The last few weeks have been very busy ones. I had been advertising the goats I needed to move along, without any response, and I was feeling a little down about it. I really hated the thought of sending these beautiful girls to the auction, but I was beginning to think I would have no choice.
But, then, I actually found a farm that wanted all of them! Edna with her two doelings, Battie and her daughter Betsy. All together, which made me the happiest of all. And so last Friday they all got a nice ride to their new farm. I hope they do well, they are in a very good place.
Pippi and her buckling from this year are still here, although they have a butcher date in late October. Pippi is still milking well, but she is losing her teeth at an alarming rate, and she is elderly. If I leave her to try and winter over another year, I am afraid I will lose her at a time when we cannot bury her… and I hate using the goats as coyote bait, but a lot of folks do that around here in the winter when they can’t bury dead animals. And so she will provide us with a little stew meat, and her circle of life here will be complete. She’s been such a great little goat, my fierce Herd Queen! (Saffron is lining up to challenge that position, but Pippi is no slouch, she is not giving in one little bit). Pippi’s buckling may actually have a home lined up, but if that does not work out, he will go with his mama.
And so the seasons are moving forward, and I am moving forward with our little farm. Chores are so wonderfully uncomplicated now that we are smaller, and much more enjoyable. More time to actually hang out with the goats and enjoy our time together. They are awfully good company!
And I should not forget Jingle the Donkey, who will never leave! So maybe I should say, now we are 9 :*)
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.
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!