Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Truth about Raw Milk. It boils down to economics, wouldn't you know?

The folks of West Virginia have a right the state refuses to acknowledge. This issue has little to do with public safety, either.
It is about assuring big corporate profit while the small farmer and the consumer are cheated.
Let's see THAT CHANGE. Email and call your state REPS.
The truth is that raw milk is a low risk food.
Many other foods sold in grocery stores around the county are proven many, many times more dangerous.
The CDC estimates 48 million food borne illnesses each year, and only 42 (about 0.0005) are reported from those who drink fresh, unprocessed milk, but around 10 million Americans DRINK raw milk in the USA today.
No one in the Food Freedom movement wishes to encourage anyone to eat or drink anything they do not wish to or have no faith in.
This is about a simple right to PICK what foods one eats. Everyone I know enjoys at least one or all of the Top Ten Most Dangerous Foods, according to the FDA's own report. I imagine no one would like those 10 foods PULLED from the shelves and the producers of those foods demonized and prosecuted for offering them for sale.
Let us get Real.
Let us Educate.
Dairy is a $140 billion industry controlled by a handful of huge milk buyers, like Kraft (to put that in perspective, Kraft is #55 on the Forbes World's Most Valuable Brand list, so imagine the power their lobbyists yield in the government). Milk price must be heavily controlled and not part of a freely traded system because if MASSIVE companies like Kraft cannot buy milk at $10-$17 dollars a hundred weight (roughly $1.15 (give or take) a gallon), what happens to their profit?
This is about money in the pockets of multi billion dollar companies. It isn't about The Small farmer, the consumer or safety. Can we just tell the truth of the matter for once?

RAW Milk West Virginia Dairy Farm WV RAW MILK BILL Herd Share

Friday, February 13, 2015

Disbudding Goats: How To

Kidding season is happening all over.

One of the things we hear questions about most is disbudding goat kids. Many people aren't sure how, when or why.

Here on the farm, we have primarily disbudded dairy goats.

In order to show in ADGA, AGS or 4H/Fair shows, your dairy goats must be disbudded.

I personally will never prefer horned dairy goats, but a few were purchased by us in the years past with horns,  and the removal process on adult goats isn't humane. So there are two does and one buck here we have worked around because of the horns.

For many, simple aesthetics are a reason to remove them, and while I do not like the look, I'd not disbud for beauty alone.

We have had many bruises and caught heads all over the place, injured kids, a lot of pain in the rear moments on the milk stand, during hoof trimming, injections, etc. Within the herd, those with horns use them ruthlessly to their advantage, as well.

Yet even just those things aren't the only reasons we disbud kids, your buyer base is much smaller for horned dairy goats, and with horns being generally undesirable, those kids sold are much more likely to end up sold to unsavory homes or end up at auction.

So for show, milking, peace in your herd, sales, their safety and my safety, 6 years of dairy goats has shown me, FOR US PERSONALLY and most dairy goat people I know, we prefer disbudded goats and always (ALWAYS) disbud goat kids.

Do not confuse disbudding with dehorning!

Disbudding varies breed to breed.

Swiss breeds like Saanens and Alpines need disbudded sooner, between 3-7 days. The bucks need double rings to prevent very bad scurs or full horns / scurs.

Nubians can usually wait until 7-14 days. The Nubian bucks do not need the double ring to achieve good results.

Nigerians are more like Nubians, as are Lamanchas.

I NEVER recommend a beginner disbud. Find an experience goat breeder to do this your first year, even if you have to drive. Make sure you see their goats have nice disbudding jobs before you let them do your goat kids.

Most vets do a poor job. Stick with an experienced breeder.

Watch exactly what they do -

You will see them shave the head around the buds first, and the iron will be tested first and used somewhere between (varies with sex and breed) 10 and 15 seconds of steady rocking around the bud. After, they will pop the cap of the horn bud off. It will be applied a second time to swiss bucks to the ridge you will see and feel in the inside of the buds coming out toward the center of the head. You will never use the iron as long on does as bucks.

DO NOT freak out and pull the iron off too soon! This leaves a mess - it will not yet be cauterized and you will end up with horns or large scurs.

WAIT for the iron to fully re-heat between each side you do and each kid you do. Do not get in a rush.

Many bucks will have small scurs no matter what, but you do not want large scurs on bucks or ANY scurs on does.

I have used the X30 iron for many years. I use a wire brush to clean it between each use.

DO NOT  get confused and buy the one with the pymgy tip. It isn't useful. USE the X30 with the goat tip or make sure if you get teh X50, you get the goat tip added. YOU CANNOT use the calf size one.

There are countless youtube videos to refer to.

As soon as it is over, the kids hop up here and get a bottle and go on about their business. I personally give a small IM shot of banamine after, but they really are fine without it. They never act
like they have missed a beat.

Some folks use a disbudding box, but ours scream more over being the box than anything. I have my husband hold them on his lap firmly. This works best for us.

NOTE: This isn't a debate thread. This is FOR THOSE WHO know or think they wish to disbud goat kids. I have heard all of the stories about how folks love their dairy goats with horns. I'm glad you like them. This is not about hearing the pros and cons. This is a simple Why we do it and always will and how to MAKE sure you do it correctly, if you plan to :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The truth of Dairy Cows and Farming

While most everything that happens on commercial farms is sickening, and I would never tell you otherwise, the truth isn't what exists in this video's audio, either.
A Holstein cow, as shown in the video, produces 10 times the amount of milk the calf can drink, especially as a newborn.
This isn't theory. It is factual.
Through selective breeding for decades, this is the animal we have today. Like it or lump it. Her calf could bloat and die quickly if left on the cow unless she is being milked twice a day.
There is no stealing of milk in REAL dairy cows on family farms or even some smaller dairy farms. . .the cows out produce what the calves can drink many times over and will NOT regulate the amount they produce if just left unmilked with a calf.
The calf gets too much, the cow gets mastitis and both can and will die. This is the picture they do not paint, and this is largely because they do not know better. The activists, that is. They do not even want to know better.
I'm a 16 year vegetarian. I've even been a vegan before I knew better. I've been a small, and what I consider very humane farmer with a few dairy cows for almost 6 years. A dairy goat farmer for 6 years.
The comments under these types of posts speak to the health issues related to milk, but these people have no idea those issues come from pasteurized, homogenized dairy like you get from the above Commercial farm. It is then a processed food. No processed food is good for anyone. It isn't even real milk after they are through with it.
Raw milk consumption reduces allergies in all studies carried out, it is tolerated even in the lactose intolerant, and I could go on, but these folks wouldn't even know the difference. . .that a difference exists.
These videos should leave off the uneducated dialogue they put in them. The commercial farm practices of dragging calves away and abusing the cows is enough. It is outrageous and worth speaking out against.
We are a nation that consumes too much of everything is true - in fruits, veggies, meats, milk and water. Not just too much meat. Not just too much milk.
But these videos are meant to demonize all farmers. Not just Big Ag farmers.
All milk users. All cattle owners. All goats farmers. They have no idea what small, sustainable farming means and they are willing to be dishonest to prove their points. That. . .I cannot agree with.
Being dishonest to further a point that already has merit detracts. It doesn't further a cause.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington