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.

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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!

And so it begins

And unfortunately, does not end well.  (If you are at all squeamish, probably best not to read this post.  I am going to be honest about what transpired, and it’s more than a little gross).

Sweet Battie

None of our goats were ready to have their kids this weekend, even though we have begun checking on them at night.  The earliest are really due this coming Friday and Saturday, Pippi and Saffron.  We noticed yesterday that Battie was bagging up, but that can happen even up to a few weeks before the due date, so I was not worried (Pippi has been bagged up for a couple of weeks already).  Battie did seem a little uncomfortable yesterday, but all seemed fine last night.

Battie in her jug

Early this morning was a different story.  She had a dead and decomposing breech buckling halfway delivered, and things were not going well.  Needless to say we tried our best to get the rest of the baby out, but with little success.  It was obvious that things had been wrong for awhile, but our main goal was to save our Battie.

I ended up calling the vet, and I am very glad that I did.  None of us here have the skills that were needed to get the second large buck out of there.  In the end, after trying a few different approaches, the vet had to take the baby out in pieces (it was so bloated with gases that she could not pull it as usual).  But it saved Battie’s life, and even though she is pretty knocked out right now, with some luck and the antibiotics, Banamine, and a few other goodies, she will recover.

I hate it when a kidding or lambing season starts like this, but maybe it’s better that it happened now.  We weren’t busy with anything else, and we could focus all our attention on her.  Sweet Battie!  Your girl Betsy will have to keep you company this year.

Snowmaggedon #2

Fergus is always glad to see us

The snow looks like it’s just about stopping now, after about 30 hours.  It began with a bang, but the snow was light.  That was yesterday, and it got warm enough over night and today (upper 30s) to turn it all into a heavy, wet mess.  We are half way through March now and most of us are just ready for it to end!  (I know, how many times can I say it…)

So much snow coming off the greenhouses, we all look tall!

Our biggest problem is the area around the greenhouses.  We can barely get a wheelbarrow through, and the greenhouse pens need a good cleanout before the babies come.  Sam has been working hard on opening up the lanes, but this last snow put us back in a big way.  I think we got better than 18″.  I am just hoping that we have a bit of melting before the 23rd!

Nothing to be done about the weather, so I am thinking we will have to put up  a heat lamp for the babies again this year… I just don’t think we are warming up as quickly as I had hoped!  Maybe next year I need to keep the buck away from the does until early November, so we definitely have babies in mid-April!

March Snowmaggedon and Daylight Savings!

March madness

Another Nor’Easter has hit all of the east coast.  Not that it’s any surprise to have snow and messy storms in March, but I think we were all hoping it was over.  Not so fast, nature says!  Joke’s always on us.  And it looks as if another one is on the way for Tuesday.  We only lost our power for about 6 hours, but many people fared worse than we did.   I can hardly wait!

White greenhouse tarp and snow.

In the meantime we have been readying everything for the onslaught of the new kids.  Less than two weeks, I would say.  Have to make sure we stock up on molasses for the moms as well as all the things we need in our birthing box.  (Syringes, needles, Bo-Se the selenium/vitamin E injectable, nose siphon, lubricant, thermometer, iodine and snips for navels, etc.).  This year’s eartags have arrived along with a new feeding tube in case we have to tube feed anyone (last year’s tube got a real workout on Peanut).  I also have to check and see if I still have any fresh or powdered colostrum in the freezer.  It’s always a crap shoot for the first babies born, in case something goes wrong and we can’t get enough colostrum from a mama whose baby needs help with feeding (after the first mom gives birth we usually have plenty of colostrum put aside for the others, but it’s always the first one who has issues!  Not really, but that’s what it feels like sometimes).

Snow overhang coming off the second floor dormer end of the house (outside my studio windows)

Anyhow, took a break from housework and everything yesterday to catch up on some reading and a little knitting.  Made dinner and didn’t finish cleaning up, either, so that was the first job this morning.  Now I need to turn my attention to a weaving project I am starting.  What fun!  And Daylight Savings has come to our rescue.  I love more light at the end of the day, and in a week or two it won’t just be at the end of the day :*)

A new month, a new week

Pizza dough (and a little wine for the baker!). Dough recipe from David Lebovitz

I can’t believe that it is March already!  I had a great first week working with my weaving mentor, and had a great weekend with our grandson.  We did fun stuff like make pizza dough, (I made red sauce), we read some Harry Potter, and he played lots of games.

Pippi the Lamancha doe, looking very wide and very ready to milk, indeed!

I am needing to get more organized for kidding, which should begin late in the week of the 19th.  A friend of ours had lambs two days ago and it has gotten me very excited about our impending babies.  It is the perfect time to give the pregnant does their Bo-Se shots (Selenium and Vitamin E), and I will be giving CD&T shots to each of them according to their due dates (3 weeks ahead, to make sure their babies have some immunities, particularly the Tetanus piece).  Since we live in a selenium-poor area of the country, the Bo-Se is very important and a few years ago I had begun boostering this twice a year in the moms.  I hope it’s making a difference.  We have not had any problems that I can ascribe to a lack of selenium, so hopefully it has.

Tesser sleeps very soundly in her little cat bed.

And so it goes.  Our little Tesser the Chihuahua is chugging along, getting very close to her 16th birthday.  She is doing well for her age and her size, and loves her little cat bed tunnel and her heating pad in front of the wood stove.

I can hardly wait for next weekend when we get Daylight Savings time back :*)