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!
We have had some lovely weather in the 50s (F), and now today it is sleeting and snowing and blowing, but isn’t too very cold at least. Just what I want with one of the does due to kid tomorrow! I hope she waits until tomorrow, but compared to some of the years we have kidded and lambed, I can’t really complain too hard about the temperatures. We have historically lambed and kidded in early March. Brr.
Our Eleganza is the one up for tomorrow, and our Saffron due a week from today. Both are experienced and wonderful mothers. Twig, our two year old first time mom, is due next Tuesday. All in all, a nice tight cluster of sleepless nights and early mornings. Not too bad, really! In looking back on the two older does, they have both kidded every year during the daytime. I would be very grateful if that trend continues!
We have also been enjoying our local wild turkey population immensely. Our house is on a mostly wooded site, with a beaver pond down back just barely visible through the trees. And so our yard is a heavily travelled turkey route, which currently includes the back of the house at our bird feeder. There are two or three fairly large toms that are traveling with a large group of females and a few jakes (young toms), as it is the mating season. We have been treated to a daily show under the feeder by the tom. His harem, however, doesn’t even give him a glance! They are busy eating the fallen seed and the little chunks of stale bread I throw out there, and as they move on, the tom moves with them – after he has put on quite a show! I think when he is showing off he looks like a wind-up toy.
And now I think I will be off to check on our expectant mamas again!
Time is flying by as usual, and this past week has been a doozy. My husband had to travel down to NJ to help with some things and his 94 year old father, I have been weaving like a crazy person, and 5 of our 8 babies have moved off to their new homes.
It’s so nice to meet the new families that are taking on our little Guerseys, and I know they are all going to new adventures and great lives. Most of our Guernseys are unregistered, and almost all the families who are taking them are doing so for the same reasons I choose the goats I do: their temperament, their size and their nice milky butterfat.
Saffron’s girls went off to New Hampshire with a wonderful young family last weekend. Little Red and Blue are now called Lucy and Gidget! Great names for these sweet girls. (Gidget is the darker red girl whose ear tips were bent from birth, pretty perfect name!). It sounds like they are settling in well at their new farm.
Eleganza’s boys have gone off to different farms here in Maine. They are sweet guys as well, and I know they will have lots of girls to keep them busy in the future!
And the last to leave this week is our sweet little doeling, Pippi the Lamancha’s girl (Pippi is our Herd Queen). If I could have kept any of the babies from this year it would have been her. I am really happy, though, that she is going to a wonderful farm in Vermont, to a young family with whom we are acquainted. She will love her new friends there, some mini Nubians and some Nigerian dwarfs. Who knows, maybe she can aspire to being the new herd queen!
And so it goes. Spring is quickly turning to summer, and we only have three little ones left to move along to new homes. Things are much quieter already, it will be a real shock when these little ones leave! And now, on to serious milking and some cheese :*)
(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!
Wow, Eleganza sure chose the day! Very kindly, she also chose an hospitable time. 10:05 a.m. the first doe was born, a 9.5 lb white and beige cutie. I thought for awhile that she was a single, but at 10:29 out popped her sister, a lot smaller at 5.65 lbs. She is a red doe with white splotches, also extremely adorable.
The big player today was the wind, however, and at that time of the morning the sun wasn’t really high enough to make a difference in that greenhouse. We don’t have the south facing gable end closed off, and even with windbreaks, it was still feeling more than brisk. The key is to getting them dried off as quickly as possible, but with the temperatures, it didn’t happen as fast as usual. I have them all tight in a little jug with lots of straw, and towels and tarps blocking the sides. I was concerned for awhile for the little one, but her temperature is staying close to 101 and they are both nursing well. By this afternoon they were up and about, not falling down as much, and sweet as all get out.
Cuteness overload! I am going to have to be checking on them through the night, I don’t want either of them to get too chilled. The temperature is going to plummet and tomorrow we are supposed to have extreme, gusty winds again, worse than today. Let’s hope that Dorcas, Delta and Betsy decide to hold off until at least Sunday afternoon. Really girls, I mean it :*)
I spent a lot of time early last week worrying about being away in Freeport for the NETA Spa event. Leaving my son to carry on the late night and early morning checks, which we usually split between us, and worrying that Betsy the First Timer might run into a problem. In the end, mid-afternoon last Thursday, I took off and headed down to Freeport. (I am one of the Spa event organizers and there was work to be done setting up the vendor areas, and some put-our-head-together meetings as well). I ended up staying through the Saturday late afternoon fashion show (I am the emcee, so it was something I needed to do if at all possible) and then came on home. To no babies in progress :*/
Sam and I texted many times every day, and he posted me photos of goat bums galore. Over thinking these things is tough. You want to be observant and ready for anything, but then all the little signs you think are significant just turn out to be little bumps in the road, showing progress, but not a predictable finish line.
There are three girls that should be having their babies anytime now. (Did I really just say that again??!) Betsy, Delta, and Eleganza. Eleganza’s udder has blossomed in the past few days, Betsy’s and Delta’s as well, although Eleganza is outpacing the other two in that department. Delta and Betsy have had totally slack ligament bands at the base of their tails for at least 10 days, so that hasn’t proven to be a help either.
Betsy is so miserable. The poor thing can barely move her back legs. You can tell that the baby is pressing on the nerves in her back end and she can only walk in a very stilted manner. I feel for her and wish that she would get to it, already!
The beginning of every kidding or lambing season always begins this way. Exhaustion sets in from doing the late and early checks, and eventually we go away and sleep in a little, only to find the little ones out there with mom, clean, fed and dry. And so it goes! I think I will get back to my knitting now…
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!