Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Goat babies are here !!!

Here is Mimosa a couple days ago, looking very pregnant and uncomfortable. (the red tint is from the heat lamp)

Yesterday morning when I went out to feed, I found Mimosa licking two wet shivering babies.

She had a little girl (doeling), who is black except for 2 tiny white dots on her side. My niece has named her Carlotta, so her full name is Oak Hill Anna's Carlotta. We haven't figured out a knickname for her yet. She appears to be polled, which means she won't grow horns, and her eyes are golden brown.

There is also a little boy (buckling) named Jackie (after Jackie Chan). Jackie is also polled with brown eyes. We probably won't be keeping Jackie, as this is a breeding herd and we need a buck who isn't related to the does.

I have read that Fainting Goats start fainting at a young age, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop.
The red light in the pictures is from the heat lamp. Even with the lamp, the babies were shivering, so we made little sweaters for them based on the instruction at

I'll keep posting as the kids grow. Meanwhile, I posted a quick video of the new family at

(c) copyright 2016

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daisy and dog training, plus quick goat update

This is Daisy, my teacher, learning about couches. I call her my teacher as she has forced me to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about dog training.
I have had dogs, or they had me, from the time I was a child. As a teenager, I exhibited my Siberian Husky Tanya in conformation classes and junior showmanship. I took standard obedience classes with several of our huskies. As a young adult, I read many books and applied the training principles to my dogs, with varying degrees of success. Over the years I've worked with the huskies (Tasha, Tanya, Kim and Count), a black labrador retriever (Trail), a border collie (Fearless), a collie (Lady) and now Daisy, the golden retriever.
Daisy found us as an adult. Driving to work one morning, she darted out in the road in front of my car from an apple orchard. I live in a fairly rural area, and loose dogs aren't uncommon, so I greeted her, then headed on to work when a neighbor thought she knew where Daisy belonged. Coming up the hill to our house in the dark after work, Daisy again stepped into the road in front of my car. She had made her way more than a mile and a couple of turns to end up at the bottom of our driveway. A bowl of dog food later she had moved in under our house, and into our hearts. We suspect she is at least 2 years old, and probably a couple years older than that. While she has a sweet nature and enjoys people, her independence is stronger than her desire to please. She fights back against standard corrections. She becomes fearful and tunes out if faced with anger, or fights back with growls and nips. Positive reinforcement has been the only approach that is effective and safe for both of us.
I found Psychological Dog Training by C W Meisterfeld to be very helpful with understanding why Daisy didn't respond to traditional training methods.
However, I was still missing a piece of the puzzle and not getting through to Daisy. I finally started getting results when I found The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller . Tamar's website is Daisy is becoming enthusiastic about learning new things, and her house manners are improving. Our biggest hurdle now is to get her past her fear agression towards other dogs. More on that in another post.
Goat update: No goat babies yet. Mimosa is huge, and showing signs of getting ready for labor, so I'm hoping for kids in the next day or so.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raw diet or BARF diet for dogs and cats

A reader recently emailed me and asked what I thought of the Bone and Raw Food (BARF) diet, and did I feed it? So, here are my thoughts on the BARF diet and my own dogs and cats.

I currently live with 4 large dogs. I have chosen not to feed the BARF diet because frankly, I just don't have the time to prepare it these days. For the dogs, I trust my favorite super premium food and I add an assortment of raw eggs, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, raw beef bones and yogurt, depending on what is available that day. I have found that the dogs handle the raw vegetables more easily if they are finely ground or pureed. I also add prebiotics because the dogs aren't getting the raw enzymes from the processed food.

I also don't feed BARF to my cats. I have 14 barn cats, all of which just wandered their way to my place and decided to stay. As they live in the barn and hunt rodents, I haven't felt they need additional raw foods. I feed them dry kibble as well, and add my favorite cat vitamins and minerals. I haven't had any problems with parasites, hairballs or other common cat ailments.

I have heard the arguements against BARF such as the risk of bacteria and parasites, and the risk of intestinal perforation. I personally don't worry too much about bacteria or parasites, as I have found that healthy dogs and cats with proper stomach pH will be able to fight off the majority of bacteria and parasites. I also feed supplements with ingredients that inhibit parasites. As for perforation, I agree that it could potentially occur. It hasn't happened to my animals. Raw bones appear to be less risky as they are less brittle and therefore less likely to splinter as cooked bones. I will also add that when I was studying red wolves, and wolf scat (droppings) the wolves were eating large amounts of fur with their meals and the bones came out the other end well-padded with undigested animal hair. Bottom line: I would encourage every animal caretaker to do their own research and make their own decision.

I did a quick internet search and found these links for BARF:

There are many more sites out there. I would also suggest doing a search on "BARF problems" to see the other side of the debate.


(c) copyright 2016
Not reviewed by FDA or AVMA.  Not intended to diagnose, treat or cure.  Please consult your veterinarian for any changes to your cat's health program.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Introducing Ben, gray Arabian gelding

On the left are Ben and I back when I first met him, almost 16 years ago. On the right is Ben with his buddy Poco. Over the years he has lost his dark gray color and black stockings and become all white, sometimes with small rust-colored spots. His skin is still black though, under all that white fur.

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Yurtle and Testudo, the Red Eared Sliders (turtles)

We also share our home with 2 Red Eared Sliders (RES). Pictured on the left is Yurtle, the young male. This picture was taken when he was a baby. He is now reaching maturity, and hit puberty a few months ago. We know he hit puberty because he has been courting a large rock in his tank. He hides his face behind his long front claws, and rattles the claws back and forth then tickles the rock with them. Male RES also flash their reproductive organ at their romantic interests. This happens more often during puberty. As the male appendage is black with sail-like fins and as big as his shell, it was quite startling the first time he unfurled when I was around! As a baby his shell was only a couple inches long. Now he measures about 7 inches, and will finish growing at about 9 inches long. He is quite a begger and swims over looking for food when you approach his tank.

Testudo is the female. She is about 10 inches long at full growth, and about 10 years old. Testudo is more shy, and prefers to dive off her basking platform and sit on the bottom when approached. Sometimes she hides under her platform and peeks her head out to see if you are bringing food. She is a suprisingly good climber and very determined when she's looking for a place to lay her eggs. We added fencing around the top of her tank after we found her nesting in the laundry room. These turtles will live up to 40 years with proper care! As aquatic turtles they need to live in tanks. The rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length. So, Testudo and Yurtle each have their own stock tank, 100 gallons and 70 gallons respectively. They also each have a basking light for warmth, a reptile light for the UVA and UVB light, a basking area to get dry, tank heaters to maintain the water at about 80 degrees F and powerful pond filters. Turtles are messy, and standard aquarium filters sized to the stock tanks won't keep the water clean enough, so they have pond filters and also homemade wet/dry filters. The bottoms of the tanks get vaccumed to pick up the large debris and they get regular partial water changes. We have somewhat acidic water here, so I add a pinch of baking soda to balance the water pH so their shells won't be damaged.

The turtles eat a combination of pond vegetation, fresh veggies like lettuce and carrot peelings, feeder minnows, live snails and turtle food. They also have a piece of cuttlefish bone (actually called cuttlefish pen) in each tank to chew on for extra calcium.

Testudo, being a mature lady, also has an area for egg laying. This is very important for females, as they may hold their eggs and become eggbound, which can kill them. Like a chicken, the eggs aren't fertile unless she has had a boyfriend. So she lays sterile eggs every year.
A great resource for turtle care information is the Happy Turtle Site. They have a fantastic forum at
Turtle Homes also has excellent information at

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Introducing Wyatt, our collie/husky

I thought I'd digress a bit from discussing Fainting Goats and introduce one of our dogs. Wyatt is a 3 year old collie/husky mix.

We adopted him as a puppy from a shelter in West Virginia.

Our biggest training challenge with him has been his husky drive to escape and run. He is quite the escape artist! If he manages to get out, his favorite activity is to roll in the goat manure. Yuck!

A couple years ago he opened his crate while we were away for Thanksgiving and redecorated the living room with our house plants. We had to clean the carpet with a leaf rake!

He is a cherished member of our family, and lots of fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why I chose Tennessee Fainting Goats

Goats are a new experience for me. I've always been a bit curious about them, and with my interest in heirloom and rare breeds, Tennessee Fainting goats were particularly intriguing. You can go to for more information on rare breed conservation and to and for information on Fainting goats. If you aren't familiar with heirloom breeds, pop over to the website. There are many domestic livestock breeds in danger of dying out, and with them goes their unique genes.
Fainting goats are very docile and much less likely to climb on things or escape. Additionally, the goats prefer to eat herbaceous plants (not grasses) including poison ivy, weeds, brush and multiflora rose. I'm hoping they won't compete with the horses for pasture and will keep the weeds from taking over. The picture above is Mimosa on the right with her boyfriend Sundance. We got Mimosa and Guy from Driftwood Farms, and Mimosa was bred to Sundance there before we picked her up.

(Above is Guy, the whether who keeps Mimosa company) 

The picture on the left is Mimosa as a baby

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Why a blog? What is my critter journal about?

So often my clients ask what wellness programs I follow for my animals. I thought that it might be interesting to introduce some of the animals that share my life, and write about the nutrition, alternative therapies, housing, equipment and training involved with keeping all of them healthy and happy.

I live with dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, turtles, fish and a hamster. I also travel throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia working with animals and their people. You can visit my business at for more information about my work. However, this journal is all about the health program we follow at home, and the process of customizing a program for each of the animals here.

My family and animals all follow a very holistic program for rehabilitation, health maintenance and performance enhancement. I use several product lines for nutrition. We all use homeopathy, flower essences, energy work, radionics, bio energy balancing, defense physiology, Reiki, TTouch, muscle testing, reflex points, surrogate testing and applied kinesiology. I have explored many different training methods and therapies and evaluated lots of equipment in our search for wellness and happiness. I consider the animals my teachers and partners on this journey.

The goats are the most recent addition to our family and a species I haven't worked with before, so I've been on a quest for the best health program for goats. Mimosa (picture above) and Guy are Tennessee Fainting Goats, and yes, when startled, they do indeed tip over! Mimosa is pregnant and will be kidding (giving birth) any day now. Hopefully she will have doelings (girl babies) to stay here and start building our goat herd.

So, welcome to my (our) blog, and stay tuned for more photos and the goat health saga...

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.