount of salvaged wood to work with…with the exception of the roofing material which we purchased from Lowe’s. The goat FORT has been a wonderful addition to the barnyard – especially loved by the goat kids every Spring [and adult goats too!]. It provides additional housing as well as exercise and entertainment!

So, here’s a really rough sketch of measurements to start you off…from which you can modify to meet your own goat needs/budget.

I hope this ~not very professional~ sketch helps with the design of your very own goat fort!! Your goats are going to LOVE it!!!

The Frugal Goat

I love goats, but you already know that about me! What better way to spread the goat-love, than to ‘teach’ youth? While I don’t consider myself a goat expert, I’m more than happy to share my knowledge (with my daughter’s help, naturally) as a 4-H Goat Project Leader .

The goat kit/resources I HAVE used in past years was no longer ‘available’ and our MSU Macomb County Extension Office does not own a similar goat kit. The one I like/have used is this one from Ohio at a grand spanking cost of $459 !! YIKES! Well, that’s not going to happen…

So, I’m making my own… pulling together a number of resources from the web, library, my personal resources, CD’s, etc.

So, I also purchased a rigid foam poster board and sketched a dairy goat, identifying dairy goat anatomy and added a bit of color. I typed, printed and laminated the body parts and will attach velcro to the board and body part labels.

I think this will be a lot of fun and valuable resource for my goat kids.

…and at a fraction of the cost.

I’d like to sketch a skeletal structure on the back of this poster and probably an ‘overlay’ of the ruminant digestive system! Perhaps, the kids would like to actually take on that project – as part of the learning process???

A Day to Catch-Up!

Lots of catching-up going on today, here on the farm!

Just wanted to share a quick post…you know I rarely leave home! I spent a great day Thursday at the ADGA Convention hosted by the Michigan Dairy Goat Society right here in Grand Rapids, MI (a week-long event). In spite of all the blustery wind and rain, juggling chores and schedules (add missing Katie’s induction into the National Honor Society), I was fortunate to attend! Who knows when I’d have another opportunity to participate? Info overload!

Also, just a quick note to share with all my dairy goat peeps! A must-have T-Shirt my friend Crystal & I purchased…available in every size and color of the rainbow…

…and the T-Shirt front.

Perfect to wear to ALL your dairy goat events!

Also, another purchase I made to support my sweet Oberhaslis dairy breed, a 2012 Obe kid calendar:

If you can’t make it to the final days of the ADGA convention, you can find the T-Shirts and more goat-y items on-line at  Rachelsie Farm Dairy Goats.

Have a great weekend!