Category Archives: Goats

Fodder from soup to nuts, or maybe seed to feed?

I know I have posted about fodder before, in this post in November I really thought I had it all figured out. WRONG, just like anything else in agriculture I am coming to believe that no-one ever has it all figured out. This Facebook Group has really educated me about how woefully uninformed I am. Todays post is going to outline day 1 of my fodder process, please feel free to share your differences or similarities.

Soak Bucket

Soak Bucket

I switched to 80 oz. Painters buckets from lowes or home depot, they are cheap and just the right size for soaking. The larger buckets I was using didn’t seem to give me as consistent germination rate, my theory is that with the seeds being spread out more some areas would dry out more than others. Who knows?

Red Wheat

Red Wheat

Today’s batch is Red Wheat with a bit of safflower mixed in. Why safflower? My Sweety, Karen, had given my a bag of sprout mix intended for parrots and it was mostly Safflower and had gotten dumped in my bucket before I moved to my current process. Now rather than just one big bucket of sprouting seeds I keep two; the first is primarily Red Wheat with a diminishing amount of safflower, the second is 100% barley. Right now the barley is producing the prettiest fodder but I still rotate, one day barley the second wheat. Why?  Variety I guess, I don’t have any real reason other than it feels like the right way.

1.7o Ounces of wheat seed

1.7o Ounces of wheat seed

A recent change I have made is reducing the amount of seed per batch from 4.5 cups to 3 cups. The wheat was fermenting a bit and I decided to see if reducing the depth of the seed bed in the trays would help, I’ll let you know if it does. Today Karen brought her kitchen scale home so that I can track what my seed to fodder conversion is, I keep reading of 1-6 and 1-7 ratios but don’t know.

Soaking the seed

Soaking the seed

Seed Draining

Seed Draining

The seed gets soaked for about 6 hours, I tried longer soaks but definitely saw an increase in funk with the 24-36 hour soak times. During the soak period I lift and plunge the buckets several times thinking that the agitation will help thoroughly wet the seed and help keep down the funk via aeration. After soaking the seed stays in the buckets being wet down daily for two days at which time they get dumped into the trays. I will outline that process in my next post.

Soaking/Laundry Sink

Soaking/Laundry Sink

P.S. This sink that my Sweety got me was one of the best improvements in the process so far! Outside the critters were always getting into my stuff, and in the kitchen Karen was always in my stuff. Now that the whole operation is confined to the Laundry room things are much smoother and controllable.

 

 

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Chickens, Tortoises and Goats Oh My!

While Gooey is the lone representative of the “Goats” group we hope to expand our herd next year. It did finally dawn on us this evening that Gooey was behaving and not screaming constantly for the first time in about a month, I am pretty sure she just went through her first season. Lexi thought she was just trying to talk to the other goats across the street. 🙂

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Ajax on the other hand has 3 sorta siblings hangin out in the brooder tank. They are probably not going to remain permanent residents but they sure are cute.

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Last week my sister in law brought over a bunch of pumpkins that she had got for free after Halloween. She had cut them in half to get at the seeds and was just gonna throw out the rest. I knew the chickens would like them, especially after they got a bit funky, but Ajax surprised me. He devoured half a punkin in about a half hour! And he didn’t start from an edge, he started chomping right in the middle of the smooth intact outer skin.

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My Sweety, Karen, and I have been working on our new to us house up at the Fruity Chicken all year and are getting close to moving. This is quite a big deal for us seeing as how we have been in the same house for 27 years. I think we both though it would be easy because it gets us closer to one of our Granddaughters and gives us more room than we we’ve ever had during our life together. Leaving the little house in the barrio where we raised our three awesome sons isn’t turning out quite like we thought it would be. We will get there though!

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Gooey climbs Mt. Ajax

Gooey has shared her little home with our tortoise Ajax for the last month or so while Orlando’s crew has worked on our house.

Gooey wondering what the heck is in her house.

Gooey wondering what the heck is in her house.

Ajax took over Gooey’s igloo and refused to come out for over a week. I think the heat and humidity finally got to him today and he finally came out.

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Ajax is trying to burrow in a bit to cool off but Gooey just thinks he is another obstacle to climb. Or maybe Gooey is just getting even for Ajax taking over her house?

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Why did the goat climb the tree?

 Why did the goat climb the tree? Because Gooey loves Shanda! That’s why. My sweety, Karen, is so upset because her sweet little baby goat, Gooey, has decided that our Daughter in Law, Shanda, is her momma and will do anything for her. Gooey moved up to The Fruity Chicken a little over a month ago and Shanda jumped in to bottle feed her when Tuey couldn’t make it up the hill. Little by little Gooey started patterning on Shanda and now while she is still excited to see Tuey she goes bonkers when Shanda comes around and follows her everywhere. How much you wanna bet that there’s another goat baby in The Fruity Chickens herd? Our goal is to move up the hill this summer and I can see my Sweety deciding Gooey needs a “friend” soon after that.

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Mulch ado about nuffin

Things have progressed in the garden to that slight lull in activity between preparing, planting, and harvesting. There is still plenty to do like my bi-weekly spraying regime and weeding, but luckily it is not as hectic as before. In between setting the tub in the guest bathroom at the Clayton house today I mulched raised bed #2.

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Comfrey leaves being laid out

Comfrey leaves being laid out

This bed has a bit of nitrogen deficiency problem

This bed has a bit of nitrogen deficiency problem

Comfrey is high in nitrogen and breaks down rapidly, I am hoping this layer of leaves will help boost the fertility in this bed.

Straw Mulch

Comfrey plants can be seen in the foreground of this picture. They are on the downslope end of this bed in order to scavenge any nutrients that leach down.

Comfrey plants, seen in the foreground of this picture, are on the downslope end of this bed to scavenge any nutrients that leach down.

It hit 101* F today! The straw will help keep the soil temps down a bit along with minimizing evaporation.

Isn't this Tomcot Apricot a beauty?

Isn’t this Tomcot Apricot a beauty?

This is Karen's latest foster baby...Tribeca

This is Karen’s latest foster baby…Tribeca

My sweety Karen’s latest foster baby is Tribeca, a cute little kitten with a severely mangled paw that will necessitate amputation of her leg when she gets a bit older.

YummyCammy & Tribeca

Tribeca is socializing well and has a large following on The Humane Societies FB page already, so finding her a good forever home shouldn’t be a problem .

Gooey's new mineral block

Gooey’s new mineral block

Gooey the Mountain Goat

Goats have special mineral needs and now that Gooey is down to one bottle a day I went out and got her a mineral block. Like everything else in her world though the block is just another obstacle to climb!

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Morning with Gooey

This morning was Gooey’s first in her new home. She spent her first night all by herself in her corral up at The Fruity Chicken. Even though she was very happy to see me she made it clear that she is a big girl now and can handle things on her own!

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What’s up wit dat?

Spring has sprung and my incubator is cranking, 20 of the first 24 I set hatched. I did lose one after the hatch, no clue about why, so there are 19 little fluffy butts eatin, drinkin, poopin, and growin in my new-found brooder.

What a mess of chicks

What a mess of chicks

Lexi waiting for her new favorite chicken to hatch

Lexi waiting for her new favorite chicken to hatch

Lexi swears that this little guy looked right at her when he popped out of the egg and said "momma"

Lexi swears that this little guy looked right at her when he popped out of the egg and said “momma”

The new brooder is working out great!

The new brooder is working out great!

So far my list of barnyard critters is limited to chickens and ducks, I have wanted to branch out into bees but my sweety Karen is adamant that ain’t gonna happen. It always gets pointed out how many chickens I have, in fact just last week I got asked “what in the world are you gonna do with all of those baby chickens?” See if you can spot the irony in the situation when you look at the following pictures taken at the time that silly question was being asked.

Tuey's new baby "Gooey"

Tuey’s new baby “Gooey”

Gooey and her bottle

Gooey and her bottle

Gooey and Annabelle

Gooey and Annabelle

Karen says that Gooey is the foundation of her new venture into making goat cheese and goat soap. Gooey is now two weeks old, walks on a leash, lives in a kennel in the living room, drinks her milk from a 2 liter pepsi bottle with a nipple on it, runs to karen when she hears her voice, head butts the fridge to tell you it’s time for her bottle, and goes for car rides “just for fun”. Yeah goats are so much more practical than bees.

Gooey a week ago

Gooey a week ago

Gooey Yesterday

Gooey Yesterday

Isn’t it amazing how much Gooey has grown in just one week? She drinks about a third of that 2 liter bottle three times a day along with eating hay and weeds in the front yard. Lest you think “Tuey” just went off half cocked on this goat thing she did do a pretty good job of researching and choosing the proper breed of goat. Gooey is a Nigerian Dwarf Goat, she should only get about 20″ tall and weigh somewhere around 75 pounds when fully grown. From what I have read the “dwarf” part of their name is just a label that has been hung on them because they are small. They weren’t bred specifically for size but just turned out that way as a result of breeding for good milk production in a harsh environment. Nigerian Goats are one of the best goats for feed to milk conversion and have sweet milk that is very high in butter fat. Obviously Tuey weighed these factors and made a rational decision rather than falling in love with a “cute little goat” at a feed store in Escondido. Tuey would never track down a breeder of “cute little goats” and convince them that she was an expert at bottle feeding animals and could be trusted with a week old baby. Additionally Tuey would never pester a breeder of “cute little goats” so much that he made he regular phone calls to update her on the status of her becoming a “goat momma”. Yeeeeeaaaah Tuey would never do something like that…..would she? Of course she did! Thats what Tuey does, and in truth one of the things I love so much about her. So you would think with my indulgence of Karens fascination with Nigerian Goats and African Grey Parrots (last count was 10) a few little bees wouldn’t be such a big deal.

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