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.
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.