6/25/17

Two of the goats were napping when I walked in


Today I was only working with the goats for an hour so not much happened. I started off by walking Eve. Since the path was recently sprayed with weed killer, I decided to walk Eve around the ferns. I started off by walkin her with the show chain because I didn’t have much time and she was very uncooperative. She would zigzag instead of walking in a straight line and when I tried to set her feet up she would move her feet out of position. After 15 minutes of this u started working with Scarlett. 
Scarlett was only slightly better than Eve. I got her to walk around the ferns three or four times before she sat down. 

Ellsa on the other hand, was walking beautifully. I didn’t need to have her in the halter while I was using the show chain and she would walk well most of the time. Ellsa even let me set up her feet correctly without protest. I’m definitely going to use Ellsa for showmanship at the Herford Junior Farm Fair because she is the easiest to show. When I put the halter on Ellsa so she could walk for exercise she hated it. I’m thinking that I’ll just walk Ellsa with the chain all the une because she is doing quite well with it. 

Ellsa walking sans halter


Once I was done walking Ellsa I got her some treats. Eve and Scarlett got their treats when I was putting the halter on them so they were fine on the treat front. All the other goats in the bigger pen swarmed around Ellsa to get food so I tried feeding her out of my hand. Hand feeding Ellsa was going well except that Belle kept head butting Ellsa so she could get the treat. Eventually I poured the treats in a bowl so everyone could fight over them. Once I saw that the goats were fed I made sure that the pens were closed then I went on my way. 

Goats fighting over treats

Scooter!

 

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6/24/17

My visit today was off to a good start. I walked Ellsa around the path once but since she wasn’t being cooperative I decided to walk Ellsa twice. After Ellsa was walked using the halter, I practiced showing her.

Ellsa walked 5 laps consecutively, which is the most she’s ever done and I barely had to use the chain to get her to move forward. I’m so happy that she’s making so much progress because I feel like there isn’t as much work to be done before the fair showmanship wise.

Once Ellsa was finished with showmanship I put her up on the stanchion to brush her. Apparently the more you brush a goat the shinier it’s coat gets and now that there’s a possibility of PETA harassing me at the county fair I have to make sure the goats look their best. On Thursday, we had a meeting at the fairgrounds about the potential for PETA “activists” to show up and protest 4-H and FFA because they see the treatment of animals at fair to be inhumane. In order to better understand their point of view I went onto PETA’s website. They feel like animals aren’t exercised enough and that they get incredibly stressed out at fairs, which is false. Everybody that I’ve met in 4-H works very hard to make sure their animals are treated well and I think that a big part of 4-H is instilling a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place and to take good care of your animals.

 

Ellsa posing after I brushed her.

 

Once Ellsa was brushed I tied her up in the pasture and grabbed Scarlett. All the rain means that the goats are getting more parasites that usual so we had to deworming all of our goats. There are two different solutions that Donna used Safe-guard on Scarlett and the bigger goats because when she sent their feces in for parasite screening they had a different worm than the younger goats. Ellsa was next to be dewormed. She along with the rest of the younger goats were given another type of deworming agent orally. Once Ellsa had her medicine I released her and started to walk Scarlett.

For whatever reason, Scarlett was a pain to walk. She would zigzag when she walked and every time I touched her tail instead of walking forward like she usually did she would walk in a circle and yank the halter so much that the nose strap ends up on her eyelid. Eventually I got her back to the pens. I grabbed a harness and worked on showmanship outside of the pen. Showmanship was alright, but it wasn’t as good as showmanship for Ellsa.

Once I finished working with Scarlett I captured Eve using a handful of treats and walked her using the halter. After out walk I attempted to do showmanship with Eve but she was less than cooperative. Eve is the most stubborn of my goats and although I got her to walk a lap or two I didn’t spend an extensive amount of time trying to get her to walk.

Today’s chore was stripping the hay in the lower pasture. The hay is outside the bed for the goats and it’s gotten pretty soiled in the past few weeks. As Jordan and I were shoveling hay onto the tractor the goats were milling around and at one point Dasher jumped into the tractor and started munching on hair. As you can see in the picture below, the loader attachment was getting pretty full and we didn’t want Dasher to get stuck or hurt when we emptied the hay from the tractor.

 

Dasher in the loader attachment on the tractor

After we emptied out all the hay we put in a round bale. The bale was pretty heavy so we added an attachment to move the bale. Once the bale was in the right position on the pallet we wrapped a piece of wire fencing around the bale so that it wouldn’t fall apart when we removed the strings from the bale. Removing the strings was fairly straightforward; we used a pocket knife to cut the string and just pull on one side till the whole string slides out. After I finished my chore I talked with Donna as I walked back to my car. She said that if I’m still interested in showing livestock next year I will be able to raise a market goat and market swine, which would be a great way to end my 4-H career.

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6/17/17

When I walked up to the barn I was greeted by very hungry goats. Donna hadn’t yet returned from the store so I ignored them and walked through the gate. As I quickly closed the gate behind me in order to prevent Belle and a few of the more curious goats from escaping, I noticed that Peanut and Scooter were standing on top of their block.

After that cute distraction, I captured and then proceeded to walk Eve. Eve bleated and complained the whole time we were walking as usual but by the time we got into the woods she was running to get back into her pen. I attempted to walk her up and down the path that goes behind the barn but she wasn’t walking well. This is a bit worrying to me because the fair is in a month and I want to do well in showmanship. Although I’m working with the goats twice a week, I am ofter reminded of what I am missing out on by not living with my animals. In the next few weeks I’ll visit the goats three or four times a week and that will make me feel better about showman ship but not as good as I would feel if I worked with the goats every day.

Eve sitting down because she didn’t want to be walked

Putting Scarlett into her halter is usually the easiest part of the day, at least once I catch her. Today she was right by the fence as I was returning Eve to the pen so I just grabbed her horn and slipped the halter over her head. Walking Scarlett was incredibly easy and she was walking well, which was a nice change of pace. When I finished walking Scarlett, I let her eat while I worked with the pigs.

I practiced using a pig stick to lead the pigs around the show ring. Initially, I wasn’t tapping them hard enough to get them to move but after Donna showed me the right amount of force to use in order to get the pigs to listen without hurting them. After some practice I was able to corral the pigs up the hill so Donna could move the truck without worrying about hitting any of the pigs with her truck.

The pigs after I chased them behind their pen

After Scarlett was fed I worked on showmanship with her. Thankfully, showmanship was relatively uneventful other than Scarlett’s usual attempts to remove her head from the chain. I’m slightly relieved that my goats are shaping up because I really want to do well in showmanship and this year I’ll be competing with senior 4-H  members, which include kids who have been showing goats since they were right years old.

Today I only walked Ellsa because Donna wanted to do some deep cleaning now that the weather is holding up. Ellsa is by far the best when it comes to showmanship so I’m not concerned that she’ll regress if I don’t practice showmanship once. 

Ellsa looking at the fields on the pat. The sunlight looked so cool that I didn’t even edit this picture.


We started off by stripping the stalls, which is a disgusting task because all the goats pee in their bedding. This just makes the bedding soggy, musty, and incredibly heavy so it takes forever to strip the stall. We then put hay bales in the stall so that we don’t need to worry about more hay getting ruined by the weather. We also organized the feed and harnesses as well. 

After the stalls were stripped I put hay into the feeders and onto the barn floor. For the goats in the lower patch we used some of the hay from the big bale but we made sure that the hay wasn’t moldy or anything. Once all the feeders were full we moved all the goats to the lower patch. Initially a lot of the goats walked down to the lower patch but Dasher, Scooter, and Selena were completely oblivious. I successfully chased Dasher and Scooter into the lower pen but Selena was more difficult to move. Selena was sitting in a shady corner and was very reluctant to move. I even touched her tail but she was still unbothered. Finally, I just grabbed a horn with one hand ant her tail with the other and she finally moved to the lower patch. 

Once all the goats were adjusted to their new living situation, I removed dirty hay from the feeder outside of the barn. As we were lifting up the board from the feeder we found two toads that were living under the feeder. Once the hay was replaced in that feeder we sprinkled lime on the inside of the barn stalls and the land outside of the stall that’s is all dirt. Once the stalls were spotless, except for the dusting of lime I went home. I was incredibly dusty and tired yet I was happy to see that my work with the goats is paying off. 

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6/11/17

Today was an uneventful morning with the goats. I got up to the barn during feeding time and once every goat was fed I grabbed Ellsa and started walking her. I walked Ellsa on a new path that goes through the woods and after that I walked Scarlett and Eve on the new path as well. Eve was walkin so much better on the path in the woods that I think I’ll walk her through the woods every time I work with her. 

As I wrapped up things with the goats, Donna said that I should try to get out to the barn for two hours at least once a week because there’s a high likelihood that I’ll be showing a pig in the market class. Three of Jordan and Jennifer’s pigs are around the same weight and since they’re in the same weight class I’ll have to be comfortable enough with the pig to show it in the ring. Since this class is about the pig more so than it is about me there isn’t a lot of pressure for me to “do well”. I’m excited for this new chapter in my 4-H experience!

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6/3/17

Today was my first time working with the goats by myself and it went very well. I started off my giving the pigs leftover cookies that nobody wanted and they loved it. The pink pig ran up as usual and took a cookie right away. The black sow ate one next. The other pink pig sniffed at the cookie and started eating it when I broke it into smaller pieces (the cookies were maybe 3cm in diameter so I’m not sure why that one pig wanted small pieces).

The pigs fighting over the cookie

Once the pigs ate their cookies I started working with the goats. 
I started off by walking Ellsa on the path. Although she still jumped two feet into the air and bleated angrily she did much better than she did on Thursday. After I walked Ellsa I tied her up and grabbed Scarlett. 

Ellsa during her walk

Scarlett is now in the second part of the big pen with a few other goats including Eve. As soon as I walked into the pen Scarlett stands in front of me and she doesn’t resist me putting the halter on her. Although not being the easiest to walk she was doing much better today. Since Scarlett was walking beautifully I decided to use the choke chain on her. For a change of scenery I walked Scarlett on the grass path that leads to the goat pens. She was very well behaved while on this path so I might use it in the future. After I finished working with Scarlett I loosened her halter and she stepped out of it. This may seem like nothing but it’s quite the triumph. I’m convinced that Scarlett is the smartest goat because she doesn’t run away when I walk up with a halter and she can help me get herself out of a harness. 

Scarlett walking on the path

Me trying to get Scarlett to walk


Eve on the other hand was a nightmare. In order to get her close enough to me that I could grab her horns and get her into the harness I had to put the show chains in a bucket so that it sounded like food. Since Eve is a gullible goat she walked up to me and looked into the bucket, which gave me just enough time to grab her by the horns. She was twisting her head every which way and almost chokin herself on the chain. Finally I decided to walk Eve down the path where I walked Scarlett and she seemed to be less of a pain to walk. By lap 3 she was finally starting to walk. Once I got her to walk correctly I got her back into the pen. Walking Eve was only half the battle. When I tried to remove her head from the halter I got the halter off the bridge of her nose before she ran away, which is problematic because the halter is still around her neck and I was worried that she would choke. I used the chains in the Bucket trick to get Eve to walk towards me but she still spooked. Eventually my dad had to hold the bucket next to the fence while I was out of sight in order to grab the harness and take it off of her. 

After Eve was freed I got 3 treats- one for Eve, one for Ellsa and one  for Scarlett. The whole time I was working with the Scarlett and Eve Ellsa was tied up and to make matters worse, all of the other goats were milling around the pen. Ellsa was so excited to get her treat that she put her front legs on my Thigh and wolfed the treat down hungrily. While I wasn’t paying attention Peanut grabbed the treats out of my hand. Once Ellsa was roaming freely  and Eve and Scarlett were in their pen I left. 

Ellsa enjoying her treat

All things considered I think my first time working with the goats went well but in the future I’ll just have to start by working with Eve because she’s the most difficult goat to work with. I’ll also try not to leave Ellsa tied to the fence while i work with the other goats. 

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6/01/17

Today I started off by harnessing all the goats so I could walking them around the path. By walkin the goats  we make sure that they increase muscle mass before the show. I started with Scarlett because I know how she would react to walking. Although she put up somewhat of a fight, she was mostly cooperative when I walked her. I decided to walk Ellsa next because she was already in her harness. Unsurprisingly Ellsa hated walking and every couple of steps she would dig in her front legs and bleat loudly or she would jump a foot into the air. Eventually we made it through our walk and then the real challenge would start: getting Eve to wear the halter. Eve is is a different pen with Sparky and another doe and she’s very stubborn. If she doesn’t want to move there’s no way to make her move. In order to harness Eve I chased her for 5-10 minutes and finally Jordan walked into the barn. Since Eve will do anything for food she walked into the barn and while Jordan grabbed her by the horns I put her in the halter. Once Eve was in her halting it was smooth sailing for the most part.

All the goats surrounding me when I walked into their pen


After I walked my goats with the halter I walked Ellsa and Scarlett using the chains. Initially Scarlett was being Scarlett and refused to walk but by the third lap she was walking perfectly and she let me adjust her feet slightly. Ellsa was still a pain to walk because she continued to jump and bleat. After I successfully got Ellsa to walk twice I called it a day and started feeding the goats.

Feeding the goats was an ordeal as usual. Almost half the hay bale was moldy so we had to dig around and find good hay that the goats would eat. Once we found decent hay we filled up all the feeders and left the goats to eat.


Once all the goats had been fed we took a wheelbarrow full of moldy hay up to the pigs. One of the pink pigs, I think it is the sow, ran up to the fence as soon as they saw me and did the same thing once they saw I had hay. Once the pigs had some hay we checked their water tank. Jordan and I took a couple of buckets up so that they would have an abundance of water. Once all the animals were fed I went home.

Scooter

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5/25/17

Today was a rather eventful visit with the goats. I started off by walking Eve, my oldest goat, on the trail that leads behind the house. She was less than willing to walk on the harness, especially since it was my first time working with her. Eventually we sorted out my issues and by the end Eve would walk when I walked and stand still when I stand still.

Eve enjoying her walk

After I walked Eve I corralled all the younger goats and walked Ellsa and Scarlett. I decided to start by walking Ellsa because she is more cooperative and she can stand up properly. I used the new choke chain with an adjustable collar and after one lap Ellsa was walking like a pro.

As we finished walking the goats and fed them their dinner, a big storm started rolling in. We had to fill up the hay feeders inside the barn so that the little goats could eat hay and the outdoor feeder as well. When we were getting the hay we realized that some of the hay had started to mold. Although the mold doesn’t hurt the goats, they will not eat it so usually the hay would get wasted. Fortunately for Donna, pigs will eat hay even if it is moldy and the hay will fatten them up as well.

A newly filled hay feeder

Once the goats were fed, Scooter had ointment on his rash, and the hay feeders were filled, we started to feed the pigs. First, we fed the pigs grain and dumped food scraps into their bowl. The marshmallows that are usually reserved for treats were also put in the food bucket because they were sticky, soggy, and covered in ants. While the pigs were eating we wheeled up the wheelbarrow full of moldy hay and put it next to their feed. One of the sows ran up to the hay and started eating it and rolling around in it as well. Apparently pigs roll around in hay and end up cleaning all the dirt off their skin.


Once all the animals were fed, we covered up the bale of hay once again. In order to give the hay some room to breathe while also making sure that it is protecteur from the rain we put a roll of wire fencing on top of the hay then covered it up with the tarp. After the hay was covered up once again I walked to my car and drove away. Once in the car I noticed how sweaty, dusty and happy I was. I rarely feel as fulfilled as I do when working with the animals because I’m constantly learning while spending time outside, which are two of my favorite things.

The hay bale after we covered it with the tarp. The roll of wire is the rectangular shape behind  the brick.

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