Monday, April 11, 2011

Help Needed

Barn Across the Valley
The chickens aren't laying.  Bella, the goat, is only milking about half of what she was.  I am new at this.  (I've read a ton in the last year to prepare for all this, but I want to hear from you all.  There's only so much a book can teach a girl living in the city.  Now I'm here on a farm and just jumping in, but feeling dumber by the day.) Any ideas?

The chickens are two year old layers, who are apparently at the end of molting, and are probably still recovering from two moves in two weeks and the general trauma of their first morning here.  I haven't given up on them. 

By the way, I saw #6 that evening when the neighbors' dogs went tearing across our property.  She almost flew back into the barn, which is what I wanted.  She disappeared around the back, not to be seen since.  The dogs did NOT get her we know, but she hasn't reappeared since that evening. 

Sweetheart and I searched, trust me.  I did notice the neighbors to the north, whom we haven't met yet, do have a flocks of chicken that were out in their yard yesterday.  Hopefully, she just joined up with them.

Meanwhile, Pecksie, Flapsie, Mrs. Goodenough, and the other girls whose names I'm still debating until their personalities are more discernible, are happily clucking away and still alive.  They're just not laying!

Bella and Eve are generally making themselves known to the neighborhood.  Nubians ARE loud.  Truly.  One neighbor walked by and made a comment when I was out doing chores this morning.  I agreed and retorted that it was payback for all the barking dogs.  Ahem.  Probably should have held my tongue, but it was out there before I thought.  At least they are totally silent at night.  Can't say the same about the dogs.

So, life in the country is great.  It's just noisy.  I am loving the sounds of the countless frogs at the pond and by the creek (crik) and the owls who hoot from the immense trees out back.

We had to change Bella's feed from Purina Goat Chow to oats because that was all that was available.  We have them out in the pasture area during the days, but the grass is still quite short.  We are supplementing with hay.  Someone suggested I switch them to COB to up the protein content.  Sure.  I'll try anything. 

I also question how much milk the previous owners were really getting, but I know that she is giving me about a quart less than the first few days I had her.  What, if anything, can I do to try to up the amount of milk she gives? Am I out of luck?  Have I ruined her somehow?

Joining in Barn Hop #8 and ♥Barn Charm♥.  (Barn Charm links go active Monday evenings.) 


Bonnie said...

Can't help you with the goats, but as for the chickens, I would say that it is a fair idea with the move and whatnot they may be on a temporary strike. Do you have any safe area so they can run out side? Also, once we start getting more into spring, things should pick back up. Alot of chickens nearly stop laying in the winter, so you may be still contending with that as well. (a light on them at night helps, I know people whose chickens lay great all winter when they put a light on them)
I have never done it it, but supposedly, putting a few golf or ping-pong balls in the nesting boxes gives them the idea of what to do. I say nothing ventured, nothing gained, so it may be worth a try.
Give them another month or so, and then possibly switch feeds if they aren't laying, and make sure they have grit. Won;t change the eggs business, but chickens need it. Oh, and one more thought, they don't have anywhere to hide nests, do they? Because they will...

Hope you get your goat troubles squared away!

Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said...

Hi Kimberly,
Sounds like it's been a bit frustrating around your homestead lately. Been there :). You can stimulate your hens to lay by putting light in their coop at night. Chickens need 16 hours of light to lay eggs. I have my lights set on a timer. It's actually a Christmas light solar timer.
Make sure after you milk you goat that you giggle her utter. This send a message to their brain that they need to provide more milk. I don't think COB has more protein. There is corn in COB which I heard make them fat but not really sure that is true. I have used both COB and oats/barley at different times and it doesn't seem to make much difference. I think the biggest difference in protein is the hay. Make sure you are giving her first cutting alfalfa. Dairy animals are supposed to get first cutting. Also,you may already be doing this but try use a warm damp wash cloth when cleaning the utters before milking. This is supposed to stimulate letdown.

Hope that helps you some :)

Julie said...

I have 3 Nigerians, only one that has been in milk so far (due to their ages, other two are just one year).
How long have you had your goats? I can tell you that the stress of moving to a new home and having someone new doing the milking will for sure cause for a decrease in milk production. Just keep milking every 12 hours and do you best to empty the utter, and hopefully her milk production will come back up.
I have fed Purina Goat Chow with luck, now I have a blend from the feed mill of Calf Manna, sunflower seeds, oats, barley and corn. The grain is best for pregnant and milking does. Alfalfa is important too, good quality. I would recommend reading FiasCo Farm website...just do a google search. You will find lots and lots of helpful information.
Good luck and take one day at a time.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Don't give up! You're just at that point where the learning curve seems high, but you'll figure it out and find your rhythm in time. And thankfully, animals are somewhat resilient. These are skills we need and our children need, so keep that in the forefront of your mind as you tackle each challenge! I'll be lifting you up in prayer today that the issues get solved.

I can't advise you on the goats, but the chickens do stop laying when they molt. Also, nervous birds don't lay well. As they get use to the new place they'll settle down and In time, they will start laying again. Try giving themisome treats like a tad of goat milk and some things you know they like. That may help them out a bit.

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

Just to let you know, my chickens aren't laying either, and our new dairy goat isn't giving half of what her previous owners said she would give, lol, so I'm right there with ya girl!!

I think our hens stopped laying 'cause we've put them up in a run instead of letting them free range. They were laying in the woods, and we couldn't ever find their brown eggs!! Hopefully they'll stop protesting and lay again soon. We've started giving them a little Purina Layena (laying mash) so hopefully they'll lay soon.

Not sure what's up with the goats! I feel like I definitely have the hang of the milking thing, and am milking her out completely. I can't help but wonder if the people we got her from over estimated her milk production. They were milking like a dozen other goats, so they could have easily been mistaken, I think. I do wonder also if we aren't feeding her enough. She has free forage in her pen, and Purina Goat feed twice a day, but I think we should get some hay for her too.

I know none of this helps you, LOL, just wanted to share that I'm in the same boat!! Good luck with everything!

Jessie said...

When my chickens won't lay I give them 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar in their water for a few days. It has always worked for me. Hope that helps!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I can't help with goats or chickens but I had to laugh about the noise in the country.

I have always said that people who talked about how quiet country life is never LIVED in the country!

BaileyZimmerman said...

Strictly from a human standpoint....not enough fluid in...not enough will come out.
All you nursing Moms know what I'm talking about!!
Not sure how you get more water into them nubians. about a salt!!

Tammy said...

Love the don't see white barns around here too often.

dogsmom said...

I am loving the sound of the frogs singing. It is a sign of spring and will get louder as the weather warms. You'll grow to love it. Later there will be crickets and grasshoppers too. Being awakened by birdsong makes getting up before sunrise easier to take as well.

Have you discovered the "Backyard" forums yet? Lots of answers there.

Jan n Jer said...

Good luck with your chickens n goats. I love your barn shot.

Lois Evensen said...

Sorry I don't have any answers regarding farming, but want to tell you I came over from Barn Charm and find your entry very pretty. :)

All the best,

gigi said...

I sure can't help you I'm a city girl but I love your barn shot this week :0)

Rural Revival said...

Absolutely beautiful barn photo!

I wish I knew about goats, that would mean I had my own, but I'm praying you get the help you need.


Rose said...

Sounds like you got some answers about your chickens and goats....I don't have any experience with either.

But I came by for barn charm...I like your entry.

Elaine said...

Your photo is beautiful. The barn just seems to glow. Getting used to living in the country is a big adjustment, but you'll get the hang of it. In the meantime, enjoy the adventure.

Mandy said...

I don't have anything of value to add since my chicks aren't laying yet and I've never been around a goat before. :) But just wanted to say that I hope that things even out and go a little more smoothly for you soon.

Tanya said...

not a clue but i love the barn shot!! good luck to you!!

Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said...

In case you are wondering "what giggle her utter" is. What I really meant was jiggle... either way I guess it sounds kind of funny :)

Anonymous said...

I can't really help you on the farm animals, but one of my favorite things/sounds is croakin' bullfrogs at night... I LOVE that sound... lets me know the cold weather is GONE & Spring is FINALLY here!!! =)

Your barn shot is beautiful, especially w/ the soft effect & that blue blue sky!

Thanks so much for joining... much appreciated! =)

Hope said...

We recently bought a goat, and milk production ia going down for us too. We know when the goats are moved when they are milking, it can drop the prodction down a bit. We aren't sure just how much the last owner was getting either. Our Nanny goat had her kid about a month ago. I have to say I have enjoyed your tale about the chickens!! We bought our first chicken last year and really enjoy them, we bought some more chicks this spring and are looking forward to when they lay too, since half of them are the easter egg layers!! Sounds like your chickens are just adjusting and probably need a light on early mornings. Hope you see some eggs soon!! Just want to say I enjoy reading your blog about hearing about your life. My youngest and your youngest are only a day apart in age and I also had a girl!

Michelle said...

I have a Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat, and she has never given me the production all the books say they will give. She's a beautiful goat, confirmationally. My breeder didn't make any promises about production, she milks all her goats into one bucket, so it's hard for her to say unless they've been through the DHIR milk test. Last year I never got more than 9 oz. per milking from her. This year, though, I'm getting 16 oz per milking! I've read that they give more milk to the person who catches their kids when they are born. I think another helpful component has been keeping her kids on her. I am only milking once a day, in the morning this year. (I realize that is probably not an option for you now, but maybe in the future...) The kids really seem to help keep her production up. What you feed is crucial. I feed my goat a blend. The ratios are 4 parts ADM Dairy Goat Ration and 1 part each of beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and black oil sunflower seeds along with free choice prairie grass hay and all the fresh water she can drink. I allow my goats to browse freely for several hours each afternoon as well. I know my routine isn't perfect; I have a long way to go. (I'm even struggling with some issues around milking right now.) I would love to be able to get off commercially produced feed products alltogether, but right now that's not feasable. I hope these ideas help.

Anonymous said...

You don't say what kind of hay you're feeding but a dairy goat has to have protein and calcium to produce very well for you. The way we do it here is our does get free choice good quality alfalfa hay or pellets and get grain when milked. They should get a pound of grain no matter what and then another pound for every 3 lbs of milk you get up to 5 lbs or so a day. We choose to use real grains for our blend which uses 4 parts oats 2 parts corn 1 part boss and 1 part beet pulp shreds. We had to bring up. production on a couple of does for a friend. this spring and it is all based on diet with the alfalfa being the most important. Hope this helps!

Evelyn S. said...

I'm just here because of your wonderful old barn, so I can't offer advice on chickens or goats! However, I do admire you for your move into the country! I don't think I could do fact, I don't think I could have done it when I was young enough to try it!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

I've only had my chickens since October and they are amazing - even with the shock of being transported, the cruel winter... So I am no help yet... I am sure I will need this advice soon.
Is that your barn????
You are living my dream!!!!
Thanks for your kind words about my sister's shower!
Parisienne Farmgirl


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