Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Favorite Recipes

These are goat milk recipes that we highly recommend, since they are delicious, and they help spread the joy of goat milk products:

Chocolate Goat Milk Fudge
  • 2 1-oz squares unsweetened chocolate (You may substitute 1/3 cup cocoa and 3 Tbsp butter for unsweetened chocolate)
  • 3/4 cup fresh goat milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Melt chocolate in milk. Add sugar and corn syrup; cook slowly, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Cook gently to softball stage (234 degrees Fahrenheit), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add butter and cool at room temperature until lukewarm (110 degrees Fahrenheit) without stirring. Add vanilla; beat vigorously until fudge becomes thick and loses its gloss. Quickly spread in buttered pan. When firm, cut into squares. Makes about 2 dozen.

This recipe is so good, my mom was hesitant about drying off the goats for the winter, since she didn't want to wait until spring for goats milk again. Must freeze milk so we can make this in winter.

Chocolate Pudding
  • 3 cups fresh goats' milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (can substitute with 4 tablespoons flour)
  • 2 tsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp vanilla
In a heavy medium saucepan stir together the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for another minute. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla.

Goat Milk Recipes

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!

Goat's Milk Pie Crust

* 4 cups unsifted flour (we used whole wheat, but any flour will do)
* 1 Tablespoon Honey
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 3/4 cups shortening
* 1 Tablespoon white or cider vinegar
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup goat milk
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add shortening and cut in until ingredients are crumbly. In a small bowl, beat together milk, vinegar, honey, and egg. Combine the two mixtures and stir with a fork until all ingredients are moistened. This recipe makes 5 pie crusts. It can be kept chilled in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you freeze the dough, you can still thaw it and roll it out. Also, you can roll it out, place in pie pans, put in zip-lock bags and freeze it that way too. It's an easy recipe to make, easy to roll out, easy to work with. The dough will stay flaky no matter how much you handle it. It will shrink a bit in the pie pan so let it rest for about 5 minutes after you get the crust in the pan before you trim it and flute it. We used it over Thanksgiving for apple pies, gooseberry pie, and pumpkin pie; and it didn't get soggy in any of them.

Goat's Milk Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
* 3 beaten eggs
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ginger and nutmeg.
* 1 1/2 cup pumpkin. One regular sized can of pumpkin works, NOT the big can.
* 1 cup goat milk

Mix the sugars into the beaten eggs. Add cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and spices. Mix well. Stir in pumpkin and goat milk. Mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. 8-10 inch works best. This will make 2 pies in regular shells, do not use deep dish shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes. This is a great recipe, and nobody at my house could tell the difference on Thanksgiving day.

Goat's Milk Fudge

A fun and easy recipe:
* 3 cups sugar
* 2/3 cup goat's milk
* 3/4 cup margarine
* 6 ounces chocolate chips
* 7 ounces marshmallow cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, and margarine in heavy quart sauce pain. Stirring constantly, bring to full rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium, and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate chips until melted. Add marshmallow cream and vanilla, beating until well blended. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Cool at room temperature. You can add nuts if you wish also. The chocolate chips can be substituted with butterscotch chips, almond bark, etc., if you want to try out different flavors of fudge too. This one is so easy, the kids can do it!

Yogurt

Making yogurt is a fairly simple process. It requires a thermophilic culture or one made of a starter yogurt. You can either use a heaping tablespoon of cultured yogurt for this or make and freeze your own culture, or just save a cup of plain yogurt to start the next batch with each time.
Ingredients1 quart whole milk, heated to 100 degrees.1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk (this is an optional ingredient. It produces a thicker texture and increases the protein content by 2 grams per cup.)1 rounded tablespoon plain yogurt or recommended quantity of powdered culture or 1 ounce of thermophilic starter.Mix ingredients, follow instructions for yogurt maker. or, if you don't have a yogurt machine:With a thermosAlmost fill a thermos bottle (preferably wide-mouthed) with milk heated to 100 degrees F. Add 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and mix thoroughly. Put the lid on and wrap the thermos in two or three terry towels. Set it in a warm, draft-free place overnight. In an ovenPour 1 quart of milk into a casserole dish and add 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Stir well and cover the casserole. Place in a warm (100 degree F.) oven with the heat off. Let it sit overnight. On a heating padMix 1 quart of milk and 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Set an electric heating pad at medium temperature and place in the bottom of a cardboard box with a lid. (A large shoe-box works well.) Fill small plastic containers with the milk-yogurt mixture; put on the lids. Wrap a heating pad around the containers, then cover with towels to fill the box and let sit, undisturbed, for 5 to 6 hours. In the sunPour 1 quart warmed milk into a glass-lidded bowl or casserole. Add 3 tablespoons plain yogurt and cover with the glass lid or a clear glass pie pan. Place in the sun on a warm (not too hot) summer day and let sit 4 to 5 hours. Watch it to make sure it is not shaded as the sun moves. On the back of a wood-stoveMany grandmothers made clabber by setting a bowl of freshly drawn milk on the back of the stove after supper. Make yogurt this way by adding 1 cup starter to 2 quarts milk and let it sit, loosely covered with a dish towel, on the back of the cooling wood range overnight. In a Crock-PotPreheat a Crock-Pot on low for about 15 minutes, until it feels very warm to the fingertips. Put covered containers of yogurt mixture into the Crock-Pot, cover it, and turn off the heat. At 35- to 45-minutes intervals, heat the Crock-Pot on low for 10 to 15 minutes.

For flavored yogurt:

Instructions:

Scald 1 quart of milk (or heat to 188 degrees) and stir in 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, honey, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, malt, molasses, or artificial sweetener. If other flavors are desired, after dissolving the sugar or honey, stir in 1 tablespoon of extract, such as vanilla, lemon, almond, or peppermint, or instant coffee. Another time, try adding 1 teaspoon of ground spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger, or your own special combination. Add the instant nonfat dry milk, cool the mixture to 110 degrees F, and stir in the culture. Pour into warm containers, cover, and incubate. For jam, preserve and peanut butter flavors, put 1 tablespoon of the flavoring into the bottom of 1-cup containers and pour the warm milk-yogurt mixture over. Cover and incubate as usual. If fresh, canned, or dried fruit is desired, it is best to make such additions to the yogurt after it has incubated. The acid content of some fruits can curdle the milk-yogurt mixture and prevent proper fermentation. Whenever you are flavoring yogurt, always remember to leave 1 cup plain, so that you will have fresh starter for the next batch.

Quick and Easy Mozzarella Cheese

This recipe is a quick, simple, easy recipe to make a 2-lb block of mozzarella cheese:

Ingredients:

1. 2 gallons of cool milk, either fresh & raw or pasteurized and cooled.
2. Citric acid powder. 2 1/2 very level teaspoons of citric acid powder dissolved in 1/4 cup of cool tap water. Mix into the cool milk for 2 minutes.
3. Heat milk to 88 degrees F. This is not an error. You are not trying to pasteurize the milk. If you get it too hot or too cold, the rennet will not take make curds.
4. Rennet: 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 tablet regular rennet OR 2 junket tablets). Dissolve rennet in 1/4 cup cool tap water. Add this into the milk and stir for 14-20 seconds. Cover your pot with a lid and allow milk to remain still for 12-15 minutes while it coagulates.
5. Cut the curd into cubes, around 1/2 inch in size. Let cut curds remain undisturbed for 5 minutes. Apply low heat and stir gently so as to keep curds separated. The curds will shrink as the whey is expelled from them in this step. Slowly heat the curds to 108 degrees over about 10-15 minutes time. Then shut off the heat and continue to stir every few minutes for an additional 20 minutes.
6. Drain curds in a colander for about 15 minutes. You can dip or pour them out of the pan and save the whey to make ricotta if you wish, or save it for the pigs or chickens, or throw it out. After the curds sit for 15 minutes, they will be stuck together in a colander shaped clump. Cut this into strips about 1 inch by 1 inch cross section. Lay the strips in a criss-cross fashion in a large bowl.
7. Mix 1/4 cup salt in 1/2 gallon of water and heat to 170 degrees. I always heat this water up while I am stirring the curds for that 15 minutes in step 5 above. Add the salt water to the bowl with the curds in it, make sure it is enough to cover the curds.
8. Using a wooden spoon or a pair of them, begin to stretch the curds in an upward motion (sort of like stretching taffy only stretch it with the spoons). It will begin to get stringy and will look plastic and shiny. Stretch it for about 10 minutes, then place the whole thing on a board and knead it just like you would bread dough, shaping it into a ball. This takes the excess moisture out of your cheese. Place the cheese in a plastic mold . You can place your plastic mold in a bowl of cold water until it's firm and cold or just put a lid on it and place it in the refrigerator overnight. It's now ready to eat. You can eat it in chunks or slices or grate it and cook with it.
To store, place in zip-lock bag or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

NOTE: If you want salt-free cheese, you can stretch it in the hot water without the salt, but the flavor is better with the salt.

Ricotta Cheese

Instructions:

1. 2 quarts fresh milk (cool or room temperature).
2. 1 teaspoon citric acid powder dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water. Stir into milk for about 20 seconds.
3. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Add to milk and stir.
4. Heat milk to 88 degrees F, stirring occasionally.
5. 1/2 junket rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water. Stir into milk, and shut off heat.
6. Cover and let milk sit for 1 hour.
7. Drain curds in cheesecloth lined colander or cheesecloth bag. Gather corners, tie together (hair ties work well for this), and hang bag until it stops dripping.
8. Add herbs/spices to taste. I use garlic powder, onion powder (not salt), parsley, and basil. I also add about 1/4 cup of cold milk back into the cheese and 2 ounces of mesophilic starter. This is to your taste, though.

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reynolds' Acres Ranch & FAQs

Reynolds' Acres Ranch is currently a goat farm who has goats for the purposes of both dairy and showing, but we treat our goats like they are pets. Our goats are very friendly, and we do our best to take really good care of them.

Our goats get worming medicine twice a year or as needed, as well as some vaccinations (like CD&T) and vitamins. They also get an herbal supplement that helps keep their immune systems healthy and any worm problems under control.

We do NOT give our goats unnecessary supplements, such as growth hormones, as we believe that this is unhealthy for the animal, and causes any products that we get from it to be unhealthy. We also do not sell any goats for meat purposes.

Now that you have learned a bit about Reynolds Acres Ranch, please feel free to contact me, LeeAnn, with any questions at reynoldsgoats@yahoo.com

FAQs:

How long have you had goats?
I have had goats since 2007.

Why did you get goats?
I honestly don't know. One day I woke up and decided that I loved goats. I told my parents, and they agreed that if I did the proper research and joined 4H, I could get some goats. I looked online and decided I liked Nigerian Dwarf goats the best, since they were good dairy goats, easy to handle, and plus they're really cute, but some members of my 4H club convinced me to get into Oberhaslis as well.

What's the best part about having goats?
I would have to say the best part is enjoying their company. Goats are really great and friendly when you spend a lot of time with them.

Is it a lot of work?
Yes. I have to clean the goat pen and barn about once a month or so, plus we have to trim hooves, give necessary medicine, get them ready for shows, plus a lot of other stuff. But I think that it's all worth it.

Do you use the goat milk?
Yes. Goat milk is great for cooking, cheese making, and drinking. Nigerian Dwarf goat milk has naturally high butter fat, which means it makes excellent fudge and pudding. Goat milk is also healthier for you than cows milk, since it's easier to digest. In fact, a lot of people who can't have cows milk can drink goats milk just fine.

But doesn't it taste "goaty?"
No. Some goat milk does, but only because of bad handling. Fresh, clean goat milk should taste almost the same as regular, store bought milk. It sometimes has a goaty flavor if the milking does were near a buck.

Can I buy some milk?
No. We do not pasteurize our milk, since we believe that this kills important nutrients in the milk. However, it is illegal to sell raw milk in New York, thus we can not sell our milk. We can, however, sell our milk for animal consumption, and if you ever wanted a taste, you could come to our farm for a free sample.

Are you expecting kids in the spring? If so, can I buy some?
Most likely we will have kids in the spring, since we do breed our does in the fall. However, kidding can be random, and we may have more bucks or more does or a lot of kids or just a few kids. We also have the right to decide to keep a kid if we want to.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Have Fun With Your Goats

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!

Goats are useful animals, providing us with milk, meat, and wool. They have fulfilled these important roles for thousands of years, enabling humankind to survive and thrive on just about every continent. In today’s world, where most people buy their meat and dairy in the grocery store and wear clothing made of synthetic materials, some folks have found a new love for the goat and how they can help us. Goats are among the most fun and rewarding animals to raise; hopefully this site will help you discover and learn new things about goats and how to benefit from them.

One of the most popular occupations for goats is simply being companions. More and more people are discovering the joys of keeping goats around for companionship. Just about any breed of goat can make a good pet, though the smaller breeds are more popular as companion goats.

Nigerian Dwarf goats are a great companion goat because of their smaller size and cuteness factor. An adult doe or wether grows to be 16 to 23 inches at the withers (goat shoulder) and weighs anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds. Nigerians breed year round, which makes goat kids available any time of the year. Their size allows children to handle them if they are handled a lot when they are kids and if they are friendly, and they transport in dog kennels if need be. They are intelligent and affectionate, and are easy to train, whether it’s for milking or something like cart pulling. They love to be with their owners, so they make great companions for walking, hiking, or even camping. They are natural comics and make for great entertainment to watch.

Some pet goats help their owners give back to the community by working as therapy goats. These goats accompany their humans to schools, nursing homes, and other places where people in need of a special kind of therapy can only be administered by an animal.
The Delta Society, an organization that tests and registers pets for therapy work, includes goats in their list of animals eligible for registration. To become registered Delta Society pet therapist, a goat must pass a test that shows it to be controllable, reliable, and predictable. The goat must have good manners in public places, and have the social skills to seek out and visit with strangers. Information at http://www.deltasociety.org/ .

Build A Goat Shelter, No-Waste Manger, and Stanchion

For those who have goats or are thinking of getting them but don’t have the proper goat equipment, here are some ideas that will help you build what you need to keep your herd safe and healthy. Before kidding season, when my herd often doubles in size, I start making choices of which goats to keep and which ones to sell. In this calm before the storm, goat equipment is foremost on my checklist. There are three pieces of equipment that make keeping goats easier: a shelter, no-waste manger, and stanchion to hold your goat still while milking, grooming, etc. You can purchase these items from supply companies or you can make them yourself.

A goat shelter is important to keep goats out of the wind and rain/snow. The shelter must be constructed so it has ventilation, otherwise the goats will not get enough fresh air and develop lung problems - if you can smell urine when you open up the shelter, then there is not enough ventilation. You can construct this easy shelter without a front door to use as a loafing shed in the summer, and then attach the front panel as a door for winter protection. The size of this shelter will accommodate four adult goats and their kids.

Tricks of the Trade to Care For Your Herd

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!

In a way goats resemble human teenagers – behaviorally, that is. They eat, they sleep, and they sometimes get into trouble. Goats definitely have brains and they know how to use them, evidence by their penchant for clever escapes. But they also seem less intelligent at times, such as when they sample the toxic rhododendron in your yard after making the great escape. Goats can be incredibly sweet and impossibly insolent. But no matter how independent and hardy they appear, goats – like teens – need care and attention. You can’t buy a single goat, tether it in a weedy pasture, ignore it and expect her to flourish. At the same time a small goat herd doesn’t require extremely specialized management or fancy accommodations in order to prosper. So if ‘Gotta get some goats’ has become your new mantra, and you have the time and enthusiasm to care for these personable animals, then by all means, go for the goats, but read this website carefully and the information on goat care and handling first.

Food For Goats: We have researched in detail information on goat care, what they eat, and how to prevent and treat health problems. Some points to remember: nutritional requirements are highest for young, growing animals and lactating does or those in the later stages of pregnancy. Does need additional nutrients in the last month of pregnancy because 70 percent of fetal growth occurs during this time. Newborn goat kids need milk provide by their mother (we don’t recommend a goat milk substitute. The mother’s milk provides all the nutrients for strong kids). One can remove the kid from the mother and bottle feed the newborn – this makes for a very loving goat. However, kids are just as friendly if you just spend time with them.

When feeding your goats, avoid sudden diet changes and don’t dump their hay on the ground. Not only can ground feeding promote parasite problems, but goats despise dirty hay. (see our goat manger design to prevent your greedy herd from pulling out hay and trampling it under hoof). Ensure you give your goats the most critical nutrient: clean water. Goats appreciate warm, almost hot water in winter. They can drink a lot, and it won’t chill them the way cold water may. This helps keep milk production up. To keep water from freezing in buckets, try using a water bucket warmer (see supply references).

Home Sweet Home: As far as lodging go, goats are flexible creatures; their fairly small size means you won’t have to break the bank to provide them with adequate housing. Whether you build a palatial goat barn or modify an existing shed (or use our easy-to-build shelter) goats mainly care about one thing – where am I going to go when it rains or snows. The biggest difference between goats and other livestock is that goats don’t like to get wet. Goats are more vulnerable to cold, wet weather because they have less fat covering their body and a thinner hair coat than sheep and cattle. As long as their homes offer ventilated but draft-free shelter from the elements, goats make do with simple accommodations like three-sided shelters, port-a-huts, and calf hutches. However, you’ll need more elaborate housing if your does deliver their kids during poor weather. You don’t want the kids born in a damp environment. Straw, pine shavings, or ground corncobs make a clean and absorbent bedding material.

Fencing: A good fence is essential for containing goats and offers the best protection against predators. Unfortunately, as consummate escape artists, goats don’t always take kindly to confinement. I like to say that you’ll either love or hate goats depending on your fencing. Goats live by the rule that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. They also like to find their people. Traditional, two fencing types have been recommended for goats: multi-strand, high-tensile electric fence and woven or net wire fencing. With electric fencing, its effectiveness depends on an adequate charge, proper grounding and a fence line kept free of tall weeds. With woven wire fencing, I favor panel fencing that consists of no-climb welded rods. Although initially more expensive than other options, this fencing is virtually indestructible and maintenance free, thus cheaper in the long run. Goats like to climb on things and they typically step up on fence sections. A regular field fence will be mashed within a couple of weeks.

Climbing: Like the mountainside-hugging wild goats they descend from, our domesticated goats love to climb. If your pen lacks natural climbing features such as big stumps, rocks, or logs, you can make your herd happier and have more fun by installing safe climbing toys.

Attitude: Goats are exceedingly strong for their size and often defend themselves vigorously when confronted with an enemy (or an owner trying to catch them when they don’t feel like being caught!). Handle with care, respect, and common sense. You’ll find catching and handling your goats easier if you take the time to win them over with yummy treats and friendly scratches. From birth our kids are handled daily so they can go to new homes as acclimated as possible toward people and so they can have relaxed handling in all situations. Our goats are used to collars. They’re rewarded with a treat in the form of bananas, some raisins, or grain when finished, so they quickly learn to cooperate. An essential piece of handling equipment for any goat keeper is a stand or stanchion to help restrict your headstrong goat’s movements for routine hands-on care. (Please see our quick and easy instructions to build your own stanchion).

To Your Goat’s Health: We’ve highlighted excellent goat health concerns, requirements, and techniques in our special goat health link. Goats thrive on routine. Try to feed both kids and adult goats at the same time every day. Also, try to milk and schedule other activities for the same time every day. Your goats will love you for it, and be healthy too. Two additional goat herd management practices that one should understand and be ready for are preventing foot rot and dehorning.

Foot rot, also known as hoof rot, is caused by anaerobic bacteria. Bacteria infect the foot and the goat becomes lame. The organisms that cause foot rot grow well in wet, soiled environments and are highly contagious. Cleanliness and dry shelters/barns are the most effective method of prevention along with regular hoof trimming.

Horned goats can get their heads stuck in fences and feeders, and can cause serious injuries to people and each other. You cannot show goats in any fairs or exhibits that have horns. All of our goats are disbudded – this is not a fun job, but if done right it is humane and best for both goat and owner. Eliminating horn cells is called disbudding, and must be done at the right time or scurs (small horns) may result. The most common method of disbudding is with an electric disbudding iron that is applied to the horn buds when they are just beginning to break through the skin. when the goat is very young; for Nigerian Dwarfs this is within 5 to 10 days and for other dairy goats within 1 to 3 weeks. The sooner disbudding is done after birth, the less pain it will cause. To disbud, place the circular ring of the disbudding iron over the horn buds for 10 to 20 seconds until you see a copper-colored ring appear. This will destroy the horn cells and prevent the horn from growing. If you trim the hair around the horn, disbudding will go faster and cause less smoke. If horns are allowed to grow on the goat, you must dehorn it rather than disbud it. Dehorning is more involved and must be done by a veterinarian.

Identification: When you have a registered, breeding herd, each goat must have an identification tattooed in their ear. The most important point of tattooing is to make sure you are putting the tattoo in the correct ear. The farm ID tattoo is placed in the right ear and the individual goat registration number in the left ear. Be sure you are standing behind the goat and using the goat’s right or left ear, not facing the goat and getting mirror results. We use 5/16 inch pliers and digits. You can get a tattoo kit at a local feed store, or out of a supply catalog (see our reference index). Follow these steps to insure a good tattoo on your animals:

Youth Show Entry Form

Here is the entry form for the Dutchess County Youth Goat Show. If you want more information, please e-mail me at reynoldsgoats@yahoo.com

Reynolds' Acres Ranch Goat Registrations

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!














Nigerian Dwarfs - My Perfect Dairy Goat

Everyone has his or her favorite breed of goat. Mine happen to be Nigerian Dwarfs. They don't eat as much as the larger dairy breeds, but they still produce a good quantity of milk. Nigerian dwarf goat milk has high butterfat - almost twice that of a large dairy breed. They can also live in a smaller barn and area. They have such friendly personalities, and are so much easier to handle than the larger breeds. Plus they come in a variety of colors and can have blue eyes.

Nigerian dwarfs are always the favorite at fairs. Someone once told me at a fair, "Out of all the animals we saw here today, we loved your little goats the best!"

So, why not add a couple of Nigerian Dwarfs to your herd? You may just fall in love with them.

Goat Scrub Brush


video
This is a great idea I had. My goat, Bambi, loves to rub her head against the brush whenever I brush her. So, for Christmas, I got two scrub brushes. My dad helped me mount them to the fence using zip ties. The goats love them!

Build A Goat Shelter, No-Waste Manger, and Stanchion

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!



Build A Goat Shelter, No-Waste Manger, and Stanchion

For those who have goats or are thinking of getting them but don’t have the proper goat equipment, here are some ideas that will help you build what you need to keep your herd safe and healthy. Before kidding season, when my herd often doubles in size, I start making choices of which goats to keep and which ones to sell. In this calm before the storm, goat equipment is foremost on my checklist. There are three pieces of equipment that make keeping goats easier: a shelter, no-waste manger, and stanchion to hold your goat still while milking, grooming, etc. You can purchase these items from supply companies (see Resource page) or you can make them yourself.

A goat shelter is important to keep goats out of the wind and rain/snow. The shelter must be constructed so it has ventilation, otherwise the goats will not get enough fresh air and develop lung problems - if you can smell urine when you open up the shelter, then there is not enough ventilation. You can construct this easy shelter without a front door to use as a loafing shed in the summer, and then attach the front panel as a door for winter protection. The size of this shelter will accommodate four adult goats and their kids.

Goat Shelter







Materials:

Five 4x8’ sheets of ½” or thicker plywood
Thirteen 2x4”x8’ studs
Two 2x4”x12’ used as skids
Eight 2 ½ “ screws, a box of 1 ½ “ screws, and four 50 pound sandbags
Four heavy-duty hinges
One clasp latch

Tools:

Tape measure
Jigsaw
Drill with screw bits
1/8” drill bit

Estimated Time: 8 hours

Method:

Cut three of the plywood sheets and the 2x4”x8’ studs as shown in the diagram.

Assembly:

Lay skids on the ground and put two marks on each at two and 10 feet from one end. Lay bottom horizontal 2x4”x4’ across skids just inside these marks. Pre-drill holes with 1/8 “ bit and use two large screws to attach all four corners. Screw plywood sheet ends to the outside of these horizontals. Screw back lets inside the back of the ends. Affix back sheet to both back legs and the rear skid. Screw top horizontals to the inside tops of the ends. Screw one top stud to the inside top of the back. Attach top sheet securely to all six top 2x4”, leaving a 1 inch overhang in the front and back. Screw studs inside the top front. Leave the top 5 inches exposed for ventilation (you can add wire screen if concerned about predatory animals. Attach the two front sheets as doors with hinges. Place sand bags on the outside rails to hold down the shelter (note – shelter can easily be moved to other locations as needed).

Goat 8-Foot Manger






Materials:

Three 4x8’ sheets of ½ “ or thicker plywood
Three 8’ 2x4”s
Two 2x4” studs
Painted tin sheet, 7 ½ x 2’
Small box of 1 1/2” exterior screws

(Note – avoid particle board, OSB, treated wood, aluminum and galvanized metal because goats will chew on these materials which could harm their health.)

Tools:

Tape measure
Jigsaw
Drill with screw-driving bits
½” drill bit for holes

Method: Measure and cut the studs and one 8’ 2x4 exactly in half. Measure and cut one sheet of plywood in half to make two 4x4’ pieces.

Assembly:

Start with the ends. Attach two stud halves ( C ) to one end ( A ) to form a “V”. Drive screws through the plywood into each 2x4, every six inches. Assemble the other end also. Standing one end up, attach plywood sides ( B ) to the underside of the V. Attach the sides to the other end.

Customizing:

First, decide how many keyholes you want. You need at least one hole for each adult goat and one hole for every two kids. (The 8-foot manger can have up to 10 well-space holes.) Make a paper or cardboard keyhole pattern as in the diagram. Make the top of your pattern square and a little taller if you need to accommodate horns.

Measure your adult goats from the ground to the bottom of their chests and get an average. Taking the measurements, mark lines on both sides of the wood straight up from the ground to show the bottom of each keyhole.

Roll the manger onto one side. Trace four keyhole patterns above the line, two feet apart on center and one foot from each end. Drill a 1/2 “ hole in each and use the jigsaw to cut out the keyholes. Attach 8’ push board ( D ) with three screws below the holes on the outside. Roll the manger onto the other side. Mark and cut out keyholes and attach the push board. Attach feet pieces ( E ) to the inside bottom of the ends for stability.

Place tin ( F ) inside the manger. Center and curve it so it sits one-inch below the keyholes on both sides. Drive screws every six inches through tin and sides into push boards. Bring the manger upright. Mark and cut a keyhole in each end if needed.

Fill the manger with flakes of hay along the tin bottom or loose hay only up to the bottom of the big circle in the keyholes. Make sure kids don’t climb in the holes as you add hay; they may foul up the hay so badly the other goats won’t eat it. Goats are, after all, picky little critters.

Goat Stanchion





Materials:

One 4x4’ sheet of ¾” plywood
Two 2x4 studs
Three 8’ 1x4s
One 4” long 3/8 “ carriage bolt
One pound box 1 ½” screws

Tools:

Tape measure
Framing square
Jigsaw
Drill with screw bits and 3/32” and 3/8” bits for holes

Cutting:

Cut the plywood and lumber into pieces as shown in the diagram.

Assembly:

Because 1x4 stock splits easily, pre-drill all screw holes with 3/32” drill bit. Use the framing square to attach pieces together at true 90 degree angles; it will make the stanchion stronger and more attractive.

Build the frame first. Set platform ( A ) across two sawhorses as a whole work table to assemble the frame. Attach platform frame ends ( C ) onto sides ( B ) using two screws per joint. Strand two rear legs ( D ) up outside the frame and screw in place from the inside. Screw one end brace ( E ) onto the outside of the legs. Attach two triangle leg braces ( F ) to the sides of the frame and legs.

Roll frame on side and lay one front leg ( G ) next to the outside front and 17 inches below frame top (matching rear legs). Screw from inside with two screws to hold in place. Carefully flip over and put on other leg. Stand frame up on its feet and put end brace ( E ) on outside the front legs, level with top of frame to form a slot. Put front leg braces ( F ) on sides.

Place this framework on the ground. Attach platform top ( A ) with six screws per side, making sure they go into the frame. Put two lateral pieces ( I ) across top front legs to form the upper slot.

The locking mechanism it a bit tricky. One lock board ( H ) is fixed in place in the slots with four screws at both the top and bottom. The other board pivots on the carriage bolt at the bottom and locks with a drop key at the top when pushed toward the center.

Mark a centered, 4 inch space on the platform and on the top laterals to locate the gap between the two lock boards. If you later find the space is not right for your goats, unscrew and move the fixed board in or out as needed, keeping the two boards parallel when locked.

Slide one lock board ( H ) into both slots so that the top is flush and that the board lines up with the pencil marks. Wedge it in place with scrap material (like cardboard). Drive four screws through the lateral and scrap material (cardboard) on the top and four more through the plywood and scrap material (cardboard) at the bottom to secure the fixed side.

Slide the other lock board into the slots on the other side of the 4 inch square and wedge in-place with scrap material (cardboard). Using the 3/8 “ drill bit, drill a hole through plywood front brace ( E ), lock board ( H ), and platform fame piece ( C ). Slide the 3/8 “ bolt through this hole and remove the wedges. Rock the upper part of the pivoting lock board from side to side in the slot. It should move freely because the scrap material (cardboard) on the fixed lock board spreads apart the slots.

Make drop key teeth with 1x4 or scrap plywood pieces. Wedge the pivoting lock board at the pencil line. Center drop key ( N ) across the top of the stanchion and flush with the front. Mark the three opening and cut teeth from scraps to match these marks. Put two screws through each tooth to fix it in-place on the drop.

To customize, measure your adult goat from the ground to the middle of their bodies and get an average. Measuring upward from the top of the platform, mark the measurements on the stanchion outside of each front leg of the shelf. Attach shelf brace ( K ) to outside of stanchion front legs so top of brace is at your mark. If you have short goats (like Nigerians!) you may need to trim off the pointed bottoms of the braces.

Screw two shelf sides ( O ) to shelf ends ( L ) to make a square frame. Screw shelf ( M ) to the bottom of this frame with three screws per side to make a grain tray. Slide this between the shelf braces and secure it flush with the top and ¼ inch from the legs. You are now ready to give your new stanchion a try!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nigeran Dwarf Goat Information

Visit Reynolds' Acres Ranch Website!

About Nigerian Dwarf Goats

The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature goat of West African origin. Nigerian Dwarf goats are small in size and have very colorful markings. Their small stature means they do not require as much space as their larger dairy counterparts. Their gentle, friendly personalities make them good companion pets and easy to handle. Even small children are safe around these little goats. Nigerian Dwarf goats are a true dairy goat and have been approved as such by the US Department of Agriculture making them eligible for youth 4-H and FFA projects.

Is That a Pygmy Goat?

Although both Nigerian Dwarfs and African Pygmies are both of West African origin, they are two separate and distinct breeds. It can be easy to confuse the Nigerian with the Pygmy because of the similarities of size and origin, but the similarities stop there. African Pygmies are bred to be "cobby" and heavy boned. They are almost as wide as they are tall. Nigerian Dwarfs are bred to have the length of body and structure in proportion to their larger dairy goat counterparts. This makes breeding and birthing easy. Nigerians Dwarfs are also still somewhat rare in the US, compared with the numbers of Pygmies residing here.

Color!! Color!! Color!!

Color, along with ease of kidding, were my main reasons for choosing the Nigerian Dwarf over the Pygmy. You can never be sure what color the kids will be until they are born; even then you can't be sure, because many times their color may change. Main color families are black, chocolate and gold with virtually every color combination imaginable being produced.Besides every color of the rainbow, every color-pattern you can dream up can pop out and some you can't imagine. Dwarfs can be dalmation-spotted, pinto-patterned, tri-colored, or solid. While brown eyes are most common, dwarfs also have china blue-eyes, which can be very striking.

A True Dairy Goat

A healthy Nigerian Dwarf doe can produce a surprising amount of sweet milk for her small size, as much as two quarts per day. Nigerian Dwarf milk has between 6% and 10% butterfat, with higher protein content than most other dairy goat breeds.

Care

Goats are a herd animal. As such, if they do not have one of their own for companionship, they will be very sad and lonely. So when considering ownership, you need two or more. You can house does or bucks together, or you may decide to get a "wether" (male goat that has been fixed) or two. Wethers can get along well with both bucks or does. If you are using the milk for personal consumption, you do not want to keep the buck with the doe....the milk will taste and smell like goat scent.

Housing

Goats should be kept in clean pens free of dampness, drafts, and pests such as biting flies and rodents. Please take into account dwarfs goats' small size and fence accordingly. My personal recommendation is four-foot high 2x4 no climb woven wire fence. Goats are extremely intelligent and can keep you on your toes when trying to keep a gate shut, so plan accordingly. If you only have a few goats, a large doghouse or two can be adequate shelter for them.Health CareDwarf goats, like all other animals, need some basic care for good health and long life. Hooves should be trimmed regularly. Since we don't have a lot in the way of natural wear and tear on the farm, we trim hooves about every two months. Vaccinations such as CD&T and rabies should also be considered. Check with you local vet for recommended vaccinations in your area. Worming is also essential to good health. Parasites are livestock animals' number one killer.

Diet

A goat feed, or general livestock feed of 12-18% protein is recommended or a dairy ration. The amount of grain fed can vary due to pregnancy, male or female, age, and how much browse or pasture is available. Good hay or pasture should always be available. Fresh water in clean containers should also be available at all times. A free-choice mineral supplement to the feeding program should also be provided.

Breeding

Dwarf goats can breed year around. The gestation period for a doe is approximately 145-153 days. For the most part, Nigerian Dwarfs are a hearty breed, which seldom have kidding problems. New babies are about 2 pounds at birth and grow quickly. Little bucklings have been known to breed as young as 7 weeks old. Generally, though bucks are ready to be used for service as young as three months, and easily by seven months. Does can be bred at seven to eight months of age if they have reached a good size. We tend to wait till they are about a year old though. Dwarfs can have several kids at a time, with triplets and quads being common. Dwarfs are generally excellent mothers and take great care of their kids.

Lifespan

Average Lifespan: Nigerian Dwarfs live between 15-20 years.

Showing

Nigerian Dwarfs are growing in popularity and becoming more and more available. Showing registered Nigerian Dwarfs is a lot of fun! It's a great way to meet other people with the same interests and see how your goats stack up against everyone else's. Shows are also educational, and are a place to sell and to buy good stock for breeding.The Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association is the official registry and show sanctioning organization.