Tag Archives: spring

The Saffron conundrum

Saffron

When waiting for the babies to arrive, I always think longingly of when I can start getting more sleep, and of when the order and organization of the day can get back to a new normal.  I don’t know why I am so surprised when that doesn’t happen like the flip of a light switch!  And this year is not going to pass without a bump in the road, either.

Saffron had a very tough time last year when I thought she had toxemia or milk fever after her babies were born and it turned out to be mastitis.  She mothered her babies but had almost no milk for quite a long time.  We bottle fed those girls and they did fine in the end, though.  I have been watching her very closely for signs of mastitis this year, and unfortunately, she has it again.  Although this year I didn’t waste time treating her for other things and just got right to the antibiotics, vitamin B, and udder massages.  Her babies are only drinking from the right half of her udder (which runs out of milk pretty quickly), and the left side keeps getting bigger and bigger, and they can’t get on the distended teat.  I can get the girls on that side after I milk some of it out, but once I am back in the house I don’t think they touch it at all.  It also seems to be a little tender for Saffron, and that could be part of it.  And so my new normal has been making many trips a day and into the evening to milk her left side and also to get the girls on that side of the udder.

Freedom!

The biggest difference this year is that Saffron does not appear to feel sick like she did last year, which is a huge relief.  She has been very much herself, and never stopped eating her grain and hay.  I have had her and the two sweet little girls in a nice large pen in the back of the greenhouse where they are surrounded by everyone else, but I know that is quite restrictive and I was as ready as Saffron for them to be released.  Her girls gained a pound since yesterday and are really full of beans, so after the worst of the rain today, I let them out into the big paddock world.  (The girls had not been gaining as well as they should have, although they have fared better than I expected).

Oh my gosh, those girls did not hesitate a moment!  They began running and jumping with all the rest of the little ones, and mama Saffron was standing in the middle of the action trying to keep them in her sights, calling to them the whole time.  They didn’t stray too far, but they are fast little imps and took great advantage of their new freedom.

If we could just get a nice stretch of weather at some point, they will really be tearing up the place and enjoying the days.  Nothing better than sitting with the girls on the rock pile, watching the action in the sun.  And in the meantime I will ponder whether Saffron should ever be bred again.  And so it goes on the farm.

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Saffron’s day

Saffron and one of her girls

And so our last but not least girl, our herd queen Saffron, had her kids Thursday morning around 8 a.m.  It was a warm day, cloudy and a little breezy, but really pretty perfect all around!

Wednesday night as I was doing my midnight rounds, I found Saffron up in the paddock whining and crying, very softly.  I was a little alarmed, and couldn’t tell if she was talking to her babies and encouraging them to make an entrance already, or if she was upset at being alone up there!  The two other moms were in their jugs with their babies, and Peanut unfortunately doesn’t count as a real goat with the rest of the crowd, so for all intents and purposes, Saffron found herself on her own.  It was quite unusual, watching her walking slowly around the paddock under that bright moonlit sky.  She definitely had no signs of active labor, so I went in and got into bed but didn’t turn the light out so I would get up in another hour or two and check on her again.  Same thing going on at 2 a.m. as well!

Saffron’s girls

John checked on them around 4 and 6 a.m., so I headed up to chores about 7:30 on Thursday morning.  It was already comfortably warm, and Saffron was still doing the same thing.  Talking, crying and walking around!  She didn’t show any signs of wanting breakfast, though, so I knew she must be getting close.  And sure enough, while I sat in the greenhouse with the babies and moms, I was able to watch her on the little hill, pop that first doeling out.  She made quick work of getting that little girl dried off, and nursing, then her second doeling made her entrance a little under a half hour later.  I left them where they were for as long as I could, but the breeze was a little stiff and I didn’t want those babies to get chilled.  As I was carrying the doelings slowly toward the greenhouse, Saffron was frantically licking them both, and ended up washing my arms into the bargain!  She is such a good mama.

Bellies are full, time to nap!

And so our kidding year is closed now.  I am very grateful, and getting more sleep is a very good thing.  I am still sitting up around midnight wondering why I am awake, though!

Spring, finally!

Feeding frenzy

And today is an out of the ordinary one for Maine.  85 F here this afternoon, although we have a nice breeze so the bugs are not too big a problem.

Love Betsy in this photo, talking a mile a minute with her mouth full of hay!

The babies are growing like hotcakes, and the scrum around the feeder is incredible in the morning.  We can barely get the hay in there before 3 or 4 not-so-little ones are jumping on and in.  It’s nutty, but they are so much fun at this age.  Everyone has cleared 35 lbs so far, and we are nearly ready to send some of our sweet ones out into the world with new families.  Almost empty nest :*)

And so it goes.  I will have to do a separate post to update my weaving apprenticeship.  I have been very busy with that and have a lot of photos to share.  Nothing earth shattering that any of you weavers out there couldn’t throw together in a jiffy, but the experimentation is teaching me a lot.   And I am having a great time with it!

Enjoying

It’s that time of year when I try very hard to delight in the baby goats, and ever hopeful, delight in the weather as well.  I have to say that nature has been more than cooperative, but the humans are not the only ones enjoying it…  the black flies are as well.  Gotta love May in New England!

All our babies are at least a month old now.  They are a gang of very fast moving parts who are just delightful to sit with and to watch.  They are a good tonic for the long winter and the crazy slow spring.  I spend as much time as I can out there with them, and of course we also have bottle baby time which is fun as well.

We still have 4 babies that have not been spoken for, and I have them listed in the tab here on the blog – 2018 Babies for Sale.  I have to get my baby time in as much as I can, because before too long they will move on or grow up.  Ah, and so it goes.

A few nice days

Sam, having some fun with the little ones

It was such a treat to have some warmer temperatures, although the wind never seemed to let up.  But the sun was marvelous, and all the mammals on the farm took advantage of it and played and sat in the sunshine.

Back into the colder and more dreary weather.  Tomorrow we may see some snow.  At any rate, it can’t hang around long, I hope!

Saffron update

Little Blue checking out what Sam is doing

I really appreciate the everyone’s concern over Saffron and her problem with lactation.  It is now believed that she has a ‘sneaky’ form of mastitis that may have something to do with a slightly enlarged lymph node at the top of her udder near her tail.  (She has had no fever at all).  I’ve been massaging her udder right along, but we have added antibiotics now and I am hoping that it does the trick.  The vet believes that if we can clear it up she will be fine for next year’s kidding, but little milk will be flowing this year.  I am extremely glad that we have Battie’s milk for them!

Saffron checking on her girl

I am also happy to have some kind of diagnosis.  Hopefully the BioMycin will do the trick and we will have a much happier girl soon.  We let her and the babies out of their pen on Friday morning, and as is true of most kids, on the first day of freedom they all did their own thing.  Mama and babies went in opposite directions for part of the day, but by late afternoon they were checking in with her regularly.  We call her babies Little Red and Little Blue because of the color of their felt coats, which will come off in the next day or so (when it will be difficult to differentiate them from the other girls!).  They slept with Edna’s little butterballs over night, with Pippi and her babies a few feet away.  All the other adults were in the other greenhouse close by.

The sun is shining now and even though the breeze is blowing and we had quite a bit of snow last night and this morning, they are all outside playing near the feeder.  Maybe it will turn out to be a lovely weekend after all!

(I couldn’t get a photo of Little Red because she was playing in the greenhouse with Edna’s girl)

Peanut’s birthday

Peanut’s first birthday!

Was last Friday, March 30th.  Our little Peanut has really grown up!  We had a tiny little birthday party for her, and even though I made a polenta cake that I thought she would like, she did not.

Peanut, almost 12 hours old

But, what would a party be without a birthday hat???  For Peanut, we couldn’t just use a regular old sparkly cone, we had to give her a princess tiara :*)  Needless to say, she did not like it.  So her photo with the tiara is under protest.  She did enjoy the 4 of us having a lovely time out in the sun and showers.

Homemade limoncello

We also tasted some of my homemade Limoncello, which went very nicely with the polenta cake.  Then we had a wee visit with the Edna’s and Pippi’s babies.  The mud was a challenge for us, but we managed.

I don’t think Peanut was very impressed!

Battie update

Battie finally seems to be turning the corner toward feeling better.  I was really worried about her, she had so much trauma.  But the meds and the rest are catching up with her and she is seriously eating hay now.  I came out this morning to find her standing in her pen, cudding away nicely.  She is still a little depressed, and when I empty her udder, she nickers to her babies :*(

Eleganza and Edna

I think goats are worse in confinement even than sheep.  They are such herd animals that it is difficult for them to function without all that herd pressure, and without their friends and frenemies.  Battie has steadfastly refused to eat anything from the hay feeders in her pen, but instead chooses only to eat from the feeder she can reach right on the other side of the pen divider, particularly if another goat is eating from that very feeder.  So today we went out and while Sam was taking care of some other things, I let Battie out to stretch her legs and get the cobwebs out.  I would never have let her out of the pen without hanging there with her, because you just never know, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to be a little shaky.  She had a few tussles with Eleganza and Saffron, but other than that things went well (Battie is the Queen in Training.  Pippi, the Lamancha doe, is still definitely The Herd Queen).  It was hysterical, though, because when Eleganza got pretty stroppy with Battie, Pippi inserted herself between the two and grunt first at one, and then the other.  She gave them both the what-for!  I wish I could have gotten video of her doing that.  She is a tough task mistress and does not like misbehavior!  (Unless she is the one misbehaving).

And so we wait for whatever the weather will bring tonight… more damn snow, I guess.  I hope we are firmly in the lower amount zone, for once.  I am sorry to hear that other areas are getting slammed yet again.  Happy Spring!

So naughty

Naughty mamas

I don’t know what has been going on for the last few days, but the milking moms have just been very, very naughty!  I have a whole routine, of which they are very aware, for milking times.  Every one has her turn in a specific order, and when they get off the milk stand, they are allowed to wander around the outer greenhouse areas and eat all the weedy stuff, until all the girls are finished.  Then they go back into the paddock areas, where the other girls and babies have finished their grain.

Everyone is finished now

Maybe it’s the weather, but in the past few days we have been forced to escort each doe back into the paddock and lock them into the middle section while the non-milkers get their meal.  Pippi started it, I think!  (Poor Pippi, she is getting all the blame).  As the next doe was getting on the milk stand and I began milking, the does that had finished and should have been grazing, were coming back around and eating out of the milking mama’s bowl!  Heresy!  Which ended up with every one fighting to get their heads into the pan and hoover up as much grain as they could.  Sigh.

Our Peanut. Still diminutive, but growing!

And so it goes.  As of this morning, things seem to have calmed down.  Even though it was raining, the does grazed and let each successive mom have her breakfast.  Maybe it was sunspots, or the phase of the moon.  I am just glad not to have to jump up from the milkstand every 5 minutes and usher a naughty girl out of the area, dirtying my hands and messing up the usually Zen activity of milking!

Finally, two days of sun!

Saffron with her babies, moping about the grey and wet weather

Yes, this week we finally have had two consecutive days of sun.  It must be a plot to make us think that spring and/or summer might just be here!  We are supposed to have rain tomorrow, but they say the weekend will be gorgeous again.  That’s more like it!

Batch #2
Hagrid in the foreground, Mayo is by the old feeder

Well, we have been busy here on the farm.  We moved Jingle the donkey back in with Reddog the buck, so Fergus the wether could babysit the two bucklings, Hagrid and Mayo.  They really needed to be off their mamas…  Hagrid is very mature for his age and he was seriously practicing his humping skills on anyone who stood still.  At 8 or 9 weeks old, he shouldn’t be able to breed any of the girls, but you just never know!  This is a much safer solution.

As a result, Hagrid’s mama, Pippi, is all mine to milk.  That’s a celebration all by itself right there!  It’s so wonderful to get a decent amount of milk to get going with cheese again.  I started my 3rd chevre batch of the year yesterday, and so far things are going very well.  It’s always so satisfying to get those little cheeses wrapped up and ready to go.

Peanut has gone from lounging in the recliner to napping next to the rock pile

On the Peanut front, she is now 9 weeks old and she is beginning to slow down on her bottle feeding amounts.  I am hoping that in another week or so we can bump her back from 3 to 2 per day.  That middle of the day feeding can be a pain if we all are out and about during the day.

Five of our 8 babies that were for sale are spoken for, and so we really just have to find homes for Dorcas’ two doelings and Edna’s little girl.  Not too bad!