Katy Whitby-last

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since Apr 18, 2011
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forest garden goat trees
North East Scotland
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Recent posts by Katy Whitby-last

Ragwort IS toxic to sheep they are just not quite so sensitive to it as horses and tend to have much shorter lives so that the liver damage does not become so obvious. Personally I wouldn't graze anything on ragwort. I dig up all of the rosettes and put clover seed down in the bare patches. I rarely see it on my land these days.
Please don't use barbed wire. If you have ever seen an animal who has pushed through it the injuries are just horrible. Could you use electric or even plain wire instead?
They really need milk to grow properly. My kids get milk until 6 months of age but I have weaned males at 4.5 months if they are uncastrated. If they are fairly young they will not manage on just browsings and grass.
Your tup should be fine with a wether in with him just make sure that they either both have horns or both don't. If they don't know each other already then make up a very small pen that you put them in for a couple of hours. They shouldn't be able to move around at all. This way they will get each others smell on them and won't be able to injure each other. When you let them out make sure the ewes are not nearby so that the tup doesn't feel the need to compete with the wether for them.

With your ewes they can vary enormously as to how long in advance they bag up. First timers may be just a few days, some older ewes or very milky first timers it can be a month in advance.

The main indication for dropping the lambs is their behaviour. Look for pawing the ground, restlessness, some will go off their food. If you can get close enough to see the vulva will be puffy and darker coloured and you may see a discharge.

It is possible to get your ewes scanned with an ultrasound scanner which would tell you if they are pregnant and, depending on the stage that they are at, may be able to tell you roughly how far along they are. In the UK there are specialist scanners who travel around or vets sometimes do it.
If you haven't rotated pasture yet at all I would personally do a FEC to ascertain what their current worm burden is. You can then plan your strategy accordingly - whether it is preventative treatment through feeding herbs or chicory etc or antithelmetics targeted to the species of worms that are present in high numbers.
Unless there is another in the second horn of the uterus, which is very rare, the passing of the afterbirth indicates that you are all done. Well done and enjoy your lovely new addition
I just have a smallholding. We have a small flock of sheep that I am selectively breeding for fleece quality, though we eat them as well. I also have milking goats, geese, ducks, hens and sometimes pigs. I'm in the process of creating a forest garden and I'm trying to redesign the layout of the fields so that it is easier to mob graze them and still let the goats get to shelter.

Most of the permie people I know up here aren't online much which is probably why your web searches aren't turning up much.

If you are ever up this way you are very welcome to come and visit.
2 years ago
Hi Anna. I'm in Scotland too but further north (Aberdeenshire). I can understand you wanting to be somewhere warmer as I've been freezing in the snow today as I go out to check whether the ewes are lambing. The only problem is that, certainly in the UK, warmer generally means more expensive.

There is a Permaculture North Scotland and the Isles Facebook group and a Permaculture Scotland Yahoo group and Facebook group if you want to get in contact with more Scots.
2 years ago
Wouldn't fancy mucking it out though
You really need to get an FEC done as the swelling could be caused by liver fluke. These will not be killed off by Panacur and you would need a specific flukicide that works for the stage of development of the fluke present.

If you aren't sure of your goat's weight for dosing there are guides online that help you to calculate weight by measuring girth and length ( sorry I can't access one right now to link to)