We are finally having some milder days, and the snow is disappearing nicely. Not fast enough, but that’s ok!
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.
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, 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!
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.
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.
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 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 :*(
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!
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.
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.
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 :*)
Yesterday dawned a beautiful day. I am glad because it was hoof trimming Thursday! The sun was out for the morning and it almost smelled like Spring.
I am sure I have written before about our wonderful shearer Emily. We always had her shear the sheep when we had them, and as I have some issues with my back, she comes to us to do hooves every few months. I don’t know what I would do without her!
Our goatie girls have long memories (as does Jingle the donkey). One or two of them hold grudges for quite awhile after we have someone like the vet out to see them. Twig is actually the worst. She wouldn’t talk to us or let us pet her for a few weeks after the vet did Rabies shots last fall. She was seriously pissed with us. The other one who has fits is Pippi, our Lamancha herd queen.
When Pippi sees the vet or anyone she is not overly familiar with coming down the driveway, she tries to make herself scarce, running into the adjoining paddock and standing in the corner (you can’t see me here, right???). All of our goats are extremely friendly, we have culled any that are difficult to handle, and mostly we have no problems corralling them. Yesterday Pippi did her usual mad break for it, but when we got her on the milk stand, she would not eat the grain we had for her. Instead, she just put her head down as low as she could get it, and stuck her tongue out at me. I try not to anthropomorphize animals, but it just killed me to see her standing there giving me the stink eye, with her tongue sticking out like a child who has been caught being naughty! She stamped and did her best to throw Emily off, but the humans prevailed. Pippi wasted no time getting back into the paddock, and we all had a good laugh.
It was good to get the hooves taken care of before the girls get too big with babies. A little over a month. I am starting to get baby goat fever :*)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Was quite the day. We have been doing round-the-clock checks on a few of our does, and no one appeared to be doing anything yesterday or last night. Getting bigger, but nothing else going on.
Last night we thought Beezus might be in the beginning stages of labor, so we were checking her every few hours. Nothing. But this morning when I went out there, I found a wee little babe covered in the straw near where Beezus sleeps. There was no wet spot, no placenta, no nothing. Just a little baby, apparently dead, lying in the straw bedding. I grabbed her up, and even though I presumed she was dead, I wrapped her in my jacket and grabbed a towel, and ran her down to the house. Beezus was just sitting there cudding. Oy!
Anyhow, she mewled once, and as I was rubbing her belly, I felt her breathing. And so it began. After I took her temperature and it didn’t even register on the electronic thermometer, I knew we were in trouble. And so I had to go to the trusty internet to read the instructions for giving an intra-peritoneal glucose and water shot. I have never done this before, but luckily I had the glucose, and I did it, following the instructions from one of the big universities. It was clearly A Miracle. I watched her come to life in the minutes after that shot, and I still can hardly believe it. When we got her temp up to 91.4, we celebrated, although when I spoke to the vet, she didn’t sound very optimistic about that milestone. But we are keeping on, and hopefully it will be a positive outcome. (Lots of hot water bottles, a heating pad, and body heat to help her get to a temp of 101+. We did it around midday!).
Little Peanut Butter should not be alive, but as of tonight, she still is. We worked long and hard this morning getting her warmed up, so that we could begin to give her some colostrum and milk. I don’t have a lot of frozen colostrum, and her mama wasn’t making any. She was dry as a bone. So I defrosted some from another doe, and broke out my powdered colostrum. I am milking one of my does, so I can mix that with the powdered stuff.
I don’t know where this will go, or whether or not this little one will survive. She is truly a Peanut. About as big as our chihuahua, who is 3 lbs soaking wet. I want her to thrive, but the odds are against her. We shall see. We are having to tube feed her, even though since midday she has been able to hold her head up and get up on her feet and lurch around. She is not interested in the bottle yet, but I am hoping against hope that we can coax her to it. (I really hate tube feeding).
And so it goes. Dorcas and Pippi are still ‘wide loads coming through,’ and very pregnant. Don’t have a date on Dorcas, but Pippi’s due date is today, which means that tomorrow is a good bet for her. She will be watched closely. I can only hope that she decides to go during the day. Beezus has actually been our only doe to do something at night so far.
Adventures in farming. Always something new. All positive thoughts are welcome!
Overnight the snow did turn into sleet. It was quite nasty out there for our 11 PM goat check last night. Everyone was snug as a bug, and no one looked as though they were going to be standing alone in the corner anytime soon, listening to their inner baby bio-rhythm, so it was back to the house for some sleep.
After my husband plowed the driveway yesterday afternoon, we must have gotten another 4 or 5 inches of snow, with a crust of ice on the top. Lots of snow was coming off the greenhouses this morning, and Pippi and her daughter Beezus were in heaven. Yes, Beezus loves to eat snow as well! After their grain this afternoon, they both were in their element, noshing at the best and the freshest. It always gives me a chuckle.
I am adding one more doe to the short list of possibles earlier than later. Eleganza the white Guernsey has a nice little udder coming along, and her belly looks like it may have dropped as well. Baby watch is getting a little more serious. It’s supposed to be bitterly cold Thursday night into Friday, so we shall see. We can hope to have a miss on that one!
Well, Monday is a wrap. Finally. We had quite the morning. Zelda and the buck Oreo were scheduled to leave us and join the farm that Sassafras and Pickles went to live on two weeks ago. And it was not as easy a transfer as I would have liked!
Scheduled is the word. I was worried all last night that Zelda was going to be the one that was difficult, and Oreo would be the piece of cake to walk into Curt’s trailer. Not. What a surprise, but it’s something that should not shock me at all. You just never know.
And so we had the goat rodeo on ice. Oreo knew something was up the minute we went out for chores this morning, and we were even being nonchalant. I did my usual thing, and Sam went to do his. Oreo was having none of it! Zelda came with me into the catch pen and launched into her morning hay like nothing was amiss. But Oreo got the wind up and it took four of us adults to get him cornered and caught, slipping and sliding on the ice and the snow. I really hate doing that. In the process, Sam got an arm injury, John came in with a bleeding arm, and the new owner’s hands were bloody by the time we got the buck into his trailer. I waited to take a fall until I tripped on the handle of a bag in the house. Not a winner of a day, I can say that now. But tonight, it feels like it is ancient history. I can truly say that this morning was kind of the end of an era.
Since last spring I have been working toward getting all the animals together that I can definitely handle alone. Sam will not be here forever, and when he moves on, my 62+ year old body needs to be able to handle what we have. I don’t move as fast as I used to! And so I have planned accordingly, and we made a plan for who to keep and who to part with. I had a really hard time parting with SnowPea’s daughters Pickles and Sassafras, and Zelda was an even more difficult cull. But we lucked out and found an amazingly wonderful farm in Auburn, Maine, and the owner there really loves our girls and our genetics, and not only has the 3 girls now, but he also has Oreo the buck. I couldn’t have asked for a better home for them, and they are not really that far away. (He has Nigerian Dwarf goats as well, and I am dying to go up and visit his place!).
Anyhow, we are turning a corner here at the farm. I think we are as tight as we can be. I have two purebred Lamancha does left, and 7 almost purebred Guernsey girls. One Guernsey buck and one half Guernsey buckling. It’s finally a picture that I think can work for me.
The winter seems to be settling in, so I am glad that the Goat Rodeo is finished for the year. I hope. After the Solstice I think I can feel a little more positive going forward. But we definitely won’t think about January 20th just yet :*/
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!