This Week Has Been A Mixed Bag of Goods...
I am learning how to "dial in" grain rations for great milk production without imbalancing a dairy goat's rumen or to draw too much protein from her body. We've been babysitting our visitors for a week now and during the last three days we've seen milk production increase from 6- 6 & 1/2 cups each milking to 9+ cups during morning milkings. Do I need to figure out why we are getting so much more in the mornings ???
It's been getting warm during the afternoon and the ladies are resting in the shade during the worst heat. I have been trying to ensure there is good clean, cool water near them at all times, but though I am free feeding the alfalfa, they've not really been too hungry during the heat of the day this week.
Since I am new to dairy goats, I'd like to ask your opinion, for those of you that are experienced dairy goat handlers. They are eating about 3 big flakes of green #1 alfalfa a day, split between them and a 2 month old baby doe. They get chaffhaye at night, and I added red trace mineral blocks, and copper pipe to the water for more copper. Their grain ration which they get at every milking consists of a mix of whole barley, oats, Equidae alfalfa, a kelp/mineral powder, and BOSS. Yesterday, I added a bit of 4 way to reward them for good milk stand behavior.
They had been getting about 2 cups at each milking, but since the one gal is giving me so much milk, like 7 or 8 cups per milking, should I increase her grain ration? I've been pouring through books from the library about dairy goats and have found some conflicting information regarding this topic. I read last night that she should be getting 1/2 pound of grain per pound of milk in one book. In another book I read never to feed more than 3 cups of grain on the stand, per milking. I am a little concerned that I may not be giving her enough protein to compensate for this increasing volume of milk. What are your thoughts???
My strongest beehive (my italians) were plagued by some sort of pesticide exposure this week, I think. I saw a corporate pest control company canvassing our neighborhood for about 4 days and all of a sudden, I had two piles of dead honey bees outside the hive. A second hive eventually showed some ill effects too, though not as much. I was way too slow to figure this out too.
I performed my hive inspections and everything inside the hive looks good. The only thing that changed this week was the new pest control company spraying the homes of a few neighbors on the next street so that is my best guess. I saw them again walking our neighborhood last evening with two trucks full of peticide, so this time, I have a plan. I have refilled the sugar/water feeders, but increased the acidity a bit by doubling the apple cider vinegar I usually add. I added new pollen patties, and I have moved more a few lavender plants in front of the hive entrances. If I see the guys today, I plan to cover the hive entrances with wet burlap for twenty four hours and cross my fingers.
Just think, if this stuff is killing my bees, cupfulls at a time when it's not likely being sprayed directly on them, but rather onto a plant or secondary water source outside my yard, how awful is this chemical agent for the small children and pets living inside the home that is getting this service??? It's little wonder how we've become a society rampant with cancers and neurological disorders in children. We can't stop pesticide drift from entering the air we breathe when someone next door sprays to remedy a serious ant problem. I am not knocking the neighbors that obviously must have had a problem with insects pests, but I do see how damaging the effects of the chemicals are now and I will never have my place sprayed again. I say this as someone that used to pay to have a service after I was bit by a desert recluse spider years ago. Wow! Exit soapbox. Have a GREAT weekend friends! Please don't leave before you SHARE what you've been up to this week...
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