Archive for the ‘Livestock’ Category

Nigerian Dwarf Goats – Perfect for town lots

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Nigerian Dwarf Twins

Nigerian Dwarf Twins

by Catherine Haug, Feb 18, 2014 (from March 3, 2013)

(photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons (2))

This is the second in a series on different kinds of dairy goats raised by our members. Read about BrendaLee’s Kinder Goats: Small breed for city lots or farms, or Gayle’s Toggenbergs: Keeping a Family Goat

If you would like to contribute info on your dairy or meat goats, please contact Cat (see our ESP Contact page).

Sheree T. raises Nigerian dwarf goats on her urban homestead for their milk, which she uses in her goat-milk soaps. She would like to start a Nigerian Goat Club in the valley; contact her for more information.


Cattle as a Conservation Tool

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

by Catherine Haug, July 6,, 2013

Nature Conservancy of Montana has an interesting article in their Spring 2013 issue, that is a great companion article to my recent post Why Pasture/Grass Raised and Finished Livestock are Important. Check out “Cattle as a Conservation Tool” in the online version of the Spring issue at (copy paste this link):

Scroll down to pages 12-13 for the article. Read on for a brief synopsis.


Why Pasture/Grass Raised and Finished Livestock are Important

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

by Catherine Haug, July 6, 2013

Today, animal products at the supermarket come from livestock raised in CAFOs (Confinement Animal Feeding Operations), which means that they are kept in an industrial barn with little room to move, and without ever setting foot in their natural habitat: pasture. Generally they have ill-health and are fed antibiotics on a daily basis to keep them alive until slaughter.They are often abused and mistreated by the humans who are supposed to watch out for their welfare. Is this the kind of meat/eggs/milk you want your family to consume?

Their excrement is washed off the concrete floors and flushed down drains where it contaminates local groundwater – water often used by vegetable farmers to water their crops; water that feeds local wells.

They are fed mixed feed of grain (mostly corn), soy and alfalfa, all of which are likely GMO. This means that good fertile farmland is being ruined by synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

Read on for a historical perspective and a comparison of products from grass- vs grain- fed livestock. See also related post: Cattle as a Conservation Tool (reference to a Nature Conservancy of Montana article).


Sprouted barley fodder for livestock feed

Friday, April 19th, 2013

by Catherine Haug, April 19, 2013

Back in 2010 I posted two related articles about Shelli R’s experimentation with sprouted barley, oat and sunflower seeds as feed for her dairy goats. Although she eventually gave up on the original experiment for reasons unknown to me, she has been inspired to give it another try, as the idea and method are valid for providing fresh, healthful livestock feed. Here are the two earlier articles:

And here are two sites that provided inspiration for her to try again:

If any of our readers have experimented with this type of animal feed, or plan to experiment with it, please let me know how it goes.

Cat’s caution: Please do not use sprouted grains or other seeds to feed carnivore pets like cats and dogs. This could lead to diabetes or other illness for your beloved pet, as carnivores’ digestive and metabolic systems are designed to digest, absorb, and utilize the calories provided by meat. Their intestines are not long enough to allow proper digestion of grains, even sprouted grains.

Read on to learn about Doug Averill’s fodder experiment for his livestock, and for more helpful links on the method. (more…)

GMO Alfalfa in the Flathead?

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013


by Catherine Haug, April 3, 2013

(photo, right, from Wikipedia)

Two years ago, on January 27, 2011, the USDA approved Roundup-Ready GMO alfalfa for planting. You can view this history and read pertinent documents on the USDA’s Roundup-Ready Alfalfa website.

Originally, USDA Chief Vilsak had assured Organic growers that there would be restrictions on how close this new crop could be planted to Organic alfalfa fields, but he did not follow through with that promise; instead, he gave a green light to unrestricted planting of this crop. See Grist: In a stunning reversal, USDA chief Vilsack greenlights Monsanto’s alfalfa from Jan 2011.

What does this mean for Flathead farmers and ranchers? What does this mean for those who raise a dairy cow or goat for the family milk? (more…)

Kinder Goats: Small breed for city lots or farms

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Zuri and Eysha in first pregnancy

Zuri and Eysha (does)

by Catherine Haug, March 18. 2013

(photo, right, from Brenda Lee)

See also about Sheree’s Nigerian Dwarf Goats – Perfect for town lots.

This is the first in what I hope to be a series of articles on different breeds of goats raised in the Flathead.

Back in 2008, Gayle Prunhuber did a presentation on Keeping a Family Goat, at her home in Ferndale. Gayle keeps Toggenburgs, which are a “normal” size breed (30″ – 38″).  Some of us were dismayed to learn how much land it takes to keep a couple goats: about 3/4 acre, penned. But that considers allowing them to browse, which is their natural feeding pattern.

Smaller breeds such as Nigerian Dwarf or Kinder Goats require less land, and/or if you feed them hay and alfalfa rather than browse,- it is actually doable on a city lot!

One caveat about city lots: Be sure to check your covenants and/or zoning regulations, to be sure goats are allowed.

See Kinder Goats, by Brenda Lee for a printable pdf version of the following article, and more photos. (more…)