Wow, it’s been a busy kidding season so far. We had our early arrivals five weeks ago, whom you’ve already met: Flora and Fauna. Since last week, however, we’ve had several births. Ginger gave births to twins last Friday, two little doelings. Unfortunately one of the girls did not make it. Poor little Ava. We’re still heartsick over it. We believe it was Floppy Kid Syndrome – which is what we lost one of Ginger’s twins to last year, too. But the necropsy was inconclusive, so we really can’t say for sure at this point. We’ll be looking into what we can do to help provide Ginger with more supplementation, if that is what she needs, next kidding season so that we can avoid losing one of her kids if at all possible. But Nutmeg, who is colored just like her mom, only with floppier ears, is doing great and thriving at her mom’s side.
On Tuesday, we had a surprise birth – we weren’t sure if the diminutive twins, Brea and Senni, who we got in January, were definitely pregnant or not. But there stood a handsome little black and white buckling alongside Brea that evening! We’ve named him Black Jack Jr. after his father, or BJ’jr for short. Her udder is tiny – we are thinking that she and her sister perhaps had a mini-Mancha as a father, because they will be two this year and they are just a little larger than our adult Nigerian Dwarf doe. I can feel an udder coming in on Senni, and her “peace symbol” tendons (these are alongside the tail) are very soft tonight, so I will not be shocked if I arrive in the barn to another birth when we go down to do our final chores. The “peace symbol” tendons soften due to the hormone Relaxin being released in preparation for birth, and are a good indicator of when to expect your doe to start the labor process.
Last night, Raven brought two beautiful twins into the world! They do not yet have names, but I’m sure we will figure out what those are over the weekend. We have a buckling and doeling. I had them up here at the house, trying to bottle feed them, which they started out doing great, but gradually became less motivated to cooperate with it over the course of the day today, so they are back with their mom in the barn. That’s the challenge at this time of year – you have to dry off does who are going to kid, giving them at least two months off from milking before birth. Then, when they give birth, you have to insure that the babies get the colostrum for the first few days. You can try to milk it out of mom and bottle feed it – and then continue bottle feeding – and sometimes that works. But as we are discovering the hard way, it’s not always going to work in the way you expect.
All of this also results in not getting as much milk for human consumption – making for a very stressful time for an operation like ours, where we have several partial owners of the herd whose shares we are trying to satisfy. So, we haven’t had much of the milk to drink ourselves since December. Earlier this week, we were able to have some and it feels like such a luxury after being deprived for so long! Once the entire herd is back to milking, we will not have this issue, and we look forward to that come around May. Now that our herd has expanded exponentially, we are confident that we can plan for a staggered breeding schedule that will better accommodate everyone’s needs – including our own – next winter.
Having baby goats in the house may sound like it’s all cuteness and squees, but you know what else it is? Exhausting. I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep. One of these days. Eventually! Maybe tonight, because only BJ’jr is here in the house with us and he sleeps through the night on a full belly.
Have a great weekend!