Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

4/30/2015

 hostel

Needless to say, April has been an exhilarating month at the Deer Isle Hostel. Never mind the six extra inches of snow we got that first week, after that it's been a straight home run towards spring. Spring is always busy, but this year even more so when we've also have had to catch up what we didn't get done in March. Here are the most important April chores;

Plant fruit trees. My choice day for digging fruit trees is the first grey and rainy day in April. Usually by then the ground has thawed out and overcast is essential for all kinds of transplanting - even a few minutes in the sun can hurt the vulnerable roots of a young tree.

It's beneficial to dig and move fruit trees while still dormant. The trees have not yet started to expend energy on buds and leaves and will have more strength to establish roots.

Some of the trees I dug this year we immediately transplanted to our new orchard while others were to be sold and transported to new locations. Those we put in feed bags and covered the roots with damp sawdust. We stored them in our cellar (cool and dark) until they could be picked up.

Start seedlings indoors. Without a greenhouse the season for long day and warm weather crops is already compromised here in Maine. In early April I start my tomato seedling indoors so that in eight weeks they will be ready to plant in the garden. Starting them too early doesn't help – they get ”leggy” and stressed in the small pots. I always go overboard and start too many, despite my annual promise to myself to go lighter next year and I usually end up giving many away. For friends and neighbors without a garden, it's the perfect crop to put in a big pot and keep on the front porch.

I also start flower seedlings at this time. Morning glory, Echanicha, Nastursium and Marigolds. I used to start Sunflowers too, but after a few years of growing them there are plenty of self-seeded volunteers that pops up all over the garden. I usually move them to appropriate locations, since they will cast quite a bit of shade once they grow big.

Plant the garden. This is the big reward after sitting through a long winter – to finally put some seeds in the ground. Here in Maine it's still on the early side to plant many crops, but after the basics are covered– spinach, peas and fava beans – there's still a lot that will be ok and ease my urge for planting. I plant carrots, beets, lettuce, swiss chard and parsnips at this time and for anyone that'd like to keep going, why not break out the radish and turnip seeds too? It's now or in August with many of these crops, since they perform poorly through hot weather.

And yes, plant the onions. They need time to grow tall before the summer solstice when they will redirect their energy into the bulbs.

Go through the check list. I'm not the only one spending quite a bit of time in winter planning for the coming season. My notes and “to-do” lists are many and this is a great time to compile it all, prioritize and put in motion what we really want to get done this year. Like order baby chicks and mushroom starters, go through tools and seed supply to make sure it's all ready to go, line up what I need for my new bee hives and take an inventory of the cellar to estimate how much is left and if I should aim for more or less of the different crops next year.

The long awaited spring is indeed sweeter, just because of the wait. From here, there's no holding back until the snow flies again, sometime in December. Enjoy, and make the most of it!


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



4/30/2015

late wet snow

Growing vegetables at 9,750-foot elevation can not only be difficult but an annual challenge. Our average snowfall is 264 inches a year and when it finally melts and is only in small patches as depicted in the photo we try to get our seeds planted. Sometimes we then receive spring storms that in other locals would be rain storms but here they are snow events. Just such a storm occurred recently dropping 17 inches of heavy wet snow on us. This year I was not caught by surprise so I only had one garden box planted.

Hearty Vegetables

Spinach is a very hardy plant and I had planted the seeds last fall so they would come up this spring. They were earlier buried under 5-6 feet of snow and ice throughout the winter but when it finally melted the seeds germinated and were up about half-an-inch above the soil when this storm occurred. We watch the weather forecast carefully and when we knew this one was going to impact our area I put 50-percent sun screen over the box to protect the tender plants. While we had 17 inches of wet heavy snow piled onto the garden box it now only serves to act as a slow water drip for the plants and the seedlings survived and now have a source of water for the next several days. Other vegetables like carrots, lettuce, zucchini and radishes do not handle the cold nights as well so they have not been planted yet.

Mammal Threats

Also under all this recent snow are three rhubarb plants that had already come up and when the snow melts they should be just fine as they too are hearty. They have already survived an attack by a fat non-discriminating vole who apparently did not realize that eating rhubarb would be hazardous to its health. I found it near one of the plants all curled up apparently with a severe belly ache and dying. Voles, mice, moles, rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels are just some of the varmints we contend with here in the mountains. That is why I grow our vegetables in garden boxes with hinged lids and surrounded on all sides and top and bottom with ½” hardware cloth.

Insect/Weather Threats

The 50-percent sun screen is installed to protect the early plants from the intense sun at this elevation. When the plants get established I will remove the sun screen but until then it will remain in place. Insects are not much of a problem as we have abundant birds that keep them in check. When insects do become a problem we use diatomaceous earth on them that does not harm plants or anything but the insects. The biggest challenge we usually face is the weather and planting at the appropriate time. Our nights are cool and our days seasonable. We have observed over the years that our hot days are generally limited to less than two weeks a year where the temperature may get as high as the low 80s. Our nights are cool and because of the low humidity we have to be attentive to keeping our vegetables watered or they will grow so slowly they do not produce.

late wet snow

Our challenges are not more difficult than other gardeners in other locations face but they are just different and require constant adjustments. Carrots, beets and turnips at our location often just barely produce depending on when they are planted in the spring. The snow in the photo reflects that planting early can be a mistake and planting too late with our short growing season doesn’t give the plants a chance to mature. Peas can be planted now as they are hearty and the cool days and nights don’t seem to affect them in the least. Living where we do timing is probably the most important part of having a successful garden. The planting guide that comes in seed catalogs and the Farmers Almanac are geared to a general geographic area but do not take into account high elevation so we have found those of little use. Our best method is years of experience, guess work, and mostly just plain luck.

Having a garden at a higher elevation is possible but it helps to be flexible and persistent. Mostly with careful planning and determination it will workout but the method is somewhat different than at lower elevations. As the photos depict growing a garden at high elevation requires some flexibility. Timberline in Colorado is between 11,000 and 12,000 feet and we are close enough to that elevation that while vegetables will grow, the elevation is a factor to keep in mind when planting. Winds are strong, the sun intense, the nights cool and the rain sparse. Native plants have adapted to these conditions but vegetables do not adapt having come from other areas and require constant care and dedication. Having a garden is not impossible at high elevation but it is a different challenge. We personally enjoy fresh vegetables straight from the garden so we do our best to adapt to the challenges presented by high elevation.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and high elevation living go to: www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



4/30/2015

 aerial homestead

Isn’t there a Monty Python movie about the meaning of life? It’s kind of a big question. I think I came up with the answer.

My epiphany started while I was sorting the recyclables in the garage. This is a big deal in my world, because we only go to the dump 4 or 5 times a year. Eventually the recyclables start to pile up and I start running out of room in the garage and I snap, have a hissy fit and rant about it being time to do a dump run.

We have a fairly good recycling program because we only take one bag of garbage, but the car these days is weighted down with the other stuff, especially since we started a decluttering campaign. Turns out if you save magazines for ….17 years, they really pile up. Here’s that goes on in my head; “Well, I might refer to them at some point. No you won’t. Recycle them. Okay.”

Michelle and I have been recycling for 30 years, so it’s not like this is new to me, but for some reason on this recent morning it all just seemed kind of pointless. Why am I doing this? What’s the purpose? Where did all these things come from? Do I not have something better to do with my time? When humans figured out how to save some seeds and begin agriculture and harness fossil fuels to free up our time to do other stuff, was this the end game? Was this what all the innovation and sweat and toil and blood and tears for? So I could spend an hour and a half in my garage tying up old magazines and sorting the glass from the metal and the soft plastic from the hard plastic?

Is this all there is? Is this my ultimate purpose on this planet? Is there no grander plan that I’m involved with, or is it just this?

And there you have it. My existential moment. I use the word constantly, have never figured out what it means, but I think it fits here. I think this is the meaning of existential.

It was kind of a strange time to have such a moment. I am an environmentalist. I hate wasting stuff, so sorting recyclables should be no big deal. In fact, since the end result is a trip to the dump, which can be a pretty exciting excursion, there was no real basis for this emotion. But there it was.

I told Michelle about my existential crisis in the garage, but she didn’t seem too concerned. I got one of those “just suck it up and get on with your miserable life” looks.

But I shouldn’t get these. I live in paradise. I live at one of the greatest times in human history. We have iPhones, we can Skype, we have backup cameras on our cars (well ours doesn’t, but I hear that other people’s cars do) we buy can buy Meals Ready to Eat … where the meal comes in a package and cooks itself, in the package!

The good thing was the moment did pass. But it just kind of sat there at the back of my consciousness for the next few days. I kept coming back to it.

At breakfast the next morning Michelle and I began sharing memories of our honeymoon, when we drove from Eastern Canada to British Columbia and then down to California. We camped and were away for a whole summer. Michelle reminded me of waking up on Mount Rainer in Washington State in July, with frost on the tent and not wanting to walk to the washrooms because of the fear of bears. We had arrived the day before and the mountain had been covered in fog. We woke to a beautiful sunny day and the view of the mountain was spectacular.

At one point in our conversation Michelle said, “it’s been quite an adventure, leaving the comfort of suburbia.” I thought she meant our trip out west, but what she was really referring to was our move to our off-grid home in the woods 17 years ago. And it truly has. It’s been fantastic. It’s been frustrating and terrifying and mostly utterly brilliant.

I spent the rest of that day rototilling gardens to get ready for planting for our CSA. It was a beautiful spring day without a cloud in the sky. I worked from garden to garden, thinking about what had been planted where over the last few years so that I could figure out what should go where this year. And where to put the corn to prepare for the raccoon apocalypse that will descend upon us once the corn is ready to pick.

I sweated a lot. I drank a lot of water from our well. Our crystal clear well without a home or farm or business for 100 miles around that might contaminate it. As I worked the chickens roamed the gardens scratching and pecking in the soil. And I thought about the people with jobs in the city. I thought about the work I used to do, promoting businesses, to help them sell more stuff. And I thought about the drive home those suburban people would have, and the traffic, and the exhaustion they might be feeling when they came through the door and still had to cook dinner.

Later that day I walked in the door in time to help with dinner and I was exhausted. The kitchen floor was kind of covered in dirt because eventually I just got tired of taking my muddy work boots off every time I came in. Oh, and the cat had been rolling in the straw outside and then tracked it through the house, so I wasn’t the only offender.

After dinner I went out to work on the new greenhouse in the barn foundation. And a million birds were singing. And a thousand spring peepers were peeping. And I could hardly walk I was so tired. And I walked from garden to garden that were now ready for planting. And I walked by the two new beds I’ve made for the 100 new raspberry stalks that are on order. And then I dragged the tire from the manure trailer that loses pressure over time down to the pond to see if I could spot the leak.

And finally I dragged myself on to the porch. And there it was. The answer. To the question. I make next to no money. But I do live like a king. And I grow food, the most basic thing that we all need and really, the lowest common denominator for someone trying to earn a living and yet have the lowest impact they can. We all have to eat. And I grow food as sustainably as I can. And I use organic growing methods and human power where others use chemicals and fossil fuels in their tractors. I work at a small level. I work at a level I can tolerate. I can live with what I do. I love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Our adventure continues everyday. And I never regret leaving suburbia. I’m so glad I did when I was still strong enough to work like I do.

Life is good.

The recyclables … they’re just a little nuisance along the way.

To read Cam's blog visit www.cammather.com


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page



4/28/2015

Lately there has been a lot of interest in grass-fed milk or milk that is produced by cows fed only grass on pasture or hay. The idea being that grain is evil and bad for the cows and the milk they produce.  I’d argue that this is one of the new marketing tactics for the dairy industry and may not be the best option for all dairy cows.

brown cow 

A couple of years ago I became interested enough in the concept of grass-fed to do some research. I milk Jersey cows and I was curious if I would save enough money to offset the loss of milk production and income I would suffer if I didn't feed my cows grain. Milk production can drop by 30 percent or more when cows are no longer fed grain. It seemed like a fairly simple equation to solve, until I asked my vet, who is a very progressive practitioner. He studies holistic treatments and works extensively with organic dairies.  When I asked him about switching to only grass-fed, he urged me not to.  He said my cows were already thin enough and thought they would become dangerously thin if I stopped feeding them grain. Not only would their milk production drop but also they could develop breeding problems and not be able to regain the body condition needed when they become pregnant again. Dairy farmers call that getting bred back. 

I was a bit surprised and inquired about all the farmers he knows who have stopped feeding their cows grain. My vet told me he knew of a few farms that tried to go grain-less but he didn't know of any that had succeeded. And we live in Vermont. So what gives? 

brown cow2

Based upon my continued research I have come to the following conclusion: beef cattle and dual purpose breeds of cows that have been bred for both milk and beef can sustain themselves on just grass and hay. They retain a healthy portion of the feed for their body condition. They put it on their back as fat. But cows that have been bred to maximize milk production, like Holsteins, Jerseys, and Guernseys are bred to convert the feed they eat into the milk they produce. They are not bred to put fat on their backs. They are bred to make milk. 

It is very difficult to fatten up a cow that produces a lot of milk. They will stay skinny and only begin to put on weight during the last few months of their lactation and during their dry period before they calve again.  It is essential that they do have good body condition when they calve so they have the reserves required to make all the milk they need without turning into skin and bones. A good dairy cow already looks like it is just skin and bones to the untrained eye.

In my opinion, grass-fed milk may be a workable concept for dual purpose breeds that don't make a lot of milk like Short Horns, Devons and Dexters. They can give milk and maintain a healthy body condition without being fed grain. But to withhold all grain from dairy cattle bred to maximize milk production can often lead to skinny cows with health problems. Unfortunately the health and well being of the cows can be sacrificed for marketing purposes.

It’s really a matter of moderation. A small amount of grain is not bad for the cows or the milk they produce. They enjoy it and can make good milk if they are fed the right amount of grain. What is bad for cows is a diet of all corn or all corn silage or diets with very high concentrations of soy or other grains. Unfortunately cows can produce lots of milk on these high concentrate diets but they often suffer health problems and generally don't live very long. The life of the average cow on a commercial dairy is approximately 4.5 years. A cow's digestive system requires long-stemmed dry hay and grasses to remain healthy over the long run. A good balance of dry hay and grain, and small amounts of grain makes a healthy, happy cow that can produce milk for 10 years or longer. My oldest diary cow lived to be 17.

browncow3

The take away is this: both farmers and consumers should be very wary of fads or extreme (one way or the other) animal management practices. Moderation in all things, avoid extremes and ask questions - especially when it comes to marketing fads.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



4/27/2015

At this point it is really a two-year plan and we are well underway.

Our “new” to us house was built in 1950 of sturdy concrete block construction with a single car attached garage on a 1/10th acre. The neighborhood is quiet with a broad street and well established trees.

When we moved in on Halloween day of 2014 we were so happy to have a home that we truly did not realize how much work we were getting into. The house was a result of a Facebook plea. We were looking for a house on a good sized lot with room to garden, with garage and within walking distance of mass transit. An hour later we had a response and our plans for North Bank Urban Farm were very quickly set in motion.

The yard and house had been a rental for many years – we think 20 – and had been severely neglected. The roof had to be replaced – especially after the raccoon incident that left a huge hole on Thanksgiving morning.

The roof repair took place that following summer. A three day job spread into eight days, with an amazing amount of debris, and we entered the winter of 2014 with a tight roof and repaired chimney.

Roof

The living room fireplace was one thing that attracted us to the house in the first place. A cheery fire on cold NW winter nights has been a special pleasure.

The first garden in 2014 was rudimentary. We found that the soil was much nicer than expected. The soil in the Vancouver, WA area tends to heavy, red clay. Great for bricks and this can account for the many, lovely historic brick buildings around but not so good for gardening. The soil is rich but compacts readily and becomes really a mess when wet – it needs plenty of organic matter added.. In our neighborhood, sited as it is between two of the four “plains” that run east and west and near the banks of one of the many original creeks, has a more sandy soil and far less river rock than in the area directly north of the Columbia river.

tomatoes 2014 

We built 3 raised beds, set up a little 3' x 5' greenhouse and began with 15 tomato plants, a bed of Glass Gem corn, Anasazi beans and Spotted Hound squash in the Three Sisters guild, lettuce, Swiss chard and leeks. Everything grew better than expected. We harvested the corn and beans,squash and tomatoes, preserved them for winter and saved the seeds. The lettuce went quickly and we have enjoyed the leeks and chard all winter and into this spring.

corn

What's next? Another raised bed in the back, apple trees, hazel nut bushes, black currants and blueberries which traveled in pots from our old home are in the ground. We have added a bed of strawberries and a patch of evergreen huckleberries. Salad greens and sugar snap peas are growing in there bed. A collection of herbs from last years garden and many more started from seed are in the tiny greenhouse. Our house is overwhelmed with 80+ tomato starts that go outdoors in the daytime just waiting for the soil and ambient temperature to rise. In the garage is a big box containing the new greenhouse 15' x 7' just waiting for the site preparation.

Last week we removed 10 arborvitae and a mass of blackberries and vine maple that were falling all over the yard and endangering a fence and our little greenhouse,  Took an afternoon and three people cutting and hauling to get it done. Now our back area is 4 feet deeper than before!

trees down 

 yardclean01

22 Lavender Grosso plants are ready to go into the ground.

garden 

Still to be done: build a tight back yard fence to keep our dog safe at home, purchase the essential oil distiller, start more herbs and flowers, make a home for bees and chickens, get the sign made and “North Bank Urban Farm” will move a few steps further into reality.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



4/24/2015

There is a certain amount of planning required any time you head out to check your hives. It is not a chore you can tick off your list just casually walking by and thinking "oh yes, I meant to reverse those brood boxes today". So you stop, pop off the cover, change the position of the brood boxes, slap the lid back on and head back to your La-Z-Boy. Although most of the tasks involved in keeping bees are not especially difficult, it does require some forethought.

 Bees on the Hive

I try to have a mental plan for everything I need but it is not uncommon to find I have forgotten something critical. My hives are a short walk from the house, but far enough that I don't want to run back and forth every time I need something. Most beekeepers have their hives away from the house, some are even miles away. A good plan in the form of a written checklist can be most helpful.

To help myself and all the other forgetful beekeepers out there, here's my new checklist for heading to the bee yard. These are not in order of priority.

1. Spare frames. While going through the hive I may find that frames are damaged or need to be replaced. When comb becomes very dark, it is time to swap it out for fresh foundation.

2. Hive tools. One to a person. These flat metal tools are indispensable for prying loose boxes, covers, and frames. Hive tools can be used to scrape off unwanted burr comb. I also use them to squish any small hive beetles I find.

3. Frame lifter. Most of the time I pull up the frames with my fingers for inspection. Sometimes if I can't quite get a grip on a frame or if it is heavy with bees, this tool really helps.

4. Feeder. Depending on the time of year, I may use a liquid feeder or a spacer to hold patties. My favorite is a top feeder because it hold mores, is easier to fill, and seems less disruptive to the bees. For further discussion about 3 types of feeders see my post on feeder styles.

5. Feed. What good is a feeder with nothing to put in it? Spring time finds me giving the girls a boost with a 1:1 sugar syrup.

6. Empty honey super. During the summer honey production months, throw in an extra honey super full of empty frames. If I find that a colony is ready for it's first (or second) honey super, I'll be ready.

7. Smoker and extra fuel. Although I do add syrup to my top feeders without using smoke, if I plan to go any deeper in the hive, some smoke helps keep the bees from setting off the alarms. Depending on how many hives are being inspected I may need to replenish the fuel in the smoker. Don't forget a lighter or matches in case the fire goes out.

8. Pest control supplies. Each beekeeper needs to develop a plan for treatment of at least Varroa Mites and small hive beetles. This may include some beetle traps or some powdered sugar. I prefer the natural approach whenever possible. An earlier post discusses options for treating mites.

9. Camera. Every time I open a hive, I snap a few pictures or take a short video to help me remember what is seen. Plus it's just fun to watch.

10. Inspection sheet. Even with photos or video, it is a good idea to have a standardized inspection plan for each hive. Some time ago, I posted an inspection sheet that I modified for our use.

Of course this is only a starting point and each beekeeper needs to develop their own checklist. I'm hanging mine on the shelf where all the bee supplies are kept. Having a plan in place will make your trip to the bee yard much more enjoyable.

Honeybees are one facet of life on Five Feline Farm. Buzz over to our website or facebook page to see what else is happening on this Central Illinois hobby farm.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



4/24/2015

When we started our goat farm now 8 years ago, we took the advice of a very dear friend and fellow goat farmer and the advice of our vet and invested in a variety of medical supplies to have on hand on the farm, so that in the event of an emergency or even not so emergency we didn’t have to wait to run into town or wait for a mail order from a farm supply to arrive.  All situations where you need medicine in a hurry, usually arise at 5p on a Friday, on the weekend or during the night.  

Over the course of the years we have accumulated many more medical supplies in our cabinet and a couple of the more obscure ones have recently saved one of our goat’s lives who had a retained placenta.  But the list above will put you on your way to being able many emergencies. The thing about goats is that they have a very high metabolism and as a result can get sick very fast, but can also recover very fast if they receive treatment early.

Healthy Goats

Vet Advice and Approval

Since we are friends with our vet and would like to remain friends with him, I want to make clear that even though these are medical supplies we keep on hand here at Serenity Acres Farm, we use those that require a prescription only in consultation with our vet.  I am also not including recommended dosages or course of treatment in this list for the same reason. There are many sources on the internet where you can find those.

This list is mainly intended to give you a good base of medical supplies that you should have on hand if you have goats. The following list is also not in any kind of order other than which medications I thought of first. Most of the items on this list are also not very expensive with the exception of Excenel, Baytril 100 and Banamine which cost in the vicinity of $100 a bottle.  When given the opportunity, do buy the bottle, considering the fact that a vet usually charges around $15-20 for one of those injections. 

Full of Energy

Serenity Acres Farm’s Must Have Goat Farm Medical Supply List:

1. Wormers

We regularly do our own fecals with a microscope and always have wormers on hand to treat if the egg count exceeds  our acceptable threshold. We keep Ivermectin, Valbazen, Safeguard and Moxidectin around.  Twelve hours of delayed treatment makes a big difference in a goat having diarrhea or just “breadloaf” poops. Valbazen is generally not considered safe for pregnant goats, here at Serenity Acres Farm we use one of the other alternatives on our pregnant does.

2. Coccidia Medication

We always have Coccidia Treatment on hand.  Whether it’s Dimethox 12.5% or Corid, the choice is yours, but the quicker a bout of coccidia is treated, the quicker the goat recovers without dehydration and the spread of the wicked bacteria is more contained.

3. KaoPec

Pink Pepto Bismol for goats, and it comes in a gallon jug. Slows down the diarrhea and coats the stomach lining to minimize damage from coccidia and worms. The goats hate it and some get very adept at spitting it out and covering anything or anybody in the vicinity, but it’s a lifesaver, literally.

4. Thermometer and Weigh Tape and drench syringes, needles and syringes, a microscope and fecasol

Not medications, but ultra-important to get a goat’s  weight so medications can be properly dosed.  A thermometer should always be on hand to check the temperature of a goat that isn’t acting right, a high temperature indicates an infection, and a low temperature can indicate a slew of other, often life threatening issues. Drench syringes are needed to administer oral medications, or wormers,  or Pepto Bismol. We have 20cc and 50cc sizes on hand. We also have 1 ml, 3 ml, 6 ml, 12 ml and 20ml syringes as well as needles in our supply cabinet including 1 inch x 20 gauge and 1 inch x 18 gauge needles.

5. Blood Stop Powder

Nipping during trimming, a horn bud broken off, you will be glad you have it. A large jar is not quite $6 and worth its weight in gold.

6. Woundkote powder or spray

To treat minor abrasions and injuries.

7. Betadine

Water based iodine to treat minor abrasions and injuries and to dip navels of new born kids to prevent joint ill. Does not sting like iodine which is alcohol based.

8. Pen G and LA200 or LA300

Three good broad spectrum antibiotics for a variety of bacterial infections.  These are over the counter, but you should give your vet a call before administering.

9. Excenel (vet prescription)

Antibiotic of choice for goat kids, pneumonia and uterine infections.

10. Baytril 100 (vet prescription)

Antibiotic of last resort and only with vet guidance. Saved our Great Pyrenees dog Big John after he was bitten by a water moccasin last year. Not safe for use on pregnant goats as it may interfere with the development of the fetus.

11. CMPK and MFO

Two over the counter calcium products to treat milk fever (hypo calcemia). Our choice here at Serenity Acres Farm is the MFO, it is a liquid and we mix it with pedialyte. It is not as caustic to the inside of the mouth as the CMPk paste.

12. Bloat Release

A medication to treat frothy bloat or bloat stemming from other causes such as overeating. Very effective. Half a bottle treats a normal size goat.

13. Activated Charcoal

To combat poisoning.

14. CDT Vaccine

Provides longer term protection from Clostridium C & D and Tetanus.

15. C&D Antitoxin

Over the counter medication to provide immediate relief and protection from overpopulation of clostridium bacteria.  If you use this product, a goat will have to be re-vaccinated once it has recovered as the antitoxin will negate any protection from a previously given CD vaccine.

16. Benadryl

For any kind of allergic reaction or stings. You can dissolve tablets or buy the liquid. The tablets dissolve very quickly in water.

17. Fortified Vitamin B Complex (includes 100 mg Thiamine)

Immune booster, stimulates appetite and can be used when thiamine is needed.

18. Epinephrine (vet prescription)

To treat anaphylactic shock/ reactions to medications or bites or stings. Use only with vet guidance or in dire emergency. 

19. Banamine

Reduces fever quickly, reduces pain and reduces inflammation.

20. ToDay Mastitis Treatment & Mastitis Test Cards

To give an initial treatment in case of suspected mastitis. We here at Serenity Acres Farm have learned to always send a milk sample of to the lab in case of suspected mastitis to determine which antibiotic the bacteria are resistant too and which they will respond to. The money spent in the lab fee and postage is well worth knowing if the antibiotic you are using is even working.

21. Biosol (Neomycin)

This is an over the counter antibiotic very effective for E.coli or other gastro-intestinal bacterial infections for use in kids and adult goats. 

Fabio and Apricot

Nice to Haves 

In addition to the above “Must Have – will save lives” goat farm medical supplies, here is a list of a few “nice to have’s - will make life a lot easier” goat farm medical supplies we have here at Serenity Acres Farm:

• Red Cell to treat anemia
• Vitamin E gel caps to treat turned under feet in newborns
• BoSe (vet prescription) for selenium deficient newborns
• Molasses, mixed with hot water, for a quick sugary energy boost for a sick goat or one who has just given birth
• Hot water bottle to heat chilled kids
• Pedialyte for a quick sugary energy boost, to give electrolytes, or to mix with medications
• Tetanus Antitoxin
• Milk of Magnesia to treat constipation or hard udders when related to magnesium deficiency
• Peppermint Essential Oil for hot peppermint compresses to treat hard udders
• Probiotic Paste to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria after antibiotic treatment
• Terramycin an over the counter eye medication
• Platinum Bio-Sponge to treat overpopulation of clostridium bacteria in the gut
• Vitamin E/Selenium Paste to prevent selenium deficiency in pregnant goats

Wishing you lots of luck in your goat endeavor with happy and healthy goats and enjoy our pictures. All were taken by our friend Elyse from Brooklyn, NY during a recent stay. Thank You Elyse.

 Chamomille

Julia: Goat Mother and Wwoof Mother

Serenity Acres Farm


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 












Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.