Cold can’t stop the many tasks needed before kidding begins

As I sit down to write this article today, white stuff — snow— blankets the landscape outside my window. We have been fortunate so far to have a reasonably mild winter but as spring kidding is on my mind, I can’t help but be focused on thorough health checks to make sure the doe herd is ready to go for kidding season. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who noted, “an ounce of pre- vention is worth a pound of cure.” This time of year is so blah in my wife’s words, which makes it difficult to want to be outside. For the Crise Crew, health checks are a must, an important part of making sure our herd is in good shape, making it crucial to get outside and spend some time with the herd, even in the most blah weather. Of course, we are always looking for ways to minimize our time with chores. Chores sound too much like a hobby farm. Let’s go with “tasks” since we are try- ing to make a living. As many old-timers will tell you, farming is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so minimizing your time doing seemingly menial tasks is a must if you are going to be profitable. Yet that leaves me with how do I make sure I get health checks done efficiently, in line with ap- proximate kidding cycles, and make sure it is all documented? Routine, or process, and documentation are keys to the success of the operation. How do you keep track of everything without it causing you tons of time? Some use pen and paper. Others use spreadsheets. While still others use various website tools. And then some producers use a combination of tools for tracking including the ole-brain- iac remembering everything. Mind you, I like being out- side, except maybe on those really brutal days, but still, I want


Goatzz from your cell phone or an iPad. Or you can send yourself a quick text on your cell phone and record the results later when you are sitting in front of the boob-tube watching your favorite binge- worthy series.

The second part of our record-keeping is using a dry-erase white- board we have mounted at the barn. Seems silly but for us it is an easy quick reference to see who needs what, when they are due (if we know) and who we might need to conduct a follow-up check on. I work for an education technology company that focuses on interactive whiteboards. I wanted to mount a big 75” interactive flat panel on the wall in the barn to record everything but I was ve- toed for the simpler approach of using a dry-erase board.

Cold weather in Northern Maine doesn’t slow down regular heath checks — the Crise crew, from left, Amelia, Josh and Kathy.

it to be seamless so I am not spending too much time on paperwork. I am sure producers that have been in the business for a fair amount of time have their list of dos and don’ts, and their ongoing list of tasks that must get done each season, just like we do. For the Crise Crew, we have a two-pronged approach to doc- umenting. First, we record everything on as part of in- dividual health records, since we have our website services through Recording can be done in one step or two. Directly in

18 Goat Rancher | February 2021

It works though and as I said, provides a quick reference without having to dig into our electronic health records. And it provides talking points when pro- spective clients arrive at the farm looking to add breeding stock to their herd. Never a shortage of topics to discuss but this white- board is always a focal point. Recently our bonus son’s dad and newly adopted brother and sister were visiting the farm. After the talk about how the goats like calm children and no sudden movements, the 7-year-old son was all in to meet some goats. He asked about the white board and we explained that all the goats’ names were up there and what the different symbols meant. A brown poop emoji means we collected some poop and a heart and date mean she’s ready to go on a “date” with her boyfriend — we let mom and dad tackle the questions after that.

He started asking which goat was which goat, naming each

one and I didn’t comprehend that he was practicing his reading skills. Where’s Asia? Which one is Judo? How come her name is Echo? And then he says, “Where’s X-ev-a?” And I stopped and his dad stopped and even Amelia and Josh

were stumped. Who’s X-ev-a? Then he pointed at the list of names and said “that one right there!” Her name is Xeva (Zeva) to you and me but his 7-year-old reading skills sounded that out with perfect dis- tinction for each letter. Xeva’s famous! She was on the front cover

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