Oh right, I’m a FARMER…

Here’s what the heck I have to say about tending your goat herd in the springtime.

  • Deworm and trim hooves after each kidding.
  • Provide Copper supplements to lactating does.
  • Disbud and tattoo kids.
  • Rotate pastures if possible.

My year begins in March with the onset of kidding season. I chose to kid a bit later than other farmers, mainly because I don’t find bringing frozen kids into the house to warm by the fire in the least bit cute and I have learned through experience that it’s much easier to keep new moms healthy when the pasture is green. She will be able to get more of what she needs to produce milk for her kids and heal from the birthing process if she has access to leaves and brush than if she’s on a diet of hay and grain.

So the day after kidding I always give my new moms a dose of dewormer and a thorough hoof trimming. They won’t have had either treatment since just before breeding and the birthing hormones trigger a worm population increase. I will also give my does a copper bolus shortly after they kid. This is something I learned the hard way…Even if you provide free choice minerals for your herd, and I highly recommend that you do; your goats may still need some supplements, particularly copper and selenium. However, copper can be toxic when overdosed so do your homework on this one and find out of you have copper deficient soil in your area before you go crazy with it. Cows also require higher amounts of copper than other livestock so you might get some insight on the copper levels in your area by speaking to local cattle farmers. You might even find your goats perform better on minerals formulated for cattle rather than your typical goat mineral.

I disbud all kids as soon as soon as I can feel the little bumps on each side of the top of their head. I will tattoo them the following week. I will blog more about disbudding at another time.

When the kids are two weeks old I latch them up with other kids at 7pm every night. That way their mom’s will have plenty of milk for me in the morning. And so the milk season begins! Around 7am I milk my lactating does on a stand in my milk parlor. While on the milk stand, they receive their morning grain and a good brushing. I examine their eyelids for any signs of anemia, check for mastitis and trim their hooves whenever they need it.

Early spring is also when I rotate my does onto a new pasture if possible. Sometimes, I have other groups taking up all of my spare paddocks so its not possible to give one a rest over winter. It is most certainly ideal however, to move your herd from one paddock to the next to avoid parasite overload and to promote regrowth and diversity in your available browse.

Maybe next week I’ll do Part II. But then again you never can tell with me can ya?

This post is linked to Barn Hop and Works For Me Wednesdays.