A few nice days

Sam, having some fun with the little ones

It was such a treat to have some warmer temperatures, although the wind never seemed to let up.  But the sun was marvelous, and all the mammals on the farm took advantage of it and played and sat in the sunshine.

Back into the colder and more dreary weather.  Tomorrow we may see some snow.  At any rate, it can’t hang around long, I hope!

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Saffron update

Little Blue checking out what Sam is doing

I really appreciate the everyone’s concern over Saffron and her problem with lactation.  It is now believed that she has a ‘sneaky’ form of mastitis that may have something to do with a slightly enlarged lymph node at the top of her udder near her tail.  (She has had no fever at all).  I’ve been massaging her udder right along, but we have added antibiotics now and I am hoping that it does the trick.  The vet believes that if we can clear it up she will be fine for next year’s kidding, but little milk will be flowing this year.  I am extremely glad that we have Battie’s milk for them!

Saffron checking on her girl

I am also happy to have some kind of diagnosis.  Hopefully the BioMycin will do the trick and we will have a much happier girl soon.  We let her and the babies out of their pen on Friday morning, and as is true of most kids, on the first day of freedom they all did their own thing.  Mama and babies went in opposite directions for part of the day, but by late afternoon they were checking in with her regularly.  We call her babies Little Red and Little Blue because of the color of their felt coats, which will come off in the next day or so (when it will be difficult to differentiate them from the other girls!).  They slept with Edna’s little butterballs over night, with Pippi and her babies a few feet away.  All the other adults were in the other greenhouse close by.

The sun is shining now and even though the breeze is blowing and we had quite a bit of snow last night and this morning, they are all outside playing near the feeder.  Maybe it will turn out to be a lovely weekend after all!

(I couldn’t get a photo of Little Red because she was playing in the greenhouse with Edna’s girl)

2018 Kidding comes to a close

(I am a few days behind in blog posts.  I keep starting them and running out of time to finish them.  I should have posted this yesterday, Wednesday!)

Big boy

And I am grateful for that!  Eleganza had her two bucklings about noon time yesterday, which was very considerate of her!  She was in the old greenhouse, which the boys and Jingle share with the girls (galvanized panels keeping the two groups separate).  Jingle always has her eye out for what’s going on, and while I was having lunch, we heard her out there making a donkey racket, and knew just what had happened.  She has given us the call for all the girls who have given birth in that greenhouse.  What a good town crier :*)  So even though I never got my little cameras installed, we have had a lot of information without ever seeing exactly what was going on!

Another big boy

And so we finally have Guernsey bucklings!  Two beautiful boys, both weighing in at 8.3 and 8.4 lbs respectively.  Eleganza made it look very easy, and they are all doing well.  It was 50F around sunset last night and then the wind came up and the temperatures plummeted, so I put them in the woolly coats that my friend had made and given to us last year.  I have my fingers crossed for warmer weather, but it sounds like we may have to wait until next Wednesday for temperatures near 50F.  Ah well, when the sun is out, everyone enjoys it no matter what the thermometer says, even today when the wind was gusting.

Now we just have to make sure these little explorers don’t get up to too much trouble!

Saffron has her twins

Saffron and her first little girl

Both beautiful, both does.  They were born on Saturday morning.  Very nice of all the does to do these things during daylight hours!  The reason I have not gotten around to telling Saffron’s story is that she is not making much milk, and we have been very busy trying to help her out, and also had to begin supplementing her babies with bottles.  Everyone had very good feed all through the winter, and I am still not sure why Saffron is not producing much milk.  She seemed to have quite a bit of colostrum on Saturday, but by Sunday morning her udder was deflating and it was obvious that the girls needed to be on the bottle while we figure this out.

Saffron and Little Red

Luckily, I am milking Battie (she who lost her bucklings), and I am also milking one of Pippi’s udder halves because her babies both favor one side, leaving the other to fill up to epic proportions.  So I do have enough milk to feed these little girls, thankfully, and because they are so bonded with their mama (and she is a fantastic mother), I don’t have to have house goat babies this year.  Yay!  Feeding them out in the greenhouse is much nicer than having to deal with house goats (no slight to Peanut here!).  And to give mama’s udder a break, we are penning the girls separately from early in the morning until the last bottle at night, and then letting them stay with her overnight.  It got very cold last night after the torrential rains we had yesterday, so they are both coated and snuggling with Saffron at night.

Little Red and her sister

This kidding season has been a strange one.  I am working with a vet to get a handle on Saffron’s problem, but it may just come down to her nutrition.  They have been eating second cut hay all winter, and their grain rations have been very balanced.  I usually add alfalfa pellets sometime early in February, and this year I did not.  If that is what tilted this balance, I just don’t know.  All the other does are fine and making loads of milk.  I hope we can get to the bottom of it, but it feels like one of those things where you never get a definitive answer.

And so it goes, life on the farm.

Peanut’s birthday

Peanut’s first birthday!

Was last Friday, March 30th.  Our little Peanut has really grown up!  We had a tiny little birthday party for her, and even though I made a polenta cake that I thought she would like, she did not.

Peanut, almost 12 hours old

But, what would a party be without a birthday hat???  For Peanut, we couldn’t just use a regular old sparkly cone, we had to give her a princess tiara :*)  Needless to say, she did not like it.  So her photo with the tiara is under protest.  She did enjoy the 4 of us having a lovely time out in the sun and showers.

Homemade limoncello

We also tasted some of my homemade Limoncello, which went very nicely with the polenta cake.  Then we had a wee visit with the Edna’s and Pippi’s babies.  The mud was a challenge for us, but we managed.

I don’t think Peanut was very impressed!

Its getting warmer, finally

Pippi is very protective of her babies!

We are finally having some milder days, and the snow is disappearing nicely.  Not fast enough, but that’s ok!

Sleeping in the creep

Yesterday we let Pippi and her babies out into the general population, and the babies are loving it.  Pippi is on high alert for any other goat who might be thinking about going near her babies, and she is driving us nuts with her attacks on the others with no provocation.  She really needs to take a chill pill, for sure.  The interesting thing about her babies is that they keep going back into the pen they were in, and sleeping under the feeder.  We have made that pen the “creep” for the babies, which means that moms can’t get in, but the babies can (and Peanut, apparently!).

Tomorrow Edna and her babies will be let out of their jug, as soon as the rain that is forecast is over.  On Saturday we are taking the babies to be disbudded.  Ouch.

Fighting over the best spot

Definitely got Saffron’s date of breeding incorrect, so she and Eleganza are still hanging in there.  I am just hoping that Pippi doesn’t pop either of them too hard in her frenzy to keep her babies “safe.”  It’s always something.

Pippi the Lamancha helicopter mom

Pippi, our herd queen, is really on a roll.  She and her babies have the biggest, most luxuious jug in the greenhouse, but she spends her time patrolling the borders of her little kingdom, warning away all callers.  And not just an idle goat peeking over the green panels, no, if anyone, human or goat, should so much as gaze nonchalantly in her direction, she does this:

Poor Edna is in the next jug and her hay feeder is close to the panel that comes between her area and Pippi’s.  I don’t think Pippi is going to get much breakfast eaten if she keeps this up.  It’s extra funny, too, because Edna doesn’t even blink.  She just keeps on eating her hay, totally ignoring the loudest goat on the block.  Yay for Edna!

Goodbye and Hello

Edna’s first doeling

Yesterday was a rather exciting day all around!  The windchill made even the sunny morning feel well below freezing and it remained like that for most of the day.

Our original Guernsey buck, Reddog, has finally found a new home!  I have been advertising him sporadically, but most of us do not think about adding a new herd sire so early in the year.  We are all busy lambing and kidding!  But, someone was interested in our boy, and yesterday we said goodbye to Reddog, and hello to Edna’s twin doelings :*)

Edna’s second little girl, in the blue coat

Edna was the only doe on which I did not have any kind of a breeding sighting, and she is such a quiet, unobtrusive sort that I had to keep reminding myself to check on her.  Other than her udder slowly growing and slackness around the tail ligaments, nothing.  (Pippi’s tail ligaments were totally mush at least a week before she had her kids, if not more).  So it was a surprise when we heard Jingle the donkey making a big, noisy fuss up in the greenhouse yesterday morning.  Sam went to check on the ruckus, and texted me that Edna had had her babies, and both were up and looking for breakfast.  They are the sweetest, calmest little ones I have ever seen.  Both in the 6+ pound range.  The wind would not let up yesterday, so we finally decided to put little coats on the girls to get them through the night.  Once their bellies were full, I was happier about things all around.

My son and the two newest girls

And so now we are three down and only two to go.  Saffron, who was due on Saturday, is not showing any imminent signs of labor, and Eleganza’s due date is still a week away.  So we shall have to just wait and see what happens.  At least after tonight the weather is going to be warming up considerably, thank goodness.

Sunny day for Pippi’s kids

Pippi’s new brood

It was a gorgeous and warm day out there today.  The clouds appear to be moving in now, I think, and possibly stay for the weekend.  But while it was nice and sunny around midday, Pippi had her twins, a buck and a doe.  They are beautiful half Lamancha/half Guernsey babies.  They both have Lamancha ears, which is to say, not much!  So no eartags for these two cuties.

Tired out after the hard work of being born

Last night it was apparent that Pippi had lost her mucous plug, but nothing more was happening at the 2 AM and the 5 AM checks.  At breakfast, she moved in front of a hay feeder and would not let anyone else near it.  She staked out her claim for that sheltered little spot in the sun.  When Pippi gets serious about something, she really gets serious!  Every time we went up to check on her, she gave us a growly earful and kept poking her head out at us like aa angry goose.  Clearly telling us to Get Lost.  At 1 PM she really looked ready, but again, she gave us the bum’s rush, and it might have been my imagination, but it looked like she was holding herself so tightly under control that she wouldn’t have a contraction in front of us.  And then she must have popped that first baby out minutes after we left, because when we got back up there at 2:15, they were both up, and the little doeling had a big old milky mouth, and she was almost dry.  Her larger brother was still quite damp and having some trouble getting to the milk bar, which we helped remedy.

Battie, feeling better, but wanting to get up close and personal with Pippi’s babies. :*(

It’s a huge relief that this kidding went well, no emergencies or disasters.  The other three ladies in waiting are on track so far, and hopefully all will go smoothly.  And Battie is doing much better.  I think the steroids we ended up treating her with made a big difference.  We still have to wait and see how she does, presuming that there is nothing left in her uterus that could become infected (she had a number of shots to keep her uterus expelling stuff).   I felt really bad for her today because she just wanted to get into the jug with Pippi and the new babies.  She is still calling to her babies when I milk her out in the eveninig, too.  Ah well, this too shall pass.  She cozies up to her baby from two years ago, Betsy, and it should be ok.  That’s life in the livestock fast lane!  And so it goes.

Battie update

Battie finally seems to be turning the corner toward feeling better.  I was really worried about her, she had so much trauma.  But the meds and the rest are catching up with her and she is seriously eating hay now.  I came out this morning to find her standing in her pen, cudding away nicely.  She is still a little depressed, and when I empty her udder, she nickers to her babies :*(

Eleganza and Edna

I think goats are worse in confinement even than sheep.  They are such herd animals that it is difficult for them to function without all that herd pressure, and without their friends and frenemies.  Battie has steadfastly refused to eat anything from the hay feeders in her pen, but instead chooses only to eat from the feeder she can reach right on the other side of the pen divider, particularly if another goat is eating from that very feeder.  So today we went out and while Sam was taking care of some other things, I let Battie out to stretch her legs and get the cobwebs out.  I would never have let her out of the pen without hanging there with her, because you just never know, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to be a little shaky.  She had a few tussles with Eleganza and Saffron, but other than that things went well (Battie is the Queen in Training.  Pippi, the Lamancha doe, is still definitely The Herd Queen).  It was hysterical, though, because when Eleganza got pretty stroppy with Battie, Pippi inserted herself between the two and grunt first at one, and then the other.  She gave them both the what-for!  I wish I could have gotten video of her doing that.  She is a tough task mistress and does not like misbehavior!  (Unless she is the one misbehaving).

And so we wait for whatever the weather will bring tonight… more damn snow, I guess.  I hope we are firmly in the lower amount zone, for once.  I am sorry to hear that other areas are getting slammed yet again.  Happy Spring!

Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!