Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How to Weigh Your Goat

Weighing a goat needs to be done for several reasons.  Body condition and weight are important measurements for assessing the health of your goats. Knowing your goat’s approximate weight is necessary for proper dosing of medications and supplements.

Last year was a difficult year for me in raising my goat, Luna.  We tried to breed her three separate times and each time it was unsuccessful.  Our breeder even went above and beyond and assisted in providing additional hormones to increase her heat.  Even this didn't work.  This led me to begin researching problems that might be causing this.  COPPER deficiency kept coming back as the number one cause.  I have been feeding a livestock loose mineral ever since getting the goats for our farm.  But after reading the label (we need to read labels on our animal feed as well as human feed!) I saw that the copper amount was not high enough.  Many of the websites I looked at were mentioning adding an additional copper supplement in the form of a copper bolus.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we introduced a new goat, Mocha, 
onto our farm and within a couple of weeks I noticed her coat color changed from a chocolate brown to a rust brown.  Another symptom is "fish tail" where the fur isn't growing on the tail so that it resembles a fish tail.  These are both symptoms of copper deficiency.  In order to administer the copper bolus I was going to need to figure out how much each goat weighed.

Using a soft, pliable tape measurer, measure the heart girth and the length of the goat. Heart girth is measured by wrapping the tape around the goat starting just behind the withers on top and just behind the elbow on the bottom.

Length is measured from the point of the shoulder to the pin bone on one side of the goat.   The pin bone is the bone right under the tail. Using Doug as my model in the picture below, you can see where to place the tape measurer.

Using these measurements in inches, put them into this calculation:

(Heart girth X Hearth girth X Length) / 300 = Weight (lbs)

Using Doug as the example, his HG or heart girth was 25, his Length was 22, so my calculation was:

(25 x 25 x 22 /300) = 45 lbs.

Once you have calculated their weight be sure to record that amount in your homestead journal. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

My "I ams"

Being 48 this year doesn't seem so young anymore.  In the eyes of many, I'm still not old, but my days of being able to remember who I am seem to be a bit more foggy.  So, I write this for my children and my grandchildren to know my "I ams."   This is more than a journal, a simple written recount of my days.    It's who I am and who I've become and possibly who I want to be in the days to come.

I'll go first and then I want you to go.  Find a piece of paper, a notebook or a journal and a pencil and begin to write it down.  You don't need to be a writer to tell who you are, because only you really know.  Only you can say what God has placed in your heart.

So here goes.  Me - I am from Hawaii, Honolulu to be exact.  Everyone is always amazed to meet someone who was actually born in Hawaii.  I am from a family of 4 - just me and my sister and our parents.  I am from a sister who loves animals more than herself.  I am from a mother who is a creative spirit whom I know I get my creative persuasion from.  I am from a father who told me that to be successful in life I had to work at it and always strive to be the best I could be. Most days I feel confident saying that I've done that.

We moved to Northern California when I was 7, a second grader.  I am a girl from a small town, countryside cow-raising community.  But, we never owned any farm animals when I was growing up.  I was an outsider looking in on families who had lived in my community for generation after generation.  I am from a rural town, small house off of main street, girl who left for college just shortly after high school graduation; and never looked back.

Until. . . .

Fast forward to today.  I am married to my best friend, a man whom I could not live without.  I am mother to five, step mother to two, absolutely in love with all of my children.  I am a woman who stepped away from a 9 to 5, college educated, accounting degree career to be just a mom.    I am a woman who if you had told me in high school I would have seven children, I would have laughed!  I am in love with the privilege to raise these blessings from God.  I am the holder of tiny hands and sweet smiles that greet me every morning.  I am the listener to many late night teen discussions.  I am a grandmother to 5 beautiful little ones.

I am a homeschooling, unit studying, somewhat structured schooling mom.  I have been homeschooling for 14 years.  I am an avid collector (hoarder) of books and homeschool curriculum.  I love the freedom that homeschooling has allowed our family.  I am enjoying watching the fruits of my instruction.

I am one of God's children.  I am in awe of my relationship with Jesus.  I am in constant surrender of my life to the one who chose me out of the depths of sin that I was wallowing in.  I am in Scripture daily to rule my life and give me hope and guidance.

I am an avid seamstress, but I don't love to sew clothing.  I am into sewing quilts and things of burlap and occasionally mending something that has been ripped, torn or holey.  I am living on a one acre homestead which is back in my home town.  I am living the dream life that I had prayed for many years.  Home to a big wild garden with an abundance of green beans and pumpkins every year, especially zucchini.  But don't ask my children if that is a good thing!   I am a lover of digging in dirt and squishing it between my fingers.  I am a lover of animals, especially chickens and goats and maybe just maybe ducks.  I am a crazy chicken lady to some, others just love our eggs.   I am from a kitchen full of cast iron and a fear of cooking.     I am from a precise recipe following, by the book kind of cooking.   I am better at doing dishes than cooking.

I am from a family run, tractor loving, tractor selling, John Deere business, but I'll be the first to admit that I don't know how to exactly drive a tractor.  I am not a fan of green, as most would think, but rather red has always been my favorite color.

I am from a giant pile of journals that are stashed in my nightstand table.  I am from a blog called "My Precious Peas" which is all about our family.  I am from several book shelves of informational educational books  - and yes, even the collection of Love Comes Softly series.  I am a youtube watching, Hallmark movies, Justin Rhodes and Weed 'Em and Reap farming vlogs.

I am embarking on a new adventure - hobby business.  I love "repurposing" my extra goat milk into soaps and lotions to bless those who suffer from really dry skin or just want really, really good soap.  I am into selling our eggs by our roadside stand and am okay having that stand be a landmark that people use to figure out where we live.  I am looking forward to the next leg of my journey, older homeschooled children, extra hands to help with the daily tasks of farm living, never anymore quiet time, but more connecting time with teens and tweens and lastly more date nights with my hubby.

Your turn!  Take some time today to record your "I ams" for your family.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Sometimes life on a farm isn't all glamor and glitz.  Goat drama can occur just as easily as human drama and it can be as emotionally stressful.  I am no expert on goats and am still learning on a daily basis.  You just never know when you turn that corner of learning and something new is thrown into your hat.

Last week our little Nigerian buck, Doug, broke off his horn. Night fell, the normal routine followed.  All animals are taken care of and then the kids brought in our dog, Kevin, who was out in the field with our buck, Doug. Hannah exclaimed that Kevin was covered in blood but it wasn't coming from him.

So, George and I rushed back out to the goat shed to check out the goats. Down the row George and I walked. Luna check, Mocha check, and then George said, "Mom look at Doug's head." There was blood everywhere, all over his head and dripping down his cheek.  If I hadn't known better, it was an image straight out of a horror movie, one which I didn't want to watch.

Our shed does not typically have power running to it, unless I run an extension cord out there.  It just so happened that the power cord was still hooked up so I did have a little light to assess the bleeding.  I did the best I could to clean him up and put pressure on the bleeding to stop it. I sprayed his head with antiseptic spray and left the rest in God's hand to stop the bleeding by morning. Once inside the house, I consulted Webveterinarian and it was not comforting.  While he probably just broke off his spur that had grown in since he was a kid, the article said he actually could have fractured his skull.  To which he needed immediate vet care.  I said another prayer, and again left my animal's health in the hands of the Lord. 

The next morning Doug was still a little bloody, so we kept him inside in his stall for a couple of days.  He got a round of antibiotics and a tetanus shot and by day three he was back to normal head butting his BFF, Kevin our Great Pyrenees dog.

Crisis averted.  A win for this ever learning goat enthusiast.