Bottle Holder (Red River Farm)
You can use shoe holders to store baby bottles. They hang over a door, and you can put one
over the top of another to save room.
This shoe holder (from Wal-Mart) is made of mesh, so the bottles dry
right away. Store the bottles upside
down to keep the dust out.
Colored Leg Bands (Red River
Leg bands made of colored duct tape are an inexpensive way
to identify goats that have problems, are dry, are on antibiotics, need
different feed, etc. The tape doesn’t
stick to the goat’s hair, but stays on the leg for long periods. You can buy rolls of colored duct tape at
Walmart near the paint aisle.
Cut two pieces of the same color tape.
Tape 1: Cut a piece of tape the same diameter as the goat’s
leg, and lay sticky side up on the table
Tape 2: Cut a piece of tape 1 ½ “ longer than Tape 1 and lay
it sticky side up on the table.
Now, turn Tape 1 over and place it on top of Tape 2,
matching up the left end of each piece, so sticky sides are together.
It should look like this:
Place the tape around the leg of the goat snugly, with the
shorter tape next to the leg. Use the
exposed sticky end of Tape 2 to seal the tape to itself.
You may use more than one colored band on a goat. You can write on these bands with a dry
mark before you put them on the goat.
For example you can mark the date when the antibiotic milk withhold
ends, or the expected due date, or # of kids expected according to the ultrasound. You can decide what significance each color
tape has in your dairy. Here’s our color
Dump milk. (Write the date when withdrawal period is over so you can
send a test with the milk hauler to make sure the antibiotics are our of her
system before you ship the milk.)
Blue: Means the goat has mastitis, is sick or has
abscesses. Keep her away from the other
goats and milk her last.
Green: Newly fresh.
(Write date delivered) Extra feed.
Yellow: Dry goat.
Purple: Bred (Write the date she was bred and the expected
due date on the leg band.)
If you have goats that chew off the leg bands,
use colored cable ties from the hardware store instead.
Cut the end off short, and file or sand the tip to smooth
Dehorning (Judy Remo)
The directions for dehorning always say to keep the iron on
until it forms a copper ring. This is
not adequate and will cause scurs (horns) to form, in spite of your
effort. Her procedure: Hold the iron on
to the count of 10. Press and twist the
iron around the horn cap area. (On a
buck, burn it twice. Once the regular
way, they move forward and do it again.)
Pick the horn cap off. If you
have done it right, you will see some skull.
Spray with blue cote. If puss
forms at site later, wipe off and put on salve to keep it moist.
Goat control with
a spray bottle (Red River Farm)
We discovered by accident that our goats move forward if we
stand behind them and spray warm water toward them with a spray bottle. This makes herding very easy. All we have to do now is to get out the
bottle and they move forward. We don’t
even have to spray the water any more.
We have spray bottles handy in every area of the barn and in every
building on the farm. It works great for
Grain feeder for kids
(Red River Farm)
If you are having trouble getting kids to eat grain out of a
bucket or pail, try a grain bottle. You can buy fancy calf grain feeder bottles
for about $17.00 each, or you can make a cheaper version yourself for about
$7.50. Go to Fleet Farm and buy a calf
grain bottle nipple (2 for $7.00), a plain plastic calf milk bottle with a
screw on top ($2.00), and a calf bottle holder (red metal holder that clamps
over a fence or a two by four so you can hang it up ($4.00).
Cut an 8”
piece of scrap two by four. Cut two ½ x 1 pieces of scrap wood. Put the two small pieces of wood on either
end of the two by four, matching the sides of both pieces, and glue them on like this:
Now attach the whole thing
to the wall with long screws, so that the little pieces of wood are between the
two by four and the wall, leaving a little pocket in the middle where you can
hang the bottle holder. Set the height of the wood bracket so that the
kids have to reach up to put their mouth around the nipple. Cut out the whole bottom off the bottle. The grain will be loaded through this hole. Put the bottle back in the holder so that the
slit in the nipple is vertical, and fill the bottle with calf starter grain.
Bottle holder rack in wood
bracket Bottle is in bottle
holder Nipple slit should be vertical
Because kids instinctively eat with their necks extended,
they feed better off this bottle feeder than they do by putting their heads down
into a bucket. Do not feed hay until the
kids have been eating grain for some time.
Grain develops papillae in the rumen, which help the kid digest hay
later. If those papillae are not
developed, and the kid eats only milk and hay, they will never be able to
digest grain, and will be sickly. The
grain you feed them as an adult will be wasted.
Their health and milk flow will be directly affected. Keep the bottle filled with grain all the
time. If it is empty, they will chew on
the nipple and will wear out the nipple faster.
If you keep it full and they get grain when they want to, they stop
chewing on the nipple. You may need to make several brackets of increasing the
heights so that as the animals grow, you can move the bottle up higher.
You can make an incubator with a blue plastic food-grade drum, one of
those inexpensive lamps with a metal shade that they sell at farm
stores, and a scrap of two by four a little longer than the width of
Cut a square hole in the front of the barrel, low enough on the barrel
so kids can get out easily, yet high enough so you can put some bedding
in there to keep them off the cold bottom of the barrel. (One producer said they make the hole 9"x14")
Make a hole in the top of the barrel to thread the lamp cord
through. (Some producers make a small hole, just big enough for
end of the cord to pass through and have the whole shade inside the
barrel. Others cut a larger hole, a little smaller than the size
the shade, and then just rest the lamp shade on top of the
barrel. If you use the second option, you will need to wire the
lamp to the barrel so it stays
How to make
moveable pens and gates in a wooden building (Red River Farm)
In our big open wooden sheds, we put heavy duty screw eyes
all around the walls at the height of the cattle panel fencing (52” high), and
then directly below that, 6” from the floor.
Then we take our cattle panels to the place we want a pen, and attach
the panel to the wall by clipping it to the screw eyes. It is easy to move the panels to change the
size and shape of pens or to remove them altogether when you want to clean the
barn. We also use the clips to clip
fences together at corners and to attach fences and gates to the sides of our
industrial shelving feed bunks (see these under “Plans”).
Leg braces (pipe
insulation) (Red River Farm)
Buy the gray Styrofoam pipe insulation tubes. It comes in 4-6 ft. lengths and different
diameters, and can be cut with a sharp knife.
Choose a diameter larger than your goat's leg. It is slit open on one side, so you can get
it around the goat’s leg by opening that slit and sliding it over the leg. Put
duct tape around it to hold it on.
Leg braces (venetian
blinds) (Judy Remo)
Take apart an old plastic venetian blind and keep the
slats. Cut them into kid leg size
pieces. Wrap the leg of the kid with
cotton padding, then put a slat on the front and the back of the leg. Tape around the leg with breathable tape.
Front view with padding Side view with padding and slats. Side view with padding, slats, tape
Umbilical cord dipper
Put your iodine for dipping umbilical cords in one of the
plastic “milk sample” bottles that your trucking company provides. You can carry it in your pocket. It has a good cover that doesn’t leak, and it
is just the right size for dipping umbilical cords.
Put the bottle of
iodine over the umbilical cord and push it up tight to the abdomen. Shake the bottle a little to make sure the
iodine goes all over the entire cord.
Remove the bottle.
shut for CAE prevention (Judy Remo)
Babies tend to be born whenever you leave the barn, so if
you want to prevent babies from sucking on the mother goat, for CAE prevention, use duct tape to tape
the mother’s teats shut just prior to the birth.
Cut two pieces of duct tape twice the length of the teat
plus 2 inches. (Example: If teat is 4
inches in length, the piece of tape must be 4” + 4”+ 2”= 10 “ long.) Lay them on the table sticky side up.
Tear each piece in half lengthwise. Lay them on the table
sticky side up.
Cut a 1 ½ inch piece off of
one end of each piece of long tape and put one of the short pieces sticky side down on top of each
long piece, (which are laying sticky side up), centering the small piece in the
middle of the long tape.
Have someone hold the goat.
Put a piece of the tape on one teat, with the little piece of tape
facing the bottom of the teat end, leaving a slight gap between the tape and
the teat end.
Repeat on the open sides of the teat too. Then
the entire teat end is enclosed:
You may want to wrap another piece of tape or
two around the other tapes to make sure they stay on.
Repeat process on the other teat.
Thawing Frozen Plastic Pipes (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Activities)
Frozen water pipes are
a real aggravation. If the waterline starts near the pressure tank, it should
be easy to uncouple the plastic waterline. A smaller diameter pipe, e.g. ½ or
3/8 inch, can be placed inside the larger water pipe and advanced to the
location of the frozen section. This is usually where the pipe goes under a
driveway or under a high traffic area. These areas freeze deeper due to the
lack of snow cover. A stiffer 3/8th. inch pipe, such as the Plasco air tubing
(Thermal Ease), is preferable to the more common ½ inch black poly water pipe
since heat will make the black water pipe limp.
The end, which will be
placed in the larger bore waterline, should be cut on an oblique angle or
sharpened like a pencil to create a point. The use of the 3/8th.air tubing will
permit passage through a standard 1-inch connector should one be encountered.
A small submersible
pump such as those used in fish ponds, which pump 50 to 100 gallons of water
per hour, are readily available from many local suppliers, e.g., G.S.W. 1/6 HP
Model 306630 (115 volt, 60 cycle, 8 amp). Many of them will have garden hose
fittings and you will need to find the appropriate fitting(s) to attach to the end
of the ½ or 3/8th. pipe.
Warm water is placed
in a bowl, bucket or suitable reservoir directly below the entrance to the
waterline. The smaller line is advanced to the blockage and the water pumped
from the reservoir down the smaller pipe. Water will flow back down the
one-inch water pipe and into the reservoir. This allows for a continuous flow
of warm water to be directed at the blockage. The smaller pipe should be able
to be advanced at the rate of about an inch a minute when using warm water.
Connections within the waterline will prevent the advancement of the larger ½
inch poly pipe. However, the 3/8th inch air hose, when pointed at the end will
pass through the standard 1-inch in-line connectors.
Waterer, 10 gallon drum for 100 goats (Van's Fencing)
10 gallon drum with
the top cut off, at a height high enough so goats can’t defecate into it.
Bolt on metal pipe with a Hudson valve inside the bucket.
Screw on hose with male end of Plasson coupler on end.
Hose hooks up to water
source. In the barn this could be a
In the pasture, this could be a
Plasson coupler in a black plastic pipe water line.
As the goats drink, the Hudson valve allows more water to enter.
To keep the goats from
chewing the hose, run it through a larger diameter PVC pipe before hooking up
to the float, and attach the PVC to the tank.
Make sure to scrub these weekly with soap and bleach to keep the tank from getting full of algae. Rinse well.
See the Plan section for more directions on making this water barrel.
White board for temporary birthing record in
kidding area (Red River Farm)
Birthing is a very
busy time. In the shuffle it is easy to
lose track of baby goats. A large white
board in the birthing area allows us to quickly write down which does birthed
on which date, and how many kids she had, whether they were bucklings or
doelings, whether they lived or died.
All of this information is transferred to the breeding and birthing
record sheet when things aren’t so busy.
When we have them recorded on the sheet, this part is erased.
1). Write the number
of the mother. (Example: #28 )
2.) After her number
write B for buckling and D for Doeling and put how many of each. (Ex: #28 2 B, 1
D). If they are born dead, draw a line
through the total number born, and put a new number for how many are still
alive. (Ex: #28 2B, 1 D)
3) We don’t give the
cull bucklings numbered tags since they are sold at two days. If we keep bucklings for breeding stock, they
are assigned the next consecutive buck number and date of birth. (Ex: B1 3-13-11, B2 3-14-11) and the tag is hung
around their neck with nylon rope..
4) We tie a colored
nylon rope (use a different color each year so you know at a glance how old
they are) around the new doeling’s necks and put the full-sized goat tag on it
(using the next consecutive number in the herd .) She will keep the tag for the rest of her
4) Make a separate
list of the doeling numbers and their birthdates. (Ex: 124, 12-03-05) on the white
board, as this will remind you of their age, for changing diet, or giving shots
5) If any of them die
later, draw a line through their number on the board and throw their neck tag
in a bowl on the counter until you have time to record their death on their
6) When you have a
lull in birthing, fill out the birthing log.
7) When you have time,
make each doeling (and bucklings that you are going to keep for breeding
stock), a file card with their number on the top tabl.
(You can buy tabbed index cards at Office Depot, item #800-755-091, 3” x
5”, ruled, 1/3 cut, 50 to a pack $1.89.)
Put them in a file box so they stay clean in the milking parlor. We mark
down vaccination and dehorning dates, illnesses and treatments, and other
information on this card.
If they die we
write the date of death and what they die of and then move their card to the
back of the file box.
If they are sold, the date of sale and name of buyer are written on the card and the card is moved to the back of the card box.
These cards are
invaluable for filling out the herd inventory at the end of the year for
(Note: After recording
this information on the birthing sheet, and making a file card for each doeling or
buckling you are going to keep, you can erase the birthing list off the
board. Keep the list of the doeling
numbers on the board for quick reference.)
White board for easy record-keeping in the
milking parlor (Red River
We use a large
board” in our milking parlor to keep track of the goats. We keep
lists of dry goats, mark who is in heat, who has been bred, etc.