We began our homesteading journey that led to Hollyberry Herb Farm over 10 years ago. I had been raised on a farm and was familiar with animals, especially raising rabbits. However, I had no idea when we got involved with the small livestock that I would become so familiar with POOP!
But, you gotta deal with it.
Poop is actually very important on an organic farm- it makes the BEST compost! Through the deep litter method in the chicken house, our chicken poop gets applied to the gardens twice a year. Rabbit manure (poop) gets applied when ever we need it. The goats fertilize their pastures as they go.
But most importantly, poop tells me A LOT about my animals health.
Unless you live in Narnia, animals don’t talk.
So, that means that I have pick up on signs from them that something is wrong. Now that I have been working with animals for so long, I can usually spot behavior that indicates that one of my animals isn’t feeling well. For example, if the bossy goat lets the other goats push her off the feed- that tells me that I need to check on that goat.
When you first start with animals, most of their behavior will seem odd or bizarre. So, the first thing that can tell you that something is wrong is the state of their poop. Odd smelling, runny, or too compact poop can tell you that the animal is not right.
Now, in this instance the change in poop isn’t too drastic but I did go around and check all my goats behinds (yes, I stalked my goats to stare at their behinds- homesteading will cause to do things you thought you NEVER would!).
Everyone was clean so I watched them.
It didn’t take long to see that one was being a bully and making a pig out of himself in the alfalfa. The richness of the alfalfa hay caused him to have off looking poop.
Ideally, I would have cut back on the alfalfa or separated him, but with the very cold weather we were expecting the goats needed the extra calories and the body heat of the herd. However, I did watch to make sure there were no other signs of distress. There were none, but had I been concerned about their guts I would have given them some dried herbs in their feed.
Chamomile, rosemary, and mint are three that I use for upset stomachs and overall health. Rosemary is a very powerful herb and boost the immune system. Chamomile is a soothing herb and mint is great for helping to pass gas and keep the digestive track running smoothly.
All three are doing great and the short, fat goat is getting close to kidding time! Evangeline is bagging up (her udder is getting full) so that means that we are closer to having some CUTE goat kids running around!
More to come…