I noticed as I was rereading the posts that I had forgotten to mention that we had sold the small goats we bought earlier and answered an ad for some down by LaCrosse. We did keep misty though and I think the little billy took care of some business with her before he left, she is looking pretty large.
We picked up 2 nice does for $50 apiece and they threw in a billy for free. The people we bought them from raised them mainly for showing at 4H. They have an organic dairy farm and it was interesting to ask a few questions about that. It was a long drive to get them but it's nice to see where your animals come from and get an idea of how they were treated before you got them. I hope their pictures will show up below, if everthing worked right you can click on a link and a picture will pop up. The goats were neck deep in their hay rack when I took the pictures so they have messy faces,
sammyd on 03.06.08 @ 03:25 AM CST [link]
This is Bev. She is mostly Nubian. She looks pregnant. She is fairly friendly. She likes attention and can be pretty noisy at times.
sammyd on 03.06.08 @ 03:20 AM CST [link]
This is Gwen. She is an Oberhastli. She appears to be pregnant. She isn't as friendly as our other goats but we are working on that.
sammyd on 03.06.08 @ 03:17 AM CST [link]
This is Bubba our new billy. He is a registered something or other but that really isn't the focus of our operation so it's no big deal. He's fairly friendly and likes his head rubbed.
sammyd on 03.06.08 @ 03:14 AM CST [link]
A few thoughts on starting out
I usually keep this blog thing focused on how I am doing things and try to give a bit of info on why I do it, how it worked and if it didn't what I would change.
I have noticed as I surf some of the homestead related boards out there in cyber space that a lot of folks dive in without a clue and run into problems. I like enthusiasm but nothing bothers me more than seeing posts like "I just bought 4 whatevers and now what do I do" or "I ordered a bunch of whatevers, how do I feed them"
The biggest and most important piece of info I can put out is to study any animal you are looking at getting into.
Libraries are free mostly and usually contain vast amounts of books on any creature you could hope to have. Spend time browsing the books, read more than one, write down information or copy the pages for later reference.
If you have some extra cash you can buy the books either on line or at a regular book store. If they don't have them they can probably order them in. Check used book stores or even college or tech school book stores.
Find out if there are people nearby that are raising the same animals in a manner close to what you are going to. Talk to them and learn how they operate.
Check around at the yahoo groups and other email lists and sign up for those that may suit your plans.
Sign up at any and all of the various forums out there, read, learn, ask questions.
if you are going to have to buy feed for your animals make sure that there are sources nearby and that you can afford the proper stuff.
Look for a feed mill and talk with the counter people. the folks at our feed mill are very knowlegeable and are not afraid to take the time to talk with me about stuff even though I'm not a big time operator.
I like a feed mill better than a feed store as most mix their own grain rations and that's a little cheaper.
From what I have seen at a local feed store, the staff is usually not very helpful or knowledgable and you are expected to know exactly what you want. Not much help for newbies.
If you are thinking of growing your own feed make sure you realize just how much those animals will need and look at your capabilities frankly. This is not a place for optimism in my opinion. It may sound quaint to grab a scythe and cut a few acres of hay to store loose for winter. But if you've never done it you may be surprised at exactly how much it takes to do that. Sure they used to do it that way, but they were used to it, knew exactly how to do it and in most cases it was not a one man or woman affair. And a lot of times it involved extended family.
If you are hoping to pasture some animals, make sure you have enough land for the amount of animals you want, and make sure that the stuff in the pasture will actually be good for the animals.
You can usuallly find a county ag extension agent in the phone book. He/she will be able to help you with info for your particular area and sometimes this info is much better than a book that was written by somebody in a different country. I will admit that sometimes the agents info is geared more towards large scale farming but a good one will have answers for most of your questions or know where to point you.
As proper stewards of our animals it is up to us to be able to treat them humanely and with respect. It is not proper to just buy them up and kill a bunch off or have a bunch of malnourished animals breaking out of their pens or pastures while trying to figure out how to raise them. Yes some things happen but it is up to us to be properly informed and well prepared before the animal shows up.
sammyd on 03.06.08 @ 03:04 AM CST [link]