Tag Archives: Nubian dairy goats

Unhappy Goat Snow Days

My Nubian goats are spoiled. Dairy goats in general seem that way, or so I hear. They hate to get wet or tromp through the snow. They like to go out romping. Snow days are tough on them.

The first day wasn’t too bad. My herd is smaller now and has plenty of room in the barn to argue among themselves. Standing around with enough hay in the troughs to replace their bedding is fun too.

Nubian goat herd on snow days

Snow is still covering most of the ground. Still my Nubians look out from under their door cover blanket hoping I will open the pasture gate. Somehow I must be able to give them their pasture back minus the snow. I wish I knew how. They need the exercise. Mobbing the milk room door is not exercise for them, only frustration for me.

Even Augustus didn’t mind the first day. He is lonely now without Gaius around. He liked having the herd stay around all day.

Day two wasn’t so fun. The goats have plenty of hay to eat. They are bored with hay. Acorns are tastier. New hay doesn’t appear often enough.

Water is another complaint. The buckets don’t arrive often enough. Of course, the goats can’t be bothered to get drinks when they do arrive. New hay is on the agenda, then water. I am supposed to wait around until they are ready.

Nubian buck Augustus on snow days

Nubian buck High Reaches Silk’s Augustus has room in his pen, just not enough. By day 3, he is ready and eager to get outside and run. Unfortunately the snow is not leaving and he is stuck watching the world go by.

Exercise is important. The goats chase each other around in the barn. There is one bench and the thunder of feet going over it is almost continuous. I’m glad I got it repaired last week.

Augustus is tired of snow days. His pen is big enough for a short time. Two days is too long. He wants out to play too. His brand of playing is not appreciated by the does.

Up north the snow days lasted for months. This herd would go nuts. Luckily for my herd Ozark snow days last only a few days.

The storm should pass tonight. The sun will start melting the snow tomorrow. By the next day the goats will be ready to race out the gate churning up the mud as they buck and bounce their way out to find those acorns.

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Nubian Buck Strength

Fall is breeding season for goats. Bucks in rut have only one thought: does. Never underestimate Nubian buck strength and single-mindedness of purpose.

I did.

Nubian buck kid Augustus shows buck strength

Goat kids love to run, jump and play. Nubian buck kid Augustus was no exception. He was born in November, 2014. Even as a kid he had long, thick legs built for speed and power.

High Reaches Silk’s Augustus was such a beautiful little boy. His mother High Reaches Bubbles Silk doted on him, spoiling him rotten. Separating the two was difficult and Augustus gained the nickname Houdini.

Nubian buck kid with mother

As a Nubian buck kid, Augustus was protected and coddled by his mother High Reaches Bubbles’ Silk.

Now Augustus is full grown and big. He weighs over 200 pounds, stands over a yard tall at the shoulders and trots thunderously from place to place. He has also wrested buck supremacy away from Goat Town USA Gaius.

I don’t particularly like to line breed my goats. So, when High Reaches Pixie’s Pamela, Augustus’ daughter, came into season this fall as a yearling, I let Gaius out with her.

Augustus was not happy. He was frustrated and furious at being ignored. His buck strength was enough to batter his pen walls but not enough to break them.

sparring Nubian bucks show buck strength

As Nubian buck Augustus gained his full height, he challenged Gaius’ position more and more often. When Augustus rears up and comes down, his buck strength really shows as he hits hard enough to shatter a metal hasp or even a logging chain.

I was in a hurry and didn’t notice Pamela wasn’t the only doe in heat. Augustus did.

Milking over, I called the herd out to the pasture gate and let them out. They were delighted, racing over the bridge to under the persimmon trees. Gaius was left forlornly calling at the gate.

I walked back to the barn and let Augustus out. He flew out the door and across the barn lot. I reached in to pick up his dish. I froze.

Augustus had shown his buck strength by hitting the pasture gate and shattering the latch board. The gate was wide open. The two bucks were joyfully racing out to join the herd now on the hillside eating acorns.

Nubian bucks Augustus and Gaius

Nubian bucks Goat Town USA Gaius and High Reaches Silk’s Augustus stand watching for the herd.

Normally I can walk out, put a lead rope on either of my bucks and lead them around. Bucks in rut among does, some of whom are in heat, do not want to be caught and dragged away.

The only way to catch the bucks was to drive the herd back into the barn lot. Then the does can go out again and the bucks are left behind.

A herd just turned out happily gobbling acorns is not happy to return to the barn. This is one of the very few times I wish I had a herding dog.

After getting a full day’s exercise and yelling myself hoarse, the herd was in and out again. The bucks were in. And another item was on the ‘To Do’ list.

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My Nubian Goats Vanished

Since my Nubians are dairy goats, they get milked twice a day. They go out to pasture during the day and come in when it starts getting dark. At least they did until my goats vanished.

A lost kid happens. Each time means a frantic search until the kid or kids are found.

my Nubians start out to pasture

Milking is over. The herd is ready to go out to pasture. It was hard to get far enough in front to get a picture as, every time I sped up, so did they.

This time it was the entire herd.

Everything started out normally. Morning milking was done. The goats poured out of the gate, crossed the bridge and headed for the south pasture.

The point of decisions is here. The herd can go to the north and pasture with persimmon trees. The herd can cross the bridge and go up the left hill or go right down the creek bed and out to the south pasture hill and acorns. The last option was chosen for when the goats vanished.

Over the day the goats vanished into the hills. The acorns were falling and my Nubians love acorns.

Late afternoon arrived. I went out and started doing afternoon chores like gathering eggs and putting the bucks into their pens.

my does raced off then my goats vanished

Nubian does High Reaches Drucilla’s Rose and High Reaches Pixie’s Agate are racing by good grazing in their quest to get up the hill to eat acorns.

The herd was not in sight, but I wasn’t concerned. They had taken to waiting in the pastures for me to come out and call them. (My goats are not spoiled.)

After putting hay out, I opened the gate and walked out across the bridge and toward the south pasture. The walk is pleasant even though time is short. Dinner preparation takes time.

The goats weren’t in the hill pasture. The goats weren’t in the south pasture. I walked to the north pasture. No goats there either. My goats vanished and failed to reappear.

herd in pasture isn't where my goats vanished

Purposely striding across the south pasture my Nubian goats are still headed for the hills and acorns.

Sunset was streaking the sky. I raced back to the south pasture to check the ravine and the hills.

Getting a flashlight I clambered up the hills in the dark. This was not a smart thing to do as this hill was covered with loose gravel at a fifty degree or more slope.

There was nothing more I could do in the dark. I left the gate open and went to the house. My goats vanished. Maybe I could find them in the morning.

my goats vanished into the woods

Notice how the browns and blacks of my goats blend into the hillside. I’ve been twenty feet away from the herd and now seen them. Usually one moves or the leaves rustle. When my goats vanish, they are truly not there.

Before going to bed, I walked over to the barn one last time. I had left the lights on and needed to turn them off for the night.

The brats were laying around chewing their cuds. I closed the gate. I considered milking, but it was already eleven.

The next morning I considered keeping the goats in the small pasture for the day. The brats begged and I relented. The goats vanished again.

This time I saw them reappear and know where to hunt them up next time my goats vanish.

Making Fall Decisions

The idea of fall being as busy as summer seems strange. After all, the growing season is ending. The year is winding down. Yet fall decisions are many.

A possibility of frost sent me out in my garden. Tomatoes, peppers and squash are all frost sensitive. They are cold sensitive as well.

fall decisions about tomatoes

Green tomatoes are popular with some people, not me. Sometimes the green tomatoes will ripen in the pantry. Cold temperatures stop them in the garden. Will these? Should I pick them? How many bowls, trays, sacks of green tomatoes do I want in the pantry?

Tomato plants in the spring sit refusing to grow until temperatures warm up. Tomatoes hanging on the vine stay green as long as temperatures are cold. The same is true of peppers.

Bags of tomatoes, green to red and bags of peppers green to various colors moved into the pantry. Unless we want to eat tomatoes and peppers morning, noon and night for a month, we can’t eat all of these.

butternut squash fall decisions

Frost is coming. The mottling tells me this butternut squash isn’t ripe yet. Should I pick it anyway and hope it ripens in the pantry? Should I leave it and hope the vines survive another week?

One solution is tomato sauce. I like one made with minced garlic, chopped onion and peppers cooked down in tomatoes. It’s packaged in two cup amounts and frozen.

This is a delaying tactic. The piles of tomatoes and peppers changed form, but are still waiting to be eaten. How much spaghetti and pizza do we want to eat every week?

Another solution is to sell or give the extra away. This is easier during the summer when the vines and plants are busy producing more. Now the vines and plants are gone. When the extra is gone, there will not be more until next summer.

evening primrose flowers

A touch of color is welcome. Evening primrose is a bit frost hardy so a few flowers may still be there when the tomatoes are gone.

How much should I keep? I’m never sure. Making fall decisions about this is guess work.

Another set of decisions surrounds the goats. It’s breeding season. Once a doe is bred, she will milk one to two months, then go dry until having kids in the spring.

Summer has made me complacent with plenty of milk, mozzarella, ricotta and feta. When most of my milkers are dry, this will stop.

The temptation is to delay breeding my does. But delaying breeding doesn’t change anything.

Fall decisions loom. Which does will I milk through the winter? Which does are to be bred to which buck? And I do like March to April kids, so breed the does in October to November. The milk desert begins about December.

goat fall decisions about breeding

Nubian yearling doe High Reaches Pamela is old enough to be bred. Maybe Goat Town USA Gaius wants a girlfriend.

One other set of fall decisions sits in my computer room. I have boxes of books. Now is a good time of year to have book signings.

November is Novel Writing Month. I’m not ready. I have two weeks. At least I know I will try to finish the first book of “The Carduan Chronicles” neglected this year as I finished “My Ozark Home” and “Mistaken Promises.”

Fall is definitely not a time to slow down.

Fall Overtakes Summer

As fall overtakes summer, many changes sneak into the goats and garden. The noisy changes come from the goats.

Nubians are known for their loud voices. Prime breeding season is in the fall. Roughly every three weeks a doe announces she is in season and displays for the buck.

Nubian buck in rut as fall overtakes summer

Nubian buck High Reaches silk’s Augustus spends hours standing on top of the gym calling to and looking for the does. He has gotten fat over the summer which is good as he now often neglects his grain, grazing and hay.

Bucks produce musk behind where they would have horns. I prefer disbudded or polled bucks for several reasons, safety being high on the list.

My Nubian bucks weigh around two hundred pounds each. Double my weight. They are good natured and I can handle them without too much trouble. Horns would make them dangerous.

Many years ago my father had a black Nubian buck with horns. On Nubians horns go up six inches or so and then turn outward. This buck developed a horn spread three feet across with each horn spiraling a time and a half.

Nubian buck

Nubian buck Goat Town USA Gaius sneaks up on the gym to look out at the pastures when Augustus isn’t watching. He has gotten old and is now second buck.

One day my mother and I were out to trim his feet. He wasn’t very aggressive towards us, had grown up as something of a pet. He felt playful, turned his head, picked my mother – all 160 pounds of her – up on the tip of a horn and set her against the top strands of the barbed wire fence.

As fall overtakes summer and the bucks begin to reek and call for the does, I am glad they don’t have horns.

In the garden many of the summer crops are dying back. The yard long beans still bloom, but are dropping their leaves. The tomato vines are browning at the base. The squash is succumbing to the squash bugs.

broccoli takes off as fall overtakes summer

Transplants are an easy way to get cabbage and broccoli going for the fall. I prefer fall planting as the cool weather keeps the flavor good. Hot weather makes them bitter. The mulch isn’t needed now to hold moisture and can even make it too wet. The mulch does keep weeds down and the soil from freezing until winter gets serious.

As fall overtakes summer, the cold weather crops are coming up. Turnips, beets, peas, Chinese cabbage, rutabaga and lettuce have sprouted. Cabbage and broccoli transplants are in.

The rains have come dropping the temperatures. Here in the Ozarks fall overtakes summer, not slowly, but in a couple of weeks.

Scrounging Winter Pasture

For months the goats were out gorging on grass and browse. Winter pasture has little to offer.

Last year’s wind storm blew down big trees. The goats sampled the leaves. There were too many leaves for the goats to eat all of them. Those remaining are now brown and dry.

Normally the grass is deep in the fall from late rains. The rains did not come. The grass is skimpy.

fallen trees are winter pasture

Trina and Flame are munching on the last of these leaves on a fallen oak. The leaves are a sad reminder of better times for browsing.

Goats used to walking miles every day don’t like being cooped up. They soon pick on each other. Since several are heavy with kids, this is not good.

Winter pasture helps. There may not be much to eat. The goats must go distances to scrounge what there is.

Don’t think the goats wear themselves out. Goats don’t walk as though on a treadmill. They wander to one area, nibble, lie down and relax. Then they get up and repeat the routine in another place.

Nubian doe in winter pasture

Nubian doe Sasha, the oldest doe, relaxes in the remains of the winter pasture.

Over the warm months the goats eat breakfast then line up at the pasture gate. Now the herd lines up in the barn waiting for hay. Only after the hay is eaten, trampled and otherwise disposed of, do the goats entertain the notion of going out to winter pasture.

Nubian kids on winter pasture

The three remaining Nubian doe kids are getting big. They play tagalong after the does on the swings through the winter pasture and the woods.

My routine changes accordingly. I milk, put out hay and go to the house. A couple of hours later I go back to the barn. If the weather is good, I let the goats out. If the weather is bad, more hay goes into the troughs.

The bucks root for good weather. The does and bucks share the barn lot. When the does are in, the bucks are in their pens. When the does go out, the bucks get out into the lot.

Nubian herd on winter pasture

Hope keeps the Nubians herd scrounging through the winter pasture and the woods. Maybe something new has appeared.

The rains seem to be returning. At least, several storms have dropped an inch of water each lately. The temperatures are warm for February. The grass has noticed and is putting up a few pioneer blades.

Perhaps winter pasture will give way to spring pasture in a couple of weeks. The goats would be delighted.