Monday, September 12, 2011

The Newest Earless Wonders of Noodleville

Not too long ago I posted a blog about being trapped in my barn and as an after thought tossed in info and pictures about my sweet Lamancha boy, "Tonka".

Yes, I know his earlessness is repulsive to some. My husband swears he's the ugliest thing on 4 legs.

I happen to disagree. I think he's simply adorable. He has the sweetest, goofiest disposition and is such a clown.

I had plans to add a doe for mentioned in my recent "Hay Fairy" blog post, it would be such a shame for Tonka to be the only earless goat, and a virgin to boot! Can you just imagine how much hell he'd catch from the other boys?

That intention of adding a doe turned into adding TWO does (got a 2 for 1 deal that I simply could not pass up).

So, please meet my newest girls, Casper & Comanche. They are half sisters, same sire, different dams...Casper is a March 2011 baby, Comanche an April 2011 baby.

                                                  Aren't they just adorable?!?!

Both girl's have been dam raised and are a little bit timid, but I'm confident that a lil time and treats will have them won over.

Comanche, the youngest, is the bravest and was the first to approach us. She is an American Lamancha and though the pictures don't show it well, she's very dainty looking and has the prettiest dished face and big eyes. I have a feeling she's going to become the kids favorite thanks to her brave disposition.



Casper is the older of the two and isn't as easily swayed as her sister.

Last night she wanted nothing more than to stay far away, but this morning she did come stand beside me and nose me a bit so she'll come around in time.....They haven't been with me for even an entire day yet, so the shyness and bewilderment of their new surroundings will pass as they settle in.

Casper is a PB Lamncha and is very well grown for her age (taller than my Alpine kid who is the same age).

Casper & Comanche

Casper chowing down on alfalfa pellets

I'm really excited to have these girls and am looking forward to amazingly adorable Lamancha babies late Spring.

Not to mention, that will, give me two more girls to milk..

Lamanchas, on average have nice level lactations and produce very rich, creamy milk.. They are only slightly behind the butterfat production of the average Nubian, and in general they produce more butterfat than my Alpines.

Not to mention I've noticed my Lamancha tolerates this horrible West Texas heat far better than my Alpines do, so I think Lamanchas are a perfect match for us.

Comanche enjoying her alfalfa pellets

I'm very happy with the condition these girls arrived in and the care the breeder gave was top notch. She stayed on top of coccidia prevention (hence the nice growth these girls have had), and used proper dewormers on the correct schedule..

All in all I think the breeder was great, very helpful, very professional, allowed me to test them for CAE prior to purchase.

I started this goat adventure with the Miniature Alpines....then added standard Alpines, and now Lamanchas.

Through all of this I've learned quite a bit. I started my herd with tested, CAE negative stock but in the begining I didn't know exactly what else to look for. Thanks to some dear friends and mentors I've got a better handle on what a quality dairy goat should look like, what to look for and what traits are undesireable.

Nothing I have is perfect, but I'm happy to say that with each purchase I've "bought smarter" and have gradually added better quality. I've found what I like, and don't like and I think I've figured out what direction I want to go in this endevor.

I have no intentions to show, but I want to produce quality, disease free goats that milk well. Shayla really wants to show, she's been going on and on about for a few weeks now and she is quite heartbroken that she's not old enough yet (she's 6 & she has to be 8 to join 4H) but I hope to produce goats that she will be able to proudly show and at least do well with in our local shows. 

I no longer have Miniature Alpines.... I find I prefer longer legged, taller gals on the milk stand, easier for me to milk. So Tootsie, Keys & Ella have gone to my mom's and Houston will go soon as well.

Lilly, Sabrina's girl is being sold to a dear friend of mine to be a future home milker. It was a hard decision, but I simply can't afford to keep everything, and I'm very happy with her future home.....she'll be a spoiled mess I'm sure.

With Lilly gone that will leave me the Alpine trio & the Lamancha trio. I plan on retaining a Lamancha doe this kidding season, but have no plans to retain any Alpines as I only have room to expand so far and I've chosen to expand my Lamanchas.

At the moment I have Casper & Comanche in a 40ft x 10ft corral. This keeps them separate from the others so they can settle in without getting caught up in dominance games and this also makes them easier for us to catch & handle. We'll probably keep them separate for the first month at least, then we'll test the waters and see how they do with the others.

Lilly has just been bursting with curiousity, and I find it quite funny that she, like Sam when Tonka came home, is facinated (or perhaps confused) by the girl's ears (or lack of) Any time she's able to sniff them, she's bumping their tiny ears as if she's trying to figure out the new oddity...

Lilly meets Casper...Casper isn't impressed..


Michelle said...

I'm so happy for you! I have Nigerian Dwarfs and one LaMancha doe. I am thinking of moving to standard sized goats for the reasons you listed, and for higher yeilds. I realize that with the higher yeilds will come higher feed bills, too, though! It sounds like you have things well in hand, and also like we are in about the same place in our goat journeys. :-)

* Crystal * said...

Thank you! I really like the standards.....My mini doe was a nice lil producer & maintained her weight well, I loved how creamy her milk was but the feed conversion difference wasn't drastic enough to be a tipping point in my choice of breeds.....I would have kept them if I had more space though...

Not only longer legs, but less feet to trim (that's the same no matter your breed size), less goats to chase down for shots ect. ect. but more milk in return.

Too cool we're in almost the same place in regards to the goats....we can watch & learn from each other during our transition phase :)

Oat Bucket Farm said...

LOVE,LOVE,LOVE them! Congratulations!

Ann Marie said...

Aw, they are beautiful! Congratulations!

Leigh said...

Crystal, they're beautiful! (Though my DH would agree with yours on the beauty of earless goats, LOL). I understand that Lamanchas have great personalities. What a wonderful addition to your herd. I hope introductions go well (better than my chicks and chickens).

I have a question for you. What adjustment in feed do you make when you're drying off your does? I'm reading a wide variety of advice regarding how to feed when drying off, during breeding season, and during pregnancy. I want to dry up my skinny girl before breeding.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoosier Homesteader said...

I'm so excited, and I can't wait to hear more about you new additions! We are planning on phasing out our Alpines, keeping the Saanens, and then adding lamanchas too. I can't wait to have some earless beauties of my own! Congrats!

* Crystal * said...

Hi Leigh! Sorry I've taken so long to reply...

I've found in goats there are at least 50 ways to do things & at least 1/2 are right :)

For me, I like to set long, level lactations, so I try to keep my girls milking at least 10 months straight. So, I milk for the first 3 months of pregnancy, then have them dry the remaining two months.

I like to do it gradually..... I cut feed in half & move them to once a day milking......first few days, the evening milking I milk out just enough to keep her from being painful/overfull.... After a few days of that I just ditch the evening milking all together....Then the AM milking I dont milk out all the way for a few days to signal her body to produce less & when I'm ready to dry her off completely I only take just enough from the udder to keep her from being overful.

With the mini doe (now my mom's) she is a chunk, so we just cut her grain completely & let her have her alfalfa & grass hay....When I dry up my Alpine, she has a tendancy to milk herself down to skin & bones if I'm not careful, so when I dry her off I will only reduce her grain & once dry I'll let her have a little bit each day to make sure she maintains condition.

Be careful not to let her get too don't want her building up fat around her reproductive organs & make for a difficult delivery..

Hoosier- I love Saanens!! Tonka's breeder also had Saanens & they were sooooo sweet! And of course, I don't think you can go wrong adding Lamamchas :)

Leigh said...

Crystal, thanks! Surprise sounds like your Alpine and will milk down to a bag of bones. I've really had a time keeping weight on her. I'm hoping getting her dried early will help with that. When your does are dry I take it you just feed them hay and alfalfa (pellets)?

* Crystal * said...

Leigh- Yes, dry girls only get alfalfa pellets, hay & minerals......Unless they are young dry does (my new lamanchas & my March Alpine doeling).....young, growing does get grain too.

I'm still milking Sabrina & have managed to get weight on her regardless.....Most of her weight loss was from stress thanks to the almost constant extreme heat.

I upped her grain, added beet pulp shreds & rice bran. Dewormed with Quest Horse Gel (1cc per go to wormer, highly effective, short withdraw time) In addition to that, I stopped emptying her out all the way & she started gaining weight. Now she's looking really good, so I'm back to milking her empty & it only took a lil over a week for her production to jump back up to her usual amounts.

I bred her on August 29th & if she's pregnant, I'll start drying her up at the end of November.

Is this your girl's first freshening & if so, how long has she been fresh?

Are you going to be breeding Suprise to your lil pygmy boy this fall? I can't wait to see your first Kinders :)

hoosier girl said...

Great pix! I've awarded you the Liebster Blog Award (I know, not as great as real money but hey...!) Thanks for your great blog!

Swamp Dog said...

I hate to break it to you, but someone sold you so defective goats. They are big-time ugly! Ha! Oh well, to each his own I guess.

Leigh said...

Crystal, excellent information as usual.

Yes, this was Surprise's first freshening. The problem with her weight loss started when she had a bad worm load. I'd been using Hoegger's herbal wormer regularly, but when her berries changed and her appetite dropped, I gave her Ivermec. That took care of the worms, but she never did pick up her weight and remained real picky about her food. (I think it was a hold out for sweet feed). She was all bones and looked terrible. I read this is a problem with some Nubians in milk. I gave her chopped vegetables and melons from the garden and that seemed to help put a little weight on her. Still, I figured it wasn't worth her health, so I decided to dry her up. After we turned the does into the corn field, she's started to gain weight and looks better.

We really need to improve our pasture as well, another winter project.

Breeding for us will be next month. Just this past weekend was the first time Surprise showed an interest in the bucks. Of course Gruffy is groomed, "perfumed," ready, and willing. We're going to get a bale of straw to give him a boost up!

I appreciate the info about the Quest Horse gel too. I'm always wondering whats the best thing to use when I need it.

* Crystal * said...

Leigh- That "will to milk" is common in Alpines as well....they'll literally milk every once of fat off their bodies if not careful. Some folks happen to disagree with this, but I'll share it with you. If she did not milk through what is considered the norm (10 months milking) on her next freshening try your best to milk her as close to 10 months as straight so you don't "set" her in short lactations....Say if you dried her up 4 months in, then next freshening you do the same, the 3rd time she may only milk for the short period regardless of your wishes or her condition. I've seen this happen before, and I've seen goats that will milk for how ever long you like....Mainly because I think they like to contradict whatever theories we humans come up with just to be ornery & keep us guessing.

Quest is my "go to" wormer.....Highly effective, I prefer it to Ivermectin because in my neck of the woods it's a guaranteed kill. Quest is "moxidectin" also the same active ingredient of Cydectin cattle wormer.....Quest is easier to purchase for small herds, where as Cydectin is a good "bulk buy". If you ever buy Cydectin the doseage for the cattle pour on is 1cc per 22lbs...Cydectin sheep drench is 1cc per 11lbs, both given orally.

Also, anytime you have a high worm load it's best if you repeat the deworming in 10 days....Most wormers do not kill eggs, so by a repeat in 10 days you get whatever hatched out of the eggs laid by the adults you killed. Parasites can simply ruin your herd....especially mine in our hot climate with no prolonged freezes to stall parasites reproduction for at least lil while...

That said, deworming too often is an awful thing to do because you create parasites who are immune to the drugs you use.....I will not buy goats from someone who deworms adults monthly....if I did I'd be bringing those resistent parasites to my herd.

Here I deworm all new arrivals (purchased) the moment they unload with Quest. Why? They are stressed, which gives parasites a foot hold, and I want anything they are shedding into my environment to be dead. If they are kids I also deworm with Valbazen (1cc per 10lbs) or Zimectrin Gold (this is my favorite tape dose & your done, I use it monthly in growing kids to prevent intestinal damage....never have to use it in my adults 1cc per 50lbs) for intestinal worms like tapes.

I deworm everyone before breeding (any of those animals with heavy wormloads get the repeat in 10 days)..... I do NOTHING stressful or give any medications during the first 50 days of pregnancy which is why I think it's essential to deal with parasites firmly before breeding...

When my does are 100 days bred, I deworm them with Ivermectin PLUS. Ivermectin Plus contains a flukecide (regular Ivermectin does not have this) that kills lung worm, 4th stage HC (barberpole) & liver fluke...all of which are serious, deadly is given orally 1cc per 30lbs. This has a 30 day milk withdraw, so by giving it at 100 days bred I have at least 50 days before I'm milking.

The day a doe kids, she gets dewormed with Quest....same principle as new arrivals, high stress = parasite take over.

After that my adults arent dewormed.....On average I deworm adults 3-4 times a year TOPS which has given me a nice balance of preventing problems, without going overboard & creating parasites with drug resistence. Woah.... lol you didn't ask for any of that huh? Got carried

I love the hay bale idea for your boy.......And I feel your pain on the perfuming.....Gosh it's awful....but when the kids complain I tell them to take a deep breath, that's the smell of future baby goats! :) I can't wait to see your first Kinders that will have your herd name!! Crossing my fingers & hoping you get does :)

* Crystal * said...

Awwww! Hoosier girl, I just may be blushing over here!! :) That is so sweet & I'll get to workin on it as soon as I hit a WiFi hotspot (not a blog post I can easily do on my cell)

Swampman.....Beauty is in the eye of the beholder :) I look at them, see the heavy Kastdemurs breeding on both sides, their mothers udders, high production & the increased butterfat (cream) in my milk pail, and yes I do see beauty :) Plus you get used to them, their personalities win you Thanks for stopping by & commenting!!

Oh BTW- My son says their heads look like toothless baby valaciraptors from Jurassic Park! lol I thought he was being silly until I watched the movie again & by gosh he's right....When they stand a certain way, they do!! Now I call 'em my lil dinos...

Michelle said...

Crystal, where did you get your information about brands and dosage of reformers?

I've used Hoegger dewormer with (vet confirmed) excellent results, but I do think switching things around helps prevent resistant parasites.

* Crystal * said...

From my mentor/guru. She's one who has in the past 3 decades invested money/time/animals into research. Unlike mine who are a hobby, hers have bern her livelihood & she could afford no guesses, only proven scientific fact. Blood work done, fecals, necropsies, & organ biopsies. She has literally saved my goat's lives when the advice from multiple vets failed. Simply no funding or care by many vets to delve deeper into the unique needs of small ruminants..Cattle & horses are a bigger $ industry...

Now, I back that up with my own testing...fecaled before, after & inbetween dewormings to find what works for me.

Herbals alone simply do not work here. Sabrina almost died from parasite overload thanks to herbals. Not saying they do not work...I have a friend in Michigan who has used them for 7 years with great sucess! She has never used a chemical dewormer more than once per year, if that even.

Here we have no prolonged ground freezes, so parasites do not go dormant really, they breed year round so control/prevention is essential.

Some chemicals do not work either...Safeguard for instance. I gave at 5x's the label dosage with NO change at all....One dose of Zimectrin Gold & tapes all clear.

So just because it's a chemical doesnt mean it will work. I trust no item blindly. I did have to spend $ to test & figure out what is best for me, but it's been one of my best investments..

I listed what I know to be effective dewormers & dosages for many across the US. I did not list anything I know to only work in some regions.

Also one thing many people do not realize...goats are ruminants with freaky fast metabolisms. Dosages are often higher than what you would see for horses because a goats body burns them off very quickly. Not dosing properly, most especially under dosing (& use too frequently) is what leads to drug resistent parasites....this bit I learned in a chat with a vet at A&M. Better to know to use the correct drug, and the proper goat dosage & use every 4+ months than to be forced to give multiple times due to under dosing & waste $ while creating tougher parasites.

I am currently toying with the idea of using herbals....Not as a sole means of parasite prevention.....but I'd like to try them on half my herd, long term & compare the fecal results to the others when they are due for deworming....I know here they won't work 100%, but I want to see if they will stress the parasites, thus keeping numbers lower & in time possibly leading to even less frequent chemical wormings than I'm doing now (which in reality is not much).

In addition, I copper bolus.....adding this one, time released mineral has done wonders & has also proven to keep HC worms #'s in check naturally on top of giving better hoof health, coat health & stronger immune systems.

Parasites arent just "give a drug & forget it". I don't like that approach.... I look at big picture bits, such as deworming at proper times, keeping copper levels of, providing good minerals, clean pens, no hay eaten from the ground thus ingesting soiled hay & adding to the parasite burden...

Leigh said...

Thanks Crystal! Excellent things to consider about milking. I'm hoping with pasture improvement to not have so much trouble with weight loss next year. Actually, I don't know how many years we'll keep the Nubians after we get the Kinders going. We really don't like the Nubians personalities all that much. LOL

* Crystal * said...

LOL Leigh I totally understand..... I had Nubians several years ago....

Nothing cuter than Nubian babies with those ears... in my area they sell best too, but they are just not for me.

Everyone has really been giving me a hard time about my "ugly" Lamanchas.....Yes, they are different.....But on average they only produce .05% less butterfat than Nubians, they are mid sized, easy keepers with good heat tolerance, steady, long lactations & best of all, I adore their quiet, laid back temperments :) So I get my butterfat, without the Nubians... for that, I can tolerate the ugly goat jokes!

I hope you get a few Kinder does this year.... the few Kinders I encountered really impressed me!