The only constant is change...
I was talking to a fellow goat producer this week, and discussing management techniques, and simply how we care for our goats and something hit me. The way I manage my goats today at the end of January is different than how I manage them in the middle of July. Farming, and animal care is a constant battle of adaptation. This is something that I really struggle with as I truly enjoy routines and consistency. I am constantly assessing the weather, pasture condition, water levels, body condition scores, FAMACHA scores, udder condition, coat conditions and goat's body language. I truly believe paying close attention and putting effort into making small changes on a daily basis can make the difference in the health and longevity of your animals.
One very basic example that I have is the different nutritional requirements of each individual in the stage of life they are in. My buck Branson was struggling for months with a poor hair coat and I could not figure out why, his pen mate Turbo looked silky and fat. I dewormed him, and gave him BOSE, Replamin Gel and a copper bolus. I added kelp to his diet and added an additional mineral feeder to ensure he was getting adequate minerals. I finally decided I was going to begin feeding him two cups of grain twice a day and it has been a game changer. I was not feeding my bucks grain due to Turbo's urinary calculi earlier in the year and Branson proved to me that I cannot implement a one size fits all protocol.
My barn is another thing that is always changing, Thankfully, the changes fit the season, as I am half full with hay in late August and early September. As my hay storage wanes, my open space increases, and I utilize this area for kidding pens. I think it is key to ensure you are not simply going through the motions each day when caring for your goats but continually learning about how you can be a better steward to them. They will live longer, make more milk and have healthier lives if you simply put that effort in on a daily basis. This really rings true for me, as I have been struggling the past few days to simply get the basics done, we have been extremely busy in our personal lives and I noticed that I was not putting my full attention and effort into my goats. This is not fair to them, nor is it who I intend to be as a farmer. I hope that you can all help to keep me accountable.