Ordered some lovely-sounding heirloom tomato seeds from Baker Creek today (including Black Oxheart, Ozark Pink, and Orange Banana!)-- such a small thing, but it felt pretty big to be ordering seeds for myself... I'm working on establishing a marketing relationship with Summertime Market, a cute little seasonal fruit and vegetable market in Douglas, for the crops I'll be growing this year in Cathy's hoophouse and garden. Eeeep! Exciting. We shall see what comes...
Today Cathy and I took care of some of the pre-kidding health items for the 18 does that will kid at the beginning of March-- Cathy gave each of them an injection of Bo-Se, which is selenium + vitamin E, to prevent white-muscle disease in the kids-- Michigan soils are deficient in selenium, which is why goats need it supplemented, but apparently selenium overdose is also toxic, so the injection must be measured carefully. I administered Ivermectin (basically squirting it into their mouths with a little plastic syringe, 1 cc per 50 pounds of body weight), which is a de-wormer for internal parasites (and lice). The does will get "wormed" again immediately after kidding-- Cathy is sending me some info soon about this, so then I can share more. I'm pretty sure that Ivermectin (and other de-wormers) is prohibited in the Organic Standards for livestock-- Cathy's not certified, but I haven't asked her yet what she thinks about this... I am still trying to understand the internal parasites issues for goats as well, I have pretty simplistic notions at the moment.
I am starting to learn the names of all the ladies... and a bit more of their distinguishing personality traits-- Tribute and Hexa are the escape artists, always looking to squeeze through the barn doors. Dottie and her daughters Gracie and Greta like to hang out together and sleep nestled together in the stalls, and they also share a keen strength and stubbornness-- none of the does really liked having something squirted down their throats, but these ladies made quite a bit show of how bad it tasted. They also walked very quickly and directly as I led them each to their exit back into the yard, while some of the other does are more meandering.
I also re-bedded a couple of the stalls today with new straw-- it's nice to feel like I'm making a warm and comfortable little nest for them, while they nibble on the seed heads in the oat straw.
Soon we'll be cleaning out the stalls entirely-- this is a chore that has been put off for a bit.
After I brought out the hay this evening, I stood watching some of the does playing-dancing-wrestling-fighting-- it's hard to give one verb to what they do, but it's fascinating-- they touch noses sometimes, wrap their necks around each other, push against each other with their bodies and heads, rise up on their hind legs and then crash! knock their skulls together. It looks like it's happening in slow motion, and maybe because of my limited knowledge of goat behavior, it's difficult to interpret-- is it a struggle for place in the herd hierarchy? is it affection? play? sometimes they push and butt each other out of the way at the hay manger, but this is different... whatever it is-- their movement, their coming apart and crashing together, their ebb and flow, tension and release of pushing on each other-- transfixes me as the sun settles down and the sky darkens.