Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feeding goats and sheep sprouts

Winter is always hard on livestock around here, and I am always looking for something to make the stock healthier through the winter. Recently I came up with the idea of growing sprouts in the house to bring out to the herd.

I grow them the regular way you grow sprouts, except I use grain--- corn or oats--- for the seed. Not seed corn or oats, but the kind you feed to the animals. I just had my first 'crop' mature and I fed most to the goats, with a little extra to the six ram lambs that I just removed from the buck yard into a stall in the shed. (Two of their comrade lambs had died, and I caught the dog pulling wool off their backs--- the dog can hop in through the gate into the buck yard, unlike other areas of the farm. So I felt they'd be safe indoors.)

Tomorrow I'm going to set up some regular sprout production. I've got a book on wheatgrass, which people grow in trays in their home. I bought similar trays and am going to start growing 'oatgrass' and 'corngrass' in them. I also have a new sprouter to try out. I need to get some shelving to put my trays on, and then I'm in business.

I'll take some pictures of the setups when I have them in order, and will give updates on the results here.

Ritchie watering systems

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kidding time? NOW?

I must have been crazy....

One of my does yesterday gave birth to a slightly premature buck kid. He looked dead but I could see his heart beating. I tried to revive him but in vain. The mama, Luna Bug, is a Fainting goat and the papa is Knute, an Arapawa buck.

So now I am on alert to expect kids. My Boer cross does Paprika and Kallisto both look very pregnant. I gave the goats an extra bale of hay today, both to ensure they all are well fed, and to provide them with more bedding in the two stalls they are most likely to kid in. I'm also bringing them out warm tap water instead of cold water, which means every bucket I bring I have to watch out for cats escaping into the house.

Last year we didn't have snow so early so I didn't mind a goat having a baby in December. This year--- well, my main purpose is that I wanted the buck to be healthy and in my experience bucks do better when they are not alone. Well, at least now I know for sure he's fertile.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

A sheep handling system! This one is from Premier One.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Do you Digg Arapawa goats?

If you are a member of the social networking site, please consider digging these:

Arapawa Goats and their Friends

International Arapawa Goat Association

If you have stuff that you want ME to digg, visit my profile page and let me know, or even add me as a friend and I will go and do likewise.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Arapawa Goat Links

This is going to be a comprehensive list of links concerning Arapawa goats, please feel free to add your own in a comment.

Arapawa Goats and Their Friends - internet group for friends of the Arapawa goat as well as breeders, with discussion forum, pictures, videos...

Arapawa Goat Breeders USA --- breed association in US
International Arapawa Goat Association --- international breed association

Arapawa Goat news at --- information on planned cull of goats in NZ, other news
Arapawa Goats at --- information from NZ
Petition to save Arapawa goats from cull --- petition now closed
Goats by Breed-Arapawa Island --- at GOATWORLD web site, you can add links
Arapawa Goats at DMOZ --- directory which supplies Google directory and others, you may suggest Arapawa Goat websites (click 'Add URL')
Breeds of Livestock - Arapawa Island Goat --- livestock breeds directory

Directory of Arapawa Breeders in NZ --- breeders directory
Te Hua Farm in Oxford, Canterbury, New Zealand -- breeder
Jenness Farm, Nottingham, New Hampshire --- breeder, sells Arapawa goats milk soap
Insel Lyr Ranch, Daggett, Michigan, USA --- breeder
Serenity Winds Farm, Hanson, Massachusetts, USA --- breeder
SilverWings Ranch, Oregon USA --- breeder, in 2001 anyway
Fort Lewis Preservation Farm, Maine, USA --- breeder

Related Books
Natural Goat Care mentions the Arapawa goat on page 3
Raising Milk Goats Successfully general milk goat care (the Arapawa is a dual purpose breed.)
Raising Meat Goats for Profit general meat goat care
A Conservation Breeding Handbook how-to book for breeders of rare livestock


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Breeding Season commences

It's That Time Of Year again. Time to breed the sheep. I had planned to use my ram Robert on the best of the Shetland ewes, and Harry, my White Dorper, on the ShetlandxDorpers and on the rest of the Shetlands.

But Robert couldn't be caught and my other grown Shetland ram, Nikolai, could, and Nikolai is a handsome fellow, so he's getting the girls.

Next part of the job was sorting the ewes into two groups. I have to lure them or chase them into a catch pen, then corner them and grab Nikolai's ewes and drag them ten feet to a gate. When all of Nikolai's ewes were out of the catch pen, the remaining ewes were released into the barnyard.

Then it started to rain. Grabbing sheep covered in soaking wet wool is even less fun than grabbing dry sheep.

Finally I got them all sorted. Nikolai began with the rams on Nov. 6th, and Harry started in on his group on Nov. 7th.

Why is it so much trouble to drag rams to the ewes, which is where they want to be anyway? I just HAVE to save up the money for one of those sheep handling systems. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh could give me one. He bought a lady a car recently, to cheer her up after Obama won the election. I could use some cheering-up, too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Death of a Deformed Lamb

This last year the Shetland lambs we have had born are all sired by Nikolai, our black-and-white ram. Only one of the lambs turned out to have Nikolai's black-and-white pattern. And now, she has died.

Her problem was that she was born deformed--- she had a recto-vaginal fistula (hole between rectum and vagina) and a imperforate anus (no hole for the anus). Somehow I managed to not notice this at birth.

The lamb, Rohanna, seemed quite all right at first. But then I noticed her straining and thought she was constipated. She was rather hard to catch, but when I finally did, I noticed her problem. I looked through my vet books and only the big red Merck book mentioned this possibility.

It's always miserable to find out your best lamb isn't going to live. I thought of 'doing her in', but I really don't like to do so.

Rohanna was born in early May, and lived until mid-September. In her last days, she lost interest in eating, and finally grew weak. Her last day, I had to carry her back from pasture. I found her dead the next morning not too far from where I put her.

Internet searching on Rohanna's deformity led to very little information. I don't know whether it's hereditary or just an error in pre-birth development. Just to be on the safe side, I'm not going to repeat the breeding that produced her, but am not sure there is any point to keeping all of Rohanna's relatives away from the ram in question.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Trustee for Arapawa Wildlife sanctuary

Following the death of Betty Rowe, her granddaughter has become Trustee of the Arapawa Wildlife sanctuary. Here is her message to those interested in the future of the Arapawa goat:

Greetings from Arapawa Wildlife Sanctuary

My name is Shannon Rowe, Bettys granddaughter and have officially stepped into her 'gumboots' in my role as Trustee.

I have been living at the sanctuary since late April with my daughter Giovanna, to ensure the wellbeing of the goats and to carry out the wishes of Nana (Betty) in regard to the welfare and future of the animals.

For the immediate future, I will be focussed on overseeing the late kidding season and on-growing of those resultant babies.

For those of you who do not know me, I grew up on Arapawa Island. Always close to my grandmother and sharing her love of the goats, I have birthed and raised orphans myself in addition to having served my apprenticeship mucking out goat sheds.

I have now been joined by Debbie Rowe (Mum), as Trustee who also has a passion to see that the Sanctuary achieves all that Nana wished.

We thank all for their concerns re: the welfare of the animals and will continue to keep in touch with regards to future planning.

Shannon, Giovanna, & the Goats

Friday, May 23, 2008

Betty Rowe, Preserver of Arapawa Goats, dies

Got an email from Al Caldwell:

"We have word that Betty Rowe died Saturday morning in a New Zealand
hospital. She had suffered a series of strokes a few weeks ago and was
unable to recover. Betty was the centerpiece of the conservation effort of
Arapawa Island goats. We will miss her in many ways."

Betty Rowe was an American living in New Zealand. When the New Zealand government decided to kill off the Arapawa Island goats (as part of a plan to save endangered plants/animals on the island), Betty Rowe got involved and arranged for the rescue of many of the goats, providing a foundation stock for preserving the breed.

To view a picture of Betty Rowe , view the Arapawa Goat Breeders USA news page.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Lamb Pictures!

It's that time of year again--- lambs being born all over the place. We had two new ones born this last Sunday, here are some pictures.

This first picture is of Roswell the lamb and his mother Philomena. Both are purebred Shetlands.

Roswell's sire is Nikolai, a white flecket ram. 'Flecket' means he is white with black spots. Roswell is kind of flecket, too, but he only has one 'fleck'. See the picture below.

Yes, his 'fleck' is Down There, by the Important Part.

He's a cute, lively little lamb. His grandsire was Area 51, who was the sire of most of my self-shedding Shetlands.

He's going to be kept intact for the time being as a potential breeding ram either for this farm or for sale.

And this is our second Sunday-born lamb, Rebecca. We're on the letter 'R' this year. Her sire also is Nikolai.

Her mother is Perpetua, another Area 51 daughter. Perpetua and Rebecca are from bloodline A. (Roswell and his mom are bloodline C).

Rebecca is probably going to be kept in our breeding herd.

Here are the twins, Rei and Rhys. They are both black with white marks on their heads. However, their black wool may turn out to be grey, moorit (brown) or fawn. Their mother is a moorit, Ladislava. She's an older ewe.

Rei and Rhys were quite small at birth--- Rei was 3.5 pounds and Rhys only 3 pounds. But both get around quite well. They are about a week old in this picture.

Rei is really good at following mama out to pasture. Rhys, however, get about halfway and runs back to the barn to look for mama there.