Cronkshaw Fold Farm, Goat herd update, September 2017

As studying is my main priority at the moment with my A level exams in the summer, I have decided to do monthly updates about my work at the farm instead.

September has been a great month, I came back with an abundance of new skills from Finland, bought three lovely pedigree goats and I completed a 24 hour hike with the charity Mind.

Once Esmé and Lyra were settled in (this is where my last blog ended) https://mammalsandmicroscopes.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/crazy-goat-lady/ , I planned to pick up the billy.

I definitely made my chemistry and maths classes aware that I was eagerly anticipating purchasing my first billy goat that morning after lessons.

Fortunately, Pete and I did not get delayed in hours of traffic this time! With handlebars as horns, it was a simple task to get Jasper into the livestock trailer.


To integrate Jasper into the Golden Guernsey pen, I moved Esmé and Lyra into an adjacent stable, enabling the 3 of them to make contact and to share their first romantic meal (of straw because the hay bale had not arrived yet). Roughage to continue to aid rumination.

Jasper was bottle-reared so he is certainly not shy. Whilst he is incredibly sweet, his musky odour is certainly not.

The science behind a billy goat’s scent, however, is fascinating.

http://www.nature.com/news/male-scent-stimulates-female-goats-fertility-1.14788

There is a hormonal chain reaction, that triggers a doe to ovulate. 4-ethyloctanal is a compound is a primer pheromone, which is explained in the article to be a chemical that causes an aspect of the recipient’s physiology to alter in response.

The chemical reaction between 4-ethloctanol and air, produces 4-ethylocyanoic acid- this is the smell that does are attracted to. So this is an adaptation of a billy goat with two significant benefits for survival, not only does it physiologically encourage a doe to cycle, but the behavioural aspect of urinating on themselves increases their attraction to does.


Since the young billy goats needed to be weaned, it was time for a deep barn cleanse  with virkon to ensure that Dichelobacter nodosus, the foot-rot causing bacteria, will not infect the Golden Guernseys.

On the topic of foot rot, before I moved the young billy goats, I ensured that I had trimmed their hooves along with the rest of the herd. So any infected debris would be disposed of whilst mucking the pens out.


Although they are content with their new home together, Esmé loves the freedom of roaming free in the barn.

​​


There should be kids on their way at the start of March, just in time for my birthday!

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