I am sorry to have been so long without posting. Cardiac rehab is still dominating my schedule, but I feel like I have a little more breathing room now. And the summer weather has continued to shine on us even into October! We are very dry here, but we have hopes of some rain coming in early this week. This evening is a misty one, and it’s looking good for some precipitation.
There is a lot to take care of on the farm at this time of year. I am looking forward to breeding season, which will happen here after I get back from the New York Sheep and Wool show around the third week of October. (I can’t wait!) But, in the meantime we are making sure that the does are on a steady and slowly rising plane of nutrition. Have to get them in shape for their amorous interlude with our stud, Reddog!
It’s a difficult thing for me to balance, this nutrition rise. At this point I have cut back to a once a day milking routine, which means that the milking mamas are getting less grain, so they don’t make as much milk. And since they are still in milk, they need their calories for that as well as for the energy to get into their breeding cycles. Sometimes I dry them off before breeding, but this year it’s been so mild I think I will milk them well into November, or even into December, depending on the weather. We decided to put a second cut round bale in with the breeding girls today, so they have that extra nutrition without the extra grain. I am hoping that this will be a good plan.
And so it goes. I will get their Selenium shots to them before I leave for Rhinebeck (as well as their annual Rabies vaccines), and then we shall see what happens. We have chosen 5 girls to breed this year. Another full house can be expected in the spring!
Phew! It was quite the long stretch. We finally had our last kids today. Yesterday afternoon at choretime, Pippi walked away from the feeder right after she had her fill of grain and went to stand alone in the greenhouse. Not soon after that SnowPea followed her and grabbed the larger side of the greenhouse, so Pippi had to take the smaller side. (I have the two after-kidding jugs set up in the middle of the greenhouse as it is drier than the side edges right now). So the whole space is divided up into thirds.
All of this space-grabbing by Pippi and SnowPea meant that Zelda and Elf would probably not be allowed into the shelter, and I knew a drenching rain was on the way. (Well, Pippi allowed Zelda and all the babies onto her side, but SnowPea was vigilant and would absolutely not hear of Elf sharing her space). After about my third check on them at 8 PM or so I was extremely unhappy about the situation so I locked SnowPea into the jug area, thinking that she would hang out there the night and then I would let her out. Surprise! Come 11:30 she was in labor. She didn’t look very far along, so I went back inside to have a cup of rose hips tea and give her some time to warm up. I got my kit together and at 12:20 went out there to find a white doe and a beige buck on the ground, looking for dinner. And as I got them their Bo-Se shots (selenium), dipped their navels, and made sure they were nursing, I looked over to find Pippi being her usual dramatic self, this time really in labor!
And so it goes. Another year’s breeding has come to an end, with a new beginning for 8 gorgeous babies! Pippi had a beautiful black and white buck and a stunning charcoal grey doe. In spite of the damp weather, all seem to be doing quite well. We made sure to get our disbudding appointment for Saturday morning, so everything seems to be in order. We think. At least I can check on everyone at a decent hour tonight and then get a full night’s sleep :*)
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!