Now that our goatie babies are all over 2 months old, we are beginning to find new homes for them. They have been a constant source of entertainment and they are all sweet, sweet doelings. But keeping 4 of them would mean a serious population explosion, so we began looking for homes for two of them. One of Pippi’s short-eared girls and the long-eared girl who did not break her leg!
We also have an extra adult goat, Bonbel, that we had not really intended to keep. She is the one who had the long-eared girls this year. She has kidded twice, both times twins and both times with no problem. But I hand milk and only can deal with a certain amount of it, so I prefer to only milk two goats a year. Maybe 3 someday! So we found out that a friend of ours was interested in her and we did a barter: she is helping me with trimming goat hooves and she gets a sweet girl who has a lot of milk to share. I am really pleased!
As for the goat babies, our friend who is taking Bonbel has found a family whose children have been saving up for goats, so they are taking an adult from our friend and two of our babies. One long-ear and one short-ear. Our friend Celine took the three of them off yesterday, and today has been a totally new chore time! The long-eared baby with the broken leg is still here with us and Bonbel her mother is gone, so she had a little bit of a tough time, but Zorro the llama cuddles up with her in the greenhouse, and I found her sleeping next to Pippi’s short-eared girl this morning. They are great friends and hang out together. SnowPea, our oldest doe and herd queen, also cuddles up with any of the babies and watches out for all of them.
The crazy goat-baby energy has been cut in half, but this is a step forward and I am glad that we have found really good homes for our girls. Big sigh!
The weather has continued to be hot and humid and disgusting. Typical of July, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Last night it broke for a very brief moment and then we got some much needed rain overnight and the humidity came right back today. I am trying to take it easy because of my asthma, but there were still things that needed doing.
Yesterday afternoon Sawyer and I went out and we moved some panels around (he dug in the dirt and played with buckets of water) so I could move the market group of lambs into the paddock that the field ewes had been in. I really need to just get them fed up and ready for the late August butcher date. I also included Esther and her lambs (the ones who were born almost a month later than all the other lambs) as well as Beezus, the ewe with the pre-pubic ligament rupture. Esther is the only one in that group not going to the butcher, but she is in poorer shape than the other ewes that we ferried down to the field. She will get down there in another few weeks.
In the meantime, the goats and a few of the ewe lambs that are either going to stay or who are going to be sold are together in the upper paddock. It’s much easier to have the goats in the upper paddock as it is closer to the milking greenhouse, so that is what decided the move. And the goats who are feeding kids are getting fed separately on the milk stand and everyone else is just eating hay. Much easier to manage this way, and we don’t have to feed everyone grain (that even though the oil prices have gone down it has not “trickled” down to the price of feed!).
Bonbel did us a huge favor today and she had her kids mid-afternoon. It was wonderful. She was in the greenhouse and as John was leaving to do an errand he spotted her in labor. I had just gotten home from the Saturday farmer’s market and was finishing the car unloading when John called me to get up there. I am happy to say that we did not need to intercede or help her in any way. She is a great goatie mama and her girls (yes, two more doelings!!!) are beautiful. So we have our complement of babies for 2012 :*)
The interesting thing about these girls is that they both have gigantic ears! We are not used to that with LaMancha goats. But last winter when we were trying to get them bred, we ended up taking our two girls down to Sea Breeze Farm in Friendship where they have amazingly beautiful Saanen goats. A little bit different, but wonderful genetics all around.
Our Pippi is a purebred LaMancha and that is why her two babies only have slightly larger ears than their mama. But Bonbel’s grandfather, Stinky Pete, was an Alpine/Saanen cross so I believe that this has made the big ears a possibility. And we have ears the size of Jingle the Donkey’s! They are extremely sweet and very vigorous babies. I love them! Milking will begin in short order :*)
The longest couple of days in the year are upon us. I have to say that I feel positively pagan about the daylight. It’s such a blessing to have so many hours of it that I can’t get enough.
It’s still been a crazy week trying to get some end of year things tied up, and then the hot and humid weather hit us yesterday. I know that the whole east coast of the U.S. is getting hit with it, and most are getting it worse than we are, but after weeks of the 60 degree daytime temps, it really struck us like a freight train. John was down in the neighboring field making hay while I was at work trying to get caught up. We even relented and put our small air conditioner in the bedroom window yesterday. It was a definite relief to get a good night’s sleep last night.
This afternoon I moved our Pippi the goat over into the other side of the paddock. She has not been eating as much as usual and keeps herself to herself, and I did not want the other goats to pick on her and keep her from her food. So I got her over with Bonbel and the ewes this afternoon and she still is not eating much. She is technically due on the 25th, but you never know! It could be tonight.
And so it goes. At least we are going to get a little bit of a break from the heat tomorrow.
Yesterday as we were out getting afternoon chores finished up I went over to watch the goatie girls interacting around the feeder. They weren’t panning for the camera like they usually do. There is almost never a dull moment with them around.
They confided in me and were a little miffed that they have been getting such short shrift in the blog these days. I admit, lambing has kind of forced goat business to the back burner, but now that the lambs are all here we are getting ready to think about kidding. Bonbel and Pippi both look like they are probably pregnant, although it’s difficult to tell until the last month. But I guess that’s almost where we are!
If the girls were bred by AI (and that’s a really big if), they would be due smack in the middle of Fiber Frolic weekend, June 2nd and 3rd. That would be interesting! John would have his hands full while I am manning the booth in Windsor. On the other hand, as I truly believe, they were bred during their next cycle by our friend’s buck, so they really should be coming due about June 23rd and 24th.
This is just about the latest we have ever had kids. I have been drying Pippi off to give her some time before the big event and I hope that she does before she starts bagging up for the new little ones. And then we have to decide if we are going to leave the babies with their moms, or bottle feed and start off the milking season with a big bang :*) Always a challenge and a new adventure!
I didn’t even have the heart to do a blog post on Wednesday evening. All went well with John as he took our girl Pippi to a friend’s farm to be bred by one of his bucks. They got down there, she got bred, they came home. He called me and let me know that things were good and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Only to come home Wednesday afternoon and find SnowPea and Bonbel in heat! AARGH! No one settled. It took me a few hours to process that and decide how to proceed. SnowPea is our oldest doe and she has been a very dependable milker, and I am currently milking her in the mornings along with Pippi. So I chose to have John take the other goat, Bonbel, to be bred on Thursday morning. Things went well again and hopefully we now have two bred and two unbred does. Two is good enough for us to get by with in the milk department, so I am ok with that. I don’t know what I will do if these girls come into heat in 3 weeks, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there. I can keep up the milking all the way through with these two if no one ends up pregnant, so I guess I should just keep positive thoughts for now!
And so it goes… I was on my way out to feed our little bottle boys on Monday evening and I found that Meadow had had her lambs (I had her penned, just in case). Triplets! So we have two more white rams, and an absolutely gorgeous black ewe. I am really psyched to have a Meadow ewe lamb. (Last year’s Meadow ewe got crushed in a ewe stampede). As Meadow is getting older, this may be her last year. So I am very excited! And this ewe definitely has her father’s fleece. Large crimp and very dark! Wow! Meadow is a good mama and makes sure that her babies are all getting their share of her milk, but I will have to keep my eye on them to make sure.
Today my husband called me at work to tell me that when he was going out to feed Rosie’s bottle lambs, he found our yearling doe, Bonbel, with two little white does. They are beautiful! She doesn’t have much of an udder on her either, so I am going to decide tonight whether or not to pull the babies in and just bottle feed them. It’s nice to have bottle fed milkers as they are easier to handle in the future, but I love to let their mom mother them up as well. Oh well, we shall see what happens. If the two girls lose body temperature, I will haul them in. And I would love to know what the deal is with the goat colors: we get gorgeous bucks of all different patterns and colors, and all the does end up being white!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!