Last weekend I just knew was "the weekend" for Juniper! She was large, slow, cranky...and, well...large...
I was checking on her 4 times a day, determined to be there for the birth. Our temperatures were below freezing, and I didn't want to risk kids dying or getting frostbitten. Monday at about 4:30 PM, she started having some goo, and acting uncomfortable. I put her in a kidding stall, and sat with her, hoping for things to progress. It was chilly enough in the kidding stall that I moved her to the hoop house. Having put the hoop house in the goat shed has been a HUGE help. It was the best place for labor and new babies. Draft free and secluded, perfect! I called my niece over, and we sat, talked, and watched Juniper until about 8:30 PM. During this time she was walking, sleeping, yawning, and had lots of goo. We saw lots of contractions, but that was it. I was fairly worried, Lucy had acted completely normal and had a baby by herself in about 2 and a half hours. Juniper was going on 5 hours and no signs labor was imminent. I decided to go home, and come back at midnight to do another check. My husband got off work and dropped by with doughnuts and coffee. Juniper also appreciated having a little nibble of our doughnuts! We left after about 30 minutes, and went home. We stayed awake until 3:30 AM, and went back to check on her. Juniper seemed to be having more regular contractions, but no pushing. I went back home and decided to come back at 6. I got to the farm at about 6:25, and heard Juniper yelling. I knew babies were here, or close to being here! I got into the hoop house and Juniper was pushing. At first I was concerned as I didn't know how long she had been pushing. It was soon clear that babies were on their way! As I think is common, she struggled pushing that very first kid out. It finally slid out, and I grabbed it, pulling the membrane away and starting to rub it. It was completely limp. I rubbed it's face, and swung it upside down, but there was no hint at life. Before I even had a moment to work more, another water bubble appeared. That one came out and I started clearing the membrane, wiping it's face and nose, and trying to get it as alert as possible. I hardly did anything to it when another bubble appear and out slid a little white kid. I repeated the cleaning process, while Juniper laid there. She was obviously exhausted, and to be honest not very responsive to the little baby cries. I am very glad I was there, because I got them fairly clean and drug them up to her face. She smelled them so intently, like she was completely unsure about what they were. But once she took one lick, she lost it! She started talking to them, and aggressively cleaning them up!
I went and got more towels, warm water, and a big pan full of grain and alfalfa for Juniper. I made sure everyone knew how to nurse, and that mom seemed to be caring for them, and headed home. I was hoping not to be unexpectedly pulled over on the way home. I had blood streaked hands and arms, and had to have looked a bit ragged. The kids seemed much smaller than Buckwheat, but have thrived very well. I think I may name them Peter and Piper, or even Dottie for the girl (due to her little black dot on her back!). So nothing offical yet.
Although Juniper was rough with Buckwheat at first, and although she is herd queen, she has taken to being a mother very well. Quite attentive, and when they cry she runs to them where ever they are! She is quite thin, now that she's kidded, but I'm hoping with extra feed, and spring coming she will fatten up. I was having to milk her, as the kids were only nursing on one side. That quickly escalated to her having udder edema/udder congestion on one side. It seems to be clearing up, and I hope it'll be gone soon. I'll end things with this cute picture...
Although I've written a little about who I am in my about section, I didn't really talk about the animals on the farm. I think it's only fair you have the opportunity to put a name to the cute little furry face. Right now we have a herd of 6 goats, and a small flock of chickens.. The goats are dairy breeds, although maybe someday surplus kids for meat. The chickens are layers, although we have raised meat chickens (and will again this spring).
As I mentioned earlier, we have 6 goats. 4 does, and 2 bucks. Right now they are for dairy only, but may consider raising some for meat eventually. All the does are bred to kid early 2015!! I'm pretty confident in the due dates I have for 3 does, but there is one who I am completely unsure of when she was bred.
We have 8 chickens at the moment, 2 roosters, and 6 hens. Three of the hens are almost 3 years old, and the remaining 5 chickens are 5 months old. I'm waiting (impatiently) for their first eggs! SCRATCH THAT! Just a few days after writing this and saving it to drafts I started getting little pullet eggs from one of our new gals. Then I found a hidden nest...more on that later! Over the summer I had ordered 15 new female chicks. Sadly, we lost a lot due to a dog attack. The chicks were in an assortment, so I'm not totally sure of their breeds yet. I'm pretty sure we have a white Cochin, an exchequer hen (and the black and white rooster), and the black one with golden neck feathers? I think she is a black copper Marans! I am extremely excited to see the type of eggs she lays. I hope to add a few easter Eggers, this spring, along with some other poultry. These guys are layers, so I don't plan on eating any of them. That being said, they also don't have names, but they do come when they hear me call, "Chick, chick, chickies!"
Juniper (aka: Juni)
Juniper is a toggenburg, she is the herd queen, and very bossy. She is bred to kid February 25th (right around my birthday!). She gets to decide who eats what, where everyone grazes, and generally makes life misreble for the younger gals. She relishes her herd status!
Roberta (aka: Berta or Birdie)
Berta is Juniper's "sister" they were born at the same farm, and raised together. Berta is a Saanen, second in command and a real sweetheart to people. As sweet as she is to people, she is quite mean to the two young does. I think it's because she doesn't want to risk losing her place as second in command! As you can tell from the pictures she loves to eat. She should be bred to kid about April 24th.
Lucy (aka: Luc Luc)
Lucy is a lamancha, hence the tiny ears! She is towards the bottom of the totem pole. She is extremely sweet, but is kind of ditzy. She should be bred, but I have no idea when she will kid. She was the only one who didn't go into a noticeable heat. I made note of a maybe could be heat or a pregnancy related thing in October. I even started doubting she was pregnant at all! But then just a few days ago, I felt her stomach and got kicked! She is making me wait and driving me crazy! If she was bred when I took my note she would kid late March.
Ethel? (aka: New Goat)
Ethel is our newest addition, we bought her at the end of November. About two weeks before Thanksgiving I saw an ad for her and fell in love. But she was a little too expensive and I figured I didn't need another goat. She was posted again at the end of November at a lower price and I just had to have her! She is a nubian lamancha cross, and I love her coloring. She is the bottom of the pack, but is a wonderful gal. She is much more skittish than everyone else, and really dislikes dogs. She should be bred to kid early May.
Roy and Roger (Roy is brown, Roger is white)
Roy and Roger were unexpected additions we got about mid-April. We bought Lucy and her sister together. Unfortunately her sister got caught in their pen and strangled. We were left with a very unhappy Lucy. We found these boys and added them as companions as well as being future sires for kids. Roy is the top buck, inquisitive and sweet. Roger is naturally polled and very shy. We couldn't touch him at first he was so skiddish. He likes people a little more now, and we can sometimes get a pat or two in!
These are it...for now! I am eagerly awaiting babies this spring, along with some new chickens. I love seeing other peoples livestock and pets, do you have a post to share about your furry or feathered friends? Please leave a link in the comments so I can stop by and take a look!
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My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.