Is always so precious and wonderful. We finally have had our first babies of the season! Eleganza, our beautiful Guernsey girl, went into labor this afternoon. I wasn’t there for the very beginning, but when I went out around 2 PM, I knew that she had not just begun her labor. She is a real trooper, and last year had two 8.5 lb bucklings without any help from us. This time seemed to be a bit different.
Goats and sheep usually deliver their babies in an intact sac filled with amniotic fluid. You can usually see the head resting on the two front legs, as they come to meet us as though they are diving into a pool. This one was no exception, nothing wrong about his presentation, but there was something wrong with her ability to get him delivered. This poor little/big fellow was coming out and going back in, which is not unusual, but our girl Eleganza was not making any progress. I don’t tend to interfere with a birth if it looks normal, but after almost an hour, as she began to lose steam, I waited for my chance and helped the little bugger along as she was having a contraction. He is a very big boy, over 9 lbs, and I am glad I did help him out as he had been so stressed that he was passing a lot of meconium poops into his amniotic sac. And so we have our first baby of the season!
And then his brother made an appearance an hour later, just as I like to see it, so that the first could have all his mother’s attention for a bit before having to take care of the second baby. Our little guy was up and nursing before I knew it, and the second large buckling was born with no help from me, thank goodness. The darker red buck is actually the second born, and the smaller of the two, although he looks bigger because of the camera angles.
I love it when we have babies in the daytime! And no, we still have no spring peepers!
It’s been a rough 36 hours. I have been a little overdue in moving the two remaining bucklings into the paddock with the big bucks. The little boys were very actively pursuing the girls around the paddock and making a general nuisance of themselves, so it was time. Yesterday morning I got Henry and the brown buckling into the adjoining paddock. They can see their mothers and sisters, but they (hopefully!) cannot access the girls.
The two boys have been crying piteously (they could wake the dead) for their mamas and hanging around the fence hoping to have a little contact. There has not been too much pushing and shoving by the adult bucks, just a little sparring. They learned quickly not to annoy Jingle the donkey, thank goodness, and things are ok on that front. But the crying for their moms continues! It kept us up most of the night last night, and hopefully they will settle a little bit better tonight. We can certainly use the sleep.
Fenceline weaning has its plusses; some people have a preference about whisking the babies totally away from all sight and sound of their mamas abruptly, and some prefer it this way. We did not have a whole lot of choice this time. Maybe we need to put the air conditioner on in the bedroom tonight. Hmm. Nice idea :*)
SnowPea’s boys are amazingly cute, but they were more than ready to be weaned. I couldn’t milk their mama until they were, or gone. In the beginning when the babies are small, they don’t drink up all of their mother’s milk and I can get in there and get some uneven amounts. But once they are about a month old, there is no extra for us. So I had pretty much stopped doing any milking for the last 6 weeks.
Yesterday the two boys went off to live in Jefferson to be weed control for a friend of ours. I am seriously hoping that it works out for them, so that late in the autumn they can go into the freezer for the winter. Many people euthanize bucklings as they are born. I just can’t really understand that practice, although we do goats on a very small scale and that makes a big difference. I may not make much money on our little bucks that probably won’t make the cut as breeders, but we try to set them up as feeder goats at the very least. It probably doesn’t make economic sense to keep them hanging around until they are butcher size, but if they don’t feed someone else, at least they go into our freezer.
I suspect that our receiving family may have had a noisy night last night. Their mama was calling loudly for her boys this morning, and she is still checking all corners to see where the they may be. But SnowPea is our best milker, and this morning she did not disappoint. I just wish we could get a doeling out of her someday. The only one she has ever had got tragically strangled in a feeder. We can hope again that next year she graces us with a female, but until then we shall certainly enjoy her milk.
While I was doing chores this morning I bent over to put the grain in the feeder for the two bucks and Zorro the Llama, and as I was standing up I was briefly eye to eye with BB and I not only got a close-up view, but a good sniff. Wow! Rank! He must have just started in the last few days as I have not noticed before. He is peeing on his front legs and rubbing it all over his face. Ah, the delights of goat courting and breeding season :*) He is spending most of his time mooning next to the fence, calling to the girls. When one comes closer he begins to chortle at them. What a hoot! He is definitely the man of the day. And the girls are finding him very interesting indeed. He may have to moon over them for a few more weeks, I am planning on trying the breeding group together in November. I am hoping for goat kids in April, preferably as close to (or into) my April week off! If I were a betting sort, I would probably bet against myself. Things don’t usually work out that neatly!
I wonder if Beige Boy knew I was deciding which way to run with the breeding plan. If so, he has sold himself well. I don’t think our little Bagels the Alpine/LaMancha buck is really up to tackling things this year. He has been fighting worminess and anemia, and I think he can just grow and wait to be our most important guy for next year.
The boys. They are on their own tonight. Our little buckling, the one on the right, was in serious need of weaning. I am sure that SnowPea is pretty relieved not to have him giving her the business. Which all means that I am now going to be milking twice daily. Finally!
I tricked the boys and Zorro into the next paddock this afternoon, and while they ran in there to see what was up, the ewes that were in there ran into the other paddock to see what was going on in there. Phew! I didn't have to manhandle anyone to one side or to the other. Now all we have to do is get the 3 ram lambs in there with the two bucklings. As the nights grow colder, I am beginning to be worried about one of them getting riled up and breeding one of the ewes. We do not need any unexpected lambs :*)
Well, the new boy didn’t cry all night, which is a blessing. His breeder told us that he was a bit of a mama’s boy, so I was mildly worried about it, but these things usually work themselves out. I stayed out with the group a lot yesterday, trying to monitor how he was interacting with them all, and he took his lumps, but seemed to be learning his way around.
This morning I went out and found that he was bedded down in the greenhouse with all the other goaties and the llama. So even if he’s not best friends with anyone yet, he felt comfortable enough to be there, and obviously they let him. And today he seemed to be warming up to the other little buck and this afternoon found them frolicking on the big rock, and nibbling at each other’s collars, jumping around separately-but-together. Which pleased me for sure.
Our new little guy also has some tricky moves up his hoof: this is what I found him doing at feeding time this afternoon. Yes, you got it, he is IN the feed trough, eating his way across. Little bugger figured out a way to get his grain and the adult does couldn’t push him aside! Oh boy, it was pretty funny. And I guess he is a good role model, because the next thing I knew, our little golden boy was doing the same thing on the other side of the feeder. Tricky boys! The girls didn’t know what to do about it, so they left them alone. I just need to prevent these little guys from gobbling up too much grain, or they are going to have sore bellies.
They didn’t stay in the feeder long, pretty soon they were out and playing on the rock again. While the mamas cleaned up the grain.
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