Monthly Archives: May 2016

Seventeen years and fifteen goats later…

I was going to post these yesterday but got distracted when Jezebel decided to kid a couple of days early. Phil and I were planning to take Finn and Sputnik for a hike on Sunday to celebrate our 17th anniversary, but rain kept us indoors most of the day. However, late in the afternoon the sun peeked out and sparkled on the damp grass, inviting us to play in the emerald green. All fifteen goats came with us, of course! (Unfortunately we were unable to get all fifteen into a single shot. Goats do not always cooperate as well as one might hope!)

Delilah with her three desperadoes.

We went on vacation for two weeks and Petunia’s kids, Pepi (leaping) and Pedro grew enormously.

For all his grouchy demeanor, I think deep down Cuzco really loves the babies.

This “baby bump” picture kind of lost its significance since Jezebel jumped the gun and kidded before I could post it.

Phil loves his Finn, and I know the feeling is returned in kind.

This was a very popular bush.

Five baby goats on a rock! Wheeeee!!!

A teensy little surprise!

Phil and I celebrated our 17th anniversary by taking our entire herd of goats for a stroll around our property where we took waaaaayyyy too many cute baby goat pictures. I was planning to share some of them last night but we got sidetracked by an unexpected visit from the stork.

Jezebel kidded this tiny little morsel last night around 8:30. He couldn’t have weighed more than 4-5 pounds soaking wet.

Jezebel had me worried because she had absolutely no udder whatsoever and only a few days till her due date. Then yesterday morning I noticed there was a little milk starting and her tailbone was sticking up. I spent the day cleaning sheds. The kidding shed was soaked so I stripped it in the morning and left it bare till late afternoon so the ground could air out. Jezebel looked very worried about it. She had been nesting in there that morning before it was cleaned and when I stripped it she kept going in and out and giving me pointed looks as if to say, “Check-in time is 12:00 and my room is not ready!”

Phil and I had an early dinner at a friend’s house and when we came home Cuzco had taken over the kidding shed and Jezebel was nowhere to be found. Phil went to look for her and discovered her hiding in a corner behind the house. I think she was horrified that we had left her in her time of need. As soon as we got all the goats put to bed in their proper pens and got everyone else out of her shed, Jezebel went straight down to business. She had waited till we got home and could attend her during the birth. And it was quite an easy birth. She barely pushed at all and then took a long break while the baby was in the birth canal. I got tired of waiting for those little hooves to make progress so I finally reached up and grabbed one. The second I gave a soft tug on that little toe she shoved him right out. She was just waiting for help. She was convinced she couldn’t push him out by herself and insisted that I do a little pulling. But with a baby this small there was really no need for assistance. I think she wanted moral support more than physical help. She was remembering Tigerlily who was five days late and twice this size. Tigerlily needed to be pulled. I think Jezebel kidded this one early on purpose so it wouldn’t be so big!

Office pals and “scarlet letters”

It amazes me that we ever get any work done around here!

The other day Petunia left her little pipsqueaks in the shade while she went off to graze. As soon as Pluto saw her leave he came straight over to lay near the babies and make sure they were safe. He wags his tail every time a baby goat bounces past him and he makes sure they are never left alone.

A few minutes later, Daisy came to help Pluto guard the babies. No one is messing with these kids!

You may be wondering about the orange X’s. Unfortunately Pluto has been roaming, and recently he turned to trouble. Apparently he was down at the next-door ranch late at night last week and he snarled and chased my neighbor from his truck to his house. I started locking him up at night, but according to the ranch hand he snuck back down there a few days later in the morning after I let him out and he tackled one of their big mama goats. She was not hurt thank goodness, but it has me worried. It does not sound at all like Pluto to chase people or goats, but dogs around farms are presumed guilty until proven innocent. I don’t want to blame Pluto if there is another similar dog doing bad things in the area, so to make certain of his identity Phil gave him some unmistakeable marks. After the incident with the neighbor’s goat we are not taking chances with him. He’s locked in the electric fence at night, and for daytime I rigged up a runner chain in the front yard for any time I don’t have him under my direct surveillance. Hopefully he is either vindicated or we can train him to stay home and mind his own business. He’s never showed one hint of making trouble with people or goats on our place, but animals can act different when they are not in their own territory.

Colorful tidbits

The Nubian boys have discovered the joys of campfires. Luckily this on isn’t lit right now. Lilly always loved laying in this fire ring too.

With the addition of seven kids this year, our herd has almost doubled in size from eight to fifteen. Once Jezebel kids we’ll definitely be doubled! I love looking out at this variety of color. No such thing as a “matched pair” in our herd!

The babies have discovered the delights of the mineral feeder.

Boone found a mentor in Finn. Finn was quite patient with the little copycat. I’ve been impressed with how well all my goats get along with babies. I’ve been told by people who have no horns in their herd that mixing horned wethers with mamas, babies, and other hornless goats would be a bloodbath. So far I have not found this to be true. Quite the opposite in fact. My horned boys are often gentler than the dehorned does. Even Cuzco does not bother babies. If babies step in front of him, he steps around or over or occasionally will nudge one aside with his nose, but he never butts a baby. Finn and Sputnik were a little rough at first but within a week they figured out that babies need to be treated gently and are now nice to them.

Finn always loves to hang the last tippety-tip of his tongue out. He has done this since the first day he was born and it has never ceased to amuse me.

Pedro and Pepita!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we named the new little ones “Pedro” and “Pepita” (Pepi for short). Pedro has the large white spot on his head and nose, and Pepita has the small spots on her face.

Tigerlily is curious about the tiny new babies.

My friend Tiffany and her mom came out for a visit so they could see and hold the new babies. Pepi seemed very content in Tiffany’s arms. In fact, both of these babies seem very content to be held and cuddled. I like cuddly babies!

I’m very pleased that these came out with floppy ears. Petunia’s ears stick straight out, and the sire who was 3/4 Alpine and only 1/4 Nubian, had erect ears. So I was just convinced that these 5/8 Alpines would have straight ears. I’m so glad I was wrong! The ears are adorable!

Bienvenidos bebés!

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo by welcoming two more little ones into the world! I believe this is the first time a Goat-O-Rama gal has kidded right smack dab on her due date. We’ve got a little boy and a girl and we haven’t named them yet, but I’m quite sure the names will be Hispanic in flavor given the holiday. Both are sundgau (I was expecting cou clair!), and the boy has some flashy little white markings on his face, legs, and side.

Petunia delivered the little critters all by herself like a champ (no going in and fishing anyone out like last time!), but true to her nature she was quite dramatic about it. There was a lot of build-up before the blessed event actually got underway. Petunia kept lying down, getting up, pushing, grunting, groaning, stretching, baa-aa-ing, looking at her side, grinding her teeth, and giving me pointed looks as if to say “Could you please DO something besides just sitting there staring at me??” I think she expected me to have the kids for her!

After almost an hour of preliminaries Petunia finally resigned herself to the fact that I wasn’t going to do her job for her. Once the first baby started to come she really turned up the volume, but I tried not to let her theatrics frighten me into intervening too quickly. Once the feet came into view I gently helped pull, but I let her do most of the work and we soon had a healthy, long-legged baby boy on the ground. Phil got behind and was ready to help ease the second kid out, but she flew out too fast for Phil to do more than clean up the face a little before handing her to mom.

So all in all it was a nice, stress-free kidding. The babies are big and healthy (I didn’t remember to weigh exactly how big because I forgot to put the hanging scale back in the kidding box after I took it to the WCGE two weeks ago). Petunia is enamored with her new babies and won’t quit talking to them. There’s been an endless stream of babble coming out of the kidding shed all day. Petunia was somewhat indifferent to her first kids two years ago, but not to these. She had a lot of good reasons why she wasn’t a great mother the first time which is why I gave her another chance. I won’t keep a goat that’s a poor mother. But she’s definitely redeeming herself this time around!