Registration for the goats is coming along S.L.O.W.L.Y. I'm going through ADGA, and it takes minimum of two weeks for them to finish any paperwork I send in. In May I was able to register Barry & Adi in my name. I sent in the paperwork for the two doe kids as well, but my check hasn't cleared and the website does not say that they received it. So that charge will go in June's report.
My mom came over and helped me castrate our little buck. We chose to use banding because it is fast, easy and cheap. Supposedly it is painful for the goat, but Buffy didn't limp or anything after the procedure was done, and there were no outward signs of pain or suffering. Having grown up in a farming community, I watched people band calves for years and never thought anything of it. The other procedure people use that is supposedly more "humane" involves crushing internal parts with an instrument called a burdizzo. In addition to buying another tool, it sounds like it requires more skill than banding, and I don't know how you can tell if it worked... which is kind of important.
The Tethering Experiment
This month we also experimented with staking Barry (our breeding buck) outside on a leash. I would consider it a semi-success, but not a good long-term plan. After several days he got used to being on a leash, and he definitely leads a lot better now than he did before. However, it was a hassle for me to watch/unwind/water him all of the time (for some reason he kept dumping over his water). He made more noise while being staked, and somehow managed to hurt his foot while he was out there as well. At night when we put him back in the barn, it seemed like he enjoyed being locked up in the little stall more than he liked the fresh grass and bramble being staked. For now we put him back in his own pasture, next to the other goats. While staking might be a good strategy for getting an area of brush cleared, it's a lot of work and worry, and I can understand why not very many people do it.
Combined, the mama goats are now giving about a quart of milk per day. Adi is giving 3.5 cups, and Alex is giving about a half cup of milk. Adi is my dairy goat, and Alex is the fiber goat who only has half an udder. Some people wouldn't bother milking Alex, but I figure if I have to feed her anyway, I might as well get a half cup of free milk. I've also noticed that she is more friendly than she was before I started milking her.
In May I sold my first ounce of fiber at the farmers market. The spinner that bought it gave me some tips on labeling (I had forgotten to put the weight on the label, for example). The next week, her daughter came back to my booth and gave me the most beautiful ball of yarn, spun from my very own fiber. I was delighted! The spinner said I could use it to make something with or use as a display. At least until market is over, I plan on using it as a display.
We had one chicken fatality this month. I'm not sure what caused it, but after researching a little bit I think it may have been "egg bound"... when an egg gets stuck and the chicken can't push it out.
We also had something exciting happen in the coop last month. One of my black hens started to go broody! I noticed for several days that, no matter if I came out in the morning or evening, she would always be sitting on the big pile of eggs. Unfortunately the other hens were beating her off to lay their eggs in the pile, so Hubs and I built a broody box to put her in for the next few weeks. It has been fascinating to watch her sit. She is so quiet and still, and always sitting on her eggs. I put some feed and water in the box as well. She hasn't eaten much feed, but I did see her drinking the water. About a week ago, she broke one of the eggs. Does anyone know why that could be? If all goes well, I should be seeing some chicks in a week or two. If not, there's been nothing lost.
The Bottom Line
Soap / milk products: $67.00
Other farmers market income: $140.02
Total Income: $287.02
Registration transfer fees for Barry & Adi: $12.00
4 bags goat feed: $35.14
CDT vaccine: $6.99
Green tattoo ink: $6.50
3 Goat collars ($3.00 each): $9.00
Total Expenses: $74.79
Net Profit: $212.23
Year-to-date Net Profit: ($87.23)
Yay! Thanks to the farmers market, we were able to actually make money this month. For the year, we are still almost $90 behind on costs. It is my hope that we'll be able to break even next month.
On the other hand, the market has not been a good place to sell fiber. I had a sneaking suspicion that this would be the case, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway. In the coming months, when I get my soap supply built up, I'd like to try my hand at a craft show. Some people have mentioned selling my fiber at a fiber festival. Right now I feel like I just don't have the inventory or fiber experience to justify a $50-$150 booth fee.
Goals for June:
1. Tattoo & sell doe kids
2. Collect tree hay
3. Sell strawberries at the market
Til next time,