Peanut and the herd

Peanut the house goat is plotting a leap onto my lap!

The past week has flown by and I just have not gotten my blog mojo on!  Tired at night in this drizzly, grey weather.  Dealing with a house Peanut is also keeping us busy, as all her systems are on green light, and I cannot seem to keep the diapers on her.  So we are constantly cleaning up while she is in the house.

Busy moms and babies in the greenhouse

We are trying to get our little goat integrated into the herd of babies and mamas, but it has presented its challenges.  She seems to do fine when the youngest of the babies are out playing and she fits right in with them.  The older ones can be a little pushy, and the moms mostly have no use for her and if she is not careful, they can do some damage.  Yesterday it poured all day, so we only had her out during chore times.  This morning she came out at chore time and we left her up there, but it turned damp and raw, and we found her kicked out of the greenhouse, huddled up by the fence shivering, late in the morning.  So we brought her in for an hour to have her bottle, then got her back up there.  The temperature has improved, even if the grey skies have not.

A napping Peanut

So we are hoping for some slightly warmer weather, but it looks unsettled with rain and fog on and off for the next week.  The weekend, however, looks like a winner!  We shall see.  I am not anxious for the blackflies, but it will be nice to see the sun again sometime, with some slightly warmer temperatures!  Spring in Maine, never a dull moment.  (Or maybe many dull moments with a few grateful sightings of the sun!).  And until then, we will keep getting our Peanut out with the others and watching carefully.  We have had house goats and lambs in the past and I know they get out there into the mix in the end.  It just feels like forever!

 

And so it goes

From the left: Battie, her little (!) buckling, Betsy, and Edna

Things have been quite nuts here at the farm this past week.  The older babies didn’t look quite so big to me until we let Edna’s babies out of the jug with her on Saturday morning, and they popped out into the paddock.  What a contrast!  The month old kids look like giants next to them!

Edna’s babies curled up early on Saturday morning

As it turns out, Edna is a very laid back mother, (as she is a very laid back goat).  A few times that day one or both of us had to go looking for one or the other of her kids.  I guess this should have given me an inkling.  On Sunday morning we went out for chores, and as usual, the first thing we try to do is count heads and make sure everyone is there.  Not all the babies sleep with their moms, and we have two greenhouses and two paddocks with an open gate between them.  I started to get quite worried because we couldn’t find Edna’s little buck, Godric.  Finally we spotted him, all the way over in the next paddock with Jingle the donkey and Fergus the wether (there is no gate into this pen from the girls paddocks), lying in a little hollow by the far fence, wet from the rain we had overnight.

Godric with Sam

We picked him up and realized his back left leg was broken, or injured in some way.  I thought it was a broken femur, but Sam and John thought it was a dislocated hip.  We have splinted many a lower leg on both goat kids and lambs with great success, but I have never encountered an injury like this.  So we brought him into the house, made him comfy, got him warm and dry, gave him a bottle, and kept him as immobile as possible.  He happily got on the bottle, and rested and was fine with being inside.  I figured we now had two bottle babies in the house instead of just one, because we could see to his leg and then have him bottle-raised.

We got him over to our local vet as soon as we could, so she could take an X-ray.  And we quickly realized that this was not going to get fixed.  His femur was snapped in two pieces, and the top piece had swiveled all the way around toward his spine, and the bottom piece was pointing down.   Not something many four-legged animals could come back from, even if we had deep enough pockets for surgery.  So we had the vet put the little guy down.

We think he was wandering and one of the other moms may have backed him into the green panel that was closing off a small section of the fence between Fergus/Jingle and the girls’ area, giving him a slam as he was trying to get away through the fence.  Unfortunately, it happens if babies don’t stay near their mamas.  We replaced that section of fence yesterday with a galvanized panel that has smaller openings, but obviously too late to save our Godric (although being slammed into a fence that you can’t escape through would be just as lethal, I suspect).

Life on the farm sometimes seems so unfair, but in the end it is nature.  We may have to set up a “nursery” type larger pen for Edna and her new babies next year, so she isn’t stuck in a small jug with them for too long, but in a wider pen in the greenhouse, not just out and about with everyone.  I have done that in the past with some of our sheep.  But I really wanted to get them out of the greenhouse over the weekend because it had gotten so warm that I was afraid they would get heat stroke.  Good intentions, and all that.

And so it goes.

Dorcas wraps it up

I really meant to do this on Wednesday evening, but here at the end of the kidding season I am dragging!  But, it’s finally over!!!

One of the Dorcas girls working on breakfast

Dorcas had her two nice-sized doelings on Wednesday around 6 PM.  She is usually very focused at the grain feeder, (a goat who will not walk away until all the grain is spoken for), so when she ate only a bit during afternoon chore time and then walked away,  I had a feeling she was close. While I was making dinner, Sam kept going out to check on her, and voila, there they were!  Two beautiful doelings.

Dorcas’ first doeling

I still have not gotten over the late nights and the early mornings, and there is always so much to do that I have not caught up yet.  Yesterday we took Peanut and Edna’s two babies up to the more local vet that we use, and she disbudded them.  Now I just have to keep checking Dorcas’ babies to see if they will turn out to be polled, or if they grow horn buds.  We shall see.  I know Dorcas is naturally a polled girl, but it doesn’t always work out perfectly.

Dorcas is shedding her fine, furry undercoat

And so it goes!  Today is not excessively warm, but the sun is strong and shining.  Fence repair is on the list, and then some shifting of equipment to make things easier for milking, both in the house and outside.  Right now I am milking Saffron and Battie in the morning, so that I have food for little Peanut.  I also have to milk Betsy since her babies have moved on, but I will commence drying her off soon so that I can get feed into her that does more than just go to the production of milk.  Battie and Saffron’s babies are really getting big, so I am surprised that I am getting the milk I am getting, since it means sharing it with their growing offspring!

Sweet Dorcas

So it is a beautiful Friday and I am ready to get back outside.  Hope everyone is enjoying the day!

Tuesday, beautiful weather and more kids

Hagrid, resting by the feeder

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, for sure.  We had a visit from the vet to try and get our three babies from last week disbudded, but their horn buds were too big already.  That’s a disappointment, because I don’t like horns in my herd, but it’s possible that there are folks out there that will be fine with two Guernsey does with horns.  Our half Lamancha/half Guernsey boy, Hagrid, (he was the giant baby born last week to Pippi), may be desirable to someone as well.  He is a real sweetie!  On the plus side, she took care of Jingle the Donkey’s yearly exam and her vaccines, so it was not a wasted trip.

Edna and her new babies

Two of the does that we got in December are the ones that were still holding out as of this morning, even though they have looked like they would explode if you touched them, for the last few weeks.  Today at 11 we went out to check on everyone, and then I ran to a friend’s house to pick up a few things.  While I was there, about noontime, I got a text telling me that Edna had twins and they were up and cleaned off already!  It’s a buck and a doe, and they are doing well.  Edna is a good mom, and they are hunkered down and happy in the new greenhouse.  Edna ate more this afternoon than she has eaten in a week!

Edna and her little doe (I think!)

And so now Dorcas is the last holdout.  I know the full Pink Moon was at it’s height at about 2 AM this morning, but it will probably still look full tonight if the clouds have not moved in yet.  And so, who knows?  We may have more goat babies tonight.  You just never know.

It was quite the Friday

Mr. Fergus

Yesterday we got up extra early (after I had a bit of a sleepless night), and got on the road to Monmouth, Maine, to take Fergus the yearling buck to have his man parts removed.  Because I wasn’t sure where my husband was going to be, we also took our house goat, Peanut, with us, in her little Rubbermaid tub.

Fergus has been a very vital part of the farm for the past year, but I really need him to be able to hang out with an unbred girl or girls, or really any of the goats on the farm, without being afraid of his getting the girls pregnant.  I don’t particularly like putting castrating bands on baby bucks or rams as when they grow, their urethra and their urinary tract does not grow well without the hormones coming from the testicles being present.  I lost a ram lamb to urinary calculi, which was a bit of a wake-up call, and when you castrate them as babies, this is a much bigger problem.

Fergus and Jingle, breakfast

And so we don’t do that with our little guys.  But if we want to keep them and not use them as breeders, we really need to get that taken care of.  So we had him surgically altered today, and they also tried to do something about his recurring horn scurs (even though he was disbudded while still a baby, those boy hormones keep the horns growing afterwards, but they break off regularly and bleed all over the place).  I hope that when his hormones have died down, they won’t keep re-growing.

Apparently there were many large animal emergencies yesterday, so poor Ferg didn’t get his surgery until the afternoon.  Which meant that Sam, Peanut and I were at loose ends.  Just a little too far to go home and return, we made the best of it, going back into Gardiner and eating a late breakfast at the wonderful A1 Diner.  Later on when we realized he hadn’t even had the surgery yet, we hopped on over to Augusta and spent some time at Barnes and Noble.  Peanut seemed to enjoy the traveling, although she didn’t get much exercise.  We are making up for that today!  And Fergus needs to stay quiet for a few days, so that will be the biggest challenge of all.

 

Waiting, still waiting

Dorcas with the orange collar, and Edna, the other slacker, just behind her

We are still waiting for our last two does to kid (Dorcas and Edna).  They both look more than ready, but nothing appears to be happening.  I feel like time is running backwards, somehow.

Peanut takes over the chihuahua’s bed whenever she has a chance

But on the brighter side, our little Peanut is doing very well.  She has gained some weight (a little over a pound), and she is very active, tappy-tapping around the house (and ticking off the chihuahua into the bargain).  She got up on the bottom stair yesterday, but luckily she did not get any farther.  She follows us around like a puppy, and I find myself doing the ‘puppy shuffle’ so I don’t step on her!  She is also taking more milk at each feeding, which is a good thing.

We have had to close Fergus the sweet buck off from the girls until his neutering.  He is going this Friday.  I know that he will still be fertile for awhile after the surgery, but it’s just a matter of time now.  Hopefully his physical recuperation will go smoothly, and as the weather gets nicer, he will eventually be able to rejoin the girls.

Finding the rock is a great place to play king of the hill

And so it goes.  It is a dreary week, and everything we want to do outside feels like a bigger job than it really is.  And today is bone-chillingly damp.  Oh well, it is Maine in the springtime!  But the moms and babies have had their paddock opened up to the middle section now, and the babies have the big rock to play on.  It didn’t take long for them to start taking advantage of it!

Milestones

Tenille on the left, and Captain on the right, the two bottle goat babies who found a new home today

Today we reached two milestones.  The first was that we finally have found a home for Betsy’s bottle babies.  It was a bittersweet goodbye, but we know they are going to a good home with people who love their goaties, and we also know that it is the best thing for their mother, Betsy.  They were on the bottle 3 times a day, but they also never gave her a moment’s peace and were on her udder constantly.  I just don’t think I can get her back into any kind of good condition while those growing babies take just about everything she has to give.  And so it is a good ending for this part of the spring story.

No more tube-feeding! I am packing this away for another year :*)

The second milestone has to do with our little 2+ pound Peanut girl.  Yesterday as she was tap-tap-tapping her way around the living room, she began to nose up to things and try sucking.  So we tried, and tried to get her on the bottle (to put an end to the tube feeding party that we have been having).  She was sucking our fingers like crazy, but would not, under any circumstances, get on the bottle.  We tried all our little tricks, but it was a no go.  So by 11 PM, I was ready to scream, and my husband said he would help me.  (He had also been sitting with the little one and trying to get her to take the bottle, he sometimes does better than I do with getting them started on the teat, usually).  He put his hand gently over her eyes and held her head straight, gently, and she went right onto the nipple and has not really looked back.  Phew!  I couldn’t believe it!  She had had a brief moment in the early afternoon when I got the bottle in there and she had sucked up about an ounce, but after that it seemed to be a no-go until this.

Peanut in her little tote house, inside the real tub!

Anyway, we got up this morning and I tucked that little one into the chair beside me, got her little mouth open, and off she went, having herself a nice little meal.  I am still feeding her goat’s milk with colostrum powder, as I know she didn’t get much from her mother, if anything, but I will taper the colostrum powder off in the next few days.

Almost naptime with Sam

Big sigh of relief!  We had to go to our annual pigeon club meeting today, and since she has figured out how to get out of her rubbermaid tote, we had to put her into our jacuzzi tub with lots of towels, and her tote, while we were gone (although Sam had her out of there most of the day, and she even spent some time napping with him!).

All in all, a good day.  And the weather cooperated and almost felt like spring, as well!

Pippi threw a curve ball

She did, too, in a number of ways.

New boy in town

Firstly, Pippi has never had a single, never ever.  Always pretty good sized twins, usually a buck and a doe (I wish I had a photo of her, pre-baby delivery.  She always looks like she has a suitcase on either side, and we uncharitably call her Wide Load.  Then she has her babies, and all is normal again).   Secondly, she always has had her babies during daylight, or at the very latest, early evening, right around dinner time.

Pippi can be a little bit of a helicopter mom!

Not this year!  Now we were pretty sure that Pippi was going to be popping her progeny yesterday, all the signs were good and she usually pops them out on her due date or one day later.  As the day wore on, however, I just figured that it might go another day.  But that’s not the kind of thing you don’t watch, so every few hours one of us went up and checked in on her.  I was exhausted, and after we tube-fed little Peanut a little before 10, we went out for another check.  Pippi was obviously in labor, talking to her butt, but the longer we stuck around, the less Pippi looked like she was going to cooperate (she is a very private doe and will cross her legs and wait until the humans are elsewhere).  By 10:10, we went in and I threw myself on the sofa.  Sam couldn’t wake me up at 11, which we had decided to target as the next check, but his text did, and it said Baby.

Our handsome boy!

So he got her and the baby into the jug, got her settled, and we took care of getting the weight (9.25 lbs.  Giant baby), giving the Bo-Se shot, dipping the navel, and helping to dry him off as he is one big piece of real estate.  Beautiful boy.  But her vaginal situation did not say to me, placenta, it said, there is more baby to come, and we waited to see if there would be another water bag.  Then I realized that she wouldn’t do anything while we were there, so back we went to the house after getting her a little molasses water, about midnight.

I guess I must have dozed off again, because about 1 we went out  and realized that she had passed the placenta, hence no more babies!  I don’t blame her, she certainly has a beautiful and very large baby, but it was a little bit of a surprise from a champion twinner!

At less than 24 hours old, he looks like he could just go and join the other babies and fit right in.  He is quite tall, and has a beautiful long body.  I must say that I am surprised the Lamancha genetics trumped the Guernsey genetics where the ears are concerned!

Anyhow, mother and baby are well, although Pippi gets incredibly pissed every time one of the other mothers looks into the pen.  But this is life, and when you are the Queen, I guess it is part of the job!

Our little Peanut

We are still trying to get Peanut on the bottle.  She had one shining moment today and got sucking her tongue, so I shoved the bottle in and she drank an ounce all on her own.  She looked very surprised, and then went to sleep.  One day at a time.  She has already become my little cuddle buddy.