One of my favourite things about homesteading is the constant learning. Nearly everyday you learnrn something new, be it from a book, online, a friend or just hands on experience. Sometimes it’s a fun learning experience, sometimes its a stressful one.
Today I want to share with you a little piece of advice based on my experience over the last few months: Do not take on too many different animals at once! Particularly if you are new to having animals. I grew up on a farm and I like to think I learned a lot over the years, but seeing is not doing. Just because my parents had goats when I was a kid, does not mean I am an expert hoof trimmer or that I know basically anything about minerals or eye injuries.
I believe that when taking on livestock that will produce for you, you owe it to that animal to give it the best possible care. And that means knowledge and experience. Luckily(?), we have a small barn, so I was only able to expand my chicken flock a bit and add 2 goats this year, but looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t convince the Mister that we should get any other critters this year. Things like to happen all at once and it can be scary when a lot of the things happening are first time experience for you! We have had goats for 7 months now and in that time, I have learned A LOT and still have so much more to learn. Things also like to happen all at once on a farm and so, over the summer, I learned about coccidia in goats, I learned to give vaccines and dewormer and all about Selenium and loose minerals. I learned a basic hoof trim, about absesses and leg and eye injuries and about disease testing. Most importantly, I got to know my goats, what is normal for them and what is odd behaviour. They enjoyed putting my patience to the test while we figured out what works and what doesn’t pasture wise and all the while we also dealt with a chronic ear infection and arthritis in our old dog. Long story short, you may bring home a bunch of new animals and have all smooth sailing while you get aquainted, but you could also have rough seas and stress and unexpected expenses at every turn which can often be avoided with a little bot of experience and a lot of cool headedness. While I am delighted to be learning so much, I am glad the goats are the only ones I need to learn much about right now. I think I would feel extremely overwhelmed if, right from the get-go we had dove right in, getting goats, ducks, alpacas and ponies! Haha and peacocks and guinea fowl?
Basically my advice is simply to think about all that is involved with every new animal you take on. It’s a learning curve and you can save yourself a lot of stress and vet bills by taking your time to grow your farm or homestead.
On that note, here is a picture of my beautiful girl and the most recent learning experience she has provided me with : Eye injury care.
Magda has been very rowdy and aggressive toward Gracie(our other goat) since the first big snowfall and drop in temps. As a result (most likely) she ended up poking or scratching or somehow damaging her eye. Notice how red it is? At first she hardly opened it, it was swollen and squinty and was runny. I asked around and did a not of research and then headed to the pharmacy for an eye wash. Wiping the area with a warm cloth and rinsing with an eye wash saw her eye gradually improving and now today, 2 days after this picture and a week after the initial injury, her eye looks to be back to normal.