|| FEATURED STORY | Shelly Stieh: Hooked on Goats
Just because Shelly Stieh didn't grow up on a farm, doesn't mean she wasn't constantly around animals.
"My dad built terrariums outside, where I kept snakes, lizards and toads, and inside, I raised gerbils and lab rats," Shelly said. "I also raised every orphan bird in the neighborhood."
When she graduated from high school, Shelly moved out to the country and was given her first horse. Four years later, in 1977, she bought her first Nubian cross doe from an older goat farmer and has been hooked ever since. Her best friend and significant other, Walt, enjoys them, too.
"Owning goats has definitely been a learning experience; you never know everything. To Walt, they are his children, 'the girls,' and I'm OK with that," Shelly said. "I like to sit out there and just watch them. They are natural born comedians, and it's amazing how dang smart they are."
Raising goats started as a hobby for Shelly for the milk and meat, but it has also created some income over the years. At one time Shelly had up to 40 does, but now that she's gotten older that number has been reduced to about 10 does and a buck on her 10-acre Paradise Farm in Boykins, Virginia.
"When I met Walt about 10 years ago, I was actually down to a pair of young Nubian cross sisters," Shelly said. "Somehow one got tangled up with the fence playing, flipped over and broke her neck. When Walt came home that weekend he took me to a big goat farm where I picked out and got a naturally polled Boer buckling."
Shelly has since sold the Boer buck and gotten a new one, but she still has his female offspring. She is planning on looking for a young, spotted Nubian buck this fall.
"I just really like big goats," Shelly said. "Walt thinks our Boer buck weighs more than 250 pounds. And the Nubians just have a way about them that I have always liked. I think it's the way they look at me. They are very kind creatures."
Shelly and Walt have gotten pretty creative with their goats' names, and there are some sweet treats and famous pairs.
"The Boer buck was named Bam Bam by the children that helped raise him. We bought him and a young doe at the same time, and on the way home I told Walt we were calling her Pebbles, of course," Shelly said.
Pebbles was already bred when Shelly got her and they named her first kid, a buck who later went to live with some of Shelly's friends, Drop Dead Fred. Pebbles' second kid was a doe Shelly and Walt named A.J., short for Almond Joy. Pebbles also has a pair of doe kids named Laverne and Shirley. Shelly's older does live down the hill from her house and are named Oreo, Frosty, Brownie, Little Sister, Co-Co, Jackie and Scruffy. Shelly's favorite goat is neither named after a famous couple nor one of her favorite desserts.
"Sometime in the past two years we had a batch of triplets," Shelly said. "We sold the boys and kept the girl, naming her Munchkin. She weighed less than a pound at birth, and we raised her in a gerbil cage in the house. I think she will always be our favorite."
Shelly feeds her goats Purina® Goat Chow® feed which she gets at J T Barham & Co. Store in Capron, Virginia, and she's been going to them for the past 12 years.
When asked why she feeds Purina® products, Shelly only needs one word to answer.
"Consistency!" she said. "Except for the oats and corn that we use, all of the barnyard animals here at Paradise Farm eat a Purina product."
Shelly also raises chickens and Tennessee Walking Horses. The horses and goats don't share a pasture, but are good neighbors, says Shelly. And the goats keep the fence line very clean.
Shelly remembers back in the 80's they had big cookouts that were rather costly to host and goats helped out, but not like you might think.
"To help buffer those costs we would sell raffle tickets to win a young 'pet' goat," Shelly said. "To this day I still get feedback from some of those goat winners."
Right now, Shelly only has one goat that she can milk and hasn't had to milk her, but remembers when she first started out having three that she milked every day.
"We drank a lot of milkshakes and had about a gallon a day extra that we gave to people in our area that were doing deer rescue," Shelly said
Shelly says that goat milk makes the best milkshakes. Decide for yourself and try her easy recipe below!
What You'll Need:
2 cups goat milk
2 scoops ice cream
Flavored syrup or fruit
A cup or less crushed ice
Throw into a blender on high and enjoy!
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|| GOAT TIPS | Give the Gift of Good Health for Your Goat
Give your goat the gift of good health by learning how to perform a 4-Point Circular Health Check. An important part of properly caring for your goats is being able to distinguish when they're unhealthy and need some extra care. Many ailments can be caught and then treated by performing a simple visual inspection of your animal with the Circular Health Check about once a week. The Circular Health check starts at the top of the goat and goes all the way around.
STOP 1: HEAD
Eyes — A goat's eyes should be bright and clear. If they're watery, runny, red, or filled with mucus, there could be problems.
Nose — The nose should be soft, wet. Watch out for any discharge or a dry or cracked nose.
Ears — Be on the lookout for mites, excessive buildup of dust or dirt or other mangy looking things.
Mouth — A goat's mouth can have problems similar to a human's mouth. Their gums should be pinkish, not red, inflamed, or bleeding. You may also be able to smell an infection on their breath. Although a goat's breath will smell like the grains, flowers, or other feed they are eating, a particularly rotten smell may call for a deeper inspection. Checking out a goat's mouth is very necessary because of the things they eat or chew on that can puncture their gums and cause an infection.
STOP 2: BASE OF THE BODY
Hair — Working your way back along the body, inspect your goat's skin and hair. The skin should be bright and pliable. Hair should look healthy and shiny, not dry and brittle. Any sections of missing hair could have been rubbed off by the goat because of itchy external parasites. Missing or thinning hair could also be a sign of mineral deficiency.
Tail — Check a goat's tail for hair loss and make sure it isn't infected.
STOP 3: BACK AND BOTTOM OF BODY
Anus — Make sure you're checking under the tail at your goat's anus. Dry fecal matter could mean diarrhea. The feces should be normal round pellets and not loose or runny.
Rectal or vaginal prolapse — Prolapse is when the inner organs get out of place and begin to fall out of the anus or the vagina. If a doe has had a difficult time having a kid, be particularly aware of vaginal prolapse. Always call a vet if you see signs of a prolapse! Also watch for infections resulting in discharge from the vagina. Reproductive tract infections could cause fertility issues down the road.
Mastitis — Mastitis is an infection inside of the mammary gland and is generally the result of unsanitary bedding and/or milking procedures. The teats will be red and sore. Your goats may also have clotted material coming out in the milk. Even if you're not milking your goats, mastitis is something to be aware of, as untreated mastitis can result in loss if udder function.
Urinary Calculi — Male goats are more likely to have urination problems, so watch them to see if they are straining to urinate. This is likely a sign of urinary calculi, stones in the urinary tract. If a goat is straining to urinate, get a veterinarian immediately!! This is an emergency!!
STOP 4: LEGS AND HOOVES
Legs — Legs should be straight and free of bony growths or blemishes. The animal should move with an easy, normal gait.
Hooves — Goats' hooves should be pliable and strong and not brittle or cracked. Also check their toes, which may need a trimming. If your goats are primarily on soft surfaces they may need a trim once a month.
THE OVERALL PICTURE
Always be aware of the way your goats are moving and acting. If they're less lively than normal and keeping their heads down, it is a sign they're not feeling 100 percent.
After you've gotten used to doing regular visual checks on your goats, it will become second nature. You'll become used to your animal's normal appearance and should ask yourself if anything looks different. If you do identify a problem with your goat, be sure to speak with your veterinarian right away to avoid any further problems.
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|| GET TO KNOW | Noble Goat® Pre-Con Starter-Grower 18
Noble Goat® Pre-Con Starter-Grower 18 is a pelleted complete feed that provides a balance of high-quality protein, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients for the optimum growth and development of goats. It helps maximize weight gain in kid goats, reducing the stresses of weaning and shipping.
Note: This product contains copper and should not be fed to sheep.
- 18 percent protein for maximum weight gain
- Pellet form reduces sorting and waste
- Diamond V® Yeast Culture helps maximize feed digestion
- Urinary acidifiers help minimize the incidence of urinary calculi
- Supplemental thiamine to help maintain health in situations that encourage thiamine deficiency
- Decoquinate medicated option which aids in the prevention of coccidiosis
- Proper calcium to phosphorus ratio
*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients
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