Couch potatoes

We’ve been having waaayyy too much fun around here. An exhausting amount of fun, in fact. Phil was conked!

Sox and Sanibel were conked too!

I love how baby goats appear to have no bones in their necks.

We’ve been having quite a few baby goat parties on our couch lately. We’ve gotta get these guys hooked on TV at a young age. It’s the American way to parent!

Fuzzy, fuzzy hippos

Nubbin and Tigerlily are both due next weekend, and while Tigerlily is doing an excellent job maintaining her girlish figure, Nubbin is definitely “in a family way”!

I think she’s carrying triplets. Phil says quads. I hope not quads! She’s so tight I can’t even feel kids any more. Rubbing her belly is like rubbing a fuzzy basketball.

Nubbin is totally rocking the “pregnant waddle” these days.
Work it to the right…

Work it to the left…

And then there’s the svelte Tigerlily. Her grandmother, Lilly was similarly discreet about carrying kids. Phil and I are thinking she has just one.

Adventures in Babysitting

I let everyone out into the Wide World today, and Jezebel immediately took her family and hid behind the house. I guess she’s doesn’t like the company we keep around here! The kids learned how to climb stairs!

Their first hike…

It was cool and shady behind the house, but perhaps a bit too cool and shady. The ground was still quite muddy from the previous rains, and I was afraid the kids would get damp and cold.

So I brought them back to the sunny side of the house where Jezebel was treated to apple cores and oranges. I guess she thought the move was worth it because she and her kids stayed there all day. In fact, Delilah left her kids with Jezebel and went off with the herd to graze. So much for motherly responsibilities! Jezebel did her duty and stayed with all four, never venturing out to eat anything herself, so I’m glad she at least got the fruit. I’m proud of Jezebel. She’s overprotective of her own kids as usual, but she’s changed this year in that she’s not being mean to Delilah’s babies. Jezebel has been known for being unreasonably mean to babies that weren’t hers in the past.

Jezebel likes giving Sox baths. Little Sox had trouble walking that first day when his foot kept collapsing forward, but the splint did it’s job and we were able to take it off that evening. Although I had not wrapped it tightly, it had still lost a little circulation, and Sox looked very funny when his “asleep” foot started tingling with extra blood flow! He was swatting and goose-stepping that one one leg for a few minutes, but we could see that he was much improved. Sox is walking perfectly today!

I love the spot Sanibel picked to take a nap! With her leg draped over the wood like that, it almost looks like I posed her, but she posed all by herself for these pictures.

The mamas do NOT like the dogs and start growling and snorting any time the dogs come near, but the dogs are very interested in the kids. Pluto is normally a very rowdy, rambunctious dog, but when he approaches the kids he calms right down and walks very slowly around them, sniffing and licking gently so as not to startle them. If a kid gets scared and jumps away, Pluto retreats with an apologetic wag.

What’s down there?

Can I reach under your belly?

I guess this crack made a cozy niche to take a nap because Coral and Westing wedged themselves right into it and stayed that way for most of the afternoon.

Beach Bum Babies

We finally settled on names for the kids. Phil’s parents hosted a family trip to Florida back in March, and it was such fun we decided these kids should be named for some of the memories we made there.

We’ll start with Delilah’s kids since they were born first.

First we have the little doeling, Coral, named for Cape Coral, FL where we stayed during our visit.

Then we have Coral’s brother Westin, named for the grand hotel where our luxurious suite was located.

Now for Jezebel’s kids.

The little boy with the big head is Sox, named for the Red Sox game Phil’s family attended in Florida. Phil and I didn’t go to that game ourselves because we’re not baseball fans, but it was a wonderful memory for those who went. This little guy spent his first day wearing a bootie with a splint because his foot was knuckling over and collapsing, making it difficult for him to walk. It looked like he was wearing a white sock, so “Sox” seems very fitting.

And finally we have little Sanibel, named for the island where we spent a wonderful morning beach combing for seashells. She looks an awful lot like her papa, Rocky, which is a very good indication she’s going to stay adorable even as she grows up.

It was a darker and stormier night…

Actually, it was less dark since Jezebel went into labor a couple of hours earlier than Delilah did the night before. But it was definitely stormier! It turns out we got somewhere in the ballpark of 3-4 inches of rain in about 12 hours, so we were fortunate no one floated away.

Jezebel, as is usual with her, decided to take her pretty time with the first kid. We waited around while she pushed, but progress was slow since she kept getting up to look out the door. And every time she looked out the door she would see our dog, Daisy, who loves babies and was curiously watching from outside the fence. Jezebel didn’t want the dog watching her and would snort and stop pushing and the coming baby would slide back out of view. I had a Saddle Club meeting I really wanted to be at, so eventually I decided to move things along by holding Jezebel away from the door. Phil went to the back and found a hoof coming. He gave it a small tug, but it really didn’t want to come out yet. We waited a little longer but Jezebel wasn’t making much progress when she pushed and Phil didn’t want to interfere much so we traded places so I could have a look.

It turns out there’s a reason things weren’t progressing! First of all, there was only one foot presented. One leg back is considered a fairly normal presentation, but Jezebel is a small doe who was stunted because of poor nutrition when she was young. She does better with small kids properly presented on their due date. These kids were four days overdue. When I reached in I found an enormous, bulging forehead stuck fast in her narrow pelvis. I could tell from the large horn buds just below the surface that this was a buck. With a kid this big, I thought she might have an easier time if I could find the other leg and bring it to the surface, but I was unable to figure out which leg to look for. I could not for the life of me figure out if I was feeling the right or left leg, and when I reached around on either side of the baby to see if I could feel the other leg, I couldn’t find anything but ribs. It felt like I was delivering a three-legged kid! So I went with it and started to pull. Once I began pulling, Jezebel started pushing and we soon had baby out. The other leg was there. It had just been hiding so close to his body that I couldn’t tell it apart from the rest of him until he was out of the sac.

And here’s the first boy, brand new and shaking out the birthing fluids he’d inhaled.

His mom and I soon had him dried off.

I could tell there was another kid there. Jezebel has given us singletons two years in a row, but I could feel another hard bump inside her belly this time! At first, we thought the second kid would be easy. Jezebel barely started pushing and a big, dark mass came shooting out all at once. Alas, it was just a head. There were no legs presented at all and I knew she would need help with this one. Phil got Jezebel to her feet so I could try pushing baby back in, but she was already too far out and her neck was only telescoping. I had to reach in past her head to find a foot, and Jezebel was fighting me all the way. She was also trying hard to lay down again and Phil had his work cut out to brace her up. The front feet were all mixed up with the back feet, so it took me a little while to sort it out and make sure I wasn’t about to pull the wrong hoof. I had to close my eyes several times and try to envision what I was feeling. Elbow or hock? Knee or fetlock? I could feel the kid squirming, which was very reassuring and helped quell the rising panic. Once I was sure I had a front foot, I brought it forward and the rest was easy. The kid was tired but well. And our big buck had a precious little sister!

Poor Jezebel was exhausted. She had pushed very hard on that second kid and was spent. She licked baby a few times but then fell asleep. I let her be for a few minutes, but she really had me concerned. I woke her up after a while just to make sure she was ok. The catnap was all she needed. After that she was able to get up and help clean the second kid. She sure is adorable!

After the kidding, my work started! Our shed, which was so dry and well-bedded when we began, was now flooding with rainwater that had formed a river outside and was running under the bedding. These kids would never get dry in this weather! I removed all the old bedding and used it to make a dam around the shed. The river slowed to a trickle. I had to race (best I could pushing a wheelbarrow through ankle-deep mud) from the barn where the bedding was stored to keep the dry shavings and straw from getting soaked on the way. I was finally able to say goodnight at 9:30 p.m. The goats were dry and warm and I was soaked to the skin and frozen. Time for a hot shower and some dinner!

Today is lovely and I plan to take lots of baby goat pictures while the sun is shining!

It was a dark and stormy night…

Delilah puttered around all day not getting the job done, and just as it was beginning to get dark she finally settled down to business. She held out as long as possible until she thought Phil and I would surely not check on her again. She doesn’t like anyone to attend her births. But it’s a good thing I can keep an eye on her in the Goatoscope because she needed help with these.

Poor Delilah came down with mastitis Sunday night. She had a fever and her udder was hot and lumpy with no milk in it. I started antibiotics right away and by Tuesday she was mostly recovered, but I know fighting sickness took a toll on her energy levels. Her contractions were weak and far apart. I could see hooves just inside, but every time she laid down and started to push, she’d jump right back up and stop pushing for a long time. At the rate she was going we would be there all night. After probably half an hour I finally grabbed hold of one of those toes and started to pull. Delilah didn’t help much and I had to pull pretty hard to get the first kid out. The baby’s nose was halfway out for what seemed like ages but I could see the little purple tongue twitching so I knew the kid was ok despite her delayed entry.

And she was worth waiting for! We got a chamoisee doe with an all-white face and cute little pink nose. She has a classic white splash on the left but the right side has spots more reminiscent of her Nubian father.

Phil loves his baby goats!

And best of all, she has wattles!!!

Mama was delighted with the little one and seemed content to stop there. But when I bounced her belly I could feel a hard little Something still lurking in the depths. Delilah started to lay down and push a few times, but her efforts were totally feeble and nothing was presenting at all. The first kid had been on the ground about an hour when I finally took off my coat (ugh, it was cold!), rolled up my sleeves, disinfected, and went fishing.

The kid was still completely in the womb with nothing coming to the birth canal. Apparently Delilah was perfectly happy for him to stay right where he was. He was presented correctly with one leg forward and one back. His head was in the right spot. I felt his teeth to make sure he wasn’t upside down or anything weird like that. The fact that he was still so far down in the depths had me worried that he was in a bad position. But he was fine. Mama just didn’t have the energy to push him out, so I had to pull. Once again, Delilah barely helped at all and this kid was bigger than the first. But I soon had him out and he was fine and strong.

Once he was out, Delilah was happy to see him. She licked him off and then took a brief nap. I gave her some Nutri-Drench to help chirk her up and it helped a lot. Then I had the lovely task of cleaning out the wet, soiled bedding in the dark and cold. But at least it had stopped raining.

LEOs, tigers, and bucks… Oh my!

We’re back from the Weld County Goat Extravaganza, and as usual it was a blast! We brought Finn and Sputnik for the harness class of course, but we also brought Rambo and Rocky to enter in the dairy buck show.

Finn and Sputnik were conked out the first morning. Finn was asleep with his head in the hay bag and Sputnik was using Finn for a pillow.

But the second they heard us coming, both boys leapt to their feet and were ready for action! The harness class was very low key this year. Not many people showed up, unlike last year where we had a couple dozen crowding round. No one brought their own goat, which was a bit disappointing for me, but that’s how it is. We started out with Finn and Sputnik hitched to their wagon, but Finn was too wild to pull well with Sputnik, so I hitched him up single and let him do all the work by himself. Normally the ring is covered with a kind of astroturf carpet, but this year they decided to use deep shavings instead so as to cut down on messes and smells. It worked well for showing, but it wasn’t at all a nice surface for driving. But slogging through the deep footing took the edge off Finn whose only thought was of running off. A couple of circuits convinced him to abandon his racing ambitions. Once Finn settled down I was able to take him outside the ring and let some of the class attendees drive him.

That evening Phil and I participated in our first buck show!

Also that evening, Finn decided he’d had enough of confinement and started leaping effortlessly out of the pen. Luckily I anticipated this possibility and had brought our wire panels along just in case. By the time we were done, it looked more like a tiger cage than a goat pen!

We didn’t have enough panels to enclose Finn and Sputnik together in a larger area, so Sputnik got moved to a private suite. He had no ambitions of leaping the pen, and he probably didn’t think he could clear it without a runway. Sputnik is capable of jumping just as high as Finn, but he has to back up a few yards, crouch, bob his head up and down, wind himself up, and then make a running leap to clear anything of substance. Finn, on the other hand, can sail gracefully over almost any obstacle without so much as coiling, which gives him the air of having wings on his feet. It also makes him hard to contain.

We had nothing on our schedule Sunday morning except packing up and going home, so we loitered around the show for a while and took some time to drive our team around a large parking lot outside. Saturday’s weather had kept us mostly indoors, but Sunday was clear and crisp and our goats were stir crazy from being confined for so long. They were in a running mood, and luckily for us there was lots of room to do it! Oddly, it was Sputnik who was leaping, bolting, bucking, rushing, and fighting the bit. We’re used to Finn playing up, but Sputnik is usually the Steady Eddy of our team. I guess he had a touch of cabin fever!

Nothing that can’t be cured by a brisk jog in the great outdoors!

Ready for takeoff!

Oops… As much fun as it is to exceed the speed limit, it can be expensive!

Was that joyride worth the ticket price, chief?

I took the reins and slowed things down after Phil’s brush with the law, and I had the boys practice crossing this big puddle instead.

Then it was time to pack up and head home! It was a full, fun weekend and I’m proud of our wonderful goats!

And Life Goes On…

The best thing about having lots of animals is that they don’t let you wallow in grief over the ones you’ve lost. No sooner had we laid Cuzco to rest and wiped the dirt from our hands than the rest of the herd was clamoring to be let out of their pen and taken for a walk.

Goat stampede!!

The goats always know when I’m carrying my goody pouch!

Miss Tigerlily is carrying her pregnancy very well. Much like her grandmother Lilly, she barely looks like she’s expecting. But there’s a tell-tale bit of warmth and swelling in her udder area, so we’re guessing she has to have at least one in there. Smile

Phil and I call these clouds with rays falling through them “Jesus clouds” because they look like those paintings of Christ’s resurrection or return. Very fitting for the day Cuzco went to heaven. I don’t think the goats noticed or cared.

This middle-aged gray gelding named Jet was once the little black colt who started it all. I had no horse companions for our expected foal to frolic with (other than his exhausted mother) so Phil and I went on the hunt for a suitable goat companion that would be there for him when he was born. And that’s when we found Cuzco. Jet and Cuzco were fast friends until Jet grew up and joined a proper horse herd, and Cuzco grew up and joined me and Phil’s “people herd”.

Sometimes I feel like the Pied Piper but with goats in my entourage instead of children (and with this outfit, I think it’s appropriate!)