Tag Archives: kidding

Saffron has her day!

Saffron thinking deep thoughts

Saffron is our very sweet girl that came from Ardelia Farm a year and a half ago.  She was the one that had issues kidding last year and had a stillborn preemie.  Two vets told me that there must be something wrong with her plumbing and that she would most likely not be able to carry babies to full term in the future.  But the post-mortem on the preemie baby indicated that she died of an infection, not that she just couldn’t be full term for some physical reason.

The new girls

So we gave Saffron another chance.  I think when we brought her home over a year ago she had a lot of stress, and things just didn’t work out for her (she aborted the fetus she had been carrying, having gotten bred at Ardelia, and then got re-bred here).  And I think that I am glad we gave her another chance, because she just had two beautiful doelings this afternoon!

Saffron’s larger doeling

I wasn’t home today, and I got a text from Sam saying that he had fed everyone this afternoon, a little before 3.  He couldn’t find Saffron, and when he went into the recesses of the other greenhouse, there she stood with two clean and nearly dry babies, delivering her placenta.  Easy-peasy, I guess!  He said she never made a sound, and he was just in the next greenhouse, which is only 6 feet or so away.

Saffron’s smaller doe

She is a fantastic mama, and stands forever to encourage her babies to nurse.  I think the larger of the two is in a milk coma this evening as I couldn’t get her interested in getting back on the teat when I went out to check them a little while ago.  They both feel fine, and have warm mouths.  (I get obsessive and look for the first dark meconium poops and then later the yellow poops that show milk consumption, but some of the moms get rid of the evidence, and I couldn’t find any signs of the baby’s fecal matter, so I just have to trust that things are going to plan).  It’s my turn to do the late bottle feed tonight, so I will double check on them again.

10 babies on the ground so far, 8 of them are does.  I hope there are a lot of people out there who want Guernsey goats this year!  I certainly can’t handle all the added mouths to feed, at least not for long!  These girls are just doing too good a job :*)


Another day, another set of twins

The blondie in the back is the buck, and miss red head in the front is the doe. Cute as button!

And here we go!  Battie did not show up for her afternoon suppertime, and at the time, we didn’t notice until everything was over.  I was feeding the bottle lambs, and Sam was doling out the grain.  When we looked in the other greenhouse, there lay Battie, facing the corner, not doing much.  This was about 2:30 PM.

Battie’s doe and buck

We watched her for awhile, and then we went back to the house.  I got into the bathtub and soaked for awhile, but when I was getting dressed, I noticed Sam jogging up the driveway.  Not a good sign!  He had heard Battie bellowing up in the greenhouse, and guessed what was going on.  He got there just as her buckling hit the ground.  He got her moved into a jug, and that’s when her little red doeling came dropping in.  (We actually thought the doeling wasn’t a viable baby.  She was flat as a pancake, wasn’t moving, and wasn’t breathing).  We got her nose cleared off and there she was, right as rain.  Little spitfire!

Another 9 or 10″ of snow yesterday. No foot paths for the goaties first thing this morning

I wasn’t really expecting Battie to be due for another two weeks.  When I put Reddog in with my group on October 12, I knew that he had been all over Battie, but he also seriously bred her for a full day almost 3 weeks later.  So I had the second date on my calendar.  Just goes to show you, you never can tell!

On another note, we took Betsy’s babies away from her this morning.  Every time she got up, both of them were at her and never let her have a minute of non-nursing.  I put them in the jug right next to her, so they can stick their heads through the panel and chat, but no milkies.  I don’t think I have ever been given the stink eye from a goat the way Betsy gave me one this morning, but I think in the long run it’s going to be better.  She stared at them morosely for a few hours, and by early this afternoon, she was frantically eating hay.  And when all the hullaballoo started with Battie, she couldn’t contain herself, standing with her front hooves on the panel, watching and trying to see what was happening.  That’s more like most goats I know!  Noseybodies, one and all.  When I went out to bottle feed her babies at 7 PM, she was still ravenously attacking her hay, and the babies were just happily cuddled up in a corner of their pen.  I actually had to wake them up.  So I think things are progressing well.  I just have my fingers crossed that Betsy keeps moving forward with her nutrition.

What a day!  I think a glass of wine is in order!  Someone else is doing the 11 PM bottle feeding tonight.  That’s a huge gift :*)

Betsy comes home

Betsy’s little boo boos (we call Betsy Boo Boo all the time)

Phew!  Betsy and two live babies have joined us back on the farm.  The vet called yesterday afternoon to say that nothing was happening yet, but could she call us at any time of the night in case we needed to make further decisions.  (That was a bit of a nail-biter to take off to bed).  She also told us that after they give the drugs to induce labor the average time is about 30 hours, so we knew it was possible to be between 10 PM and midnight.

Betsy’s doe is quite a girl!

Midnight came and went, and every time I awoke and checked the clock I thought, awesome Betsy, you hang on for some warmer temperatures!  Anyhow, at 6 AM the vet called and let us know that she had pulled two live kids, one doe and one buck, at 11:30 last night.  They are doing fairly well, although the buckling may have had some ataxia (oxygen depravation), and he was the one they were watching.  But we were free to come and liberate them!

Betsy’s buckling in a food coma. He also has some trouble with his leg coordination right now

And so we toodled to Monmouth and picked up Betsy and kids.  The vets had gotten them started on bottles, with Betsy’s colostrum mixed with milk replacer, because they needed sustenance right away, and also because nursing two kids is not going to be to Betsy’s advantage.  She had gotten very thin in the last few weeks and she needs all her strength for herself, not to put into making milk.  The little doe is very vociferous and takes the bottle well, but the buck wants nothing to do with the bottle.  He just wants mama!  He will be our challenge.  Luckily I planned ahead and milked Eleganza and saved quite a bit of her colostrum, and also a few quarts of her milk.  That will definitely help us along here.

It is so bitterly cold that when we got them home, I relented and borrowed a friend’s heat lamp.  Betsy doesn’t have the resources to keep herself warm enough, let alone the babies.  They are all nestled up together under the lamp tonight, and the buckling must be getting enough to eat because his temperature is over 102.  But as with everything else, we will keep checking and deciding how to proceed.

The weather service claims that the windchill advisory will be over first thing in the morning.  I really hope that is true!  This is inhuman.  I don’t know how folks manage to live in the tundra regions.  Mind-numbing wind is a force to be reckoned with, for sure.  I can’t say that I am looking forward to a foot of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, but if it’s in the high 20s, I will live with it, happily :*)  (I may need to remind myself of this as we are so quick to forget, and everything is relative, right?).

Long days and short nights

Twig just loves the empty hay feeder!

That’s what kidding and lambing season is all about.  And in the midst of all this, I got sick last week with an upper respiratory, and then on Monday woke up with an atomic head cold to go along with it.  I guess that’s what spending most of the weekend outside in the bitter wind did for me.  Ah well, I have to say that I don’t get sick like this often, and it is frequently in March!

The Adventurers’ Club!

Aside from trying to get as much rest as possible, one of the biggest problems we have had on our hands, however,  has been our yearling doe Betsy.  She was shaping up like she was close to going into labor two or three times, but then didn’t, and that was two weeks ago.  Then she began to show signs of pregnancy toxemia.  And so for the last week we have been treating her for this, but her appetite didn’t come back, and she really was losing vigor and tone.  Not having a due date on her I really felt like so many things could be going on, and was beginning to be scared for her.  So yesterday I made the decision to take her to a vet that is not close by, but who has a large animal practice, and the capability of doing just about anything for small ruminants and horses right there.

We determined that she is close to having a natural labor, but the babies are so big and mal-positioned, that we ended up leaving her to be induced, and the vets very likely are going to have to do some kid pulling.  When I saw the X-rays, I knew it was well beyond my skill level.  I am hoping for a good outcome for Betsy in particular, she is my first priority.  We are cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the kids as well.  But that is definitely a bigger ‘if’ right now.  We are waiting for word sometime after late afternoon today, or anytime into tomorrow.

And so here at home her mama Battie is mooning about the place looking in every nook and cranny for her baby.  Sam found her wandering the paddock late last night peeking into every corner up there.  I always feel bad when I have to separate family units.  Hopefully Betsy will be home quite soon and in the pink again as well.

Eleganza opens the season

Eleganza and her twins
Eleganza and her twins

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.

Doe #1. Our Ivy
Doe #1. Our Ivy

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.

Doe #2, Twig.
Doe #2, Twig.

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 :*)


Almost there, I think!

Betsy waiting for breakfast
Betsy waiting for breakfast

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 :*/

Delta's bum
Delta’s bum

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.

Eleganza scratches an itch
Eleganza scratches an itch

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.

Delta picking through some promising straw
Delta picking through some promising straw

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…

February warm up week

It’s almost unreal.  The temperatures have been very kind to us, although it’s disconcerting when I think that we are in the middle to the end of February, and really it’s not too normal for weather like this (40s approaching 50).  But there is nothing to be done about it, so we are enjoying it!

Feeding frenzy
Feeding frenzy

The animals are enjoying it as well, although the snow is still so deep that their movement is curtailed a bit.  We are watching our girls like hawks, and this afternoon we noticed that Betsy, our yearling, is losing her “mucous plug” today.  So it won’t be long and she will be having her baby.  Hard to tell how long it might be, but I would expect it to be in the next 24 hours, hopefully sooner.

While waiting for babies a few of us have been getting ready for the SPA NETA spin and knit weekend coming up, this weekend!  I am supposed to be heading down to Freeport (Maine) tomorrow so that we can get the ballroom ready for the vendors, as they will be coming in on Friday to set up their wares.  The big kick-off is Friday evening, so we are all getting excited.  It’s a great weekend full of fun and folks we may not see from one end of the year to the other.  And Freeport is full of fiber-loving people everywhere you look (every hotel common area is crammed with knitters, crocheters, and spinners.  Awesome!).

Betsy, a year ago
Betsy, a year ago

So we watch and wait.  I was supposed to go to a dual birthday luncheon tomorrow before heading down to Freeport (a good friend and I have February birthdays), but we shall see how things progress here with our Betsy.  She is a peach, but a first freshener, so we really want to monitor her closely.

More news soon, I hope!


Sun-filled winter Saturday

todayIt was a really beautiful day today.  I drove down the driveway this afternoon and sat in the car with the window open, my face to the sun.  And I could feel the luscious heat of it, such contentment.

It got up to the high 30s today so we have had some melting.  But the sun was the real news, and it just never stopped.  A real joy to be outside.  The goats were in and out all day, running back and forth between the greenhouses, and that is about it.  The sum of today was sun and almost warm temperatures.

Edna wants to know what's up!
Edna wants to know what’s up!

The pregnant girls are progressing slowly.  Betsy’s backside looks a little pinker today, and her udder is larger than it was yesterday.  So the late night and early morning checks continue, and we shall see.  At the beginning of every kidding season I agonize over all the little signs, and by the time a few of the girls have kidded we are just in take-it-as-it-comes mode.  The first is always a nail-biter!

Sun on the snow
Sun on the snow

I am going to have to do a little dance next weekend, as it is the yearly NETA Spa Knit and Spin weekend in Freeport, and as I am one of the planners, I am supposed to be there.  So we shall see what happens with the early due girls, and if I am in Freeport and something is happening, I am not very far away, 50 minutes, perhaps.  But still, if I think anything is percolating, I will be here for the duration.   My goatie babies are the most important thing for me.

It’s school break this week, so I get to spend some extra time with my grandson.  We will be having some fun in the next few days, along with picking up a load of hay.  For a good time, it’s here on the farm!

Ready, for the most part

Back of the kidding greenhouse
Back of the kidding greenhouse

It’s still snowing, and at least 12 hours into the storm.  It’s cold and quite windy as well, but the snow is dry and light.  For now.  The temperature is supposed to keep going up overnight, and the end of this ‘event’ early tomorrow is predicted to be rain.  Blech.  That is one thing I can do without!

Open end of the kidding greenhouse
Open end of the kidding greenhouse

Windy conditions make me nuts around kidding time; it is the super bad guy in our little world.  If I can get to babies immediately after birth, or be there while they are being born, we can make sure they are in a draft-free zone, and help the mamas by doing some of the drying off.  Once the kids are relatively dry and are stocking up on colostrum, they are usually ok.

We got our back wall windbreak up today.  Two pieces of exterior plywood, tied tightly to the galvanized panels that are the gable end barrier (where there is supposed to be a real wall and a door…).  We got the plywood under the tarp overhang, drilled holes in the board, and tied the tarp down to the grid panel on the inside of the wood.  I thought it was going to work ok, but it’s actually tighter and nicer than I envisioned.  The tarp on this greenhouse drags on the ground a bit, and now there is a lot of snow holding it down.  The open end of the structure faces due south, and I have a windbreak green panel with a tarp at that opening.  Our prevailing winds come most usually out of the north and the north west, so it should be a good setup.  Nice and snug.  Here’s to hoping it stays that way!

Two pens available
Two pens available

I have two pens set up in this greenhouse, one is a catch pen I use from time to time, and initially that will be our labor pen (it’s about 9′ X 8′).  Once I know a doe is in labor, I like to give her some privacy, and I don’t want her looking for a corner of the paddock out in the snow to get away from all the Nosey Aunties.  After the baby or babies are born, I can put them into the jug right next to that.

Birthing box all ready and restocked
Birthing box all ready and restocked

And so The Watch is on.  Delta is a go for launch, I do believe!


It’s finally feeling as though we are really getting into some longer days.  1.25 hours so far is not too shabby!  More daylight certainly gives me a bit of a boost.  And Pippi the doe is definitely happy to have some snow on the greenhouse, as she prefers to eat snow to drinking water.  Go figure!

Finishing up dinner
Finishing up dinner

Today I was putting together my (hopefully) last list of items I need to order for kidding.  My birthing box is clean and restocked, and now I am just waiting on the vet to answer a question about dosages for Tetanus Antitoxin, so I will be ready for disbudding.  I have not always been on target with this, but I am trying to be more organized this year, what with 9 does pregnant (or so I believe).  Even though the moms will have had their CD&T vaccines within a month before kidding, it’s not always right on the money.  And most vets are recommending a Tetanus Antitoxin shot at the time of the disbudding, just in case.  It gives coverage for 7-14 days, which is almost enough to get them to their CD&T at 4 weeks old (which has a long-acting Tetanus component to it).

Tracks around the favorite goat toy, the Big Rock!
Tracks around the favorite goat toy, the Big Rock!

Two of our girls are looking a little closer to kidding than any of the others.  Delta, one of the new girls, and Betsy, our doeling from last March.  It’s going to be close to see who gets there first, but my money is on Delta.  I detect a slight puffiness in the vulva, and she has a little udder started.   And so tomorrow we are scheduled to get the plywood end on the back of the newly covered greenhouse.  (Not really much of a construction project, just going to tie two sheets of plywood to the galvanized panel for a better windbreak… but that means drilling.  I love the battery-powered drill!).  And the tarp will overhang the plywood for a nice, tight fit.  Always a work in progress.

Tonight we are expecting to see some snow coming in, and it’s supposed to keep it up until early Wednesday morning, when rain and/or sleet is scheduled.  After our little plywood project, it might be a nice day to do some knitting!