Monday, July 22, 2019

Sprouting Sprouts

I recently read an article on feeding sprouted grains to livestock. The theory is that whole grains contain an enzyme inhibitor and it takes a lot of the animal's energy to digest them. However, sprouted grains no longer have the inhibitors but now contain the proper digestive enzymes so the animal can utilize the nutrition. Sprouting also increases the nutritional content of each grain. 

I used to raise sprouts years ago when I had rabbits. The goats and chickens ate what the rabbits didn't finish but I really didn't pay attention to any benefits realized from the sprouts, mostly because I wasn't looking for any.

This time I wanted to see just what difference sprouts would make in milk production. All but one of my does are nursing kids so it's impossible to tell if their milk production has increased, but the one gal who isn't nursing has almost doubled in production. I didn't test the milk before the addition of the sprouts but it now has a yellowish color and my customers have commented that the milk is a lot creamier. An added benefit is that the picky eaters in the group are no longer picky eaters. They all devour the sprouts, which I have replaced about 1/2 their grain ration with, and the picky ones have increased appetite for even their dairy goat sweet feed.

Here's my experience with different types of sprouted gains so far:

Corn seemed like the easiest to try but I found it takes a long time to sprout and the goats didn't really like it. So I fed it to the chickens and they took a long time to eat it as well.

Oats sprout easily. I soak them covered in water for several hours, rinse out the dirt and put them in a tray, rinsing them several times a day. They are ready in about 3 days. I don't wait for green shoots because by that time the roots would be a jumbled mass. The protein content of oats goes from about 13% for the raw berries to between 15 to 28% sprouted. I'm not sure why the big range in %. Perhaps someone reading this will know and share their knowledge with me. (Edit: I found an article that states sprouts are at about 18% protein when the white shoots are about 1/8" long. The highest protein would be from oat grass but you would only harvest the green fodder, not the roots. That's way too much trouble for my setup.)

Rye seeds sprout very quickly, ready in a day or 2. The goats absolutely love them when they just break through the seed hull but not so much when they get beyond that to the point where their roots get tangled. While the 15% protein is not as high as oats, the benefit is that they are ready quicker if you should be delayed in the oat sprout production.

I haven't tried any other sprouts as here in the north country that's about all that's economically available.

Here's the sprouting process I used. First I filled a 3 qt grain scoop with the berries. 

Then I soaked those for about 12 hours in a bucket of water. I added a few handfuls of sunflower seeds as those sprout at about the same rate as the oat berries.

After rinsing, I put them in a tray that I had drilled small drain holes in the bottom and larger drain holes in the cover so they drained from one through the next when stacked. (Edit: You can also put them in a bucket with holes. That might save some space but I found the tray is easier to scoop a measured portion from. Whatever you use you'll have to periodically disinfect it, and the ones below it, because the tray begins to grow mold after several uses.)

I rinsed them with water several times a day. The top tray drains down through the 2nd, through the 3rd or 4th and into the bottom tray which doesn't have drain holes in the bottom so it acts as a catch basin for the water draining down through. I put a small piece of 2x4 under one end so the water drained better. Each day I start a new tray after I use one so the trays were started on consecutive days. (Edit: I gave the drain water to the chickens as I imagine it has a lot of nutrients in it. Being chickens, they love it!)
I used these trays from and they are just the right size for a full scoop of berries.

So far I'm thrilled with the sprouting project. The goats love them, milk production has increased, milk seems to have higher butterfat, and I'm feeding 1/2 the amount of grain. If you try this process please comment to let me know how you're doing with it.

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Stitches? I don't need no stinkin' stitches!

Charlie went to the vet's Tuesday to be neutered. He's a little over a year old now. It's time. He jumped into the truck eagerly awaiting whatever adventure we were bringing him on. He walked into the vet's office like he owned the place, sniffing all around, happy to meet new friends.

"Wait, you're leaving me here?" he asked with a hint of panic. "Yes," I replied. "I'll pick you up later. You'll be fine".

The dog we got back at the end of the day thought there was a bee stinging his behind! And out came the "collar of shame".

Even with that collar, by Wednesday he'd managed to pull all of his stitches out. And he broke the cone and ripped it off his head. "Charlie, what did you do?" I asked. "Stitches? I don't need no stinkin' stitches!" he grumbled. OK, so that's paraphrased from Blazing Saddles, but it certainly fits his mood!

His regular vet was on vacation. Of course! And we couldn't find another vet that had any time to see him. So Wednesday evening he was paying a visit to the emergency clinic. They gave him a bigger collar and quite a few staples to close the incision, and a round of antibiotics.

By Thursday he'd managed to again break the collar (note the gorilla tape in the photo) and pull the staples out. Called his regular vet's office again and they said that since he was so determined to pull them out it was sort of pointless to put more staples in and that the wound would eventually granulate and close on its own. They did suggest a "pillow" around his neck that sort of looks like a blow up inner tube. It prevents the cone from flattening and further prevents him from reaching the incision.

So poor Charlie! He has the blow up collar, then the cone. We have to keep him inside so he doesn't get fly strike. He's miserable! What would have been only a few days till he could resume his livestock guarding duties has turned into weeks of house confinement with a cone on his head.

Please send Charlie your love and prayers for what he has had to endure at the hands of these humans who not only took his masculinity but now his freedom!

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Best Laid Plans!

Had quite the day here on the farm. A friend brought her 2 goat kids over for disbudding. She had her adult Downs son with her in the passenger seat, the 2 goat kids and their mama in the back seat which she had lined with a big towel to catch the poops. They are Nigerian Dwarf goats so they didn't take up much room, and the big towel idea would have worked if the next thing that happened didn't happen. You know what they say about best laid plans!

She parked in our parking area, turned the car off, got out of the car and closed the door, intending to go right back after she told us she was here. Are you starting to follow this and see where she went wrong? Can you guess what step she neglected in her best laid plans? Yeah, she left her keys in the car thinking she'd be right back to get them and the goat kids. Meanwhile, her son, who is deathly afraid of dogs (he wasn't too happy about the goats in the back seat either) heard our dogs bark and locked the doors. She tried everything to get him to unlock them. He wasn't having any of that. I'm sure he was thinking if he unlocked the doors she'd try to make him get out. He's nonverbal but does understand some sign. She signed for him to unlock his door and he pointed to her door as if to say, "No, you go open your door". Then she signed to him that her door was broken and needed him to open his door. Nope, he wasn't falling for that trick. He just turned his head and ignored her.

We called the police to see if they could send someone over with one of those tools. They don't cover my town but gave me the state police number. Called them and they don't do that anymore so would send a wrecker if we wanted. Called my neighbor up the road who has a towing company but he's in SC visiting family. This is why God invented AAA - the first thing they did was thank me for my 21 years of membership. While I appreciated their appreciation, I was more happy when they took my information and agreed to send someone to unlock the car. The company they were sending was about 45 min away, but I guess we couldn't be too picky.

So we waited. She went out every once in a while to try to get her son to respond to her desperate pleas to unlock the doors. The goats in the back seat were getting restless and scuffing up that towel so it no longer covered the seat. Meanwhile, we sent out for pizza and waited for the AAA guy, and watched the goat poops begin to get into places they weren't intended. When he arrived he was a little confused because he saw someone sitting in the front seat and thought we had resolved the problem without canceling our service request. She explained the situation so he wouldn't think he'd driven 45 minutes on icy roads for nothing. It took him less than 10 seconds to get a back door unlocked. When he opened that door he was face to face with 3 goats and looked even more confused. I can only imagine what was going through his mind at that moment, but it probably had something to do with unkind comments about backwoods rednecks!

And here's the real irony - She had left one of the back door windows open about an inch. My husband tried to stick a long pole in to reach the front door lock, but couldn't reach it. The reason it took AAA guy such a short time is that he put his tool in straight down to reach the lock on the back door! When it was pointed out that it could have been unlocked from there, hubby admitted he didn't see that one! In his defense, maybe he couldn't see past the goat heads that were trying to nibble on the pole. Guess that's why we have AAA.

We gave AAA guy a tip for getting here so quickly in a freezing rain storm, my friend gave him a big hug of gratitude, we finished our pizza and accomplished our original goal of disbudding the goats. My friend drove home, arriving safely even though the roads had gotten worse in the time she was here. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful and seemed almost blah by comparison. But I'll bet she'll be finding goat berries all over that back seat for months to come!

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

No Kidding? Yes, Kidding!

The 2019 kidding season has begun with the arrival of triplets on Monday, April 1. They are mini-Nubians, mom being Nubian and dad being Nigerian Dwarf. It's cuteness overload with 2 females and 1 male. These pictures were taken when they were only hours old. I'll update with more pics in a few days, if I can get them to hold still! Mom and kids doing well. And how am I, you ask? After a day crawling around the floor of the milk room helping them get born, drying them off, and getting them nursing, I'm exhausted. Only 5 more does to go before this kidding season is over. I can do this!

Stanley - male
Mona - female
Melody - female

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

It's Been A While!

Wow, I can see it's been a while since I've blogged! My intention is to get back into it. A lot has changed, such as - I have more goats, I don't have sheep anymore, we had to send our old Pyr over the rainbow bridge, our older gal is now retired, and we have 2 Pyr pups to replace them. Life does go on.

And I just created a farm website! Yeah, OK, so that's a long time overdue. Being technologically challenged, things like the internet strike fear into my very being. With the help of an awesome friend who went to school for 3 years to learn how to design websites, and some really cool free software she found, I was able to do it with minimal help. Well, I thought it was minimal but maybe awesome friend thought I was a pest with all the questions of how to do this or that. Anyway, it's up and running, although still a work in progress. Check it out at

Of ongoing interest will be sales of mini-Saanens and mini-Nubians toward late spring and during the summer. So if either of these areas interest you check the "For Sale" page often.

If purchasing goats doesn't interest you, then maybe you should consider getting one or two. After all, maybe your life needs more of a challenge just keeping these critters fenced! Have you ever wondered why, when something aggravates you, you say that really got your goat? Never that it got your dog, or cat, or even cow. No, always a goat! There's a reason for that. If you need more aggravation in your life, then definitely get a few goats. Of course, they're also fun, personable, intelligent, and affectionate, not to mention the cuteness factor of the kids.

I hope to reconnect with friends I've lost touch with. Please re-subscribe to my blog if you've unsubscribed or, if you're still a loyal follower who thought I had dropped off the face of the earth, leave a comment and say howdy!

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Look what I've got!

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Favorite places

There are places, and then there are PLACES! Some places are just there, some have a specific purpose like the supermarket, some are places where you can find your favorite pizza, and then there are places where you can renew your soul and take a break from the world. For Ollie, our English Shepherd, his favorite place is laying across my husband's lap while he's reading in his chair. But dogs are simple. We humans have a bit more complicated needs. I have a favorite tree in the backyard. Sitting under its protective branches which shade the hot sun, I can breath in the healing aroma of Mother Earth, the wonderful scent of damp moss, listen to the sounds of the bullfrogs at the pond bellowing their low serenade, and blank out the noise of life. In this hectic, non-stop life it's more important than ever to take a mini-vacation from the world to renew your energies and return rested in body and strengthened in soul. 

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chicken Pile-up

Opened the chicken coop door this morning and chickens all raced toward the wide open spaces, as usual. Usually looks like a cattle stampede, 150 chickens all trying to get out an 18" wide opening that is only 8" high. But this morning was a bit different. The first ones to the door saw the snow and came to a screeching halt. This caused the ones behind them to crash into their backsides, sort of like a 150 car pileup on the highway! First ones couldn't turn around because of the ones crowding in behind and the ones in the back had no idea why they couldn't get out. So the philosophy was to just push ahead, someone will move. Welcome to black Monday at the Davis farm!

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Great Website!

Ever get frustrated looking around the internet for blogs that would be interesting? Here's a great site that lists blogs sorted by categories or countries. If I count correctly there are 36 categories in 77 countries. That should cover just about anything you're interested in. Our blog is listed in All, Daily Life, Land/Sea/Skyscapes, Pets/Livestock, Photography and the United States. There's even a category for "Unusual". Fortunately we're not listed under that, but I'm definitely going to have to check out that category! So check them out at

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

God's Artistry

New England in the fall is always beautiful. Warm, sunny days, cool nights perfect for sleeping, the humidity of the summer has become a distant memory, mosquitoes and deer flies have died off, and the foliage turns from green to brilliant golds and reds.

This year, however, God has gone all out with his decorating and the foliage is the most brilliant I've ever seen. Sunlit trees look like they're on fire and other look like they've been touched by King Midas himself. All in all, it's just breathtaking!

Soon the maples, birches and poplars will be devoid of leaves and the tamaracks will be turning gold. All in preparation for a long winter's nap. But for now, the beauty of God's artistry is something definitely worth remembering long after the earth is covered with a blanket of beautiful, glistening snow and fires in the wood stove warm our hearts and hands.

Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.