Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Two projects that were total failures.

If you've been reading for a while then you know that I like to to do "Winners and Losers" and talk about projects that worked... and those that didn't. I always said that I'd tell you The Truth About Farming and this is all just part of it.

This is our best goat. Honestly.

I've had two projects this summer that were total failures. Complete failures. Total, abject failures. F-. Dang.

First, my home made hay project is a total fail this year. I got half a good cutting and then... nothing. I loved my home made hay so much last year. It was so productive! It totally worked! Everyone loved it and I saved so much money. And now.... F-. I probably need to just mow the whole thing off, overseed, and try again for next year. That is my plan.

I knew that my bad soil was iffy... but I really thought it would do OK. But I don't think I fertilized it enough. I did not listen to you-know-who-you-are when you said to apply some potash. So my hay sucks.This is part of the reason that I had to go and get hay the other day. 

Daisy. Not a failure and safe from the auction block.

The second complete failure.... keeping the goat babies from this year for meat. Remember when we butchered a goat and it was terrific? And all I dreamed about all summer has been cabrito? Yeah. F-. The first goat loss was a complete shock and a surprise. So it was even worse when we lost a second one the other day.

To be honest the goats have been fraught with problems this entire season. I cannot believe that I'm typing the words, "at this point Dahli is our best goat."  I don't like her at all but she is milking like a demon, is as sleek as a seal, and free ranges like a pro.

I am not a goat "lover." If anything I have been a goat "liker"..... but at this point I'm a goat "tolerater." There is a million things that can go wrong when you own goats and we have been lucky enough not to have any of them happen. Until now. When it rains, it pours goat woes.

I have no idea what changed.... other than we have more goats now. I don't think that overcrowding is an issue tho because we are using the goat house and both sides of the Turkey House as over night quarters. And they are spending a lot of time roaming around, free ranging while I sit, annoyed, shepherding them as I silently make up my list of "1,000 Reasons Why Dogs Are Better than Goats."  The first reason, obviously, is that a shoulder mounted Malinois is a thing of beauty and power.  Carrying a goat on your shoulder is just ridiculous.

But back to our second loss.

To tell you the truth, that guy was not doing well. We had already treated him for urinary calculi - which he responded well to and he very quickly seemed to bounce back. So we thought he was OK. But then we weren't sure. He didn't have any symptoms... just seemed a little "off."

Fortunately for me, shortly after the first goat loss a couple folks suggested cocci. I immediately dismissed the first person's diagnosis as he is known to be of ill-repute and once suggested I was a communist.

The second person was much more learned and provided me with some great information on "sub clinical" instances of cocci. This launched me into a whole new path of investigation. Unfortunately the treatment was not successful and the little goat succumbed. The remaining goaties are doing well tho. I'm completing their course of treatment over the next couple of days.

At this point, tho, this project is still a total loss. We don't want to butcher a diseased animal or one that has been pumped so full of chemicals. The whole thing is enough to make you hat-throwing mad.

So what do you do?

As always, the best you can. Onward and upward. Solve the problems that you can. Deal with the fallout of the problems you can't. Take your loss. Learn from your mistakes. Keep moving forward. That is all any of us can do.

On the upside, Nibbles recovered from her pink eye and she looks terrific. She is back with the herd and complaining daily about "those other bitches." Debbie also recovered very quickly after she was wormed. The better hay did wonders for her milk production and she looks lovely. Dahli is, as I said earlier...and I choke these words out... our best goat. And Daisy is going to be a superstar milker next year. She looks beautiful. She free ranges. And she is a good milker.

Darla is going to the auction as soon as my husband gets his next day off from work. She is not a good milker, is not a good producer, and was not a good mother. Plus she is a screamer. The first time she screeched at the top of her lungs that "those other goats are getting all the good snacks" was the day she committed herself to the auction block. Now she does it every single nite. Every.Single.Night. I can tolerate a lot from these silly goats but with three strikes, and all that screaming, she is out.

That's the goat round up here. Today is going to be a better day. I just know it.

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have goat woes? Did the cocci get your goat?


Vera said...

On the subject of hay! Lester opened one of the bags of hay yesterday and found it to had fallen to pieces like straw tends to. Hopefully the rest of the bags will be of a better quality, otherwise all the work we did last spring would have been wasted. We cut by tractor, then do the rest by hand. It is a long, long job, as well you know, so I do have much sympathy about your disappointment with your hay yield.

On the subject of goats! We, too, have had little success with our goats this year. After reading your info about cocci it is possible that we did lose a couple of young goats to this problem, although we were lax with worming, so that could have also added to their deaths. Due to other things happeneing, we now only have two castrated male goats, which are going into the freezer, and two females. Lester does not want to 'do' goats any more, finding them an absolute nuisance to handle, but I think we should keep one or two, but not these females as they do not give much milk. There is a goat farm nearby which has Nubians, so I am thinking about getting a couple of youngsters from them, which would just be for drinking milk, although Lester is probably not going to let me now that we have a milking cow.

As for that dreadful screaming. We put a female goat down because of the scream she kept making whenever we tried to handle her. We are not sorry that we did. It was a dreadful sound, and gave us nightmares.

So, all in all, dearest OhioFarmGirl, we are in the same boat as you, with not having a whole of success with the hay, and our Goat Project probably suffering from a terminal decline. So, well done you for persevering with your goats, and well done you for being bold enough to write an honest blog, and letting everyone know that homesteading life is a wonderful lifestyle to have, but it is fraught with difficulties, and that one has to be a tough person to keep on the pathway. Vx

Heavens Door Acres said...

We have had our "goat woes" this year, enough to almost want to sell out! First, my best gal aborted what looked to be a full term buckling. I didn't even know she was pregnant! She didn't get fat...didn't "bag up" just dropped a little buckling on the ground cried, and walked away. Then another goat went blind! Not sure yet.. could be Goat Polio, Could be Listeriosis,(sp.?)Could have been a blow to the head. We are treating for Listeriosis, and waiting to see if she gets her sight back, if not..... then I walked into the girls pen, to find a pool of fresh red blood on the mineral block. No injuries, no bleeding from either "end" , no blood in the bedding. Just on the mineral block! A mystery for sure. So that is our 3 strikes... I just may " be out" Holding on for a few ore weeks... before I make the final decision.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Vera, thank you so much for the support. And yes we are in the same boat. I'm about to write a post called, "You dont have to like goats." Thank you again for your friendship - I always appreciate your comments. :-)

HDA - yep when it rains it pours. I'd dose up that blind goatie with B1 (you can use the regular human tables from the store) and give it a go. Goats always are a mystery and there is always something happening. Yay us for being in this together! *gives hugs*

David said...

A bad day with goats is still better than a good day at the office. Or not. Sorry to hear of the struggles, but you face it with grace n grit. Onwards!

Carolyn said...

Oh, the screaming goats. I have had it up to HERE with screaming goats. I keep telling myself that once Pickles (the queen of screem) pops out one more kid, she's going into the freezer. I'd sell her at the auction, but I wouldn't wish that evil upon anyone else. Unless I can think of somebody I really, really despise, then I'll sell her to them.
This spring was the absolute worst goat year we've ever had. Gored udder (and subsequently lost udder), goat almost died, two stillborns, one died of hypothermia, one born with a "wonky" eye, one born with leg problems and one born that wasn't so much a boer goat (like we were told it would be). This would be the year to get OUT of goats. But if you can manage to keep on keeping on, I dare say that it can't get any worse. Right? Right?!?
Please, oh gawd, please.

Unknown said...

Sorry about your goats :( it really does make you wonder why you bother when your end up with more deadstock than livestock.... All I can say is look up that Pay Coleby Natural Goat Care book and get your soil minerals tested. I have the cattle version of the book, and I kept thinking, "why's she talking about soil minerals? this is supposed to be about cows!", but then I realised, if you get the minerals right, your animals are healthier automatically. Our goat neighbours swear by it. Hang in there, at least you have Dahlia! I can't say things are much better at our place, no deadstock lately, but Bella the cow pretended to be pregnant, and now it turns out she's just fat, she's looking very smug and shiny, meanwhile not giving us a calf or any milk!

Farmer Jane said...

Down here in the sticks (tn) many people are having same kind of goat woo's. Guess its another thing no one told me about- just like some years are good in the garden and others not so much and animals have the same kind of cycling.

Glad to know were not the only ones who have goaties who aspire to one day rise to scream queen gory glory of the Texas chain saw massacre vintage!!!
Dont know which is worse screaming goats or one that chases trucks. We had one that would climb the fence and run down the driveway screaming Baaaa-woof everytime he heard the UPS truck rattling down the gravel road!

Face it with grace, grit and earplugs i suppose!

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