Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finished Goat Kidding Pen!

 OK, so I'm posting twice in one day. Someone alert the press, right?
Thing is, we finished the kidding pens today and I'm all excited about it.
Above is Ed putting the finishing touches on one of the kidding pen doors.
 Feeding some snacks to the herd. Always a popular event.
 Rounding up the pregnant doe to test out our completed kidding pen. She's almost in at this point.
 She likes it! (As long as there is food involved, Janet likes ANYTHING.)
 On the top is her water bucket (right now it has food in it though to lure her in...), on the bottom right is the heat lamp, and on the left is the door!
Wide Load!

For the first time since we have gotten our goats (ten months), we filtered some power into the goat shed today. Just before sunset this evening, I hooked up a small light bulb from the ceiling, and a baby monitor (receiving end) on a tall shelf inside the shed. We lured the herd inside and locked them in for the night! This is a long overdue action, and we are SO lucky that we have not had any predator problems over the last year while allowing the goats to bed down wherever they want at night 'in the wild'. I was not ready to take the chance during kidding season, however.
After turning on our end of the monitor system in the house, we laughed as the goats crashed around inside the shed and munched on hay, both events easily audible in our bedroom. I feel happy they are not spending their first night locked in a completely darkened shed, but amidst the luxury of the small 14watt bulb instead.
As they become accustomed to sleeping locked in, however, I think I will opt out of an all night lit atmosphere for them. But, for now, I uphold my nightlight requirement for my little buddies.
New bedrooms can sometimes be creepy.
Anywho, just wanted to share.
Happy and Hippy~ The Jack Creek Coyles

Elk, Antelope, and Mule Deer~ OH MY!

 Sometimes just a simple drive to town seems like a ride through a wild safari.
First, we ran into a herd of Elk attempting to cross the road...
 I like their noses.
 That's the rest of the herd, way off in the distance.
 Next, a small herd of antelope also decide the grass must be greener (or least less frozen) on the other side.

And lastly, our local herd of Mule deer fording the Jack Creek. They don't care if the water is 40 degrees.
Our work today on the goat shed has been temporarily halted due to inclement weather, if you can imagine that. I think I may hunker down inside this afternoon for some tomato plant transplanting and some fiddle time.
Take care, and don't worry, Monday's almost over.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Building Goat Kidding Pens

 Spent the day working on our kidding pens. Even though we only have one doe showing, we are being positive and building two pens. In the very least, we will use both next year and not have to build again, right??
We started the day by deciding where in our existing goat shed we would put the enclosures, and how big they were going to be. The dimensions of the pens are ending up being 3 ft by 4 ft, which we hope will be an appropriate size.
The goal behind the kidding pens, are to keep a doe safe while kidding by not moving around very much. You want her to be separated to keep the other goats from stepping on any newborn kids, helping a new mom to appropriately care for and bond with the little ones.
Basically, when I feel Janet is close to kidding time (within a few days) I will keep her mostly enclosed in her pen, which will provide access to food, water, a heat lamp, and clean dry bedding, which is of the utmost importance.
 Above you can see our resident carpenter at work building a small wall dividing the two pens.
It was REALLY fun to shovel the forty bazillion tons of goat manure out of this shed today.
Nope, not really! But it will make GREAT compost for the garden, so there you have it.
 Here I'm brainstorming how to make our pens more goat friendly...
We decided to make the doors have a big window of chicken wire to let the sun shine in, which made me pretty happy to think about. The afternoon sun does a great job of warming up the goat shed and will be great for the little ones to thrive in.
 The herd wasn't too pleased with the saw and drill-clad duo that invaded their space today, but after a while got too hungry to stay away from us. The wide doe in front will be our first 'kidding pen' resident!
 I decided the warm and mild weather today required all chickens to be outside and promptly threw them all out the chicken house door and locked it behind them! General Tsoa, our big black rooster, was not at all happy about us in such proximity of his 'harem' today, and spent the day rounding the girls up. Not to mention the fact our German Shepard Hattie  decided she wanted to be a part of the construction process as well and spent the day within the fence boundaries. I was just WAITING for him to attack her, but it never happened. She's off the hook for now!
 Here's a shot of our garden grounds today! It's so nice to see the actual dirt in action. We have been dumping our wood burning stove ashes on the site all winter, and are getting ready to dump a few truckloads of goat and chicken manure on top before the spring rains start. I cant even imagine summer at this point.
 Ed stirs up our compost bucket. This will go on the gardens this year too! I think we may be in business this summer, don't you? High Five!
 And now some parting shots of our Mule Deer visitors last night.
Biggest ears in the land!
Very cute.
Hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday as much as we did.
Cheers!~ The J.C.C.'s
P.S. Remember, you can always click the photos to make them bigger :)