Goats · Hobby Farming · Rabbits

First Experiences on a Farm

Well yesterday included lots of firsts for me.  When I got up in the morning and went out to feed our animals I opened the rabbit hutch containing 2 brothers I have from our last litter in the summer.  Unfortunately their hormones must have kicked in and they had been in a fight, one was fine and the other was not (they had been getting along fine up until now).  He had several bleeding sores on his back, he was still hopping around and eating, but didn’t look great, so I took him out and put him in with his Mom while I figured out what to do.  Being a male with his Mom wasn’t ideal, being the dead of winter I don’t really want to have baby bunnies right now and chances of them breeding is high.  I was worried about infection, and taking him to the vet didn’t make sense being he is a meat rabbit. So it was determined that he would be the first rabbit on our farm to go in the freezer.  I know many of you reading are probably mortified.  Up until this point we have just been selling our meat rabbits, we just couldn’t do it.  But we have talked about the benefits of making use of this very nutritional, and energy-wise meat source. So it made sense to make this poor instance of being attacked, be of purpose.  If you are thrown back by this, or interested in it, take a look at 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Rabbit.  So I called my Dad, and he was able to come and do the processing, which was fairly easy.  I was surprised myself that it didn’t bother me too much.  It’s not a glorious thing to do, but it was necessary.  I didn’t think I could cook it looking like a rabbit, so to make it more palatable to me for cooking we processed it like this.

butchered-rabbit

I hear it tastes like chicken, we will see.  We haven’t tried it yet, we put it in the freezer for a little while until I get up the courage!  Have you tried rabbit? What did you think?

After all of the business with the Rabbit, it was time to do some preventative care with our goats. The plan is to breed our doe Hershey next month so I want to make sure she is in tip top shape for that, I have done a lot of research on what she needs, and spoken to several goat breeders on a Canadian Goat Facebook page.

Some things I have found out:  care is breed specific, whether standard size or mini; care in the U.S. is different then in Canada, due to products available; nutritional supplements vary by location, due to soil condition; and there are many, many different opinions out there!

I found a really good resource at Goldenbrook Farm for Nigerian Dwarf goats.  Lots of good info, but what I like is the Goat Record keeping checklist. Simple and straightforward.

So I went down the list and tried my best to do all the things on the checklist:

First on the list was Copper Bolus. This was my biggest issue. You can not find it anywhere in Canada! This was super annoying because I was reading about it everywhere, I ended up finding it on a US website that ships to Canada, JeffersPet, so I have it on order, hopefully I will get it this week.  I got the kid dose so I can double from 2 grams to the adult dose of 4 grams if needed.  It was after I had ordered the Copper Bolus that I talked to some Canadian goat people, who said they never copper bolus… so now I’m not sure what I should do.  What I suspect is that I will give just a 2 gram dose to be safe, but still give her that extra boost in nutrition.

I looked up soil conditions in my area and found out that Eastern Canada is primarily selenium deficient.  I was able to get a selenium and vitamin E supplement at a local co-op, but after looking for the dosing instructions for goats everywhere, and only finding BoSe (found in the states, and apparently different then Canada) dosing for goats, I decided that I would use what is listed on the bottle for preventative care for newborn lambs.  With my Mom’s help to hold them, I gave Hershey and Gizmo their first shots. (Luckily I have ALOT of experience giving shots!) cough*T1 Diabetic!

I weighed Hershey and Gizmo, and found that Hershey who should be 40 lbs for breeding is only 20 lbs… so I guess I will have to wait awhile on the breeding. *tear* Hopefully it won’t take too long for her weight to increase though, I do not have the facilities for her to be kidding mid-Winter.  Plus I was really looking forward to her having kids and fresh milk!  Gizmo who we thought was big in comparison only weighed in at 25 lbs.  So they are still pretty tiny!

Once we had their weights we were able to give them Safeguard wormer.  And then it was time for another first – hoof trimming.  I watched several YouTube videos and with some shears was able to successfully trim their hooves.  I was intimidated by this, and thought I might have to call a Ferrier, but was glad I tried it because it was actually really easy.  For Nigerian’s or Pygmy’s I definitely suggest having a raised surface like this.

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They got a good brush and some cuddles too 🙂 They are sooo sweet, Hershey was nose to nose with me, while Gizmo was gently putting his hooves on my back while I was trimming Hershey’s hooves, lol. I thought he might jump up, but he didn’t.

We also added BOSS, which is mentioned in some posts…I had to ask what BOSS was like a total amateur, in case you don’t know it is Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.  As well as the ever important free-choice minerals (for goats) to their diet, rather then a block, which I had previously.  Apparently goats don’t like to lick blocks :/ who knew.

The only thing I still need to get is their vaccine, which has to be picked up from the vet, and they should be good to go for the year 🙂

When I came home from my parents, I thought I would take a peek at our eggs in the incubator and I was happy to see this on day 4!

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Eight of nine eggs look like this, one has a crack which I sealed using wax, so we will see what happens with that one… Here is the same egg on Day 5, hard to get a good picture but you can see the curved embryo and dark spot in the center where the eye is 🙂

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Our little farm is becoming something anyways! The rabbit, although unexpected, is the first thing to be bred into existence, birthed, raised and processed on our farm.  Our goats are getting the proper care, love and affection they need.  And our eggs are forming nicely.  It might not be big steps to some, but to me its a tremendous feat from where we started, which was at 0.

 

 

Here are some useful links and sources for goats:

Goatsource – Beginner’s Guide to Breeding your Goat

http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/goat-keepers/

http://goldenbrookfarm.com/breeding-tips.htm

For the Love of Goats in Canada – Facebook page

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