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Posts Tagged ‘kidding’

Cute Goat Overload

Skye had her baby (finally!) on Wednesday.  Like all goat babies, this one is ridiculously cute.

 

Skye's 2014 buckling

 

It’s what they do!

 

Skye's 2014 buckling

Of course, these are dairy goats, which means they’re not supposed to have horns.   Being four days old, this little guy got disbudded today.  It’s a distasteful task, but necessary if you want to sell them as registered diary goats, which we do.  The alternative is that he would become a meat goat, but this guy’s genetics are good enough that I’d rather see him go to a farm where he can breed.  I won’t share any disbudding pictures today, but I will comment that the smell of burning hair and such when you’re 7 months pregnant is…not fun.  Tolerable, but on a scale of goat poo to chicken guts, it’s definitely on the chicken guts end of things.  Blech.

 

On to the cuteness:

 

Skye's 2014 buckling

 

Skye and her 2014 buckling

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New Kids!

We had been hoping that everyone would have their kids before I went back to work (tomorrow), and, for once, nature co-operated.  Unfortunately, we got all singles, and more bucks than does, but my favorite doe, Saff, gave us a doeling, at least, so I am content.  Here are the gratuitous cute pictures of the bucklings (the doeling was too fresh to be outside in the wind having her picture taken…yet…):

 

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Well, spring is (supposedly) coming.  Despite the two-plus feet of snow still on our yard, we’re getting ready.  Getting ready for spring, getting ready to garden, getting ready for baby goats.  Getting ready for me to go back to work.

 

I go back to work in about ten days.  I’m actually looking forward to it – it’ll be nice to do things that stay done.  Laundry and dishes and cooking and picking up baby toys seems like a treadmill of just getting one finished, and having to start from scratch with one (or all) of the others – it never ends.  However, a report, once written, is done.  You can move on to the next task.  I can tidy my office, and expect it to stay that way.  I will miss the rather more leisurely pace of the days, and of course, I love being able to spend time with Hubby and Baby M, but there are advantages to this working business, too.

 

We’ve started a couple hundred plants for the garden, beginning back in February, with the artichokes, and planting more every couple-few weeks.  This year, I’ve tried to stick more closely with the stuff we know we like, and do a bit less experimenting, so at the moment, we’ve mostly got artichokes, tomatoes, and peppers.   I started a few pots of herbs, as well.  This year, I decided I wanted to plant more flowers, just because.  Because I like pretty things, because they attract hummingbirds and butterflies, because we don’t always have to be strictly practical.  I’ve got pansies, zinnias, rudbeckia, calendula, delphiniums…no real plan, but a mish-mash of things that appealed to me.  Some will go in pots by the back door, some in a dedicated flower bed, and some will undoubtedly be tucked here and there among the tomatoes that I plant along the south and east walls of the house.  I’m looking forward to the planting!  In the meantime, I still have squash, melons, and cukes to start; I’ll probably sit down and get that done this weekend, or maybe next.  I don’t want to start them too early, especially with the melt being so late.

 

Two of the three pregnant does are due any day now.  Saffron is about the size of a bus, but it doesn’t stop her from jumping up on the old hay bales we’ve stacked along the cold wall of the maternity stall, to stop drafts.   Skye is smaller than Saffron, but is still developing a bit of a waddle.  Missy is hardly looking pregnant compared to the other two, but she could have been bred up to a month later, so it’s not that shocking.  I think Sky was bred first, but I’d put my money on Saffron having her kid(s) first.  We’re making special trips out to the barn every couple of hours, now, just out of anticipation.  The three bottle babies that I brought back from Alberta are appreciating the extra attention, as are the cats.  We’ve located and gathered all our ‘kid contingency’ stuff – extra bottles and nipples, colostrum replacer, towels, rubber gloves, and the like.   None of our goats has had major problems kidding so far (besides their habit of dropping kids in snowbanks, which the maternity stall should solve), but it’s bound to happen sooner or later, and we’d like to be prepared.

 

While we’re waiting for overly-cute newborn goat pictures, here are a few of the also-very-cute Alberta bottle babies:

 

baby Splash

 

 

Alberta baby

 

 

baby Alyssum

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We’ve had a rough month with these goats.  You can tell we’re novices.  We just got last week’s bottle babies back out to the barn, and now we’ve got another one taking up residence in our kitchen.

 
It turns out, having three bottle babies is about as expensive as smoking, maybe even more so, at least if you feed them cow milk instead of goat milk.  They’re hungry little critters, and milk is around $4 or 5 a gallon – which only lasts a day or two.  We could try milking Saff and maybe even Missy, but they are feeding their own babies, and I don’t want to place too many demands on their systems just yet – dairy animals will produce milk at the expense of their own health, and the last thing I need right now is for my two passable mommas to get sick!  Plus, milking would entail me getting up half or three quarters of an hour earlier, like 5am, when I’m already having fun trying to get enough sleep, and dealing with goats in the cold and dark before going to work.   Yuck.

 

Missy’s boy (the one who collapsed last week) is up and about and being a total nuisance, but we never did convince her to accept him back, even though she seems happy enough nursing his sister.  He went back out to the barn yesterday, though, thank goodness.

 

Silly rejected her doeling right from the outset, and was actively attacking her whenever she got close at all, so she came in the house for a week to be bottle fed and brought up to speed.  She is also back out in the barn, now, rather than tap dancing in my kitchen.

 

We thought we were done with that, as Skye, our last doe to kid, is fairly placid and calm, rather than skittish like Missy or pushy like Silly.  We thought she would be a good mom for sure.  She gave us a cute little doe on Sunday night, but has not been allowing her to nurse.  Skye has not been feeling well – she has the runs and her vulva is still very swollen from the birth, so we thought maybe we could just limp things along until everyone was feeling better, and hoped that Skye would become a little more accepting as she got back to normal, but it doesn’t appear to be working.  Skye is getting her energy back and starting to look better, but she’s also getting more active about kicking the doeling off when we force her to allow it to nurse.  Bleh.  So the little one is in the kitchen, as we speak.

 

I’m afraid we’ll have to cull Silly – between her teat deformity and her aggressive lack of interest in mothering, she’s really no use to us, and we cannot, in good conscience, sell her on to anyone else.  The breeder had suggested it right from the outset, but we wanted to give her a chance – if she had turned out to be a passable mother, we might have kept her.  Unfortunately, Silly didn’t get the memo.

 

Next year, we’ll do a better job of managing breeding.  No more February babies for us – it’s just too cold, and too dark, and too much of a hassle hauling bottles out to the barn 3 or 4 times a day when it’s -15 and dark and blizzarding.  It’s hard on the kids, too, and there’s been a lot of frozen ears around here.  I think we’ll shoot for late April, or even May, if we can breed the does that late.

 

Next year, we’ll have all the towels and flashlights and thermometers and bottles and nipples ready a couple of weeks before the earliest expected due date, whether we think the goats were bred or not.  I will also learn how to give injections, and will have a few medications on hand.  Apparently, I also need to stock up on Preparation H, as I have been informed it’s the best cure for swollen bits of pretty much any type, on several species.

 

Next year, we’ll have a vet who deals with goats lined up in advance.

 

Next year, we’ll have a herd name and tattoo registered with the breeder’s association.  We could sell one or two of the bottle babies, but we can’t sell them as registered until we get our own registration, plus our tattoo.  We don’t have tattoo equipment lined up yet anyhow, but it’s frustrating to think that we could sell these babies for good money, plus let someone else assume the cost of bottle feeding, had we only been a little more organized back in January.  I’d hate to let them go for unregistered prices, with the pedigrees they have (and how much their parents cost), so I guess we’re stuck with them, for now.

 

Next year, I won’t be pregnant and awkward and exhausted and too ungainly to comfortably bend down to assess what’s going on with a goat who is in labor or having problems nursing.   Barn smells won’t turn my stomach, and I will be out there more regularly, monitoring what’s going on.  Plus, I won’t be so worried about getting kicked in the belly by a goat who’s unhappy with me fiddling with her rear end or udder.

 

As usual, this goat business has come with a steep learning curve…

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