Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Mighty Mite and More Milk Tests

They say 'Rome was not built in a day,' and neither was a dairy farm.
The junior herd


Well, no one said farm life was easy, and that certainly holds true when it comes to maintaining does and keeping their milk capacity where you want it to be. We're small, so we haven't had many does freshen this year--only seven, in fact. We've still had our fair share of the fun with those thus far. Sometimes I can't even imagine doing this on a large scale, but I guess if it was my only job, and I had some additional help, it might be a little easier.

So far this kidding season--

First, because of the long winter and plenty of time spent by does in the barn, where we deep pile our hay for extra warmth, we had an issue with mites. I've seen the critters before, but this year was the worst ever! This is a new barn and much larger than the other barn, so I have to say I was a bit surprised, but then again, this winter was colder than the norm with several bouts of ice and snow. I'm thinking this had something to do with it. I noticed some 'dandruff' and a bit of scaly skin in a few of the does, especially those who were pregnant, so I treated what I knew was mites and/or lice. I thought I'd had it all taken care of. I was wrong.


A few of the girls developed a few 'bumps' or papules with the mites--mainly a couple of the does I was milking, and this might have been demodectic mange. According to Justin Talley and Dave Sparks, D.V.M, these papules contain more mites, are often found on the face, neck, and axillary regions, along with the udder, and can infect other animals:


The goat follicle mite causes dermal papules and nodules [sic] and this resulting condition is known as demodectic mange in goats. These papules or nodules are caused by hair follicles or gland ducts becoming obstructed and producing these swellings, trapping the mites within these lesions. These continue to enlarge as the mites multiply, sometimes reaching several thousand mites per lesion... Nodules can rupture and exude mites [transmitting to the other animals]. "External Parasites"

Dairy and pregnant/nursing animals seem to be particularly susceptible to the mites. I deduce it is because kids are nursing, we clip the udders (possibly with infected clippers), and udders can be exposed to more skin irritants hand/machine milking. This type of mange isn't the only threat! Another form of infection, chorioptic mange, also has similar symptoms with "formation of raised pustules on the skin, crusting, hair loss, reddening of the skin and eventually ulceration. These signs are first seen on the lower limbs, scrotum, udder and between the thighs. Rubbing and scratching is common" (Hutchens "Enough to Make"). Staphylococcal dermatitis--a secondary bacterial infection, often follows the infestation due to scratching, etc.

Some sources, including some discussion boards, say to 'pop' the papules (whether 'mange' papules or staph infection) since some do contain a pus-like substance. However, after witnessing the results, I do not suggest doing this. From my own experience, I noticed that those that had papules that I 'popped' tended to develop a much worse infection than the others; the action seemed to spread the infection, so I stopped popping and only treated. When left alone, the lesions seemed to scab over and heal very fast.

I try to treat holistically when at all possible; if natural medicine is not working, I refuse to watch an animal suffer, and I will treat with antibiotics and other medications, if necessary. I used lime and DE on the barn along with manuka oil, tea tree oil, and garlic on everyone. I also treated some with lime sulphur dip, which was recommended at a 4X treatment over a month long period by Hutchens ("Enough to Make"). However, one treatment of lime dip in addition to the tea tree and manuka oil seemed to actually clear up the problem. I did clip hair on those showing evidence of major infestation. Everyone cleared up fine with these treatments EXCEPT two does who seemed to have an allergy, perhaps, to the treatments. They did not respond well to the oils, and both worsened with lime dip and had more break outs. One really had an 'itchy' result on her udder and stomach area with many papules. Worried that this was a resultant irritation from the treatment itself, I did go ahead and use some Pen-G [for secondary bacterial infection, which was a probability], Chlorhexidine scrub [to destroy bacteria, fungus, etc], and topical antibacterial cream on these two does; this had immediate results--within 3 - 4 days, so it is very probable that the resultant irritation was probably due to secondary bacterial infection--possibly staphylococcal dermatitis. Thankfully, the whole herd is doing well now and recovering from winter's latent wrath. I did want to share my research and results in hopes that anyone else who is struggling can find some solace and aid with the problem.

*NOTE: I did treat with injectable Ivermectin when results seemed 'slow.' It was completely ineffective, and it seems to be noted that it often is when dealing with specific mites. I saw no changes whatsoever --even in a week's time, which should have been more than long enough for mite die-off. The key for removal seems to be killing, repelling, disinfecting, and treating secondary infection.

The keys to treatment:
1) Clean the barn-- keep it dry and destroy all infected bedding (burning is best)
2) Treat sleeping premises (I used lime and DE)
3) Treat ALL animals  (see articles and choose your own method according to your herd management beliefs)

Milk Test Results so far 

No one ever explains (before you go on test) that all of those 'little things' that drop production in your animals don't mean a thing when you are on test. While heats, illnesses, etc, are noted in CAR codes on DHIR tests as abnormalities, this doesn't change the overall results. One illness or low milk day (for any reason--even the weather!) can be enough to knock your animal out of the running for their star even if they are an excellent milker the rest of the time.

Bella --With all of the issues with the mites, we've had production drop some. I've sold Bella's kid, and with my work load, secondary bacterial infection from the mites, and issues with my carpal tunnel, her production has fell from her whopping 6.6 lbs a day to about 1/2 that. She is 4-00 with production at 43 lbs of fat, 30 lbs of protein, and projected production of milk lbs = 812 at this point in lactation (77 days). This has began climbing again with her infection clearing up, so I hope this amount does go up. She 'should' earn her star.

Sunnee -- Sunnee is doing well on test. She will be 'close' simply because I've had a lot on my plate and haven't milked exactly on schedule a few times, throwing her weights off a bit. I will make another post later with her weights.

Palabra -- Palabra is for sale for $350. She is on target to earn her star. The only reason I have her for sale is because 1) I own her mom; 2) I am retaining her daughter; 3) I also have several half-sisters. 

Acorn -- for sale for $400. Acorn will probably not earn her star, BUT it is NOT her fault. It's her nieces fault, in addition to the mite issue, which reduced her production after the first test. Her numbers were going to be close, but then on the last test, Pistachio, her niece, escaped (you know the type--able to leap tall buildings in a single bound) from the pen on milk test morning and emptied her udder before the test! This ruined the morning test. She would have had over 3 lbs for the day, but instead only had about 1.5 for the whole day, partly because she likes to feed her kid, Karuka, through the fence. She's impossible to get a good milk weight on unless you have a very good way to separate her from anyone who wants to eat. :) 

Palisade -- Kidded on Mother's day, so she will be on the next test. She already has her milk stars. 2*D 5*M 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First day of DHIR ... WHEW! And Hooray!

So Firestone Creek Farm had its first DHIR milk test on March 21. Anyone who knows milk testing rules will know that does are judged by their age (in years and months) and by how many pounds of milk they produce in a 24 hour period, in addition to the protein and butterfat content of the milk. Several of my girls tested haven't freshened many times because--well, I've had them since 2010, and the year that my late husband passed away, 2011, Firestone Creek did not breed many goats for 2011 or 2012 kiddings. We had a few (like Palabra), but breeding stalled at that time, so some of the girls--Bella and Sunnee, weren't bred or freshened until they were a bit older. This means it is more of a 'feat' for them to catch up with girls of their age that have freshened more times and therefore have more capacity. No matter, they did it! I'm proud of them!

We tested three does, those to kid thus far, which means we tested:

  • NC PromisedLand Z Bella
  • On Firestone Creek HWD Lil Acorn
  • On Firestone Creek Sunnee Day 
On Firestone Creek Palabra and On Firestone Creek Palisade will be added to this list when they kid (Palabra, this week; Palisade, in May;)

Results thus far:

Side udder 2 weeks fresh
NC PromisedLand Z Bella

Sire: NC Promisedland RC Zohan *S
Dam:  NC Promisedland L Zodiac *M  

This is Bella's second freshening, and she was 4 weeks fresh on test day.

First milking 3.3 lbs
Rear udder 2 weeks fresh;
it's a bit lopsided from
 2 kids nursing unequally
Second milking 3.3 lbs

6.6 lbs total 
Bella is 4.1 yrs old and a spoiled brat. She loves the milkstand, mainly because there's food there.

Woohoo! So proud of you my Bella-Boo! :) 
________________________________

Rear udder 3 days fresh
On Firestone Creek Sunnee Day 

Sire: Rosasharn HNC Uproar +*S
Dam: Anbonjo SS Spun Gold

This is Sunnee's second freshening; she was 1 week and 1 day fresh on test day.

AM milking: 1.4 lbs
             PM milking: 1.6 lbs
side udder 3 days fresh





Total: 3 lbs 
She is measured at 3.4 yrs old.

Not too shabby for a little girl that is only 1 week fresh! :) I would like to see more rear udder height, but she has developed more since this photo was taken and her milk supply has really started coming in. Sunnee is a sweetheart, very refined, and well-loved around here.


_______________________________________

On Firestone Creek Lil Acorn

Sire: Gateway Hollywood Nights
Dam:  Plum Rotten BC Lady Ophelia

This is Acorn's third freshening, and poor girl, she still did really good on test day considering that her 4 week old daughter still got to her, nursed through the fence, and made her a bit lopsided for the test. She's been nursing her niece, too, who is almost a year old! I had to pen her up to keep her away from Auntie Acorn. 

This is Acorn's third freshening, and she was almost 5 weeks fresh on test day. 

AM milking: 2.0 lbs
PM milking: 2.1 lbs

Total: 4.1 lbs 
She is measured at 4.2 yrs old. 
____________________________________

So far all of the girls met their goals for a one day test when it comes to weights, so we'll see how they do on the protein and butterfat when it comes back! 

Now I am off to the barn to check on Palabra, who is about to freshen any day now. Cross your fingers for girls! :) 

Angie

Monday, February 24, 2014

More babies and another update to the Sniff Test!

Panama and her new babies
Hi all! So we have more babies this morning! Kuka kidded with twin bucklings, and then Panama followed about 10 minutes behind her with triplets. I was racing from one pen to the next, trying to help out. Lots of fun!! And now I can update The Sniff Test further, and the results aren't looking too great, everyone. See the new additions to the chart below.

To summarize the current results in the table, we are having a 'buck' year so far--lots of 'blue.' Out of 8 kids, we only have 2 doelings so far. We are finished kidding until mid-March when Palabra and Sunnee deliver first, and then we will be waiting again until early summer for Palisade to kid. At this moment though, it seems that the sniff test is not a reliable way to predict kidding. Actually, the results seem to be about 50/50; Acorn's smell was correct, as was Panama's. However, Bella and Kuka's results were contrary to their 'smell.' I'd say that so far the Sniff Test works half of the time. I guess we'll see if the results continue to fit this percentage as the season progresses. 



Table 1. The Sniff Chart

Doe (Dam)Buck (Sire)Smell / Gestation time# of doelings/bucklings
Muddy Creek B2 PanamaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Panama's head smells 'bucky' on 2/14; she is due on 2/21. She is pregnant with multiples--looks like three or more. She has a history of having bucklings, so maybe there is a doeling or two in there.1/2
Kidded on Feb 24th with one small doeling and two bucklings, one on the big side! She did have a bucky smell, so I'd say this one was a 'positive.'
On Firestone Creek HWD AcornOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Acorn smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings. She looks like she may be pregnant with one or two kids.Well, she smelled like hay, and she had one doeling, so we are at 100% right now! :) 
NC PromisedLand Z BellaOn Firestone Creek HWD Bo PeepsBella smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings.Bella kidded 2/22 with TWO bucklings. So this is 100% contrary to how she smelled, which was like hay with no bucky smell at all! I'd say this is -100%
On Firestone Creek Palisade 2*M 5*D*B NC PromisedLand RB Bolero *S On 2/14 Palisade smelled a little bucky. She is not due until 5/15. She has a history of twins and triplets; the triplets are usually bucklings and doelings.
On Firestone Creek BJ KukarabishaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
On 2/14 Kuka smelled like hay. She is due on 2/20.Argh! Kuka smelled like hay but delivered two healthy bucklings on 2/24. This result is another negative--strong one, just like Bella.
On Firestone Creek R PalabraProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *SOn 2/14, Palabra smelled a little bucky. Due on 3/13.
On Firestone Creek UP Sunnee DayProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *S Will smell again next week. She could tell I was up to something and didn't want to be sniffed. Perhaps she thought I was going to nibble her or make her wear deodorant. Who knows! :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sniff test update! Bella kidded

Well, just a quick post to update the sniff test. Before today, we were at 100% correct when it came to 'hay' smell, but now we are 200% to the contrary. Actually it's more like 1:2 I guess since Bella kidded with two bucklings about an hour ago. She smelled like hay, too! Does this prove the theory wrong? It would seem so, but we'll gather all results just to see what happens. 

Corrected table below. Kuka is in the kidding pen, so more results shortly. :) 

Table 1. The Sniff Chart
Doe (Dam)Buck (Sire)Smell / Gestation time# of doelings/bucklings
Muddy Creek B2 PanamaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Panama's head smells 'bucky' on 2/14; she is due on 2/21. She is pregnant with multiples--looks like three or more. She has a history of having bucklings, so maybe there is a doeling or two in there.
On Firestone Creek HWD AcornOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Acorn smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings. She looks like she may be pregnant with one or two kids.Well, she smelled like hay, and she had one doeling, so we are at 100% right now! :) 
NC PromisedLand Z BellaOn Firestone Creek HWD Bo PeepsBella smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings.Bella kidded 2/22 with TWO bucklings. So this is 100% contrary to how she smelled, which was like hay with no bucky smell at all! I'd say this is -100%
On Firestone Creek Palisade 2*M 5*D*B NC PromisedLand RB Bolero *S On 2/14 Palisade smelled a little bucky. She is not due until 5/15. She has a history of twins and triplets; the triplets are usually bucklings and doelings.
On Firestone Creek BJ KukarabishaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
On 2/14 Kuka smelled like hay. She is due on 2/20.
On Firestone Creek R PalabraProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *SOn 2/14, Palabra smelled a little bucky. Due on 3/13.
On Firestone Creek UP Sunnee DayProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *S Will smell again next week. She could tell I was up to something and didn't want to be sniffed. Perhaps she thought I was going to nibble her or make her wear deodorant. Who knows! :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Standlee Alfalfa... GMO or Non-GMO? Which do you prefer?



When you want this...
to make this... 

Do you prefer non-GMO (no genetic modification) to GMO? I belong to a group on Facebook that uses only natural products, and of course, a conversation struck up recently about GMO (genetically modified) and non-GMO products for goats, including alfalfa, which is a staple for people with dairy goats. Alfalfa offers extra protein and fiber and helps to boost milk production in does. It is a necessity.

I usually purchase my alfalfa pellets and compressed hay from Standlee Forage until I realized they were selling GMO alfalfa. I would prefer to find another source OR in this case, encourage Standlee to return to non-GMO or at least offer non-GMO products. Genetically modified products require engineering, so this cost is passed on to the customer. I just want natural products to feed to my animals, minus the extra cost and who knows what side effects to my animals. :) How about you? 

Want to share your opinion?

Someone on the Totally Natural Goats forum added the following info, and so as many people as possible can vote on this, I decided to pass it on:


Standlee has created a Forage/Feed Survey and would like your feedback regarding what animals you feed, what products you feed and your standpoint regarding feeding GMO (genetically-modified) products. 


Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/standleefeedsurvey to start the short survey.

We thank you for your time and appreciate your input.


So everyone, please dive in and vote! (PS and we shouldn't have to pay more for a 'natural' product than one that has been engineered.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Firestone Creek HWD Acorn kids with a single doeling: SNIFF CHART UPDATE

DRUMROLL, PLEASE!!!

15 minutes old

The Kidding Season is Underway! 

Acorn kidded with a beautiful doeling that is black with extensive white overlay. She has blue eyes like mom, and she looks like she is wearing eye liner--adorable! Her name is Karuka. As of right now, she is being retained, but if you are interested, contact me. As the kidding season progresses, I may be persuaded to sell her. I can't keep them all even if I want to!


Update to The Sniff Chart! :) 


Table 1. The Sniff Chart
Doe (Dam)Buck (Sire)Smell / Gestation time# of doelings/bucklings
Muddy Creek B2 PanamaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Panama's head smells 'bucky' on 2/14; she is due on 2/21. She is pregnant with multiples--looks like three or more. She has a history of having bucklings, so maybe there is a doeling or two in there.
On Firestone Creek HWD AcornOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
Acorn smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings. She looks like she may be pregnant with one or two kids.Well, she smelled like hay, and she had one doeling, so we are at 100% right now! :) 
NC PromisedLand Z BellaOn Firestone Creek HWD Bo PeepsBella smelled like hay on 2/14; she is due on 2/15. She has a history of having doelings.
On Firestone Creek Palisade 2*M 5*D*B NC PromisedLand RB Bolero *S On 2/14 Palisade smelled a little bucky. She is not due until 5/15. She has a history of twins and triplets; the triplets are usually bucklings and doelings.
On Firestone Creek BJ KukarabishaOn Firestone Creek AA Mesa
(history of producing high % of doelings)
On 2/14 Kuka smelled like hay. She is due on 2/20.
On Firestone Creek R PalabraProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *SOn 2/14, Palabra smelled a little bucky. Due on 3/13.
On Firestone Creek UP Sunnee DayProctor Hill Farm B Cuervo Gold *S Will smell again next week. She could tell I was up to something and didn't want to be sniffed. Perhaps she thought I was going to nibble her or make her wear deodorant. Who knows! :)

Copyright 2014

Silkichins -- Hatching eggs now available for reservation!

Blue Silkichin with splash, black and white chicks

It's Chick Time

Spring is on its way, and our hens are laying quite a few eggs now even with the cold weather persisting. We are now taking reservations for shipping hatching eggs. At this time, we do not ship chicks, but we do ship eggs, so now is the best time to reserve some for the incubator. I will begin shipping as soon as the weather is warm enough to not 'chill' eggs and kill chicks. Keep in mind that I do not ship when it gets super hot either because that can start baking the chicks early and cause developmental problems. 

Hatch rate on my chicks is usually about 99.5%. Generally all eggs hatch, but occasionally, I end up with one that semi-hatches or doesn't hatch. I take special care with storage of eggs and ship eggs that are as fresh as possible. I also pack eggs very carefully in material that allows them to 'breathe' but that still cushions them well. Believe it or not, I've never had a broken egg. In any case, I usually send a few extras if they are available. 

Colors 

I do not sort eggs. You may receive any of the following:

  • blue
  • lavender
  • splash
  • black
  • partridge
  • splash split to partridge
Most will be bearded; I prefer these and cull for them. There are some that are non-bearded occasionally, so I cannot guarantee that they will all be bearded or colors that you will receive.


If you are interested in Silkichin eggs for hatching, you can contact me via our website or on our Silkichin page of Facebook: Silkichins on Facebook for pricing.