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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mixing it all up

I have two young does visiting here to be bred.  They are happily cavorting with Deaglan, my Sable buck, but the wether, Dewey, was a bit overwhelmed with this sudden influx of (gasp) new goats!  I moved him out of the stall he shared with Deaglan, but that posed a dilemma--where to put him so he wouldn't be beaten up.  No use just turning him out with the rest of the herd; if 2 goats upset him, 8 would do him in! 

After 2 or 3 combinations, I finally ended up putting Dandy with the two Saanen does, D'Arcy with the two pregnant Sables, and Oreo, Dolly, and Dewey together.  It's amusing how that worked out.  When I put Dewey with an established group, they just beat up on him, and being the timid soul that he is, he wouldn't push back.  Even when he was with Violet, his foster mother, and Dolly, his littermate, Cassie wouldn't let him near the feeder.  With the new mix, though, none of the three have been stalled together at night.  Result?  Everyone's out of the comfort zone and they're all getting along. 

I discovered something else, too.  Dewey's a great little teaser.  I didn't know Oreo was in heat, but she soon started flagging wildly.  What a good boy, Dewey!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Easing into winter

Well...not easing, more like jumping.  Two days ago the ground fault interrupter on the receptacle for the stock tank started tripping.  Result:  frozen water.  So I decided to switch the heater, just to see if that's the problem and not the receptable or the wiring.  That one didn't even wait a few minutes; it just tripped the GFI as soon as I plugged it in.  It's 16°F today, which is considerably below the freezing point.  It's wonderful how failures like this never happen until the worst possible moment--or weather. 

Bucket shuffle!  Five gallon heated bucket came out of the Saanen does' stall so Angel could have water.  Extra two gallon bucket went into the stall.  I have to fill the 5-gallon bucket 2 or 3 times a day, but that sure beats carrying water from the house.  I take comfort where I can, and I'm very grateful right about now for that extra heated bucket.

The hay net continues to be a hit.  Beatrice and Leah chase everyone else away when they can.  Angel, of course, is too big for them to intimidate.  I'll be glad when I get a couple more NAG bags.  One is not enough to go around.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A little catch-up

 Life has been busy in the past few months and I've let my blog slip.  Ah, well, today's another day and I'm here now.

It's been an exciting fall.  All of my kids exhibited symptoms of meningeal worm, aka brainworm or deerworm.  I thought they had some kind of mange, but it didn't respond to anything.  I finally called out the vet, who looked at the symmetrical bald spots on one young buck and declared it "brainworm".  The larvae travel through the spinal column, damaging nerve endings and causing the symmetrical damage.  Recommendation:  5 days of Safeguard and 5 days of Ivermectin.  I was reluctant, until my little wether, Dewey, began staggering and falling. As I researched for more information,  on page 15 of a file that I found at Cornell, I saw the exact type of lesions I was seeing on my doelings.  End of hesitation.  Within 2 days Dewey was better.  I've been watching them closely, and recently  I noticed that Deaglan and D'Arcy were showing those bare spots again.  Five days of Land of Havilah herbal wormer 3-4 times a day for a week.  My test--the hair growing in again, no unsteadiness of gait.

It's been  wet year; snails have invaded everywhere.  Here's the life cycle:  Deer are a dead-end host for meningeal worm.  The meningeal worm completes its life cycle, passes the eggs out of its system, and they're little affected.  Along comes a slug or snail, ingests the eggs or larvae, goats or sheep ingest the larvae, and they migrate along the spinal column or into the brain.  Until a goat is a year old, the blood-brain barrier is very weak.  It's no surprise that none of my adults were infected. 

Watching all the hay wasted always has me looking for new solutions.  I've been thinking about a slow feeder for a couple of years, and thought seriously about putting a metal grate in the horse's feeder.  Every time, though, I'd watch a goat jump in there, and just knew someone would get a leg caught, or worse.  I finally found a hay net, made to be a slow feeder--the N.A.G bag. After my usual seemingly endless dithering, I ordered one.  It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and even the goats like it.  Sometimes I hang it, which my goats love, but Angel likes it better on the ground.

This morning I found the hay net half in the stock tank immersed in water, and half on the outside.  Angel was out, probably too disgusted to try to eat.  I took it out of the water, let it drain on the barn floor for a few minutes, than laid it out on the floor.

I'm going to order two smaller ones for stalls.