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.