Oak Hill goat videos


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Holidays!

2010 has been a great year.

We had a succesful kidding season with several first-time moms producing lovely kids. Doelings and whethers went to several farms in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Our holiday contest winner from December 2009 took home 2 lovely whethers - congratulations Dianne!

7 Fainting Acres Gandalf joined our buck herd from down south.

We experimented with hay feeders and hay racks and came up with some goat-safe economical designs.

All our goats came through the year in good health, with no major illnesses & no vet bills.

The blog and eNewsletter were born and continue to grow. The website evolved & we added shopping options and more details on the breeding stock.

We watched & learned at a sanctioned show in Reading, Pennsylvania.  We plan to show there in 2011.

Our goats discovered that horses enjoy making them faint. Many thanks to my hubby's horse Foster for pulling this prank safely!

Our Facebook following grew to more than 300!  I appreciate all of you who helped make that happen!

Holiday Special 2 whethers for $110!

Buy a gift certificate in December for 2 whethers and pay only $110 - you save at least $40, more if the whethers have blue eyes! You must pay the full $110 in December to receive this special price. A limited number of whethers will be presold. All other terms of the application and sales contract apply. If the application is denied, the $110 is refunded. Offer only open to Oak Hill newsletter subscribers.  You can sign up for the eNewsletter anytime in December to be eligible for the whether sale.

With cold weather upon us...
I found plans online to build solar stock tank heaters from simple materials you can get at any hardware store.  http://www.motherearthnews.com/do-it-yourself/solar-stock-tank-z10m0gri.aspx
These plans are for a full-size stock tank. The plans should be adaptable to smaller goat stock tanks or even water buckets. I plan to build some in 2011 and will post the results.

Thank you for being part of our farm! Have a fantastic holiday and Happy New Year!

Carrie & the goat herd

Monday, November 8, 2010

Surviving Rhododendron poisoning

Last year the goats escaped and got into the rhododendrons. While the entire herd munched leaves and buds, only 2 got sick. They were vomiting green frothy foam and could not keep down any sort of food, or water. Both goats survived the experience, and were normal within 48 hours. I handled the poisoning by syringing a mixture of Dynamite Miracle Clay (montmorillonite clay), activated charcoal, Dynamite DynaPro (pre and probiotic) and Waiora Natural Cellular Defense (zeolite mineral). I gave only a couple CCs at a time, every 15-30 minutes, then less often as the symptoms improved. I also gave homeopathic Nux Vomica.
As we still have rhododendrons on the property, I keep all these items on hand in my first aid kit just in case. You can find homeopathic remedies at your local health food store or online at Washington Homeopathics.
Here are a couple reference links I found useful. There are several remedies mentioned in the case study. The names are abbreviated. These would be useful to keep on hand in an emergency kit.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Goats & Copper supplementation

I frequently get questions about copper and goats.  This is a topic of much debate and discussion, and there has been less research than on the copper needs of sheep, cattle and horses.  In Europe, copper needs for dairy goats have been established.

Here are some key points I have found out about copper.  I am not listing all the various citations after each point.  You can google the topics and find citations to back up any of these statements, unless otherwise indicated:
  • The form of copper is critical.  Copper oxides are very hard to absorb and use.  Copper sulfates are more absorbable.  Copper proteinate is even more absorbable.  Copper amino acid chelate is the most absorbable.  Amino acid chelated copper also catalyzes the uptake of the more unabsorbable forms.
  • Other minerals can inhibit or enable copper uptake.  What you feed the copper with is just as important as the copper itself, and this includes your water, pasture, hay and grain.
  • Iron is a copper inhibitor.  If you live in an area of high iron soil, you are more likely to need additional copper.
  • Goats need more copper than sheep.  Feeding a supplement designed for sheep will lead to copper deficiency and health issues.
  • Goats likely need as much copper as cattle, possibly more.
  • Copper has the potential to accumulate in the liver, and if the animal is stressed, release suddenly causing a severe health crisis.
Some thoughts on the research establishing copper requirements in goats:
  • The research should consider the form the copper is in, as some forms are more likely to accumulate rather than flush from the body.
  • Mineral interactions are so complex, can one mineral truly be isolated in a study?
Here are several links I found:

So, all of this being said, what I have chosen to do at Oak Hill for our goats is based on all of the information above, plus anecdotal information from various goat keepers, combined with muscle testing to tailor the nutrition to my herd and environment.  At Oak Hill, I have 2 basic feed programs - one for animals that are breeding, pregnant or lactating and one for the resting season and whethers.
Here is an older blog post on the subject.  For the pregnant/breeding/lactating goats, I use a pinch of Regular Dynamite (horse formula), fed 6 days/week.  For resting/whethers, I offer the Dynamite V/M Mix for Browsers & Grazers free choice.  For both groups, I always offer the following free choices:  Dynamite 1-1, Dynamite 2-1, Dynamite Izmine, Dynamite NTM Salt and baking soda.
Once or twice a year, the goats are off all their supplements while they do their 28 days on Dynamite Herbal Tonic.  I feel this may also allow them to flush any excess copper from their body.

I use the Dynamite product line because the minerals are amino acid chelated, and because Dynamite is a family owned and operated business with great ethics and a moneyback guarantee on their products.  I use their horse products, in smaller amounts, because they have not yet released an exclusive goat product line.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your goat’s health program.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love is in the air...or is that eau de rutting buck?

Winky & Tonka
The bucks are in full rut, and fall breeding season is underway. Oak Hill Tonka, being the youngest buck, has never experienced breeding season before. Periwinkle, on the other hand, has been around the block a few times. So Winky and Tonka are spending the next few months bunking together, while Winky hopefully shows Tonka the ropes.

Tonka was quite enthusiastic and persistent when it came to his cousins a few months back.  Now faced with a full-grown doe, he has suddenly become shy.  When I first put them together, Winky was in full heat.  She stood at the fence, ignored Tonka, and called plaintively across 2 pens to our lead buck Dreamer.  They are sharing hay now so she has at least decided Tonka is good company.  I'll give them a few heat cycles, and if Tonka is still reluctant Winky will get either Dreamer or Gandalf.

Meanwhile, Carlotta has been bred to Cocoa Puff, as that cross has produced really spectacular peacocks (Harley and Tonka) with good size and conformation.  If she conceived, the kids will be here in March.

Astro (left rear), Harley (right rear) & Chickadee
Chickadee and Harley are both in with Astro.  If the peacock coloring breeds true, they should both have marbled-blue-eyed peacock polled kids.  I'm crossing my fingers and visualizing like crazy.

Astro smelling his women

Mimosa will be bred to Cocoa Puff in the next few weeks, Chryssy to Gandalf, and Truffle to Dreamer.

Until next post, may you always be upwind of the bucks.

Carrie & the Oak Hill gang

Monday, October 4, 2010

Preparations for fall breeding season

Here at Oak Hill breeding starts at the end of October/early November for early spring kids. I start preparing the herd for breeding season in late August/early September roughly 2 months prior to the first planned breeding. First, I stop all the regular supplements other than the free choice minerals, salt and baking soda.  You can see this earlier blog post for the complete Oak Hill feeding program.  While the goats are off the supplements, they get Dynamite Herbal Tonic (listed under Horse products) for 10 days following the label directions for small animals (1/4 tsp per 10 lbs bodyweight twice). Herbal Tonic contains a variety of herbs, such as Wheat Grass Extract, Blessed Thistle, Ginkgo, Red Elcampagne Root, Garlic Powder, Black Walnut Hulls, Cayenne Pepper, Peach Bark, Chamomile, White Oak Bark, Valerian Root, Slippery Elm, Sage, Papaya Leaves, Juniper Berries, Cascara Sagrada Root, Equisetum Arvense, Yellowdock and Catnip, as well as minerals, pre/probiotics and other ingredients to support healthy digestion. (Some of these herbs have historically been used to repel or remove parasites and cleanse the liver.)
After 10 days on Herbal Tonic I wait a couple days and then I deworm any goats that show signs of heavy parasite loads. At most, I may have 1 or 2 goats in the herd that might need a chemical dewormer once each year. Your vet can check for parasites if you have any concerns. Be aware that lungworms do not show up on the most common fecal tests. Here is a good reference article on chemical dewormers http://www.goat-idgr.com/Default.aspx?tabid=93 If I use a chemical dewormer on a goat, I supplement with montmorillonite clay for 3 days(I use Dynamite Miracle Clay or Excel) starting 24 hours after the last dose of
chemical dewormer.

After the goats are done with their Herbal Tonic, dewormed if necessary, and given their clay if needed, I start increasing their nutrition prior to the actual breeding. This is called "flushing". I like my goats to be pasture fit, not too thin and not too fat. I start adding in just a handful or two of Dynamite Pelleted Grain Ration (corn, oats, barley, soy and other ingredients) twice a day and also start regular formula Dynamite vitamin/mineral supplement. While this is currently labeled for horses, I find it does an excellent job for my goats. The minerals are amino acid chelated, making them very absorbable and also easy for the body to flush any extra (especially important for copper). My goats get just a pinch of Dynamite once daily, 6 days/week.   Both the Pelleted Grain Ration and Dynamite supplement can be found at www.dynamitemarketing.com/carrieeastman under Horse Products.

I also add in a handful of black oil sunflower seeds even closer to the planned breeding date.  Make sure the sunflower seeds are not treated with a sprouting inhibitor.

Sometime during the 2 month prep period I also put all the breeding stock on a few drops of zeolite mineral daily for 30 days. Zeolite absorbs toxins, especially heavy metals. I use the Waiora brand Natural Cellular Defense zeolite.

Finally, during this period I start tracking heat cycles and plan the buck x doe crosses.  I use the spreadsheet available for download at http://www.fiascofarm.com/ 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on economizing on feeds & supplements...

These are interesting times financially.  The prices of many items are going up, including feeds, hay & supplements.  I hear and observe people saving money by cutting back on grains and/or supplements, switching to bargain brands, feeding less than the recommended amounts, etc.

I would offer the thought that this may be penny wise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes.  

The folks producing those supplements, grain and hay are likely thinking those same thoughts about economizing, and switching to less expensive fertilizers (or none), using least-cost formulas with lower-quality grains, using less expensive and less absorbable forms of the minerals & vitamins in the supplements.   So, as we cut back on our goat's nutrition to save money, are we creating longer-term issues with mineral deficiencies, lowered immune systems, slower growth, lower conception and kidding rates?  Will we end up having to deworm more often because the goats are unable to fight the parasites off by themselves?  Will we end up with vet bills or lost animals due to various health issues that a solid immune system could have prevented?

I personally feed a very high-quality supplement program.  I do it to have the healthiest goats possible that can fight off what nature throws at them without medical intervention.  I also do this so the parents are passing on this higher vitality and mineral reserves to their offspring.

Here are some possible ways to save money while still maintaining optimum health for the herd:

Ø I skip one day a week on the supplements.  This allows the body to flush any extra and saves me about 13%.

Ø I use the free choice vitamin/mineral mix year round, and add the high-potency supplements prior to the start of breeding and during pregnancy.

Ø If I had to really cut back, I would just give Dynamite Excel daily, either milled into their feed or hand-fed, and Dynamite DynaPro.  Both are fantastic digestion support. 

Ø I look for opportunities to buy wholesale.  Both of the supplement lines I use offer wholesale options.  I signed up and have saved at least 35% over retail.

A side note from Judy Sinner (senior Dynamite director and years of experience with animal feeds) "Another interesting note is that barley is now not only VERY expensive, but nearly impossible to find. So, as Jos (note - company VP) pointed out on a recent call with the Silver and Gold Directors, many companies who do "least cost" formulations are simply cutting out the barley, or cutting it to nearly undetectable levels but still showing it on the label, and using more oats and corn. So COB becomes CO. Problem is, oats are rather heating and stimulating, where barley is cooling and calming..."   With all the heat we have been experiencing, feeding a grain mix that heats/stimulates is probably not the healthiest for our animals.
You can find the Dynamite supplement line at www.dynamitemarketing.com/carrieeastman 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Oak Hill Feeding Program...

Welcome to the Oak Hill Fainting Goat blog!  Until now, I've blogged about the goats on the critter blog http://carrieeastman.blogspot.com/  As I get more and more questions about the goats, I decided to branch out and do an exculsive blog. 
For this first post, I figured the basic feeding program is a great place to start.  Our goats get unlimited grass or grass/clover hay. Our hay is raised locally without chemicals or preservatives.
Our goats also get Dynamite Complete Pelleted Grain Ration and some black oil sunflower seeds.
We offer several free-choice supplements: Dynamite 1-1 and 2-1 calcium/phosphorus, Dynamite Izmine, Dynamite NTM salt, and finally baking soda.
Our goats also get Dynamite Excel in their feed every day for gut health.
We use Dynamite Herbal Tonic once or twice annually to cleanse the liver (not during pregnancy).  Note:  some ingredients of Herbal Tonic are historically known to repel or kill parasites.  
Also, our goats get Waiora Natural Cellular Defense to remove heavy metals a couple time a year during their Herbal Tonic cleanse. 
During breeding, pregnancy and lactation, I use a pinch of Regular Formula Dynamite (found in the Horse products) 6 days/week.  That is for goats of 40# to 80#.
During the resting season and for the whethers, I offer Dynamite V/M Mix For Browsers & Grazers.
You can also feed Dynamite Exotics Plus daily during resting season and to whethers. 
You can find all the Dynamite products at www.dynamitemarketing.com/carrieeastman  You can find Natural Cellular Defense at www.mywaiora.com/992799

I personally buy organic products when possible. However, the process of becoming certified organic can be expensive and time-consuming. Some producers of excellent chemical-free products choose to forgo certification.

For example, many Waiora and Dynamite products are not certified organic, yet are excellent products with healthy ingredients.

Additonally, there have been manufacturers abusing the organic label. Thankfully, this is uncommon. Still, the possibility is there.

Organic producers are also at the mercy of the environment. Rain and air both contain chemicals, and many soils contain contaminants. So a grain or hay certified organic may still have chemicals from passing airplanes, heavy metals or other contaminants.

Another reason for chemical-free is that there are times when extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. I would reach for a chemical, if it was the best chance of saving my animal's life. When I deworm an animal that muscle-tested positive for parasites, if the only item that clears the parasite point is a chemical dewormer, I would use the dewormer, then follow it with Dynamite Miracle Clay or Excel, Waiora Natural Cellular Defense and Dynamite DynaPro for several days.

The bottom line for me is know your producers, buy locally when possible, and learn to muscle test. Organic is usually your safer choice, and other excellent choices also exist.  I will post in the future about muscle testing.

Carrie  Eastman