(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!)
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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…)
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!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!