Today is day 144 for Allie so I spent some time out in the pasture loving on her and watching the rest of the herd enjoying the sunshine. I'm still debating whether I will sleep in the barn tonight or just get up every few hours to go and check on her.
Liberty and Justice were also taking advantage of the Spring weather today and we were all getting a kick out of watching him bouncing around in the tall grass.
We also got the new housing for the yearling does set up. It is a 500 gallon tank that was converted into housing. The door has a smaller entrance cut into it so in inclement weather the goats can have a little more enclosed space.
Bekah came into the barn this morning while I was milking and informed me that she has decided that Liberty's buck kid should be called Justice. "You know mom its like, Liberty and Justice for all".
Liberty is being very good mom and doesn't like him to be out of her sight for a second. She is always talking to him and snuggles close so no worries about him getting chilled.
Allie is due in a week (May 1st) but at least between now and then I will have a few uninterrupted nights of enjoying my nice comfy warm bed.
Liberty was acting very much like she was in the beginning stages of labor last evening, so I ended up staying in the barn all night. And although had me thinking she was on the verge of hard labor several times during the night dawn came with no kids.
Finally abound 11:30 this morning she started hard labor. But after nearly 30 minutes of pushing she didn't seem to be making much progress. I put a finger in to feel around and found the kid was very large and turned sideways. I had to turn him and work his head out. That is the most assisting I have ever had to do at a birth and finally shortly after noon Liberty birthed a single buck kid who weighed 4.5lbs. (2-3 pounds is average). At that size its no wonder he was having a hard time making it out!
Liberty is a great mom, talking to him and constantly licking him. And while she didn't want her udder touched prior to birth, she stood perfectly still while I guided him to the teat for his first meal. He has now found his feet and nursed several times on his own.
He doesn't have a name yet, but since his dam's name is Liberty we plan to give him a patriotic name.
Today is day 146 for Liberty. We were really hoping she was going to kid yesterday on Bekah's 6th birthday, but no such luck. She was acting very restless last night - pacing and attention seeking - so Bekah and I sat up with her.
Temperatures dipped into the low 40's and Bekah was shivering despite being in a sleeping bag, so over her protests I took her back to the house about 1am. I stuck it out in the barn until 3:30am and decided that I was too cold and tired to stay any longer. Nothing like trying to sleep on a cold barn floor to make you appreciate a nice soft, WARM bed!
Her behavior this morning is more of the same, restless with a lot of heavy breath and the occasional grunt to go along with what appear to be braxton hicks contractions. So the exercise plan for the day is the hourly trips out to the barn.
Today is day 143 for Liberty so we are officially on kidding watch. Gave her a maternity hair cut this morning and got the kidding stalls cleaned out and ready. She still has her ligaments so I don't expect her to kid today, but it is always good to be prepared!
Cleaned out the rest of the barn as well and then scrubbed the water troughs. It's so nice to have some sunny weather to work outside in!
It seems so quiet in the barn now that Mame's boys have gone to their new home, but our new rooster is making up for it. Shrek as Bekah has named him, has discovered his crow and was showing it off for the whole world to hear. Fortunately for us it is very melodious.
You can see larger images and captions by clicking on the photos below.
Ramie and Cordial were sold to a lovely couple that live over on the coast. I know they will have a good home (their goat barn even has an atrium so the goats can be outside without getting wet!) and be much loved. But it is always hard to say good-bye. Especially to Ramie as she was the first doe born here on the ranch, and she and her brother were our first bottle babies as well. Bekah and I had tears in our eyes as we watched them drive off.
There are still 5 other lovely ladies still available: Liberty, Allie & Millie who are all bred and expecting in the next week to six weeks. As well as two nine month old twins with a great milking pedigrees.
We were given a replacement rooster by our friend Sarah of Mac's Rainbow Nigerians yesterday evening. Junior as he is currently known (the children seem to be intent on finding a new name for him) seems to be enjoying having a whole flock of hens to himself. He hasn't graced us with a crow yet, so we have no idea what he is going to sound like, but he sure is a handsome fellow. It's hard to see it in the picture, but his feathers are actually iridescent and Bekah says he looks like a stained glass window.
We suffered our first loss to predators last night. I don't know for a fact it was a raccoon, but the killing style was consistent with what a coon does. Sadly our rooster Fred-the-Red and one of the Black Australorp hens I got myself for my birthday last year were killed.
Bekah did her chores before dark last night so the chickens hadn't gone to roost yet. I told her I would go out and shut up the coop after dark, but I forgot all about it. I've forgotten to close up in the past without any problems, but obviously this time was different.
Fred-the-Red was the only named chicken in our flock, and he was a perfect fit for us. He was not overly aggressive with the children, although he would chase them if they messed with his ladies. And while his crow wasn't the most melodious I always enjoyed hearing him. He was such a handsome fellow and is going to be missed, as will that beautiful black hen and her lovely brown eggs.
Little Gloria has taken to the bottle like a champ, and now comes running at feeding time. When the weather is half way decent I turn Gloria and her brothers out to trail about the pasture with the rest of the herd. Gloria still tries to nurse and as a result the about the only time Mame' lets the boys nurse is if Gloria is separated and getting her bottle. Fortunately, Mame' doesn't seem to mind too much when Gloria tags along in the pasture.
Mo is much improved these days and I am scheduled to take a fecal sample in next Tuesday for another check. Hopefully he will be all cleared up and we will get approval to let him back out in the general population again. I was going to move him, Rita and Gloria to the old kidding pen. But I think I am going to leave Gloria with her brothers and move Ramie and Rita along with Mo. They are both due to be bred the next time they come into heat, so having them close to the buck pen will make it easier for me to recognize when that happens.
Only 11 days to Liberty's due date and Bekah's sixth birthday. We are all hoping that Liberty will kid on that day and have at least one doe kid so Bekah will have a second goat for "her herd". (I've already promised her Tsunami since they are such pals.)
Ari & Mo
When I went to feed the goats on the morning of March 21st I noticed that Mo was scouring. Given his age I guess it was probably Coccidiosis By the morning of the 24th he was showing no signs of improvement so we took him to the vet. A fecal was done and he did have an overload of Cocci. Since then he has been on three different medications and finally as of this past Friday his fecal is finally starting to show a reduction in the number of Cocci present. Throughout this two week ordeal he has shown none of the typical signs of a kid with Cocci, (other than the scouring,) maintaining a normal temp, appetite and energy level. In fact he even gained weight. Prayerfully he will be fully healed by this time next week.
Gloria, Casper & Johnny
Thursday afternoon while I was incapacitated with a severe migraine the children went down to the doe barn and caught Mame's doeling Gloria (gold/white kid) and decided to give her a bath. A brisk breeze was blowing and outside temperatures were in the mid 40's so it didn't take long for her to be chilled almost to death. The children finally came in the house and told me what they had done and I stumbled outside and brought her in the house in a desperate attempt to raise her core temperature.
I really didn't think she would survive the shock, especially as she is already so small. As I listened to her ragged gasping for breath I kept expecting each one to be her last. But after a couple of hours snuggled against me in front of the heater she started improving and was finally able to stand on her own.
At that point the best thing for her was to go back out with her brothers and dam. But unfortunately Mame, wouldn't accept her back even though it had only been 2 hours. After 24 hours of having to hold Mame' so that Gloria could nurse, and Mame' getting more and more violent about shoving her away I made the decision to make Gloria a bottle baby. So last night Mame was separated from the kids and then I milked her before turning the buck kids out with her. Gloria didn't have too much trouble switching over to drinking her mothers milk from a bottle, but was still crying for her mom's attention.
Because of the nasty weather that is keeping the herd cooped up I can't leave the buck kids with the main herd or they will get trampled so they are in the pen with Gloria and I am just letting them out a few days a day to nurse. Definitely not an ideal situation, but sometimes you just have to improvise and adapt.
The ladies enjoying their new feeder
On a positive note I did manage to get the barn cleaned out and a new feeder installed for the does. My dad gave me this 8" PVC pipe that he had used for growing strawberries. The high sides keeps the goats from spilling alfalfa pellets while eating and since it is attached very securely to the wall they can't knock it down either.
Finally here are a few pictures taken during the only bit of sunshine we have had in a week. As with all the other pictures, clicking on a picture will show you a larger image.