Was yesterday for the 8 babies that are on the ground right now. A friend of ours had offered to help us out, and because I have been sick, time got away with me a little bit. 4 of the babies were turning two weeks old this weekend, and and that is kind of the outer limit on when you get good results with it.
So our friend and her husband came up around midday, and the sun was shining and everything went very smoothly. I am not sure I could ever do the procedure myself, but someone experienced makes it look quick and easy. So our little ones all have alien markings on their heads, and by chore time yesterday afternoon, they were running around and playing, totally unfazed by the ordeal. I, on the other hand, was exhausted!
This is something that I really do not look forward to, but horns in a dairy operation are dicey… the girls frequently get annoyed with each other for one reason or another, and they bash at their victim with their heads down. Udders have been punctured and slashed, and then you have an even bigger problem on your hands (getting udders to heal is a long process as they are constantly expanding to fill with milk, and then contracting after milking). And so we disbud. In the long run it’s safer for us as well. (Purebred Guernsey goats are naturally ‘polled,’ but our little herd isn’t quite to that level yet, although our Betsy was naturally polled).
Our Betsy has been eating fitfully, and since we have taken her babies away, all she is doing is poking her head out of the panel and calling to her little ones, who huddle next to the gate into her pen. She has eaten a little more over the last few days, but not enough, and I think her stress level has been rising, as she wants her babies with her. So I fed the little bugs their 5 PM bottles, and let her out. They mobbed her and nursed her for awhile, but I am hoping they will settle down and let her just be their mama. She is such a good one. I just have my fingers crossed that I can get her through this and onto a better nutritional plane. One of the reasons I kept her is because her mama, Battie, is such a fantastic mother, that I hoped the trait would pass to her. I guess it did, and ironically it’s putting her health at risk.
And so we keep figuring out as we go on. You just never know what’s around the corner. I am hoping for a little lull between births. 4 more to go, 3 of whom I have pretty good dates on, one of which I do not. We shall see!