All posts by Nan Hassey

One big, happy family

Sarge, or “the little peanut” as we’ve been calling him, needed help on our walks for the first few days. His mother seemed determined to start bringing him as soon as possible, and he did his very best to keep up, but he’s very tiny and kept getting trampled by bigger and faster goats. So we often carried him during the first week.

These two are the cutest together. Coral is still very much a baby herself, and motherhood has done little to “mature” her as it usually does with most goats.

Look at that little pink tongue!

Proud mama.

And let’s not forget the “big kids”! TinCup’s and Nauti’s kids hang out in a group, and their mamas often take turns babysitting while the other goes out to graze. The kids are getting old enough to stay with the herd most of the time now, but I still occasionally see the four of them conked out under a tree with one mama grazing alone nearby.

Wild Honey Pie’s pattern reminds me of the colors we commonly see on Nigerian Dwarfs, but that seldom present on a large breed goat. I love it!

What a cute face!

And Honey Pie’s sister Prudence looks like a little Boer in her coloring. If my neighbor still had his herd, and if I hadn’t personally overseen TinCup’s date with Rocky, I’d be concerned that there’d been some mistake. But no, my neighbor hasn’t had any Boers for going on three years now so there is no question about this girl’s parentage. But I like to tease her about being the “red-headed stepchild”.

Tired mama with her cuddling babies.

Nauti’s kids are growing like weeds. Sadie is going to be a beautiful, striking doe. And Maxwell… I just have to laugh at this little guy. He’s about as gung-ho as a goat can get. I’ve been having to correct him on an almost daily basis because he insists on pushing me with his little horns. He’s getting better, but I think whoever ends up with this goat is going to have to keep on top of the manners. This little guy started using his nubs on people earlier than any baby we’ve ever had. They all try it at some point, and most go through a phase where they have to be corrected fairly regularly, but Max started a lot sooner and is more persistent than most. Unless his personality changes during wethering and re-homing, he’s definitely going to become an “alfa goat” type. He’s very bold but also very friendly. If I sit down, he makes a beeline for my lap and he stays there. But if I put him down and turn my attention elsewhere, there’s a very good chance I’ll soon feel his little nubs digging into my lower back. And of course he’s already chasing the girls with a lascivious gleam in his eyes.

Penny and Rita are growing nicely and are sweet as they can be. Jezebel, as always, is a very doting and nurturing mother.

With great big girls demanding food, Jezebel shows us the face of long suffering sacrifice.

A four-kid couch party and the littlest couch potato of all

We’ve been so busy these last couple of weeks that I haven’t had time to post photos! At the end of May, Phil and I brought FOUR babies in for a movie! It was quite the fiasco! Sadie and especially Max were getting too big and rambunctious to come in the house any more so it took some effort to control the situation! I put a sheet on the couch for hair control. All the kidlets are shedding!

Max exits stage left and I’m left with a pile of pretty girls.

A few days after the “Four-kid-fiasco,” little Sgt. Pepper came on the scene and has been occupying our couch for movies ever since. Here he is just three days old.

And what a heartbreaker!

For the first few days he had cute little lopsided ears.

This little goat loves cuddles!

Revolution…er… Goatolution 9

Our last 2018 kid was born on May 31, and we rounded out our Beatles-themed season by naming this little guy “Sgt. Pepper.” It’s only fitting to have nine babies in a Beatles-themed year. He’s a tiny little peanut, weighing in at only 5 lbs. at birth. Once we dried him off he felt like a little ball of dandelion fluff–certainly not much heavier!

Coral couldn’t have picked a much prettier day to have this little guy, but she could have picked a more suitable location! I could tell she was getting close, but I wasn’t at all sure how close. She’s a first-time mom and didn’t really seem to have the routine down. She came for our daily walk with the herd at 1:15 and she never separated herself or dug nests or any of the other little things impending mamas do. She was more vocal than usual but that was it. Her cute little udder seemed to grow every time I looked at it. It felt a little hot to the touch and had some lumps which worried me, so after our walk I spent a few minutes massaging it with hot towels. It was only a bit of congestion and the lumps worked right out, but the massage seemed to stimulate some contractions. I didn’t know if they would continue or pass, so I put Coral off the patio and turned my attention elsewhere. Phil went back in the house to work.

Coral was baa-ing a lot but it soon faded into background noise as I got busy with other things. After about 15 minutes I began to notice that the baa-ing had changed in tone and frequency. I peeked round the edge of the house and she was lying among the wood chips in a baking-hot corner where I cut and stack firewood. And there were hooves peeking out from under her tail! I rang the doorbell to summon Phil down from work and I hurried over to fetch Coral up from the hot, dirty, and uncomfortable spot she’d chosen and pulled her onto a patch of clean grass nearby.

Sgt. Pepper made his appearance shortly after 2:00 with no assistance. Well, I tugged gently on a leg as he came into the world, but Coral did all the work. Much like his mother, who we’ve nicknamed “Fuzzy”, there was more hair than goat, and this funny little guy had 1 1/2 wattles! There was a normal, furry wattle on the left side and a hairless black half-wattle on the right. It looked very silly. You can just see the naked little thing poking out from under his neck in this photo.

Penny was very curious. I kept trying to push her back because mamas are usually very protective of brand new babies and don’t want other goats poking their noses into the action. I didn’t want Coral to trample little Pepper in her zeal to run off the interlopers. But I needn’t have worried. Coral was so enamored with her offspring that she didn’t even look up when first Penny and then Jezebel (who is often mean to Coral) came up to sniff the newcomer.

Coral was so cute about Pepper’s birth. She’s already one of the most adorable goats I’ve ever seen, with those big, wide-set eyes, the perpetual Cheshire cat smile, and permanently curious ears. When Pepper thudded to the ground with a crash (yes, Coral was standing, and yes, I failed in my catching duties), Coral whipped around with a look of shock on her face like, “Oh my gosh, did that just come out of me??” She paused for a moment in pure disbelief, then cautiously lowered her head and began to sniff and poke timidly around at the new baby. She looked both curious and terrified at the same time. She took a few careful licks then suddenly her fearful attitude turned to pure rapture as the realization dawned on her that this baby was her very own to nuzzle, lick, and enjoy. She couldn’t get enough of him after that and is a wonderfully careful and attentive mama.

Standing achievement: unlocked.

“Gah! Mama quit pushing me!”

“Darn right I pushed… you’re growing up too fast already, and I was not finished with your bath!”

Once Coral was satisfied that Pepper was thoroughly clean and dry, she plopped herself down and snuggled right up to him in a possessive manner that I’ve not seen in a goat before. All of our mamas are proud of their babies, but Coral is in a league of her own. She’s spent the last two nights curled up with him in the shed as well. Most of our mamas tend to put their kids down for a nap and then take a little time to themselves, but Coral is spending all of her time with her new baby for now.

As a singleton, I have a feeling this little guy is going to grow very quickly once he gets going on that udder. And as a funny note, I was talking to Phil about removing Pepper’s hairless half-wattle because it looked like a long, nasty, black tick to me. I guess Coral had the same idea because when I checked on him a couple of hours later it was gone. Coral had nipped it right off! So now he’s a little one-wattle goat. So funny!

Is there a more idyllic setting in which to have a baby? I ask you!

Meanwhile, can anyone see Nauti under all these kids?

Coincidentally, Phil and I just celebrated our 19th anniversary and we now have 19 goats to celebrate it with!

Covered in Kidlets

I’m sitting in the office with Max on my lap as I type. He’s such a sweet, friendly, happy baby. He follows me like a shadow and loves to be picked up and held, but I’m afraid these days will be over very quickly. He weighed in at 18 lbs. on his 2-week birthday! He’s one of the fastest-growing kids we’ve had yet! I have a feeling this one is going to love going for hikes when he’s old enough. He’s an explorer, and he’s just as happy to be with people as with his mama. And what a cutie! He’s going to be a very handsome fella one day.

But enough about Max for the moment. I’ve barely shared any photos of our two new kiddos yet!

Honey Pie and Prudie are a little more skittish than Max and Sadie, but they’re coming round quickly. I was busy organizing a horse show the weekend after they were born so they didn’t get quite as much early attention as the other kids. But we’re making up for it this week!

Synchronized scratching!

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get any photos of Pie when she was 2-5 days old. For those three days, her ears stuck straight up above her head and then flopped over the front like a Fox Terrier puppy. It was the cutest thing! I guess I thought they’d stay like that a while longer. But alas, they stiffened up and now they just stick out, which is still charming but not quite as unique.

I can’t get over Prudie’s coloring! Where did she get all that white? She looks like a little Boer cross. And no, my neighbor no longer raises Boer goats, so there was no mistake in the parentage. She’s just a fluke.

We’ve been bringing these two in for movies on the couch in the evenings now. Max and Sadie would like to keep being “house babies” a while longer, but we need to tame down these two new ones before they get big. I’d love to have all four in at once for a real baby goat party, but that might be pushing things. I’m sure if we give it a try there will be stories to tell.

Soft baby goatie kisses.

TinCup took her kids for their first walk with us on Tuesday. They had a great time!

Max and Sadie are two of the sweetest babies we’ve ever had. I just love these guys and I hope we can find amazing homes for them. They’re going to be awesome goats for someone. They’re bursting with playfulness and they can’t get enough of people.

Finn and Sputnik haven’t gotten much attention lately. We’ve been much too focused on the new little kidlets. But maybe this weekend we’ll be able to get them out for a hike and/or a drive. I’m curious to see how Finn’s harness fits. I feel like he had a pretty big growth spurt recently, but maybe I’m imagining it. The harness will tell us the truth!

Max is king of the rock!

“Run, babies, run!”

Phil loves his baby goaties.

There’s a reason we named this one “Sexy Sadie”. She’s a real looker!

TinCup to the rescue!

We had a near tragedy yesterday, but our dear gal TinCup saved the day! I was down at the saddle club when Phil decided to go out for a hike. He was about to get in the truck when TinCup came racing up the driveway by herself. The goats were all down in the horse corral and Phil could hear a baby crying. Usually mama goats run TOWARD crying babies, so this was unusual. Phil almost ignored the incident, passing it off as goats being noisy (or dramatic as babies sometimes can be), but TinCup baa-ed urgently like she had something important to tell him. So Phil walked toward her and she ran off down the hill toward the other goats.

When Phil got down there, he could clearly hear a baby screaming and he realized that little Sadie had jumped into the horse trough! It was too deep for her to stand but too low for her to climb back over the side. If Tinny hadn’t alerted Phil, or if this had happened while we were both gone, no doubt Sadie would have drowned.

I feel awful because I’m aware of the danger and I’m usually much more careful when we have kids this age. The water tubs in the goat pens are low so babies can see over the side, and so they can climb back out if they do happen to go in. Usually I don’t keep a horse trough filled during baby goat season for this exact reason. My horses have access to a pond and I make them use that when we have babies. But we’re having terrible drought this year and the pond is very low with deep, squelching mud on all sides. It’s difficult and dangerous for the horses to access it right now, so I went into auto-pilot and have been keeping their trough full without thinking. Yikes! This was a good reminder that I need to do something different while we have little kids running around.

Anyway, we’re very thankful for a happy ending. Good job TinCup!!

And here are some fun baby goat pictures!

Sticking with the Beatles theme, we’re thinking about “Wild Honey Pie” for this one. Her eyes were very blue when she was born, but they’re already turning brown. She looked like a little Nigie baby with her flashy markings and the eyes! Also, we’ve had a wonderful variety of ears this season. This little gal has Fox Terrier ears like Finn.

And our “Boer” baby. I’m calling her “Dear Prudence”. With all that white, this one’s going to be hard to keep clean.

And because she’s still the most adorable goat in our herd, here’s one of Coral. She has the most innocent, disarming smile I’ve ever seen. It makes her absolutely irresistible. I can’t wait to see what her and Sox’s babies look like! She’s due in about two weeks.

Trot out the ladies!

We had a couple of new arrivals today, and I’ve gotta say–we’re really having a bumper crop of girls this year! Two more doelings popped into the world around noon right on their due date. Tinny pushed the first kid out without trouble. Then she decided she was done and wouldn’t push out the second, so I reached in and found a nose in the passage. I reached a bit further, found a foot, and gave a little tug, at which point TinCup decided she should help and pushed kid #2 right out. I kind of think if we’d left her alone for a while she would have delivered just fine on her own. The kid was in the right position, just with the front feet pulled back a bit behind the nose. I think she’d have sorted herself out on her own if I’d been a little more patient.

Doeling #1 is a beautiful reddish bay with gorgeous markings. She gets the red from her dad, Rocky, and the striking black legs and dorsal stripe from her mom.

Look at that sweet smile!

And doeling #2 is colored like a Boer! Her mother is purebred Alpine and her dad is a registered Nubian, so she hasn’t got a drop of Boer blood in her, but that didn’t stop this little cutie from sporting a white body and red head!

Phil brought the new babies into the office this afternoon to show them off to his co-workers over video conference.

Nauti Karate, or Poor Little Pink Belt

We had rather an exciting day. I was outside at around 11:00 a.m. when three Air Force fighter jets flew right over my head, so low I was almost afraid they’d clip the top of my hat! And boy were they LOUD!!! A short while later I had Nauti up on the stanchion to be milked. She’s producing far more than her two kids can drink yet so I’m milking out the excess for now. Phil came out to pet her and the new babies and he was alarmed to see a huge tear on her right flank. I had only seen Nauti’s left side and didn’t realize she was hurt. It was very fresh, so I’m pretty sure she panicked when the jets flew over and caught her side on something. It was pretty nasty but it looked like it could be stitched if I could keep it clean and moist until we got her to a vet. I slapped on some gauze soaked in Vetricin as well as lubricant jelly while Phil wound a whole roll of VetWrap around her middle to hold it in place. She looked very comical. Early this afternoon I was able to get it stitched up and hopefully it will heal without incident. Luckily it doesn’t seem too painful for her. I’m just glad she didn’t do this while she was pregnant. The vet would never have been able to stretch her hide back over that hole! As it is, having recently given birth, the skin over her flank is pretty loose right now and it stitched together easily.

And here are some of today’s photos of the new babies, who we’re calling Sadie and Max (for the Beatles songs “Sexy Sadie” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”).

Why do babies love to curl up inside feeder tubs and tires? I don’t know, but it sure is adorable!

Unfortunately, they’re already too big to both fit. Looks like Big Brother got kicked out!

Babies find the funniest secret places to hide.

Max.

Sadie.

Catching up

Penny loves to be picked up and held. Rita loves to tease and play but doesn’t usually want to be held. She’ll sneak up behind you and grab your hair or poke you with her hoof and then race away in glee–mischievous little stinker!

But once in a while Rita sees Penny sitting cozily in someone’s lap and she has to climb up too so it’s fair. At a month old, sharing a single lap at the same time is getting pretty crowded!

I can’t get enough of Rita’s EARS!

When she’s not imitating a Texas longhorn…

…she looks perpetually surprised or alarmed.

And little Penny is just sweet and friendly. She looks like a little deer fawn, and her soft, sleek brown coat almost invites you to stroke her.

Baby goats love this big rock that we pass on our daily walks. We call it the “baby goat rock” because from age two weeks to about two months, baby goats can’t pass by without leaping up and treating it like it’s their “fort”.

Challenge all comers!

This downed tree is also fun to explore!

Sometimes I love to sit on a rock or stump and wait to see who comes over to investigate. “Hi Rita!”

Phil has decided we’re keeping Skeeter. She’s too pretty to sell. She looks like Finn AND Sputnik, and her conformation is turning out very nice.

She just recently discovered the joy of cookies!

Sputnik doesn’t miss a trick. “Did someone say ‘cookies’?”

Look how similar these two faces are!

“Sorry guys… all out of cookies!”

Chaos Reigns

Skeeter and Blackbird are maturing into beautiful, sleek young does. They are over three months old now and way too big to be sitting in laps any more, but it’s hard to say “no” to critters this cute!

“Hey, wait a minute!”

The situation rapidly deteriorated. Finn showed up and demanded attention by grabbing Skeeter’s ear while Blackbird distracted Phil. Phil had little hoof-shaped bruises on his back that night!

Alright, back under control… more or less.

Blackbird had to have a turn on Phil’s lap too.

What a pretty girl she’s becoming! I shouldn’t have trouble finding this lovely doeling a home eventually.

Now it’s my turn to play with the goatlings!

“Gah! I’m under attack!”

“Not the hat!”

“Ah, sanity returns.”

Here Comes the Son… and the Daughter

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for a kidding. The air was balmy and there was a gentle breeze. When I went to let the pregnant girls out of their pen, I could see that Nauti had dug herself a sunny little hollow in the dirt and was laying in it with her belly spread out wide on either side of her. She looked at me over her shoulder and baa-ed softly when I let the other girls out, but she refused to move. I checked on her and she seemed very glad to see me and immediately began to push. But since nothing was peeking, I decided I had a little time so I fed the other girls their morning grain and I went across the pasture to let the other goats out of their pen.

When I came back to check on Nauti, things were definitely happening! Nothing was coming yet, but she was pushing in earnest and she seemed quite distressed when I left her to run down the hill and fetch the hot water and towels. I called Phil down while I filled the water buckets. He grabbed the kidding box. By the time we got up there, we had a kid on the ground and Nauti was already cleaning him off. Phil came up the hill with the towels just in time for the second kid to pop out. What a wonderful, quick, easy kidding it was!

I put down a couple of puppy pads and scattered clean straw over the top so the kids wouldn’t get covered in dirt. Then we helped Nauti clean them up. They dried very quickly in the warm sunshine.

The little buckling needed help getting started at first. Phil had the magic touch.

His sister was on her feet and eating faster than any kid I’ve seen. She barely even had to figure out her legs and only fell down a couple of times. But soon both of them were up and nursing on their own.

And mama was tired!

I love new baby cuddles!

A curious crowd gathered outside the pen during the proceedings. Once the kids were up and dry, I let them investigate.

We haven’t figured out names yet, but I’m sure we’ll have some in the next day or two. We’ll likely continue with the Beatles theme.