This little white lady is resting after a busy day at the St. Lawrence County Fair.
What is CAE? That is an abbreviation in the goat world that rides the breeze like a whisper. CAE is known as Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. Some have even heard of it called the Silent Killer. Isn't that a terrible name? To us it brings images of sleeping and having something dark and hideous creeping up on you. All the while you are there completely unaware what is around you. CAE can be found in Africa, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and North America.
Here is the hard fact that only a percentage of people who own goats are aware of the diseases that goats have or how contagious these diseases are. Hardy as a goat, right. Nope! No such truth in that. These creatures take a lot of proper care and diet. It is all worth the work when you meet them and fall in love with their personalities. That might be the big part of why, for those that do know about this disease, it is so hard not to keep the animal, continue breeding, because we do fall in love with them.
It isn't easy to spot CAE in all goats. Most goats can live their entire life out with out showing one single symptom at all. If a goat doesn't appear to be sick, then what is the problem? The problem comes for those who do show symptoms. A young kid goat who is infected with CAE can have awful encephalitic seizures that will kill them. It is more often that goats show symptoms in their adult years.
This girl wasn't fazed at all with us coming around. She continued browsing.
This disease is a retro-virus. A retro-virus is any group of RNA viruses that insert a DNA copy of their genome into the host cell in order to replicate it. What does this mean in English? It means that a goat who is CAE-positive does not have the antibodies to fight off this disease. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis is a lot like our human version of AIDS, which is another retro-virus. CAE can not be passed to humans. Consuming the milk or meat of a CAE infected animal is safe.
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis can be found in both dairy and meat goats. It doesn't discriminate. Just like AIDS doesn't discriminate from men to women. Now, there are many ways to transfer CAE from goat to goat. The percentage of some are higher than others. Though, the studies of what percents are accurate are still going on.
How is Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Transfered:
*This disease is transferred through white-blood cells. Any bodily fluid that contains white-blood cells can transfer the disease.
**How can we get try to prevent the passing from doe to kid? We'll get to that in Help Prevent CAE...Part 3.
There are at least five types of CAE. They are Arthritic CAE, Encephalitic CAE, Pneumonic CAE, and Mastitic CAE. Each one of these has slightly different symptoms. None of them are curable. There have been studies that some goat owners are using resources to help manage CAE. That will be in the Help Prevent CAE...Part 3.
Arthritic CAE: shows symptoms that consist of walking on knees, swollen joints, weight loss, reluctance to walk, abnormal posture, stiffness, reluctance to rise, and lameness.
Encephalitic CAE: shows symptoms that consist of head tilt, blindness, depression, in-coordination, progressive paralysis, seizures, and inappropriate placement of limbs. This is mostly found in young kid goats. The seizures are deadly.
Pneumonic CAE: shows symptoms that consist of weight loss, deep chronic cough, and difficulty breathing.
Mastitic CAE: shows symptoms that consist of hard, swollen udders and decreased milk production.
*Chronic wasting disease is included in this disease category. It could show up in an effected goat by itself or with one of the other CAEs.
Each one of these is painful and reduces the quality of life for the goats that have it. Saddening really. Plus, if you are a dairy goat farm, the reduction of the milk can hurt your production by a lot. Again, CAE isn't passed to humans and can not harm them if they consume milk or meat from an infected goat.
A mother and kid boar goats. Love the color of the kid.
This disease truly saddens us. It is not hard to eradicate it. However, the ways of cleaning a herd up is to cull the infected goats. If a goat has something that can cause suffering wouldn't it be better to not let it get to that point or to not pass it on to the next generation? We don't like animals suffering here on our farm. It is our mission to provide them with the best possible life we can. With that being said in all good faith it is against what we believe to pass on infected goats. This just keeps the vicious cycle going. Please research and ask the breeder questions. Be sure if they say that they have a clean herd, you see the papers proving the herd is clean. When were they tested last? Did they take the animals to shows after testing? Has any new animals arrived at their farm since testing? Were those animals tested before or after they arrived? It might seem like a million questions, however, a breeder who really cares for the health and livelihood of their goats will answer these questions for you. In truth, those goats they are selling are their business. They have worked hard for them. Their name is on the registration papers. So please ask away. Below are a few links. Be on the look out for the final section covering this disease, Help Prevent CAE...Part 3.
The past two weekends while we were out, we talked to quite a few different people about goats, showing, and the diseases that they can carry. Diseases that are contagious. In this department people need to be more educated. There needs to be more caution taken when breeding, raising, and selling our livestock. Education is the key. I'll admit we lacked it when we started out. Here is our story. No judgement please. It could have been far worse. We want other's to avoid this heartache.
Tiny Hiney Farm with Lapis, Rouge, and Vixen at the first Fantasy Faire. Photograph ©Cindy Edwards
A beautiful doe from the St. Lawrence County Fair.
We started our journey with goats about 8 years ago with a Saanen and a Saanen/Nubian cross. Then we added a little Nigerian Dwarf buckling who was more than likely crossed with something with fiber. A trip to the auction barn brought home three more goats. We had our ups and downs with them. But that is the way of a farm life. We didn't know then what we know now about some of the husbandry that went into goat care. They are supposed to be hardy right? We will get to that later.
Our first set of babies born on our little hobby farm. Crosses but we loved them.
Then a year and a half ago we decided to take and raise Nigerian Dwarf goats as our choice breed. At first we didn't care about registration, which we later changed our mind on. Go figure! That is the way it always goes. We asked the question to the breeders for the goats we were picking up to add into our herd. Do you have a clean herd? The unregistered homes said "yes we do." Oh, how naive and trusting can we be? Please, don't answer that.
When we had a mix of our first goats we got, our unregistered goats, and a couple registered goats, we called the vet to do a testing of the herd. Surprise when one of our goats came back with CAE at a very high percentage. To say we were upset is putting it lightly. This girl was only a little over a year old and bred. A trusting lab, Cornell University did the test, through the vet. Her sister, we were sure was positive, too. They were not able to get a full specimen from her. She was also bred.
Now it was time to do some research. We separated the infected girls from everyone else. Watched them like hawks for signs of kidding. Pulled the babies as soon as they hit the ground twins does from one and a singleton doe from the other. Amber, who had twins we milked out. The babies were all bottle raised with colostrum replacer and milking supplement. We didn't have any others in milk or knew anyone to get goat milk from. Lucky, couldn't be milked, she ended up with going into a hard utter and she went symptomatic. We lost her and her little doe a short while later after birth. Devastating isn't it?
Amber playing on the play gym.
Anyone who has lost a goat or has had a goat suffer from CAE knows it is a horrible disease. We refer to it as the HIV for goats here at our form. Heartbroken at something that with proper care could be avoided. Now what did we do with our infected doe that was left and our two twin doelings? Peanut passed away during the winter. She was healthy and then the next morning gone. No signs of anything wrong at all. Truly not sure of the cause. Amber, we couldn't justify passing her on to a home that "might" promise not to breed her. A hard decision but we decided to cull her and not take the chance of having spread this disease any further.
The last little doeling, Buttercup has been tested and is free and clear of CAE/CL/Johnes. Our hearts were happy when we heard this news. To have a beautiful, little doeling that has a fighting chance after all her odds were against her. She is one of the lucky ones. Now that we know this, Buttercup is available for a new home. We will be doing screenings looking for the spot that is perfect for her.
Our little miracle Buttercup. Hard to get a photograph because she is on you like static clink.
In light of all the experience that we went through, our whole herd was tested June 2018. Every single goat came back negative for CAE/CL/Johnes. A clean herd for us. We are going to strive hard to keep it that way. When our kids are born next year we will work on an education package for new goat owners. If anyone has any questions we are here for them. Somethings though we're still learning. It's a process. Now, for those who don't know what CAE is please do your research, or stay tuned for the next part to this blog which will post next Wednesday. Blessed be to you all.
Earth Day just passed us by on April 22, 2018. We were busy that day doing a lot of different chores around the house indoors and out. Because of that our little project got turned into a art project. The little ones love to do anything that involves crafting.
The first step we did was pose and ham it up for the camera. This part was really important because we had to get our cute pictures for the faces of our planters. There were cheesy smiles like there always is. LOL Eventually they will outgrow that, right?
After that, the littles planted their various herbs in the top of their little planter heads. Add some water. Give momma another goofy smile. Woot! Now to wait to grow up. Wish us luck! We just might need it. Not sure how green their thumbs are.
Homeschooling and living on a farm some days you just choose your battles. This is especially true when it comes to getting dressed. There are days that the little ones ask to spend their time in their jammies. As long as we are not leaving home, sure, why not?
tOur hearts were set to go and see some amazing dinosaurs at a super cool event in Syracuse. However, we were taking 9 children and two vehicles, and a 30 mile stretch was getting hammered with over a foot of snow. That wasn't our idea of a great time. There were some broken hearts, just for a few seconds and then the were better.
We decided to head out a little closer to home and still be inside. Best yet it was able to be turned into a field trip that was educational, and on a Saturday to boot. Who said learning can't be fun? Loading them all up and head to the Sci Tech Museum in Watertown, NY. It was so nice when we got there. We had the whole place to ourselves for quite a bit of our visit. The staff was friendly and helpful. Plus, plus very patient with our crew. They are a force all on their own.
The littles and the bigs alike enjoyed the different stations that were set up all through the two stories. There was fun with magnets, shadows, music, lasers, pendulums, fossils, old and retro electronics, and much more. They enjoyed playing together. It was great seeing Elliott and Devion play a game of chess together with huge chess pieces.
Even though the day didn't go how we pictured it, it did turn into something that was memorable with laughter and love. That is all we could ask for in the end.
Connor is checking out all the cool fossils, specimens, and slides.
These butterflies and moths are beautiful.
Sophie is listening to the sounds through the pipe. She found them hilarious.
We are surprised that Jazlyn is being this daring. She enjoyed the figuring out what is inside the holes.
Chloe looks a little bit more unsure then her little sister, Jazlyn.
Sophie and daddy are using their hands to heat up the plate and leave their prints. This was really neat to see and do.
This just made me giggle. Don't ask why, because I don't know. Must be the big GRIN!
Normally, i am never, ever in the photos. I took this selfie with the number one love of my life followed by our children and all those I hold dear. Yes, I was being a goober.
We did find a few dinosaurs. See kids I delivered dinos after all.
This was an intense game of chess. I love these really big pieces. It has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it. The boys did a great job with it. The younger ones learned something from Devion and Elliott.
This trip was nice. If you haven't gone than you really should. The Sci Tech Center is a great day trip. It is family friendly and affordable. Great if you want to add to a trip to the zoo, shopping, and lunch or dinner out. I really love how attentive their staff was. Our littles are adorable but they are a whirlwind of energy, and they were so patient with them. If you make it there, let us know what your favorite part is or was. Happy adventures.
With the fact the little ones are so busy and we need to do things that hold their attention for learning. It was a very nice surprise to find this experiment from Playdough to Plato. She came up with this amazing experiment and covered so much of the information that we needed to go over.
The Three Boundaries:
Don't forget about the Subduction Zone.
To demonstrate the different boundaries, the children moved their graham cracker plates in different directions. Each movement had a different result. We stopped after each time and discussed what we had for results and why. Of course, they had to clean off their fingers between each movement.
Transform Boundaries: are places where the plates slide sideways past each other. They will catch and grind together.
Divergent Boundaries: where two plates move away from each other. Magna rises and forms a new crust layer.
Convergent Boundaries: where two plates are moving towards each other. If they are they are the same density they will push against each other and make mountain chain. If the two plates are unequal density, one will sink below the other creating a Subduction Zone.
Connor and Jazlyn are converging on each other. At this moment they are getting along.
All our little scientists.
I caught Chloe in mid-conversation with James. Sophie is just being a little ham. She was ready to eat her experiment.
We did this experiment to go with the first week of home schooling and our volcano unit. Finding units like this are a true treasure. It made it easier for the little ones to learn. I wish the photos were a little nicer but you can see the experiment well enough.
We started our home schooling journey mid school year, right at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. To ease the children into the learning we started part of our studies with volcanoes. To demonstrate the Earth, the little monkeys and I hard boiled some eggs.
We learned that the Earth has different layers. These layers are made up of the Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, and Crust.
Clip art of the Earth courtesy of Classroom Clip Art. It is a great model of what the Earth is made of for each layer.
The Different Layers:
We love Bill Nye the Science Guy. He has some great videos with a ton of useful information. The little monkeys soak it all in. At the end we go over and have a discussion and it is amazing what they learned from the video. We will continue to watch, learn, and grow.
This experiment was one that they got to do and eat. Those are the best kind in their eyes. They love snack times. Plus, what child doesn't enjoy playing with their food?
The experiment was a huge success. The kids and I talked about all the core facts tat we learned and the facts about the volcanoes which we were studying. They are little sponges taking everything in. It is fun teaching at their different levels, too.
I am going to be completely honest here . Snow, winter, cold all of that stuff just isn't for me. However, even though I would love nothing better than to hibernate these little creatures to get out and play. It was a nice winter day on January, 20, 2018, and their daddy took them out to do just that. I listened in the house to them giggling and laughing. The cuteness of it did persuade me to come out of my nice, warm den to capture these treasured memories.
The biggest kid of them all. He truly gets them going. I checked the job description and that is part of the deal. Love him through and through for it. Afterwards, the little monkeys helped dad with the chores. It really is a circus here, only with farm critters.
James was hiding for some sneak attack snowball fighting. He had a creative game plan. Smart boy.
Someone already got this little cutie with a snowball. She is armed and prepared to get them back in return. That snowball is pretty big. Jazlyn, is ambitious.
The littest monkey made an ice pop. She was content to just stay there and enjoy her frozen, flavorless treat. This child can spend all day out in the cold. She would probably do well in Antarctica.
Did you get a chance to get out this winter season and make some memories? Are you like me and prefer to hibernate? What were some of your favorite things to do in the snow?
Of course as I am finally able to sit down and do this post it is no the end of February and all the snow is gone. The rains is pittering and pattering on our windows with the chance of freezing to everything. Such is the way of the winter thaw.
Some of the best science experiments are created by items that you find right in your kitchen. For kids inventor day, January 17th, we decided to find something to create using ingredients and materials we had on hand. Now, this can be interesting with five little ones that are very busy and inquisitive. They wee all excited when it was decided we were going to turn milk into plastic. Like the plastic that the milk jug it came in.
We came across the experiment from HooplaKidzLab on YouTube. It is a great tutorial and fun video. Go over and check it out.
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
Heat the milk until warm. You can do this in a pan but I just popped it into the microwave in the measuring cup I was using. Going to be honest, the idea of dirtying a pan didn't sound appealing to me. Then we added the vinegar and stirred it in. This process we took turns with. After it was all blended together sort of, we poured it through the strainer. After straining the mixture it was dried two times with the paper towels. Finally, we patted it out and used the cookie cutter to cut it out.
And stir... And stir... And stir... and Stir some more.
These two handsome little men where great helpers. They volunteered to get the measuring cup, spoon, and strainer. How could anyone resist those smiles?
Jazlyn really got into the stir and mixing part. Though she did say "Ewwww" to the chunks of milk in the vinegar. Sophie is prepared. Double hero-ing it up with Supergirl and Batgirl on.
The conclusion to this experiment is it was a little bit of a flop for us. One, don't use skim milk. It really doesn't work well for the bonding properties. Two make sure to double check your measurements of material. I believe we might have been off just a little bit. Three, that blob you see there next to the cookie cutter is our plastic. It really didn't want to meld together well. Fourth, last but most importantly make sure you capture of a photograph of you lab assistant, Chloe. She was a great help in this experiment and the one photograph I took got lost in a Lightroom clean up. That always makes me upset. The little Einsteins enjoyed themselves and it was something new they learned.