Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MGL to host first of many Yoga Retreats!

JOIN US on June 1st for our first ever, relaxing, all inclusive Yoga Retreat. For just $249 per person, plus the cost of a room or a trailer for 2 nights- participants will receive four distinct yoga classes, One therapeutic massage, one nature hike and all meals from Check in to Check out! Space is limited so call now to reserve at 719 539 7173.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Kidding Season

The gentle rustling from newbies in the barn and the sounds of ducks quacking ring in spring here at the Mountain Goat Lodge. The soft fur of the newborn kids is gentle to the touch and watching them learn to stand on their own four feet can make an afternoon here that much more rewarding. We are proud to announce the birth of three little ones here at the farm born in the past two weeks! Additionally we are expecting about 10 more kids this spring from the rest of our ladies! Both moms (known as Does) are doing well and the kids are happy and healthy. Here we focus on making sure our Does get the appropriate ratio of grains and greens. This makes nutritious milk for the kids while providing extra calories to keep up with them. Our Does and kids are routinely housed in a separate pen to ensure a healthy bonding right from the start. After a few days they are introduced into the herd to meet their extended family!  Here at the Lodge we focus on making sure that our goats are well taken care of from birth. Unlike a commercial dairy which will separate the kids from the mother about 24 hours after they have been born, we give the goats opportunity to develop and learn from their mothers. We also wait to milk the does until their kids are three weeks old and starting to wean off of milk. We wait to sell the kids until they are at least two-to-three months old – again assuring a healthy foundation and long life.  Unlike commercial dairies we never milk during pregnancy for two reasons: there are far too many hormones that the mother is developing and it is not something that we should be drinking, secondly, the Does really need all their energy to produce kids, not milk. Here at the Mountain Goat Lodge we work to make the lives of the goats happy, healthier and longer. On average they live to 15 years staying with us on the farm and we are happy to share our home with them and you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Goat Milk:
The other white milk

By Daniel Peterson

Georgia Dairy Goat Breeders Association’s
Youth Representative

When most people think of goats, they think of the cute little pygmy goat they saw at the petting zoo or on some farm. What most people don’t know is that there are also dairy goats just the same as there are dairy cows. I live on a small family owned and operated dairy farm in Haddock, Georgia where we raise these fine animals.
I can imagine at this point quite a few people might ask "Who on earth would want to drink goat milk?" Well, this question is fairly simple to answer: more people consume goat milk than they do cow milk. As unbelievable as this may sound, it is true. Most third world countries and quite a few European countries prize goats and goat milk over cow milk. Dairy goats were also often present during the early years of our great country and helped many a settler’s family keep food on the table by supplying them with milk.
Often the dairy goat has been called the "poor man’s cow," because good dairy goats do not cost near as much as good dairy cows do. You can raise more goats on a smaller amount of pasture than you can cows. While it takes an acre for a cow/calf, you can successfully raise six goats on one acre. Cows usually have only one calf per year, while goats have two kids (that’s what you call a young goat) after their second year. Pound for pound a good dairy goat will produce more milk than a cow will. Unlike a cow, a good dairy goat can produce up to 10% of its body weight in milk.
The most common question I get asked is, "What does goat milk taste like?" It is a common misconception that goat milk tastes bad. People believe that it tastes "like a old billy-goat." This is not true. Milk that is properly handled and cared for will not have an off-taste. When folks first taste goat milk they are expecting it to taste different, but to their surprise it tastes just like cow milk. You could not tell a difference between the two types of milk no matter how hard you try.
Goat milk is also a healthier alternative to cow milk. Why? Cow milk has to be homogenized to be more easily digested, which is a process where the fat globules are broken down. However, this is not necessary with goat milk because it is naturally homogenized. Therefore goat milk is much more easily digested than cow milk is.
Goat milk has more of the essential vitamins that we need. Goat milk has 13% more calcium, 25% percent more B6, 47% percent more vitamin A, and 27% more selenium. It also has more chloride, copper, manganese, potassium, and niacin than cow milk. It also produces more silicon and fluorine than any other dairy animal. Silicon and fluorine can help prevent diabetes.
Scientist are not sure why, but people who are lactose intolerant can often drink goat milk without having to worry about side effects. Goat milk does not cause phlegm like cow milk does, so you can drink goat milk even when you have a cold or bad allergy problems.

Friday, September 26, 2014

"Winter is Coming" (or how we get ready on the farm)

"Winter is Coming" is a catchphrase from one of my favorite HBO series: Game of Thrones. (Great show if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it). It is also what we are saying and doing to get ready for our cold weather. Even though it is 85 degrees during the day with blue skies and sunshine....The nights will freeze soon. Here is just a bit of what we are doing to prepare for the winter weather.

Goats and Llama - we are fattening them up for winter by allowing them to eat, eat, eat as much hay and alfalfa as possible. We want them to enter winter with a nice pad of fat - just like me!

Unfortunately, we will be putting our little sick doe Sarah down today as she is frail and won't make it through the winter. This is the most unpleasant and sad tasks of raising animals. I have said that as long as they are not in pain they can live out their lives but she is going to get cold and the other animals in the herd don't cut her any slack. They know when a member is weak, and won't even let her get to the hay or other food. We suspect a chronic case of CAE which she might have contracted from nursing off another doe that we no longer own. (CAE is passed down from animal to animal through mother's milk, and is only harmful to animals, not humans). 
My son Derek will dig a grave, and then put her down humanely, with a gunshot to the back of the head. As much as he loves to shoot guns, this will be extremely difficult and emotional for him. Animals aren't afraid of death and we as their guardians need to be able to dispatch them quickly and humanely if need be. We fed Sarah her last supper of strawberries, oranges, grain and leftover french toast and said our sad goodbyes.

A few days ago we cleaned out the barn and put in two tons of hay, replaced all bedding with new straw, and put the old into a compost bin. We filled up around 50 feed sacks full of already composted bedding to help insulate around the greenhouse, and for use in the beds in the spring. A stock tank heater goes into the water tank to keep it from freezing so the goats always have drinkable water.

The chicken coop gets new bedding, and a heater in the water for the chickens. A light bulb will be set up on a timer in the hen house to keep the hens laying eggs throughout the darker months of winter. Hens need 14 hours of light to produce eggs. 

In the greenhouse, we mulch the plants that we intend to overwinter, and will put a heater in the water tank to keep the water above 45 degrees- that helps the goldfish in there as well as the overall temperature inside the greenhouse. 

In our outdoor goldfish pond, we will put a stock tank heater to keep that water from freezing as well.

Our trailers are getting winterized and closed up until next summer. 
Our water lines to the trailers, landscaped areas, and hose bids are all shut down for the winter. Our vehicles are getting winterized as well - antifreeze in all the vehicles including the tractor. 

We also have a list of all the indoor projects that we need to do, like cleaning and organizing. But then again Game of Thrones might be on.... 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

TEN little known facts about GOATS!

1. Goats are pack animals, and some goats get so close to their lifelong companion that they have been known to die soon after their companion dies.

2. Goats have horizontal slit shaped pupils so they can see almost all the way around to the back of their heads, thus warning them of approaching predators.

3. Goats are intelligent and mischievous and can figure out how to escape from many enclosures. 

4. Goat intelligence carries over into what they choose to eat, esp. if they need a special plant to make themselves feel better. (i.e. tobacco for worms, charcoal for upset tummies).

5. Majority of goats are horned, both male and female - and do not shed their horns like an elk or deer. Their horns act as radiators and help to keep them cool in the hot summer months. Their horns are filled partially with blood and nerves and most goats love to have their horns scratched.

6. Goat milk has smaller fat molecules and is thus much easier to digest than cow's milk.

7. Goat's milk rarely contains more fat than cow's milk. Rather, the butterfat content has to do with the breed of goat, their particular genetic makeup, time of lactation and their diet.

8. Goats will not eat just anything. Sure, if they are starving to death, they may try to eat something odd, like a car tire, but most of the tales of goats eating everything comes from them mouthing things - such as your clothing while you are petting them.

9. Goats have to produce offspring ("kids") in order to produce milk.

10. The term "he's got your goat" refers to the practice of stealing a racing horse's goat companion the night before a race, in order to stress the horse out and throw the race. Goats make wonderful horse companions.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Married A Bossy Chef: HACCP (Reposted from Becky Goldsmith)

This blog was written by my good friend Becky Goldsmith. I am re-posting on my blog because it truly is important to get the word out. I know people sometimes worry about the goat milk products at the MGL, but we follow all the same safety and sanitation practices of the larger dairies. Here's Becky:

I Married A Bossy Chef: HACCP:   The Bossy Chef has been nagging me to write a post about food safety and food born illness, more commonly known as food poisoning. Not...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rooster Love at Mountain Goat Lodge

I love roosters. Anyone who visits Mountain Goat Lodge can see one of my most prized possessions - Mr. Rooster  - who I had taxidermied. (not a true word, but you get it). Here is Mr. Rooster - preserved forever:
Mr. Rooster - a Wellsummer - preserved forever
 Many times chickens die and don't look so good - not the case with Mr. Rooster. Poor guy was so sweet and some kids were chasing him - he had a seizure and died right in front of me. I couldn't bear to just dispose of him, so my son suggested that I have him stuffed. That's what I did - and he has turned into a beautiful work of art.

Anyway, my point of this blog is to talk about "Stubbs". A sweet little guy who came to my farm a couple of months ago along with his brother. Unfortunately, being new on the block, they didn't feel comfortable roosting with the rest of the flock, and stayed down on the floor of the coop during the winter cold. Frostbite ensued, and, Stubbs lost the ends of his toes.
Missing the ends of his toes due to frostbite
Stubb's brother did not fare so well, as he ended up losing his entire feet. We tried to keep them together, but after a few weeks, we decided it best to put the brother down - as he would never be able to survive without feet. Stubbs showed real promise, however, with the loving care in which he showed his footless brother.
I put Stubbs in with the flock, were he tried his best to protect all the hens. We already had another rooster for this job, so he was literally ignored by the flock. I felt so bad.

Meanwhile one of my hens had gone broody, sitting on top of about 20 eggs. I hoped they would hatch, but alas not one of them hatched. I believe the hen just was a bit long on her breaks and the eggs must have gotten too cold. Well I decided to try and fool her and went to Murdock's to buy some day old chicks. I bought eight little pullets and put them underneath the brooder - thought maybe she would believe them to be hers and then she would raise them....well - a few hours later I went out to check on them, and 3 were already murdered by Ms. Broody. OK, I sighed - now I have 5 chicks that I have to raise....bummer.
But wait! I know who will help me - Stubbs!
So, I put the little chicks in the barn (away from the rest of the flock) and put Mr. Stubbs in as guardian. My prayers were answered and Stubbs has become the most wonderful dad for his 5 little charges. He won't let anything near them!!
Here is a photos of the chicks now that they are about a month old:
5 little pullets - about one month old - various breeds
And so, Stubbs has a place in the barn - protecting his little flock - and he couldnt be happier. Here he is roosting at night, while the chicks rest under the heat lamp:

Stubbs- a Wellsummer Rooster
And his little flock