July 29, 2008

Goats In The Pasture

Make sure your volume is on.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

July 27, 2008

Roving, Feathers and Pickles

Thanks for the well wishes. I ended up in bed for almost 24 hours, with symptoms of possibly a stomach flu (which according to the sister in law is going around). Feeling so much better today, though going to take it slow and easy for awhile.

Adieux Le Tour de Fleece

I contemplated signing up for the Le Tour de Fleece. Decided against it. Beginning spinner here, so knew I would fail miserably at any expectations or goals I set for myself in the spinning arena. Spinning doesn’t call to me as other areas of working the fiber. I just can’t sit still long enough to focus or accomplish much.
However the wheels in the noggin started spinning and I decided to follow along on my own, setting my goal in getting my stash of washed fiber carded. Heh, it works well with her stash challenge. Fiber stash is fiber stash I do believe.

Faire des Progrès (to make progress)
It worked! Each day I set aside a bit of quiet time in the evening to work on carding. Look at the roving!

Now to get down to the nitty gritty and wash more.
This is the newest raw fiber acquisition, wool, not Angora. Dirty, dirty wool. I have faith it will come clean. Need this for a felting project.

The Peafowl are shedding their tail feathers. The feathers are scattered over the entire farm. I manage to pick a few up each morning. Lately have been selective and picking up the ones with the brightest colors or largest eyes.

Jim was a bit surprised the last time he was home at the abundance of feathers we have now. After morning chores one day he ask if I had taken a head count on the peafowl lately. Yes. He said he felt as if he had picked up a full tail of feathers, was concerned something had attached one. Nope, with the number of males we have we will be having more and more with each yearly shedding.
Time for feather crafting…

Sunday Pickle Canning Party

Dad and I worked on bread and butter pickles for the family. 31 pounds of cucumbers can be made into 16 quarts of pickles. We used a vintage family recipe (from his mother’s side) we refer to as Slayman Pickles. The following is the original recipe.

4 qt. Cucumbers sliced or chunked
1 med. Onion cut fine
5 cups vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
3 cups water
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 teaspoon salt

Mix vinegar, sugar, water, salt and spices. Heat to boiling. Add spices that have been placed in a cloth bag. When boiling add cucumbers and onion. Let come to boil again. Boil 5 mins. Can in jars while hot.

These are definitely not crisp, lacking a crunch. (Sister and I discussed this today and we have decided to tweak the recipe. See if we can’t get a crunch to them).
To my surprise, Dad made and brought BBQ ribs and potato salad for lunch today (I nibbled a bit hoping it would not cause a set back in my recovery). Over lunch we talked about Mom’s work in genealogy and reminisced about the family.

July 26, 2008

Side Tracked

I was going to finish up the Milking Goats info (part II) but decided to wait. Maybe tomorrow.

Been a bit under the weather so to speak. Not feeling so chipper. Do believe the heat has taken it's toll on me. With the heat index and all, has been close to 100º here. Was hoping for a cool morning to work out in today but nope. It's so close out there you can cut it with a knife.


Peter Piper Picked a Peck

They have all came ripe at the same time. Dad is coming out Sunday so we can make pickles. If I could find a pickle relish recipe I would love to can a few jars.

You need to stop by Eat The Blog(scroll up to My Favorite Blogs list). Goody is making goodies! Mulled Honey, Pickled Spice Pineapple (looks scrumptious), Lemon Prune cookies and one of my favorites Lemon Curd! I didn't know Lemon Curd could be frozen. Going to try it!

Matt came over yesterday with his rider to mow. My push mower is causing me fits. Besides the blade not being sharp, most of the time it won't start, it seems to sputter and spit along with a bit of smoke when I can get it started and use it. Dad suggested taking it to the small engine shop, but I decided to save a few dollars and let Matt look at it. The thing that urks me the most, is I go to use the mower, it refuses to start. But let any man try to start it, of course on the first try it starts and doesn't act at all contrary for them as it does for me. He got it started on the first pull, it smoked a tad bit (proof I am not imagining it)he thinks the oil was too full. Told me to go ahead and use it, the smoking should stop. OK, back to the original point, the thing won't start for me.
Bless his heart, he mowed all around the drive, the house and the milk room. Just left me the path ways to the goat pastures. Told me to watch for snakes.
Oh like that really makes me want to mow!

July 23, 2008

Milking Goats

I milk our dairy goats by hand, don’t have a milking machine and highly doubt if we will ever invest in one. Not only due to the cost, I believe the machine takes away from the milking experience. Plus you gotta clean the thing after each and every use. Me, I just prefer to wash my milk buckets and my hands.
Normally I have 3 does in milk. At one time I was milking 6 full size dairy does and it was all I could do to keep up in using the milk and from spending all day in the milk room. It normally takes me about 30 minutes per goat to milk, twice a day. If you do the math, that’s about 6 hours a day from start to finish. Sure there are those a lot younger, faster at milking that could probably fly through milking in much less time. They are not fighting with “old hands” (old hands are as mine, who suffer from the years of use, showing signs of arthritis, carpal tunnel, morning stiffness and are just down right tired at times).
You could have small breeds of goats that produce less milk, which would equal less milking time per goat. There again, do the math, to have a gallon of milk a day from miniature breeds you would need about 4 times the number of goats (or mega producers which are hard to find) which would increase the amount of feed needed, more time spent in caring for more animals and milking more goats. Don’t get me wrong the miniature breeds are just simply adorable, give a quart or better of milk a day, are easy to handle but if I am going to milk, I prefer to have the big girls that give a gallon day and be done with it.

That's my great niece learning to milk.

For a small farmstead, small family, 3 full size dairy goats will produce above the normal amount of milk needed. We are probably abnormal in our daily use of milk, we bottle feed goat kids, milk feed pigs, use our milk in soap making, cheese making and for our table. I would say most could have 2 full size dairy goats and be well supplied. One full size dairy doe from good milk lines would give an adequate supply. But I hesitate to say 1 due to goats being herd animals and needing companionship. You don’t want to keep your milker in with a buck (male goat) due to the buck smelling and your milk would taste just like the buck smells. Pepe Le Pew milk for sure.

Back to milking... here are a few things I keep on hand for milking:
Strip cup - I ordered my strip cup, strainer and filters from Hoeggers Goat Supply.
Dip cup - Dip and dip cup came from a local farm store.
Dip - I use the dip, which says, "aids in reducing the spread of organisms which may cause mastitis." Brand is Monarch, there are many different types. I started with just the Prodine, but once started reading labels, changed to the Protek Teat Dip for pre and post milking. It clings to the teat to add a protective barrier, stays on longer than the Prodine.
Have to mention a product called Fight Bac, a spray can that is also a disinfectant to help in controlling mastitis, I bought a can of that, it looked so easy and simple. Holy moly the goats went bonkers from the sound of the spray. Needless to say I do not use it. Know many that do and love it.
Your local farm store should have the dips, they usually come in gallon containers and I think the shipping and handling on them would be quite expensive if ordered through Hoegger or Caprine.
Milking pails - My milking pails came from Jeffers. Have a couple different sizes; find the 6 qt. to be the most frequently used. The price of Jeffers pails was also least expensive when I was buying.
Cover for milking pails - Those saran wrap bowl covers with elastic, they come in handy to cover if you do not have lids for your milking pails.
Milk Stanchion - The better half built my milking stanchions. The first stanchion, he used plans from an article in Mother Earth News or Country Side, we lost the magazine so he winged it with the second one. I have milked a couple of wild does tied to a fence post so a stanchion is not a total necessity, but it comes in handy for many things such as hoof trimming, grooming and medicating.
Towels - There are dairy towels but I use the regular baby wipes.
Udder wash – Baby wipes do a good job here also.
Udder sponges - I do occasionally use the yellow udder sponges from Caprine Supply to pre wash in warm soapy water, so I keep a supply on hand.
Mastitis check - There is the California Mastitis Test (CMT) or the Mastitis Indicators cards that can be ordered from any dairy supply or at your local farm store.
Strainer and filters – You have to strain your milk after each milking. Hoeggers, Caprine, any farm store should have filters and strainers that come in various sizes. I prefer the small one that fits in the mouth of a canning jar.
Double boiler or pasteurize - My first pasteurizer was a stainless steel bowl with a lip (from Wal-Mart) that fit into one of my stainless pots (also use it as a homemade double boiler for cheese making). After 5 years of milking, I purchased a pasteurizer from Hoeggers.
Containers to store milk - I use 1/2-gallon mason canning jars to store milk in. I prefer glass to plastic. Easily sterilized.

My 2¢ product review of dairy towels:
I attempted to use udder wipes, purchased a container from Caprine Supply.
Their ad said "Our Caprine Supply udder wipes are rapid drying, softening, cleansing, sanitizing, and disinfecting. They help control mastitis and promote general udder health. Active ingredients: Chlorhexidine Gluconate, Lanolin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Inert ingredients. No milk withdrawal required. 700 wipes per pail -- 200 more than most other udder wipe packaging"

Let me tell you, they are just not worth the money. I was totally disappointed with them. Basically all alcohol, nothing else. Fast drying to say the least, the minute you pull them from the bucket and they hit the air...nothing moist about them. The paper is stiff and hard. I do not see how they clean the udder, they won't clean my skin. I had a Nubian who I was breaking to the stand, she would try to push my hand away with her foot and occasionally leave dirt on my arm. I thought OK, wipe it off with a wipe. NOPE. Back to my udder sponges and cleanser or baby wipes.

Oh I almost forgot, thermometers - if not using a pasteurizer, you will need these for watching temps during pasteurizing. I have a cheese thermometer and a candy thermometer, which I use only for processing milk products and cheese making.

In the future I do hope to have a new cream separator. We have a 1940’s separator that needs a tad bit of work, but it actually works.

Excerpt from Owners Manual McCormick – Deering Cream Separators, 1946

Ripening Cream and Making Butter at Home
Make your starter for ripening the cream by setting away part of the Separator skimmed milk in a covered can or glass jar and holding it at a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees F. for twenty-four hours. It should sour and form a solid curd in this time. Ripened whole milk or buttermilk can be used also but the skim milk is best.
Keep the cream as sweet as possible until about twenty-four hours before churning time; than add the starter in the proportion of about 1 quart of starter to 3 gallons of cream. More or less starter may be required according to the age of the cream and it’s temperature. This you must determine by experimenting under your own conditions. Do not add fresh cream later than twelve hours before churning and stir it in well. Also stir the cream occasionally while ripening.

Use a churn without inside fixtures. The old fashioned barrel churn is as good as any. When the cream is in the churn, add the butter color, being careful not to get too dark a shade. Less color is needed when the cows are on pasture during than during the winter months.

Churn at temperatures from 55 to 58 degrees F. in summer and 60 to 62 degrees F in winter. Operate the churn with a moderately fast, uniform motion. Churning 30 to 35 minutes will usually bring the butter.

July 17, 2008

Scattered Thoughts

Happy Anniversary

Mom and Dad celebrated their 56th year of marriage yesterday. I am so proud of their committment to each other.
Realized had no recent photos of them. The one above is from last years family gathering the weekend of the Celtic Festival. More on the subject of Celtic Festival coming soon.

Cheese Tutorial

Trying to get all together to post a cheesemaking tutorial. For some odd reason each time I begin a batch, thinking I can work through each step, take photos and jot down my notes...something interrupts. So far have made Chevre, cottage cheese, Fromage Blanc, Feta, yogurt, ricotta and something has distracted me.

The Moon

The moon has been amazing of late. An evening or so ago, I caught a glimpse of light shining through the living room blinds. Wondered what it was. Couldn't resist attempting to get a photo. Even with my little el'cheapo camera without a flash, it was bright enough to capture.

The Last Kidding
Each year we seem to have a late bloomer to kid. One doe(female goat)who either doesn't take at the scheduled breeding or for some unknown reason just isn't in heat when we put her in with the buck. This season it was Louise. She just kidded and it was not pleasant. We pulled her out of the herd when I noticed her ever expanding belly and filling udder. I noticed her nesting a few days ago, so started baby watch. Poor Louise. The kids presented at the same time, both heads coming out together. These are the times I question if I am cut out to be a goat midwife. Yeah, sure been doing this for almost 10 years but each difficult birth takes more and more out of me. It just doesn't get any easier. Nope no photos, trying to erase the memory from my mind.

Baby Pool

That's Chase my great nephew. Look at that baby pool. They didn't have things like that 28 yrs. ago when Adam was little. He would have loved that! I would have loved that. Love the fact that the baby is shaded while playing.

Yes Sir, Yes Sir Three Bags Full
While the better half was on vacation, we drove out to Loyal Springs. That's a sheep farm. A long time bachelor friend of ours invited us out for a visit. While he and Jim are shooting the breeze I go visit with the sheep, walk the farm, admire all his hard work and the effort he puts into having a beautiful farm. He sent me home with about 3 recently sheared fleeces. They are a tad bit dirty and I really need to find time to wash them before I store them away.
One fleece is earmarked for a fiber artist friend of mine in Georgia. I am almost embarrassed to send it to her so dirty. But not sure I have time to wash and dry it before I get it boxed and ready to mail. Started looking for online video tutorials for her on washing wool, then realized she knows how. Dah me. Any hoo here is a way for anyone who doesn't know how.


You will have to cut and paste the link I can't get the link function to work. Grrrrrrrr. Or scroll up to my favorite blogs at the top of the page, then click on Sticky Fingers Crafts, you will find her tutorial link on the right hand side of the page.

July 15, 2008

Melba Toast Monday - It's Italian Week

Menu for this Week

B – Oatmeal,yogurt
L – Fresh garden veggies, melba toast and Feta Cheese Spread
D – Spaghetti, Meatballs, Garlic bread, Salad

B – Banana Bread
L – Cottage Cheese stuffed Tomato with Melba Toast
D – Chicken Parmesan, garden veggie salad

B - Breakfast Muffin, yogurt
L - Meatball Parm Subs (made from Sunday's leftovers)
D – Pasta Toss (Corkscrew pasta, with veggies, mozzarella , olive oil, garlic & spices)

B – Oatmeal, yogurt
L – Cottage Cheese Salad (cottage cheese with diced tomato, peppers & green onions)
D – Spinach Ravioli and Cheese bread

B – Scrambled eggs & toast
L – Leftovers
D – My Four Goat Cheese Manicotti

B – Oatmeal, yogurt
L – Bruschetta
D – Mom's Crab Fettuccini, Italian Green beans

B – Ham & Cheese Omelet
L – Burger in town
D – Pizza Night

My Bruschetta Recipe
1 loaf French Bread, cut into 1" pieces
6 cloves minced Garlic
1/2 Stick melted Butter
3 fresh diced Tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh Basil or any fresh Italian seasoning.
1/2 cup Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350º.
In a small bowl, mix together diced tomato, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the bread.
Place bread slices on baking sheet sprayed with Pam, bake for 3 minutes.
Melt butter and combine with garlic.
Spread garlic butter on bread, bake 3-5 more minutes.
Spread with tomato/basil mixture and drizzle with a little oil before serving.

Feta Cheese Spread
4 oz Feta cheese
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Miracle Whip
1 glove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. dry basil
1/4 tsp. dry oregano
Pinch of dill
Pinch of black pepper
Dash of thyme

Mix well, serve with crackers or bread.
I use Feta and Cream Cheese made from my goat milk.

Mom’s Crab Fettuccini
1 package imitation crab meat
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 pound of Fettuccini noodles
1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces)
4 eggs

Cook noodles as directed on package.
Beat eggs in half of the milk.
Measure out cheese.
Place the other half of milk in pan to warm.
Stir in cooked fettuccini noodles then add crabmeat.
Stir in egg and milk mixture, heat until slightly thick. Add Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Pepper to taste.

My Four Cheese Manicotti
1 box Manicotti shells
15 ounces ricotta cheese*
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese*
1 cup Chevre cheese*
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
24 ounces of Spaghetti sauce

Cook Manicotti shells for 5 minutes; rinse under cold water and drain. Cover; set aside. Preheat oven to 375º. Mix cheeses, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Pour one cup of spaghetti sauce in a 9x13 inch-baking dish sprayed with Pam. Fill Manicotti shells with filling;place in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil; bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of Parmesan over top of baking dish.

*I use all homemade goat cheeses in my Manicotti, except for the Parmesan.

July 13, 2008

Basic Care and Info about Angoras

A Brief History

As with each breed of goat that comes to our farmstead, I research specifics, from their history to health care to herd management. With the Angora’s I also researched the history of use in their fiber. We found it interesting that Angora origins can be traced back to Asia Minor and early references in Sumerian cuneiform tablets. The Bible dates the origin of the breed to somewhere between the 12th and 15th centuries B.C. In 1849, the first Angora goats were imported into the United States, having been received by Dr. James B. Davis of South Carolina as a thank-you gift from the Sultan of Turkey for his assistance in experimental cotton production in that country.
In fiber, Angora goats produce mohair fiber (not to be confused with Angora fiber, which is produced from rabbits). An Angora goat’s fleece grows at a rate of ¾ to one inch per month and they normally are shorn two times per year, usually in the spring and fall. On average a single Angora produces five to ten pounds of mohair at each shearing. The fiber from the youngest goat is the finest and of most value. Angora fiber continually coarsens as the animal ages. Fiber also is coarser in bucks, than does or wethers.

Types of Angora Goats

When we first entered the Angora goat world, the majority of Angoras were found in Texas and the southwestern states. In the Midwest, Angoras were few and far between, with a small elite group of breeders. Like the S A Boer goats, cost was a factor in our ability to purchase a herd.

Our research also lead to the discovery there was 3 types of Angoras, the White Angora, the Colored Angora and the Navajo Angora. The type most are familiar with is the White Angora. Their registry is the American Angora Goat Breeders Association, founded in 1900.


From my understanding, breeders of the White Angoras found any offspring of color produced by their White Angoras to be inferior and felt these animals should be culled. These colored offspring were also unable to be registered by the AAGBA.

Other goat enthusiasts who found the colored offspring of value continued to breed and raise the naturally colored Angora goats. In 1998 the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association was formed.


Last but not least in the Angora type is the Navajo Angora. Differences are seen in the fleece, coverage and size. Navajos are also normally found in the high elevation with its arid and often-harsh climate of the Colorado Plateau.


We began our herd with a Navajo Angora. As time has passed and the popularity of Angoras has increased the price of Angoras (all types) has decreased, allowing us to have a variety of types in our small herd.

Caring for Angora goats is much similar to caring for your other breeds of goats. Meeting their basic needs is actually the same. It is the exceptions of the breed that are important and need to be addressed to have a healthy, happy herd.

Lice Prevention

Yes, proper routine care of Angoras includes lice prevention. Sad to say lice can be common in Angoras. Especially the White Angoras if preventative measures are not taken. Lice are more commonly found on Angoras during the winter months than the summer.
There are 2 (two) types of lice that Angoras can have - biting and sucking lice.
According to Goat Medicine, the sucking louse has a " narrow head with piercing mouth parts" and is a bluish gray. Biting lice have “ broader chewing mouth parts" are pale and hard to see. One study conducted suggested that sucking lice were more prevalent over the withers area and biting lice were more commonly seen on brisket and shoulders (where the hair is the thickest).
If by chance you do not have a microscope to examine the little biters a way to tell is that biting lice run away from light. So if you see moving lice this means that it is the biting variety. Sucking lice will attach to the skin, suck blood, and stay immobile. Most Angoras get biting lice as opposed to sucking lice.
Fortunately, lice is easily treated with a number of pour on, oil based de-lousers such as Permethrin for the biters and Ivermec for the suckers. Recently Sterling Plough has labeled a pour-on Permethrin insecticide for goats called Ultra Boss which controls lice and flies. And if you use Ivermec for internal parasite control (de-worm), you most likely won’t have the sucking type.
For the biters, you can also “Dust” with 7-Dust, but it is very hard to get the dust down through the fiber of an Angora goat to skin level where the lice harbor. The best time to treat for lice is after shearing. Though if treatment is needed at any time it is easy to do with the pour on. You run the oil down the neck and back line to tip of tail, making sure to part the fleece to ensure you apply directly to the skin.

From our experience, rule of thumb, lice would be like worms, if one goat has it, most likely the entire herd will have it. So it would be wise to treat the entire herd at the same time. Every 6 months at shearing time we do all preventative treatments, vaccinate, de-worm, hoof trim and physical exams.

Note: Most lice found on goats is breed specific, meaning that it can not be transferred to you or other animals on your farm. The sucking lice can be transferred from sheep to goats.

(Tip - If by chance you find lice in your fleece at shearing, put the entire fleece in a plastic garbage bag, close and put in freezer. Leave a day or two. The lice freeze, die and fall to the bottom of the bag. Remove the fleece from garbage bag, throw bag away and you can continue working your fleece lice free.)

Other Skin Ailments


Rare but has been seen in Angoras who are not properly cared for. Mites create Mange. Ivermectin will also clear this up. However, mange will cause the hair to fall out in patches, leaving your fleece unusable.


Keds are tick-like creatures that are generally found on sheep. In our 10 years of experience I have never saw a Ked on any breed of goat.

Dandruff or Scurf

Dandruff is a frequent topic of conversation with Angora owners. After shearing they sometimes find a dandruff type skin condition. There are many theories on what the dandruff is caused by or a condition off. Most have a mindset this is just dry skin. Scurf (dandruff) can be a sign of lice. Others believe that the dandruff is an indication the goat is lacking something in their diet. Some who find the dandruff will add a supplement to the goat’s diet such as sunflowers or additional minerals hoping it will add the missing nutrient back.

Internal Parasite Control

We run fecals monthly to determine if there is a need to treat for worms. We also watch for signs of worms on a daily basis.


Angoras have horns. They are generally never de-horned. They are shown with horns. For our farm we do not believe in de-horning. Goat horns are a temperature gauge for the goat. A way of keeping them cool in summer (can you imagine being in fleece in the hot summer months) and warm them in the winter. Like all other goats, the Angora use the horns to scratch in places nothing else can reach through their fiber. We also think they make great handles to work with the goats.


Many ask one question in regard to Angoras. They have heard that Angoras are more delicate or not as hardy as other breeds of goats. We believe feeding correctly is the main factor in their overall hardiness. Their nutritional requirements are a bit higher than other breeds of goats, (they put so much energy into growing fleece at the expense of their body condition), though we have found their rate of feed consumption is lower than our other breeds. We do constantly monitor their needs and adjust to factors in their conditions. (If you breed, you will be feeding the goat, the babies and the fiber).

As all other goats they need good quality hay and/or browse. In addition to their browsing, we feed Alfalfa Orchard grass hay mix. We have found if fed only grass mix hay, they eat constantly due to the little nutrition in the grasses. Goats are natural browsers and we have observed in pasture that they naturally choose a varied diet, so the Alfalfa mix proves to be the best suited in our opinion. They also eat less with better quality.

(Note: We have found when browse is depleted and goats are left to only graze on grass their worm issues can increase.)

With our having a small herd of Angoras (as well as other breeds) we chose to feed a bagged pellet goat feed from a local grain mill instead of mixing our own. In the field we set salt and mineral blocks. When new goat products came to our area we added a molasses based supplemental mineral lick tub. Other Angora owners say they find the lick tubs tend to soil the fleece and the molasses coats the fleece causing more VM (vegetable matter) to collect. We have found that the bucket style licks are more fleece friendly compared to the tub style. We also offer loose minerals and Bicarb to them at all times to allow them to correct their rumen pH if needed.

We don’t add other supplements to the feed except during the winter months. We do top dress their feed with Vitamin E & Selenium crumble supplement made for horses during the winter. Winter months when feeding stored forages (hay that has lost it’s green color), you will find that Vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) is lacking. We are also on the borderline with Selenium deficient soil.

Our Angoras are actually easy keepers so to speak. They are the smallest of our goats. They are easy to handle and have a sweet disposition. They are not aggressive with their horns, towards other animals or humans. They do not fight or jump fence.

(Note: The quality of feed and care given to your Angoras will be seen in the quality of fleece and fiber they produce.)

I want to also acknowledge that I do realize there are many different herd and care management methods. The ones I have listed are what we have found to work with and for our goats.

The Fiber- Mohair

The need to shear their fleece twice a year is the main care difference in raising Angoras versus other goat breeds. To have your Angoras sheared you can hire a professional sheep shearer or shear yourself. In the beginning we hired a professional, as our herd has grown we have purchased the equipment to shear ourselves.

The best place to purchase shearing equipment we have found is:


Their prices are competitive, their customer service, willingness to help, knowledge and shipping time has exceeded our expectations.

To learn proper shearing techniques you will want to do research for yourself as to which method you consider the best. We had watched and assisted our shearer in the past, purchased a shearing DVD, watched videos on line, plus worked with a friend who is a sheep farmer to decide on which method we preferred.

I always felt the goats should not be treated like the sheep. The sheep are rolled around every which way, sat on their rumps, turned on their sides, at times seems like they are turned upside down on their ears. That is not the way we want our goats handled. Some fiber producers lay the goats on their sides and shear that way. It seemed to me that method stressed them also. We decided to try a shearing method where the goats are standing, using one of our milk stanchions as a grooming table.

There are many members in our family (including myself) who have a fiber-related craft as a hobby, some knit, crochet, spin, weave, sew and even wet felt. How rewarding it is to produce our own fiber and yarn for crafts and clothing adding to our self-sufficiency!

Selling what fiber we do not use can also add supplemental income for the farm. Some Angora owners use mohair sales to cover the cost of raising the animal. The market for raw fleece and fiber can vary due to many factors such as color and quality of fleece, location and market saturation. Age and cut of fleece also effects the selling price: 1st cut or Kid cut is generally highest and most sought after, 2nd cut slightly less in value, a yearling fleece, lower still. Adult mohair is the coarsest and least expensive.

Mohair usually runs around $18 a pound for Kid, others are on a sliding scale down to as low as $3.00 per pound for commercial grade (coarse or straight mohair).

A Little info on Mohair - Why is Mohair Called the Diamond Fiber?

Mohair is one of the most versatile textile fibers. Its characteristics are similar to wool, except that it does not have the scales that can irritate the skin. Mohair has several unique properties that are not found in any other animal fiber.

Insulating capacity - mohair's hollow fibers do not conduct heat; like wool, mohair provides good insulation, even when wet.
Durability - mohair can be twisted and bent without damage to the fiber; it is the most durable animal fiber.
Comfort - the smooth fibers of mohair do not irritate the skin, even for people who are sensitive to wool.
Strength - mohair is stronger than steel of the same diameter.
Shrink resistance - because its smooth fibers do not felt, mohair fabrics shrink much less than wool.
Elasticity - mohair is very elastic; it can be stretched up to 30%, and will spring back to shape; mohair garments resist wrinkling, stretching, or sagging.
Moisture transfer - mohair easily absorbs and releases moisture, moving perspiration away from the skin; it is comfortable to wear in cold and hot weather.
Luster - one of mohair's most important qualities is its ability to take dye and to display brilliant colors that resist fading by time or hard wear.
Lightweight - mohair's smooth fibers can be made into fabrics that have a cooling effect; it is ideal for summer garments.
Non-flammability - mohair will not burn unless it is exposed to a direct flame

A note on selling goat related products.

The greatest reward for us is not in money made, but what the goats give us on a daily basis, especially in their wonderful companionship.

What they produce - the dairy girls' milk, dairy products and soaps made from that milk, the natural fibers of the Angoras for our hobbies, can't forget the fertilizer for the gardens - are essential elements to our self sufficient lifestyle.

July 12, 2008

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats

I thought I was done with kids(new baby goats) for a few months. Unfortunately not. Looking at Louise and her expanding belly, her filling udder and cranky attitude I know we are expecting. Debating on whether or not to bottle feed these kids that will be born in the next month if not sooner.

Each kidding season we bottle-feed for various reasons. The majority of the time it is due to removing the dairy kids to milk the doe. Occasionally situations arise when a non-dairy breed doe will have multiple births and can’t produce enough milk to support all kids, so we supplement. We have had times when a doe won’t accept the kid or refuses to let them nurse. Then there is my weakness for adopting orphans from other farms requiring bottle-feeding.

Over the years and after much research I have found that there are many methods of bottle-feeding. Every goat book written offers a different schedule. Some recommend bottle-feeding by age, some by weight. These are 2 schedules I have used at different times.

Bottle Feeding by Age

Day 1-2: 4-6-oz 4-x day
Day 3-7: 8-10 oz 3-x day
Weeks 2-6: 16-18-oz 2-x day
Week 6 to weaning (8-14 wk): 20-24-oz 2-x day

Bottle Feeding by Weight

5 -lbs.: 3 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 4 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 6 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
7 -lbs.: 4 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 6 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 8 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
10- lbs.: 5 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 7 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 10 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
15 -lbs.: 7 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 9 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 14 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
20- lbs.: 8 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 11 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 16 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
25- lbs.: 10 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 13 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 20 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
30-lbs.: 12 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 16 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 24 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
40-lbs.: 16 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 21 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 32 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.
50-lbs.: 20 oz if feeding 4 X’s a day, 27 oz if feeding 3 X’s a day, 40 oz if feeding 2 X’s a day.

Note: There are exceptions to the rule, at times when we have a very tiny kid, it is advisable to feed smaller amounts more frequently. Or the big healthy kids with insatiable appetites we may begin their feeding routine at the 3-day-old amounts.

Equipment for bottle-feeding can be as simple as a human baby bottle with a preemie nipple or as specific as the Lam-bar bucket (round or square) for feeding multiple kids. A variety of bottles and nipples are made. Some are size specific targeting different breeds of goats like the Pygmy, or as generalized as the pop bottle nipple. Nipples come in different lengths, colors and materials.
You can order bottle-feeding supplies from Hoegger Goat Supply, Caprine Supply, any farm supply or store. Most local feed and farm stores carry some type of bottle feeding supplies.
I highly advise to stay away from the half gallon sized white calf bottles with the interchangeable lamb nipples. These are hard nipples and most of the kids we have raised over the years fought hoof and horn not to take them. They are not pliable and do not feel natural to the goats.

We have tried both types of Lam-bar buckets, the round and the square. We find the hanging square bucket with the 6 screw on/off nipple attachments to be more user friendly, easier to clean and sterilize.

If feeding 1 or 2 kids, I have found the Non-Vac Lamb Feeder bottle to be my favorite. It will withstand dishwashing and sterilizing. It has a soft latex nipple that the kids take to well. Holds 16 oz.which will take them almost through all stages of bottle feeding.

Did You Know?
When a nursing ruminant newborn stretches its neck (when nursing on mom) the esophagus forms a groove that carries milk into the true stomach (abomasum). When it does not stretch its neck, the milk falls into the first stomach (reticulum)--intended for forage digestion. This inhibits digestion and causes the reticulum to enlarge (hence the pot-belly). Info provided by Stan Potratz

What do you bottle-feed if there is no goat milk?
We have been in that predicament. There are different brands of milk replacer; milk replacers made specifically for kid goats and milk replacers for all breeds. I highly recommend the kid specific replacer. Should have all the nutrients you kid needs.

So what if you can’t find milk replacer?
A formula for milk replacer that I have used and had excellant results with is 2 parts evaporated milk to 1 part water. I have also added a little probios powder to the milk as well as used Poly Visol liquid baby vitamins.
During the bottle feeding of each kid I stay with whatever I start feeding with. If it is replacer I keep them on replacer for the duration, same goes for the formula. If you change out it can cause scours and upset their systems. Don’t get me wrong, you can change what you feed, but it has to be done slowly and gradually.

The Importance of Colostrum
The 1st day of birth the first 24 hours the kid should receive colostrum, preferably from it’s mother. If that is not available then you will need to find Colostrum. Paying attention to if it contains antibodies and essential nutrients for newborns. There is a colostrum replacer and a colostrum supplement. You need to give the supplement. The “Replacer” does not contain actual colostrum, though is a good additional supplement you could use.
Our Rule of Thumb in feeding colostrum is 4 ounces per lb. of body weight in 24 hrs. If the kid weighs 8 lbs. then we make sure it has at least 32 oz. of colostrum.
We normally bottle feed the babies their mothers milk from birth to weaning.
Milk out any extra first milking colostrum, label and freeze it in ziplock bags for future needs.

July 10, 2008

When You Have Lemons...

You make lemonade, lemon curd, lemon cookies, cake, pie, lemon,lemon,lemon...love the sweet, tart, tangy, zest of lemon.

One of my favorites - Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is a creamy custard type dessert made with eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and butter. It can be used on or in cakes, tortes, cream puffs, as a topping for angel food cakes, short breads or muffins or as a spread on bread or toast.

Here's the recipe I use (from Alton Brown,Good Eats,Food Network):
Lemon Curd
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zested and juiced
1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup.
Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk till smooth.
Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next.
Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Tips on Lemons
1 medium lemon yields 2-3 tablespoons juice and 2-3 teaspoons zest
Room-temperature lemons or limes will yield more juice than those that are refrigerated.
Use your palm to roll lemon or lime around on the countertop a few times before squeezing.

You gotta try this one!

Lemon Zest Chevre Cream
1 cup Chevre cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 squeeze of lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar to taste or 2 packages sugar substitute

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Place in individual serving dishes. Put in refrigerator. Makes 2 servings

A couple more recipes I have collected to try:

Seven-Day Preserved Lemons
2 ripe lemons
1/3 cup coarse (kosher) salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Olive Oil
Scrub the lemons and dry well. Cut each into 8 wedges. Toss them with the salt and place in a 1/2-pint glass jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid. Pour in the lemon juice. Close the jar tightly and let the lemons ripen at room temperature for 7 days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. To store, add olive oil to cover and refrigerate for up to 6 months

Goat Cheesecake with Fresh Lemon Curd & Berries
Recipe Source: EMERIL LIVE with Emeril Lagasse from the TV FOOD NETWORK
1 TB butter; plus
4 TB butter; melted
1 c graham cracker crumbs
2 LB cream cheese; room temperature
1½ c sour cream
12 oz goat cheese; room temperature
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 TB pure vanilla extract
1 juice of one lime
2 TB grand Marnier
2 c macerated berries; for serving
1 === fresh lemon curd ===
1 c fresh lemon juice; about 16 lemons
¾ c sugar
8 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with the tablespoon of butter. In a small mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1-cup sour cream, goat’s cheese, and sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and lime juice and continue to beat until the batter is fully incorporated and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the center is set. For the fresh lemon curd: In a double boiler, over medium heat, whisk all the ingredients together. Cook the sauce until thick, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool. Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and remove the cake from the springform. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining sour cream and Grand Marnier. Spread the mixture over the top of the cake. Using a hot knife, slice the cake into 16 slices, wiping the knife after each cut. Serve the cake with the lemon curd and macerated berries. This recipe yields 16 servings.

July 7, 2008

Childs Play

On a recent visit to the farm, my 11 year old great niece took a few photos. She sent them to me yesterday. I thought I would share her view of things.

Her goat photos

Other animals on the farm

This is my favorite...a pigs tail end

Her people and other things photos

Her cousin Kasi

Her Uncle Matt at the grill

Her cousin Troy and his wife Amber

The camper

Last but not least her fireworks photo