Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

Search This Blog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paying for a Big Mistake

As I've posted earlier, there wasn't supposed to be any kids born between Christmas and mid-February. But it turns out that Rip was a busy buck while he was loose with the open does last summer. To get to the doe herd, he had to squeeze through THREE sections of six-wire high-tensile electric fence. Hormones are a powerful thing.

So now I'm paying for this mistake in a couple of ways. Yesterday, out of seven kids born only four survived. Cocoa, one of our solid red senior does who has been an excellent producer had triplets, but one was stillborn. It could have been for a number of reasons, but I'd bet that it was nutritional. I like to increase feeding the last six weeks of gestation since fat does have a harder time kidding and run the risk of pregnancy toxemia. However, the first of the year is when I started ramping up their feed in preparation for the February/March kidding. Because of this I also missed the boat on their pre-kidding vaccinations/selenium, worming and foot-trimming which would have been done this week.
Cocoa with her buck and doe kids. Lots of solid dark does being born this year.
Secondly, right now the temperatures are in the twenties during the day and the teens at night with howling winds taking the chill down into single digits. Pumpkin Pie is a lousy mother to begin with so when she kidded during the night, despite the deep bedding and shelter, she walked away from her twins and by the time we found them in the morning, they were frozen solid to the ground...not pretty.
Marilyn's twins--a buck and a doe.
The third, but probably the least disappointing of this whole mess is that the does were bred to Red Hot N Ripped instead of the tall, long, black-headed buck bred by BIJO Boer Goats. Don't get me wrong, I love Rip, but I've got some older does who are slowing down and I really wanted to breed them to a longer, taller buck since I've already got lots of offspring from them out of the stockier MAX genetics.

Fortunately, the BIJO buck is owned by my neighbor and chances are good I can get him back for another 'visit'.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Clara has been getting rounder as the days went by. Her udder swelled to the size of a bright pink and somewhat hairy soccer ball. She grunted and groaned. Her vulva dripped. We locked her in the maternity stall in the barn. Yes, another batch of single digit weather is on the way and I thought it would be the old listen-to-the-baby-monitor-and-trot-out-to- the-barn-every few-hours-in-the-miserable-cold routine. But THANKFULLY, Clara decided to pop tonight with a pair of twin bucks each weighing ten pounds! No wonder she was so wide.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Surprise!

Rip was a busy boy this past summer when he sneaked into the does' pasture while I was out of town. Phyllis sprung this darling doe on Ralph this morning while Jess and I were still at the Farm Show. I wonder how many more 'surprises' are on the way?
We didn't win any big ribbons, but Rip did place third in his class behind two serious show goat breeders.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

I'll give you a hint. This is the 'dry' herd, meaning they are not scheduled to start kidding until after we return from the PASA Conference in February. Look closely. What do you see? KIDS! As we were loading up Jess's animals she'll be showing at the 92nd Annual Pennsylvania State Farm Show this week, she said, "Mom, there are kids out here." Mary Kate had a fine set of twins--a buck and a doe--vigorously nursing in the balmy January sun.

As we drove toward Harrisburg, I began counting backwards. 150 days ago I was in Burlington, Vermont at the American Cheese Society's conference. It turns out while I was gone, Jess admitted our young buck, MAX Red Hot N Ripped, got in with the open does that weren't scheduled to be bred until October. Great. I'm sure there are a few more 'surprises' are on the way. Cocoa and Clara are extremely large for a February kidding so they've been added to the maternity ward. The ultimate goal is to have no animals freshening from Christmas to mid-February, but it looks like we missed our mark this year.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Parting Shots for 2007

L-EEE (pronounced "Elly") made sure she didn't have to go to the Pennsylvania Farm Show and get all dolled up for the Junior Breeding Stock and Open Boer Goat shows this year. She was one of our daughter's strongest show does this past summer. We knew she was pregnant, but unsure of if she would kid in this round or the next, due to start in mid-February. She gave us a buck and a doe. Since the doe is the dark one, she'll be registered as "L-Vira" as in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
We bred to have everyone kidded out prior to the start of the Farm Show (beginning on Friday). Clara is the lone hold-out on us. She looks like she's ready to pop any moment. We're hoping she goes before the low of 11 degrees on Thursday night. If not, I'm seriously considering building a kidding pen in our basement.

The current batch of babies are all snug in their kid-warmers that Ralph builds out of 55-gallon plastic barrels, a light fixture and a 100-watt bulb.
Can you believe this is Emma's udder? She's healed quite well considering the extensive wound and loss of the front quarter. As you can see, the teat and quarter is entirely gone. The rear quarter and teat, while intact, isn't functioning. We won't know if it's a complete loss until her next freshening, which will be in September to Sunset Canyon Matinee if our AI guy hit the spot last week when she came into heat. The other half of her udder is perfectly normal and pumping out as much as three and a half gallons of rich milk each day.