This year I had two does due to kid on the same day. I would prefer does kid as close together as possible. Although it makes it a busier, more hectic time, it gets it all done with, AND if you are raising bottle kids they have friends to be with. As usual, although I had a due date in mind, once we get within 7 days I start to make extra checks on the gals. Usually just morning and evening check unless something seems off. I mainly use ligaments as a guide to when a doe will kid. Once you know where ligaments are it is a sure fire way to pinpoint kidding. Does cannot be without ligaments for more than 24 hours. It's crucial to their structure.
During evening chores on April 24 I felt for Lucy's ligaments. They were there, but softer and more sunken than previously. Her udder also looked a bit larger. I figured she wouldn't kid overnight, but tomorrow could definitely be the day. Lucy goes last on the stanchion in the morning, but she was hesitant to jump up, and when she did there were no ligaments to be found. I always really feel thoroughly. Some goats are fatter and therefore are harder to feel the ligaments on. There was nothing, her udder was quite firm, so it was official! Babies are coming!
I have probably been too involved in kiddings previously. Well, it really depends on the goat. Last year Lucy seemed to want some distance, and ended up kidding without anyone present. That is not a problem unless you plan to pull a kid. This year I knew pulling a doeling was something I planned to do, but I also wanted to give her space. I made the difficult, executive decision to leave, go back home, and give her some time to progress. I planned to go back at about noon, which ended up being perfect. When I got back, she was alone in the barn while everyone was out in the field. She was laying down, making some noises, and was quite gooey. That's always an exciting moment because you know it's happening soon!
She got up when I got there and I opened the kidding pen to see if she would be happy there. She was absolutely thrilled, and went right in. She displayed a lot of classic kidding symptoms. Laying down, standing up, re-positioning, pawing and making a nest. All normal and classic. I sat with her some, but didn't want to make her feel off or uncomfortable. I had brought a book, and went to the stanchion and just read. Within an hour or an hour and a half, she started making the noises. If you've been around a laboring goat, you know what I'm talking about! The screaming, grunting, groaning means we're down to pushing kids out.
I went and sat with her. I use puppy pads to place kids on and help dry them off. They are disposable and fairly absorbent. I do not really assist with kidding at all unless there seems to be a problem. The big thing to note here, is once pushing starts, a kid should be pushed out within 30 minutes. Any longer than that and there is some type of problem. Thankfully the kid presented perfectly, and slid out quickly. Lucy started cleaning it up, and the second one was born within a minute or two. There were two surprises, one, it seems as though Buddy was the sire, and secondly, they were both bucklings! I had so, so hoped for a Lucy/Buddy doeling! Next year?
Just like last year, Lucy is a wonderful, tentative mom. Along with that, her udder is exceptional, her production is wonderful, and she has a lovely disposition (only slightly sassy!). She cleaned and dried the kids quickly. The only issue I had was she nipped the umbilical cord on one boy so short he started bleeding quite a bit. I re-dipped it in iodine quite a few times, and also had to use blood stop powder and vet wrap to give it enough compression for the bleeding to stop. Lucy and the boys, named Starsky and Hutch, are doing great. They are beautiful!
This past Saturday something magical happened on the farm.
Something I've dreamt of since 2012.
Something I was skeptical would ever happen.
Our very first goat kid was born on the farm!
Friday morning I had a feeling kids were coming. I'm not totally sure why, but I just felt weird. I started checking her frequently, and as of about 3:30 AM, Lucy's udder was full and her ligaments gone, so I knew kids would be here soon! I hung around the farm all day, all the while Lucy acting fit as a fiddle. Eventually, my mom asked if I wanted to head to the thrift store and then grab lunch and I reluctantly said yes. I knew I'd probably miss something, but I was desperate for something to happen! By the time we were on our way back to the farm I knew I was missing something. I got my husband, got to the farm, and knew something was happening because Lucy wasn't at the gate to greet us. When we got to the goat barn, I walked around the hoop house and was immediately in shock! Not because there was a wet kid curled in a ball, but because it was a white kid! I figured it would look like Lucy, but instead he must have taken after his daddy.
For some reason, perhaps his light reddish brown coloring, I started calling him Buckwheat. He is thriving well, and Lucy is being an absolutely amazing mama. She is quite attentive and always has an eye on him. She has kept him warm, despite cold temperatures along with being well fed. In fact, that's one of the only issues we are having right now...
As you can see, Lucy is producing more than enough milk for the little booger! One side in particular, has been a bit more swollen as Buckwheat prefers one side more than the other. I've been milking out just enough to take the swelling out, but plan to start milking her out completely once a day. Hopefully that will keep her more comfortable and prevent any problems. Ironically, as excited as I was about milking I wasn't planning on doing it so soon! Thankfully milking hasn't been too difficult, and I've already decided to freeze what I do milk out to keep on hand for emergencies.
Yesterday was a nice enough we were able to go for our first big outing and spend a few hours outdoors. Buckwheat had an absolute blast and kept Lucy on her toes! He loves to just go bouncing off, and Lucy frantically tries to keep up. He wondered of to a few different places where Lucy couldn't see him and she started calling frantically, looking to me and pacing. So needless to say, he is ornery, she is attentive!
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.