Friday, January 16, 2015

Farm Friday

It's raining goats - or so it seems. We've had constant kidding this week. I'm still bottle feeding little Neo, the orphaned goat. I was hoping he would "graft" on to another new mother who might not notice that it was one more kid than she birthed but that's not working. We only had one instance, years ago, when we had three mothers who kidded at the same time and only one kid survived, so they all mothered it. We also had one mother temporarily reject a kid and then take him back (this was Jolene with her boy Spot.) We've put Neo in with brand new mothers a couple of times but they weren't buying it. They know their kids - even with newborns - and he's not one of them.

For the third winter in a row, Sharona has given birth to triples. In the past kiddings, she raised all the babies to maturity, despite harsh winters. This year is was not to be. It was cold when she kidded so Bill and I worked on the babies, using a hairdryer on low and rubbing them with old sheets and towels until they were dry and warm. For whatever reason, two of them didn't make it. 

Last yesterday afternoon, Justine had twins in the back pasture. They were both wet and cold but one was limp as a rag doll. While Bill took one into the barn to warm and return to it's mother, I scooped up the limp one and brought her into the house. For hours, even after I had warmed her, she lay on a towel barely moving. But over time and with some tender loving care, she came around. She found her appetite and started sucking on my fingers, so I gave her some goat formula. During the night, she was able to get to her feet and then drank more formula in the morning. We returned the kid to Justine but she was rejected. In the past, whenever a mother rejected a kid, despite our care and feeding, those kids would always die. Mother knows best; rejection means a problem with the kid. But it's hard to just let nature take it's course. So now I'm bottle feeding a second goat. I've named her Pearl. Maybe Justine will come around and decide to take Pearl back.
Pearl after she perked up
In addition to all the kidding, we had a problem with an older kid, one that was born last year. Bill had noticed it limping and, when he picked it up, noticed that it's stomach was abnormally warm to the touch. I had an antibiotic on hand so, after determining the correct dosage and needle size, gave him an injection. Hopefully, the antibiotic will do the trick. (Unlike Big Ag, we only give our animals antibiotics if they are sick and actually need them.) This is the same antibiotic that helped our billy goat Johnny overcome foot rot. And that's the reason we're having so many kids right now - Johnny's recovery gave him the energy to increase his tribe. Powerful medicine!
Ginny taking a break from farm chores
Ginny continues to help us foster the bottle fed kids. When I first started preparing a bottle for Neo, Ginny knew. Somehow she knew what I was working on, even though it had been about a year since I had to bottle feed. She was on alert, at the ready to go out into the cold with me to make sure a little goat got his bottle. Greatest farm dog ever!
Ginny helping me feed Pearl
Despite the problems, which unfortunately is normal in bad weather, we have a number of happy, healthy kids. Madonna's single kid is doing well in the front pasture. Blondie had twins and all are doing fine. Nellie's two kids are big enough to follow her far into the pasture when she grazes, as are Rose's twins. Even Neo has a spring in his step and has found a place with the other goats. He has a bold personality and has been seen playing with and bedding down with other kids and even snuggling with our young billy goat Maxwell, who is really still a kid himself. Pearl and Neo seem to be bonding, as well, which is good and will keep them from being alone.
Bella's twins were born yesterday
Continuing the goat theme:

This map is part of a Washington Post article that also includes an interactive map showing how many goats are in each county in the US. This week we added a few more goats to Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Have a good weekend!


David said...

Cherie, I'm not surprised that Ginny is a help with the goats. Animals have a sense about serious situations that need love and attention. I'm glad to see that the birthing season is continuing with minimal issues and that efforts to keep kids alive is having good results. How many more pregnant goats do you have that will be kidding soon? I don't seem to remember that you had this many last time. The increase to your goat tribe is going to be substantial this year.

Have a great birthing season day.

Cherie said...

David, we're not sure how many more are pregnant - sometimes it's hard to tell and they surprise us. We've decided to keep our herd small and have already substantially reduced its size. A small herd seems to be a healthier herd for us, so we'll be selling the kids when they're weaned.

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