Some breeders prefer to bottle feed all kids so that they have more human contact and grow up to be friendlier goats. I prefer to dam raise, and we have always ended up with friendly goats. Of course the kids born here get a lot of attention right from birth, especially from the children. I often become the "safety zone" in their games, even when no human kids are playing. Thus they grow up thinking of me as the person to go to when they are fearful or just needing a break. Which means they are generally easier for me to handle in when they are injured or stressed.
The new babies seem to all be doing fine today, even the little itty bitty doe. I put together a very short time lapse video of the birth from the still pictures I took yesterday. The entire birth from the time Mame' laid down until the third kid was completely out was just 10 minutes.
It was such a nice spring day that despite thinking Mame’ might be in the early stages of labor I let her out to the pasture. It wasn’t long before she had the whole herd pacing with her. And if they didn’t stay with her she would holler at them. On the other hand if one of the youngsters got curious and got to close she would throw a fit about that too. Guess you just can’t please a woman in labor.
I was tagging along at a discrete distance with my lawn chair so I could keep an eye on her with the binoculars. She kept sneaking off from the herd going into the middle of the blackberry patch and laying down - which of course got my hopes up. And then 10 minutes later she would jump up and holler at all the other does for not being there for her Mame’ is not ordinarily a demanding girl, but labor brings out a whole different side to her personality!
About 4:20 pm she finally got down to actual contractions and after a few of them out in the open, she headed back to the blackberry patch. I tried to reason with her, but short of dragging her somewhere else that is where she wanted to kid. Which meant if I wanted to take pictures I was going to have to wade into the brambles myself. I got some great sequence of birth pictures and am going to try and make a time lapse movie from the.
First out was an all white, blue eyed buck kid. Second was a white/black buck kid that looks a lot like her. The third kid to make their appearance was a gold/white doeling who weighs just over 1 lbs. She was covered in yellowish slime and I was sure she was dead. But the minute her nose was cleared she started screaming.
She is a spunky little thing and was the second to nurse and the first to figure out how to do it on her own. She has already nursed more than her two brothers and I am really hoping she will make it despite her very small size!
Clicking on the individual pictures below will bring up a larger image.
Today is day 142 for Mame' so the waiting and watching can "officially" begin now. Last year, as a first freshener, she kidded with triplets on day 147, outside on a cold rainy morning. Only two of the three survived and we nearly lost one of those.
This year I'm taking no chances and although she isn't showing any signs of being close to kidding, as of this morning she is now in the kidding pen until she kids. I have the center divider out so she has the benefit of both pens. She is getting plenty of visits from Bekah who loves to feed her the choicest bits of clover hay.
We are really hoping that at least one of the twins that showed on the ultrasound is a doe. And of course I am anxious to see what her milk capacity is this year as she did quite well as a first freshener last year both in capacity and taste!
My sister passed along a link to an article, The Fremivore's Dilemma that appeared in the NY Times on March 11, 2010. The author, Peggy Orenstein, writes about woman that have moved beyond growing an organic kitchen garden to *gasp* actually having a chicken coop in the back yard.
"All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper. "
On the surface that would describe me, a stay-at-home mom with a couple of college degrees who chose to leave the work force to care for home and children. But there never was a "feminist predicament" for me. I have never seen myself as "accepting a gilded cage" by staying home. Of course, that might be because I've never considered myself a feminist.
I do agree with her statement that "their vehicle for children’s enrichment goes well beyond a ride to the next math tutoring session." And that is part of why we have chosen to home school our children. The combination of formal schooling and ranch life creates a rich learning environment they are not likely to encounter otherwise.
It seems to me that feminists, even those with chicken coops in their backyards, are approaching life from an entirely different point of view than mine. I view staying home and caring for children, critters and plants as a God given responsibility. I also don't worry about whether or not my contribution is "equal" to that of my husbands. I'm not saying my point of view is the only right one, but I would be willing to bet that chicken wire won't be cooping me up "as surely as any gilded cage".
Mo moved from the house to the doe barn last Friday. Since then we have been rotating the does through his pen so that he has companionship and they get used to him.
Last night Bekah accidentally left the gate from his pen to the main doe barn open and when I went out to give him his bottle this morning I discovered him mingling with the ladies. They were mostly tolerant of him, and he wasn't afraid to jump into the middle of the pack to see what everyone was eating.
After his bottle was finished I snuck away so he wouldn't see me leaving in the hopes that he wouldn't do as he has done before and run through the fence to follow me to the house. It apparently worked because he followed the rest of the herd down the hill to graze in the lower pasture and I had to call them all in to get him back for his mid-day bottle.
After his bottle, he was content to stay with the ladies and didn't cry for me to come back. Guess the little guy has finally learned he is a goat. :) Mo is just a month old now, so we will be bottle feeding him for a few more months yet. I plan to keep him with the does until he is about 4 months old and then move him over to the bucks pen.
Mo checking out the hay in his new quarters
The children and I were out in the does pen this morning - they to play and me to work on the kidding stalls. We brought little Mo out to interact with the ladies and get some sunshine. He is such a hoot to watch racing and jumping and just generally enjoying life to the fullest! He was getting along so well that when it came time for lunch we left him in the pen. I had just started on lunch when I heard "Baa-Baa!" at the front door. Apparently as soon as Mo realized we were all headed back to the house he scrambled through the fence and headed to the house for lunch too.
After lunch I finished off the kidding pens except for the center divider. I am leaving that out for now, since Mo is moving into the doe barn and I thought he should have as much space as possible.
Mo and the kennel he has been living in, (in our breakfast nook) was moved to the barn and Millie was elected to be his first pen mate. She is a pretty even tempered doe, and is capable of teaching a young kid manners without harming them. The kennel (minus the door) will hopefully make the transition to the new space a little easier for him and give him a familiar place to sleep.
Not the clearest video, but Mo was having such fun in the spring
sunshine today that I just had to try and catch it on my cell phone.
The first kidding of the season for Wags Ranch and it didn't happen here. Jasmine is now at Aura Acres in southern California and on the night of the 28th of February produced as single doe kid that was named Wags Ranch Good Day Sunshine.
It would appear that Sunny is still putting gold on his kids just as he did last year. And we are so happy to be able to add another pretty little girl to the doe column for him. Last year he produced a 50/50 ratio of does to bucks, so we are looking forward to seeing his average this year.
Bekah of course immediately wanted to go see the new baby in person, and she cried a little when she realized that it is not a possiblity. There is going to be more tears this year as we don't have room to keep every goat that is born here, and will have to make some tough decisions on who we need to make available for sale.
Jane is a wife, mother, critter-wrangler and works full-time off the farm as well.