Floppy kid syndrome is a killer with a funny name, baby goats can go from funny little bouncing fur balls to dead in a very short time – and this is just one way it can happen.
I am no expert in goats, and leave most of my goat stuff to my wife, but I almost learned the hard way how fragile bottle goats are.
We received some 4 day old bucklings from a Facebook group we are members of, and we jumped in full tilt. We spend several hundred dollars in housing and fencing, bottles, and milk replacer and starting making plans for a full scale goat army in the back yard.
My wife and I decided that our babies looked thin and decided to fatten them up (seasoned goat farmers are probably sighing and shaking their collective heads at our ignorance) we figured if 2 or 3 daily feedings of 10 ounces was good then 5 feedings of 16-20 would get our new friends fat and sassy in no time.
a few days in my wife noticed one was acting “floppy” – it looked drunk, was unsteady on it’s feet, and had droopy eyelids. – Knowing that baby goats can go from healthy to dead in a day she got worried (cried a little) and yelled at me a lot.
It was pretty cold over the night and I admit my first reaction is that they got cold and needed some energy (they did shiver a little).
At my wife’s urging (and threats of violence) I did more research and learned that baby goats have very sensitive digestive systems and that when a mother goat is overly confined with her babies and cannot keep them from eating too much, or when an ignorant or overzealous new goat farmer bottle feeds too much, the milk does not have enough time to be digested and it sits inside the goat and ferments and rots. This causes bacteria to grow wild and the stomach to get over acidified.
My research showed that while most people think the kid is weak and think the solution is more feed, doing so would surely kill the goat. (It also showed that misdiagnosis and treating a weak kid for floppy goat would also surely kill it).
The treatment is (if you can’t get to a vet) – take the goat off of milk for 24/36 hours, replace the feedings with electrolyte (Gatorade or Pedialyte will work if you can’t get goat specific electrolytes) and give a baking soda/water solution to counteract the acid. A antibiotic/anti toxin is also helpful.
We immediately took those actions, and the next morning took our two bucklings to the vet – Floppy goat was the problem – we were feeding WAY too much. After accepting a deserved scolding and receiving some antibiotic and instructions to stop being stupid with the feeding we went back home and learned from our mistake.
After 2 days of treatments (8 more days of antibiotic treatment left) our goats are full of energy and are hopping and cavorting around and are looking great.
Please learn from our mistakes and only feed baby goats per the instructions on the back of your milk replacer.
Crme Fraiche is a fermented dairy product used in both hot and cold French cuisine.
I think it is important to note that French does not always mean snooty and haughty (most times it does though).
As a practical person, I am a big fan of what is called “peasant food” – local, nutritious, inexpensive, and plentiful food that is used by the lower economic class as staples. I figure if it was used to keep the average peasant alive in the 1600’s it would work to keep me alive if I had to deal with the End of The World As We Know it…
Now back to French cuisine…
Creme fraiche or (Crème fraîche for the haughty) is a think fermented liquid cream, like yogurt. Because it has greater than 30% fat content It can be used to finish hot sauces without curdling.
Making it is pretty simple, all you do is add a starter culture to heavy cream, and allowing it to stand at appropriate temperature until thick.
What starter culture should you use? – Buttermilk comes to mind.
The ratio of cream to buttermilk doesn’t really matter all that much.
Add more buttermilk and you’ll need less time for it to thicken (but it’ll be less creamy). .
Add more, and it takes longer, but tastes better.
One tablespoon per cup (that’s a 1:16 ratio) is the closest to the European product.
With a 1:16 ratio It will be very rich and creamy about 12-hours after mixing.
You can also halt the process early by just refrigerating it to stop the bacterial action.
This is useful if you want a thinner Mexican-style crema agria for drizzling over tacos or nachos.
Yes we are dealing with room temperature milk, but for the safety nellies, the good bacteria from the buttermilk prevents the dangerous bacteria from taking over.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The dutch oven tips in this article make it versatile enough that you can use it cook anything you cook in a regular oven.
You can make pies, bread, stew, roasts outdoors using hot charcoal instead of inside using a traditional oven.
Dutch Ovens are just metal cooking pot. Most often they are made of heavy cast-iron. They come in all sorts of dimensions and configurations, but if you plan on cooking on a fire, get one that has three short legs on the bottom, and a tight fitting lid with a rim to hold coals.
Dutch Ovens that do not have legs, are flat on the bottom, and have a highly domed lid without the coal ring are more useful inside the home to cook beans or stews on the stove.
In order to cook using a Dutch Oven you must properly season. I prefer to get “antique” cast iron from auctions, but my current “Kitchen” version was bought new from Lodge. These new ovens come coated with a waxy material to protect it. They call this “pre-seasoned” or even “seasoned”, but in my experience it is not.
Seasoning is needed to create the non-stick properties of a well-used cast iron cooking implement, and it takes some time.
To season your new Dutch Oven:
- Wash the Dutch Oven with mild soapy water, rinse, and dry completely.
- Grease inside and out (pot, legs, and lid) lightly with a good grade of olive or vegetable oil (I prefer solid shortening e.g., Crisco). If you are not going to use this often do not use lard or other animal products as they can turn rancid!
- Do not use a spray in coating, but rather use an oil soaked paper towel or new sponge.
- Place greased Dutch Oven upside down on oven rack with lid separate and put aluminum foil underneath to catch any excess oil. Bake in a 300-350 degree oven for at least 1 hour (Do this when your spouse is gone, because it will smoke up the house).
- It will take more than this initial seasoning for the pot to obtain the desired uniform carbon coating that makes the pot non-stick as well as protects it from rust.
Luckily the seasoning on your Dutch Oven will improve with each use if it is properly oiled and cared for.
Once your Dutch Oven is seasoned it should never be scrubbed with soap.
Store the oven in a warm, dry place with the lid cracked so air can circulate inside.
Now For Some Cooking Tips:
- For easy cleanup, line the bottom and the sides of the Dutch Oven with aluminum foil.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir, and always cook with the lid on.
- Unless you like ashes in your food, don’t tilt the lid when you remove it.
- A Dutch oven seems indestructible, but it will shatter if dropped on hard cement or it will crack if cold water is poured into a very hot Dutch oven.
- NEVER, REPEAT, NEVER! pour very cold water into an empty hot pot or you may cause permanent damage to the oven (cracking)!
- Heat control is the hardest thing to master when learning to cook with a Dutch Oven. Remember to start with moderate temperatures. You can always add more heat if desired or necessary. Be cautious, as most guests don’t enjoy burned food!
- High quality briquettes are recommended. Briquettes provide a long lasting, even heat source and are easier to use than wood coals. (but as preppers learn to cook using coals from a wood fire)
- Briquettes will last for about an hour and will need to be replenished if longer cooking times are required.
- Group the smaller briquettes and add new ones (hot) as required to maintain the desired temperature.
- Rule of thumb: Each briquette adds between 10 & 20 degrees.
Different types of cooking requires different placement of the briquettes. Here are a few general rules for briquette placement:
- For Roasting: The heat source comes from the top and bottom equally. This requires twice as many coals on top as on the bottom.
- For Baking: The heat source comes from the top more than the bottom. Place 3 times as many coals on the lid.
- For Boiling, Frying, Stewing, Simmering: All of the heat comes from the bottom. All coals are placed beneath the Dutch Oven.
Place the required # of briquettes under the oven bottom in a circular pattern so they are at least 1/2″ inside the Dutch Oven’s edge. Arrange briquettes on top in a checkerboard pattern.
Do not bunch the coals as this causes hot spots.
To prevent hot spots during cooking, rotate the entire oven 1/4 turn and then rotate just the lid ¼ turn in the opposite direction. Rotate every 10-15 minutes.
If you use wood coals, remember that the flame will be much hotter than the coals! Avoid direct flames on the pot or turn frequently.
Keep in mind that the weather, ambient temperature, and ground conditions can affect cooking temperature.
Here is a guide for the amount of charcoal briquettes needed for different sized Dutch Ovens to reach a desired temperature level:
8″ DUTCH OVEN:
- 325 degrees – 15 coals …OR… 10 on top / 5 on bottom
- 350 degrees – 16 coals …OR… 11 on top / 5 on bottom
- 375 degrees – 17 coals …OR… 11 on top / 6 on bottom
- 400 degrees – 18 coals …OR… 12 on top / 6 on bottom
- 425 degrees – 19 coals …OR… 13 on top / 6 on bottom
- 450 degrees – 20 coals …OR… 14 on top / 6 on bottom
10″ DUTCH OVEN:
- 325 degrees – 19 coals …OR… 13 on top / 6 on bottom
- 350 degrees – 21 coals …OR… 14 on top / 7 on bottom
- 375 degrees – 23 coals …OR… 16 on top / 7 on bottom
- 400 degrees – 25 coals …OR… 17 on top / 8 on bottom
- 425 degrees – 27 coals …OR… 18 on top / 9 on bottom
- 450 degrees – 29 coals …OR… 19 on top / 10 on bottom
12″ DUTCH OVEN:
- 325 degrees – 23 coals …OR… 16 on top / 7 on bottom
- 350 degrees – 25 coals …OR… 17 on top / 8 on bottom
- 375 degrees – 27 coals …OR… 18 on top / 9 on bottom
- 400 degrees – 29 coals …OR… 19 on top / 10 on bottom
- 425 degrees – 31 coals …OR… 21 on top / 10 on bottom
- 450 degrees – 33 coals …OR… 22 on top / 11 on bottom
14″ DUTCH OVEN:
- 325 degrees – 30 coals …OR… 20 on top / 10 on bottom
- 350 degrees – 32 coals …OR… 21 on top / 11 on bottom
- 375 degrees – 34 coals …OR… 22 on top / 12 on bottom
- 400 degrees – 36 coals …OR… 24 on top / 12 on bottom
- 425 degrees – 38 coals …OR… 25 on top / 13 on bottom
- 450 degrees – 40 coals …OR… 26 on top / 14 on bottom
16″ DUTCH OVEN:
- 325 degrees – 34 coals …OR… 22 on top / 12 on bottom
- 350 degrees – 36 coals …OR… 24 on top / 12 on bottom
- 375 degrees – 38 coals …OR… 25 on top / 13 on bottom
- 400 degrees – 40 coals …OR… 27 on top / 13 on bottom
- 425 degrees – 42 coals …OR… 28 on top / 14 on bottom
- 450 degrees – 44 coals …OR… 30 on top / 14 on bottom
NOTE: For cooking times over an hour additional charcoal may be necessary. Either have another batch ready to go after about an hour and a half or, at about an hour, place unlit briquettes next to those on and under the oven to ignite them.
I wanted to share my families experiences with our first time bottle feeding baby goats.
I am no expert in goats, our two Nubian bucklings are my first ever foray into the world of goat roping (although I did rope a goat in Tunisia once – but they would not let me bring it back on ship (USS Saipan MEU 24)…
My wife did raise Boar goats with her parents when she was a teen, and the thing that sealed the deal on my desire to propose was a picture of her holding a sick baby goat and attempting to heal it.
The other day one of the Facebook groups I am a member of had a post where a family had wanted to give away some baby bucklings for free – and since my wife had been wanting to get my boy something to learn to take care of, and I wanted goats and did not want to spend $1500 on an Australian Shepherd, I convinced my bride I would help her bottle feed each morning at 5 am.
Unfortunately I had to leave the next morning to spend some time at the academy getting certified in some new instructor skills so I have not really had the opportunity to get out the nice warm bed and brave the cold and the rain to bottle feed these goats.
My wife, however, has had more experience lately than she bargained for, and has some words to say on the matter: