Last weekend I was able to get one project knocked off the list. I spent Friday after work building the shelters, Saturday afternoon they for painted and started fencing. Sunday was the completion of the fencing and the boys moved into their new pens around 8:45 when I was done. We are now ready for breeding season, and the bucks are too (they already smell).
And the momma hen with her chicks:
Today was the first Saturday in a while that didn’t have kid swimming lessons at 8:30. Since Anna and I were up late (again) talking about the decision of which house to buy, we decided to sleep in. So, when Alex and Vicki showed up in the bedroom at 6:45, we sent them to play and rolled over in bed. By the time we got up and ready for chores, the kids were driving me nuts. I sent them outside to check on Mary and Betty, 2 of the Oberhaslis due to kid today. Since I checked them at 11:30 last night, I didn’t expect any surprises.
I was caught off guard when Alex came running in yelling “Mary has a baby sticking out her butt!” We grabbed our jackets and ran out the door. Anna moved Mary into the kidding stall. She was obviously in distress and the kid’s face and feet were starting to dry off. Anna quickly pulled the buckling and we started to work on getting Mary and the baby help. Mary wasn’t doing well so we got the emergency frozen colostrum warmed for the buckling. After about an hour, both seemed to be stable, so we continued with chores.
As I went to feed the bucks and does in a different pen, I discovered Frosty had 2 kids nursing! I called Anna and I quickly commandeered a horse stall and shuffled Frosty with her doeling and buckling to the horse barn. Frosty was specifically surprising because, after we bred her, the bucks kept showing interest and rebreeding her every 3 weeks. If she was pregnant, we didn’t expect kids until June. However, last night, I told Anna “Frosty is starting to build and udder. I guess she is pregnant.”
Then, I got a phone call and had to head in to work to deal with a problem. I left Anna to deal with the 3 new goat kids and chores for the day.
When I called her later in the day to say I was on my way home, she informed me Betty was now in labor. By the time I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a babysitter, it had been almost an hour. I walked in the horse barn to the second commandeered horse stall to find Anna yelling at me “I need help, the kids are stuck!” I took off my jacket, rolled up my sleeves, and headed in.
30 minutes later, another buckling and doeling were on the ground. Betty got some meds and we made sure all the kids were nursing on their mommas. A quick milking of the other does and round chores for us inside and out of the cold. We both ran through the shower and headed out the door to the Dolphin Scholarship Auction. Now, I am sitting here on my iPhone writing this during the auction. We will head home in a while and check on all the kids. Then to bed.
Hopefully tomorrow will have fewer surprises. The next goat isn’t due until April. We think.
Here are some pictures of Frosty’s kids.
Vicki has named the doeling Black Sapphire and Alex named the buckling Bedrock.
Maggie (one of our Oberhasli mix doe) was due to kid last Monday. After the bad experience with Farrah (who has recovered fine) we were anxiously awaiting her kidding. Each day her udder grew, but no babies arrived.
This morning, I fed Maggie and thought she looked close. I locked her in the kidding stall and proceeded about the day, checking occasionally. When nothing had happened by lunch, I let her out with herd, planning to put her in for the night.
As I came out to give the goats fresh water, I noticed Maggie was missing. I was pleasantly surprised to find her in the shelter with 2 minutes old babies!
I shuffled them inside with the heat lamp. While they would probably be fine outside, why chance it.
We have an 8.3lb buckling and a 7.3lb doeling. By comparison, the buckling of Farrah’s that was breech and didn’t survive was 10.9lb!
Both kids and momma seem to be doing fine. They are happily nursing and momma is talking to them and continuing the cleanup job.
Here are some pics from under a heat lamp. More when they go out I a couple of days.
Goats normally kid at 150 days +/- 5. On Wednesday, Farrah was at day 153. Anna came into the house about 7 and announced that Farrah was in the kidding stall and had some mucas discharge. Some friends who live a couple of miles down the road were interested in seeing what signs of kidding are, so they came over. About 8, we went to check on Farrah and she was in early labor. Vicki and our friend’s daughter got to hang out in the shed watch for a while. Things didn’t really progress, so the girls went to bed around 9. As the evening continued, Farrah’s labor didn’t improve.
By 10:30, it was time to intervene. I gloved up and reached in and found back legs. The kid was in breach position and I was not at all able to rotate the baby. We had no choice but to pull him out back leg first. Once the kid was out, he was not breathing. Despite our best efforts to clear lungs and do goat CPR, the kid never revived. He was a 10.9lb buckling. There were no other kids. Farrah will get some antibiotics to help prevent infection and we have already begun milking her. We will dump the antibiotic laced milk and then start harvesting for the family.
A disappointing start to kidding season. Hopefully Maggie will do better. She is due in 4 days.
To say this week has been busy is an understatement. I haven’t even had time to write about our newest goat herd additions. Last Sunday afternoon, I drove to New Hampshire to meet Cliff Parker of Longvu Lamanchas. I specifically went to buy Tangueray Texter, a first freshened in milk. She come from a very good pedigree and will help improve our herd. With her coloring, she should make nice babies with Apache, our lamancha buck.
While I was there, I looked at the kids they had, and decided to buy Pocohontas. I love her coloring and she is super friendly. The kids love to play with her.
Ok, so the bucks actually got here 2 weeks ago, but we finally made some pictures this evening. We got one Oberhasli and one Lamancha (his ears are supposed to look like that). They are young, but will be ready to breed soon. Here they are:
Blue-Ridge Mohawk (registration # pending)
Sire Blue-Ridge Titus (AB1311788) Dam CH Blue-Ridge Sheena (AB1277945)
Blue-Ridge Apache (registration # pending)
Sire Blue-Ridge Zulu (AL1501363) Dam Blue-Ridge Yanni’s Serenade (AL1466941)
In January, we added Cedars of Lebanon Betty Ford (Betty) to our goat herd. We specifically bought her because she was due to kid before any of our other does, and therefore we would resume getting milk for the family sooner.
Today, Betty had twin doelings! Both are healthy and doing well. I’ll take some better pictures tomorrow in the light. We haven’t decided on names yet. The 2 legged kids have some ideas, but I am looking for a theme for the year.
But that’s not all we did today. This morning it was snowing, and we were expecting to get about 2.5-3″ of accumulation. However, it warmed up and never even stuck to the roads. By the late afternoon, it was almost all melted.
I had another craigslist find for the weekend. I felt like I was in American Pickers when I went to a farm to look at some rabbit cages. I ended up buying a large double cage for growing young ones, a 16′ quad cage for whatever, 1 transport cage for rabbits, 2 transport cages for mid size animals (maybe young goats or pigs), and a 100 gal Rubbermaid water trough. I spent the afternoon working on one of the cages since we are getting more rabbits tomorrow.
While we love to expand the farm, we try to do it on a budget. We have been focusing on recycling materials as much as possible. Why buy new, when you can find it used? Why buy used, if you can recycle something for free? Anna watches freecycle and I watch craigslist. Last weekend, I picked up 28 sheets of 1/2″ OSB for $100 from CL. I have found sources for 55 gal plastic barrels that just need to be washed out. There is a moving company that loves to give me a full truck load of pallets. Using pallets as the base for projects allows me to use the tractor with forks to move things around the farm. If you aren’t picky about paint colors, check the OOPS paint at Lowe’s or Home Depot for $5 gallons of exterior paint.
This 4×6 goat shelter cost me less than $10 which was the paint and 3 new 2x4s that I needed. Everything else was free (except the nails that I already had). This took about 8 hours to build. The entire series of pictures can be seen here:
Here is the main shelter for our goats. It is a 10’x10′ Shelter Logic garage. I made a floor and walls out of recycled pallets.
Finally, goats have to eat hay. Here is a hay feeder that I built using left over pieces of fence panels and a free plastic barrel.