Category Archives: Golden Guernsey goats

Slowly

Peanut lounging in one end of the old greenhouse this morning

But surely spring is showing itself to us.  The end of this past week was very warm, unnaturally so, but this weekend has been mostly sunny and breezy, with more normal temperatures in the 60s (F).

Battie’s beautiful girl watches from the back of the greenhouse

As the leaves are finally popping out, we have been moving toward making the new greenhouse more amenable in the warmer weather.  We already removed all the sectioning panels that we had up during the kidding months, and Sam cleaned out all the old straw, hay and debris.  The last of the ice that was lingering under all those layers of straw is finally gone!  It’s a big, wide open space now so the girls can find a spot with their babies without getting nudged by someone else.

Open greenhouse gable end, difficult to see properly

The only thing left to do, however, was to figure out when it would be advisable to take the plywood off the driveway gable end of the greenhouse.  That end was totally closed off, which is the north side, so it was a huge help during the winter.  But now it is becoming important to get some air moving through there, so Sam took it down on Friday.  It has made a big difference, and I am glad, it was time!  I am not a fan of really hot, humid weather, but when it does come, at least we will have about as much air circulation as possible.  The goats seem to appreciate it, and our Peanut has another vantage point from which to watch for our approach!  She is using it well :*)

Baby pile in the morning sun

I was able to sneak up on her this morning and get a photo after she had her bottle and was lounging next to another baby pile.  They were all happy and dozing in the sun.

Peanut’s new adventure

Peanut having breakfast (she is on the left)

The weather has finally cooperated and we finally made the move to having Peanut stay out with the other goats all night.  She is effectively a “real” goat now!

She remains the smallest of all the babies out there, even though she is 7 weeks old today, but she is doing very well with the others. She has not had any crying jags out there at all, either, except when it’s very close to bottle time.  We have not gotten her onto 3 bottles per day instead of 4, but we moved the last feeding of the day to 8 PM, instead of 9 (once it’s pretty dark outside the goats tend to be bedded down, and if we go up there, everyone gets all riled up).  It doesn’t seem to bother her!

One thing I can truthfully say, it’s quite a relief to have her out of the house… even though she was only inside for a little bit of the evening and about a half hour in the morning, she has grown so much and is so strong now that she can just about jump onto any table or pile of newspapers without giving it a thought.  Talk about chaos!  It was exhausting supervising her.  I have only tackled a little bit of the cleanup in the house that it’s going to take, but there is no rush.

And so our little House Goat is growing up, but her cuteness remains intact.  I don’t think that will ever change!

(It’s difficult to get photos of her because every time I go into the pen she runs up to climb on me.  The photo above is about the only one I have been able to successfully take in the last few days).

Peanut is growing up!

Even though we are having a pretty grey run of weather with never ending mud, the days are just flying by.  I have been getting a backlog of spinning projects going, and over the weekend my grandson and I went up to Maple Lane Pottery to visit during the Maine Pottery tour.  We had a lot of fun, and got to make some pinch pots in Robbi’s studio.

Peanut’s little den in the living room

On the farm front, Peanut continues to grow like a weed, and she is now spending all day every day outside with her friends.  She has really matured quite a bit in the last week, and can hold her own even with most of the mamas.  When she came in last night for her last bottle and bed, she ran right over to the little container that I have had out for her and gobbled up all the sweet grain that was in it.

Peanut has nighttime “quarters” in the upstairs bathroom, where she can move around and she has her sleeping tub, but we also have a large dog crate in the living room (I know, the things you find in farmers’ homes) for her.  She has her hay and grain in there, along with some salt and mineral mix.  She is doing very well with the hay, for sure.

Pippi babysits the crew on the rock

And so I think that when this run of nasty, drippy, damply cool weather is over, the middle of next week may be our target for getting Peanut outside for the overnights as well.  She is still taking four 12 oz bottles a day, so we shall see if she cuts back on that to three or not.  That makes it just a little bit easier on us!  Every evening when she joins us back in the house she looks bigger to me, and doesn’t look for much cuddling any more.  Wah, wah!  Our little Peanut is growing up :*)

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.

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!

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.

 

Peanut is still here

Peanut, surveying her new territory

What a day!  Our little Peanut Butter is still with us, and is a feisty one at that.  I fell into bed last night at 12:30, and managed to sleep some, but by 5 I was up trying to evaluate how our little girl was doing.  I tried and tried to get her onto the bottle, but it did not work.  Last night she passed a lot of meconium poops, so something was working, and this morning she was chirping and crying for food, but as soon as I got that nipple near her mouth she would panic and just not deal with it (her tongue has no coordination, and it just rolls around.  Early days yet, I hope).

Peanut practiced all day to be able to stand on 3 legs and scratch an itch

So by 6:30 I just realized that we needed to tube feed her.  I couldn’t give her much, because she obviously had some milk lurking there from last night (so then I began to worry that she wasn’t digesting, which is a distinct possibility).  But we kept trying to get her on the bottle, and when I finally spoke to the vet, she indicated that we need to take small steps, and it’s always a possibility that she would not ever be able to digest her food (being hypothermic for so long, her belly may not be able to really do it’s job, or come back to normalcy).  Just about the time I was on the phone with the vet, however, Peanut was making a big, giant, poopy mess in her little warm box.  So we hope that we are on the right train tracks here.

We have to be very careful not to let her get too dehydrated, which is a by-product of hypothermia, so we are doing small tube feedings of milk with colostrum, alternated with Gator Ade.  Saffron and Battie are our star girls, giving us a few quarts a day, aside from what their babies are consuming.  (And I could definitely get more if I need it!).

And so it goes.  That little goatie girl has the run of the house now, but luckily she doesn’t want to stray too far yet.  (Peanut loves hanging out with me and snuggling, while she chirps her little songs and snoozes).  Our chihuahua, Tesser, had a fit yesterday because we set up Peanut on her bed in front of the wood stove, with hot water bottles all around, and blankets and towels galore.  I don’t think I have ever seen Tesser so upset!  She has been hiding in her cave of a dog bed in the bathroom ever since, where the floor is 70F, and there are no roving alien goat babies.