We stood in awe and watched the line of pouring rain come toward us. After a few moments of drenching, we made our way to the tool shed. The sheep shed needs it's roof.
Alita must be a very smart goat :). At milking time today, I opened the gate and she nearly knocked me down, trotting to the milking room and jumping on to the stanchion. She stuck her head right into the grain bucket and stood still, allowing me to milk with two hands. Her udder was full and obviously needed milking. We quickly obtained 16 ounces of milk, and not one time did she stick her hoof in the bucket. I think we are getting the hang of this...
The bucklings are now 9 weeks old and eating hay and grain in addition to the milk they get from Alita. One of them, the boy with the smaller black ears, was wethered a few weeks ago. Yesterday, he went to live at a new home. This means, with only one kid left who is getting near time to wean, it is time to start milking... All along this has been a scary thought. Not because I'm afraid to try it, but because of the time commitment and uncertainty of how it will fit with my current inconvenient living situation. My choices at this point are limited. I could sell her as a doe in milk, let her dry off and know she will be ruined as a dairy goat, or try to make it work. Since I really don't want to sell her, and I have committed myself so far, I have to give it a shot.
The first attempt was a pitiful failure. Alita was not happy about the situation and would not stand still. She kept kicking her feet and a few times got her foot in the bucket. I finally figured out I had to hold her back hooves with one hand and milk with the other. It was a bit awkward. About as much was on my jeans and the floor as was in the bucket.
After all that work it seemed shameful to let it go to waste, so Yeller kitty enjoyed a bowl of milk followed by a nap.
Today went slightly better than yesterday. I still had to hold her feet, but used a mason jar instead of the bucket so she had a smaller target. Since I could only use one hand, she ate faster than I could milk . When the grain was gone she became restless and tried to wiggle her head out of the stanchion. This time, we managed to get about a cup in the jar, and much less on my jeans. It wasn't great, but it was progress.
The past 24 hours has probably been the worst I have experienced in this farming adventure. It is hard to talk about, so I will be brief. Tuesday afternoon when I picked Scout up, he was not recovering well from the anesthesia. He could hardly walk, and on the way home urinated all over the back of my SUV. Once home, I offered water, but he wouldn't drink. He did manage to walk up the hill to the goat barn where he lived. Vet instructions were to keep him clean and dry for several days. I put him in the barn in a 14 X 16 section that was enclosed but well ventilated. with food and water for the night. The next day when I went to check on him, he was unconscious and having tremors. Fearing heat stroke (although the weather was 77 degrees and rainy outside) I put water on him to cool his body. He was breathing but not responsive. Within a short time, he was gone. Perhaps it was adverse effect to the anesthesia, or, perhaps something else was going on. I have learned too late that these dogs are very sensitive to anesthesia. RIP Scout. He had a short but happy life, and will never again be confined by fences.
Scout and his brother Jako went for a trip to the vet today. Both of them are now officially "neutral." Neither of them were very happy about it, but they were both good boys and didn't completely destroy my truck.
Scout has been spending his time back at the goat barn, sleeping under it by day, and locked in it by night. No regular fencing will keep him in. He will have a few days to recover from surgery in the barn, and then will go to a new fenced area with high power electric. Hopefully that will do the trick and he can get back to his job of protecting the livestock. According to experts, he is experiencing his adolescence and we have to break this escaping mischief immediately or it will become a permanent habit. These dogs are not completely mature until about age 2. At least that's better than my human kids, who I anticipate will mature at somewhere around 30.
Neutering may help. If he continues to escape, he won't know why and may not wander looking for a girlfriend. Electric fencing is supposed to be the answer. His official weight today was 100 pounds. He still has a little growing to do.
My name is Christy Franklin.