Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apothecary Farm SB Troz

Please meet the newest addition to our farm!

Well, we finally got our babies out of Zilla! She gave birth late last night to two kids, a boy and a girl. Sadly, the boy (named "Zort") did not make it. He was born weighing less than a pound (nigerians are supposed to weigh at least three pounds at birth), and was incredibly weak. We did everything we could - tried to get Zilla to lick him (she was ignoring him in favor of the other baby; so strange, it's like they know when one isn't going to make it), and then we cleaned and dried him off, got him warm, got him his shots and got colostrum into him asap - but after about 30 minutes he gave a little sigh and stopped breathing. Ryan and I were heartbroken. There wasn't any fluid in his lungs or anything visibly wrong with him as far as we could see, I think he was just too small to function. In any case, we are trying to stay positive and remember that we have a happy, HEALTHY, little baby girl "Troz!" She came into the world raring to go! She is brown with a white spot on her side, and white and gray moon spots on her sides and back. We are going to allow her to dam-raise, as Ryan & I decided a while back that if there was only one baby born per kidding, we could not do bottle feeding (as the baby would get lonely!). So we are going to let her nurse from/stay with Zilla, same as we did for Poit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Long Nights Moon...

Though technically the Long Nights Moon is the full moon in December, I feel that it is an appropriate title for my life this month. Kidding/Foaling Season is also known as "The Time of No Sleep," as most breeders are pulling long nights spent watching barn cameras and/or listening to baby monitors. In case you couldn't tell: still no babies...

GOOD NEWS!: Spoke to both our contractors yesterday (yes, we are "special" enough to require TWO!), and interior remodeling begins next MONDAY! Whoohoo!!!! :) Cost estimate is very scary however...I am wondering how in the world we are going to get everything accomplished on the budget that we have, and how we will accomplish it in the VERY short time frame alloted to us...? I am trying not to think about that right now...

Setting up animal/ranch photo shoot with very well-known equine photographer Rob Hess for this coming April. We need to get in some conformation shots of our miniature donkeys (and goats, if he's up to a challenge!). He's pricey, but well worth it. Rob Hess has photographed some of the top miniature donkeys in the world!

Yesterday, Ryan and I raced to finish fencing barn pasture #3. We moved Punkin, Breeze, Citrine, and Poit into the new (larger) pasture, and we also placed a bunch of huge wooden spools (that were previously used to hold electrical wiring) in there, so now our goats have toys. They LOVE those spools! What's great is that the spools were free! The company was just going to throw them away, and Ryan and I asked if we could have them...this is a gold mine! *laughing*

Anyhow, it's off to bed for me! I have been up for 24 hours, and I need a NAP! Gotta get that beauty sleep for the all-nighter
tonight! Have I mentioned I hate kidding season sometimes? ;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trying to Brainstorm...

Ryan and I spent today trying to get some half decent photos to use in our B&B/breeder advertisements...the lighting was horrible today though, and the "trusty steed" was VERY uncooperative! But we have a better idea of the types of shots we want when we finally get a professional (yes, we are seeking professional help! Ha!) out here later this summer...In the meantime, we managed to get a few nice shots to use for now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Temporary Breath of Sanity...

Our barn camera arrived today! Hurray! I told Ryan that I was NOT (Repeat: NOT) going to endure another kidding/foaling season without one! I don't care what anyone tells you - baby monitors do not work. All of our goats kidded in the evening last year, and made nary a peep! It was a bit frustrating...This year, I am prepared! Ryan got the camera set up today in the barn. We got the IR upgrade, so that we can also view the animals at night w/o needing to keep a light on in the barn. This camera arrived just in time, too! Zilla is due any day, and Cheerio is getting close. I have a feeling we may have at least one set of goat babies before Tuesday!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Salutations! Springtime has hit a bit early here, and we are quickly making preparations for the multitude of offspring that we will be inundated with's an exciting but nerve-wrecking time here at the farm. I remember the advice given by a fellow breeder when we first began our ranch: "If you have livestock, you will invariably have deadstock." This is a sad but true fact. While we had a decent kidding (and cria-ation!) season last year, we did have a 25% mortality rate with our goats. Every day I pray for happy, healthy babies (and mothers!), and safe deliveries. Ryan and I have been reading up on how to assist with deliveries and problem births, trying to prepare ourselves as much as possible. Our vets are an hour away, so would not be much help in a real emergency. We must rely on ourselves as much as possible. I have beefed up my emergency vet kit, and I suppose I should be thankful (or maybe the mothers-to-be should be thankful?) that I have small hands...

We have been doing trial milking runs with our three expectant nigerians - trying to get them back into the swing of things. We have taught them to come out of their stall one-by-one in alphabetical order, hop onto the milking stanchion, and eat their grain. Goats are very intelligent animals, and training them to do something is quite easy (training them NOT to do something is another story!). Yesterday, when Zilla was up on the milking stand (she's the first one due on Jan 23), Ryan and I put our hands on her belly and felt a baby kick! It was so exciting and wonderful to feel a real little goat alive inside of her! We can't figure out how many babies she has in there - I am guessing two (she looks bigger than last year), but with our luck it's probably one. I just hope it's a girl! I think I would cry if all of our goats gave birth to boys, and then Ryan and I had to deal with no future milk goats and 50 million wethers. In any case, Ryan and I are looking forward to lots of adorable little bottle babies! Even though she looks like she might kid any day now, Zilla's ligaments are still present (at her tail base), which means that there won't be any babies just yet. I will check her ligaments daily, and if all goes as planned, she will be put into her kidding stall on Jan 15th, to await her due date of January 23rd.

Ryan and I have decided to invest in a two-camera barn surveillance system for our foaling/kidding stalls. That way, we can keep an eye on our expectant mothers without having to go all the way out to the stalls every 5 minutes (this is especially important for donkeys, who can actually stop their contractions if interrupted by people - they are very much a "hands off" animal when it comes to labor). This puts less stress on everyone (animals included!), and I feel that the high price of the camera system is really just a small price to pay for my sanity. I remember last kidding season I was a nervous wreck, waiting around for goats to kid. We originally used a baby monitor, but that turned out to be pretty much useless, as ALL THREE GOATS kidded without a peep!!! I remember when Zilla kidded: she had lost her ligaments THREE DAYS BEFORE (losing ligaments should mean a birth within 12 hours) and no babies or other signs of labor. We had just about decided she was merely FAT instead of pregnant, when on the evening of the third day I walked past the baby monitor and heard a tiny goat "Beheheheheheh!" I screamed "BABIES!" at Ryan and we raced out to the garage to find a little Poit-booger in the kidding box. I guess Ryan and I can count ourselves lucky that last year all the goats had easy births. I know that won't be the case every year, so a barn cam seems like a necessary investment.

Lately, Ryan has been working on building some very nice double-sided livestock feeders for our pastures. We were having issues with hay waste and food aggression, and these feeders have really helped to eliminate those problems. They are also very economical and easy to build! Good job, Ryan!

I am still working on reupholstering my couch for the office. I really need to get moving on it, as I will need to start sleeping in the barn beginning next weekend...Yikes!! I have finished both arms, but I still need to finish putting the new fabric on the couch body, and replacing the foam in the cushions...

Anywho, right now we've run into some permitting issues with the barn, so we haven't resumed construction yet (but plan to in the next couple of weeks). Interior remodeling of the main house is still scheduled to begin by the end of this month, and I am nervous and excited. It will put the house in a huge uproar, but I can't wait to see the finished product!

Hope that you are doing well!
Take care, and Happy New Year!