V. Kidding Victory
I know, I am embarrassingly behind on the A to Z challenge. It all began to go south at U. But I have a good excuse, really. Things at the farm have been very, very exciting. And this excitement has eaten up a lot of my time.
On Monday (U day) we had our first successful kidding at Five Maples Farm. The kids and I are enamored with our new babies. I say successful because kidding time the past two years has been a sad time for us.
Year 1 – an unexpected pregnancy
We actually didn’t expect to have kids a couple of years ago. We had just started investing in Dwarf Nigerian goats rather than the larger French Alpine goats. But we still had a mix of both kinds out in the barn. When we went to pick up our third Dwarf Nigerian, Chevon (we call her Chevie), the previous owner told us that originally she didn’t think Chevie was pregnant, but now she was thinking she was. Indeed, Chevie looked a lot bigger than the first time we saw her. We were a little nervous about this since we hadn’t mentally prepared ourselves for birthing goats, but then baby goat fever caught us and we eagerly waited for the kid.
Unfortunately, I went out to the barn one morning and Chevie was delivering an extremely premature kid (it didn’t even have hair). Not only was it early, but it was arriving rear end first and it was stuck. I hastily called the previous owner and she told me what I already suspected: I was going to have to help out.
So my first experience in kidding was delivering a still-born, premature kid. Not what we had hoped for. We didn’t have a satisfactory explanation for the prematurity, so we chalked it up to bad luck.
Year 2 – goats eat everything
Since baby fever had caught us, we decided to breed our 3 females the next year. Two of them became pregnant, and one didn’t “catch.” I just love that term for a goat that doesn’t become pregnant – like pregnancy is a virus.
In the summer, we left for vacation confident that the kids weren’t due until 3 weeks AFTER we got back. One morning I got a frantic call from the woman who takes care of our animals while we are away. All four of our goats were sick, a couple of them were very, very sick. By the time the vet got there, one of the pregnant females had died. The vet said it looked like the goats had eaten a toxic plant. They were able to nurse the rest of the goats back to health. But then 3 days later, the second pregnant female went in to labor and delivered twins. They looked fully developed, but the were extremely weak and wouldn’t eat. They died in the first 24 hours.
Year 3 – we did it
Third time is a charm, right? I’m accustomed to lots of failure from my scientist days, so it only made sense to me to try again. This time we had 4 females to breed. So again we called in our local stud, Bobcat, and let him get to work. He did a good job and all 4 of our girls “caught.”
I calculated a due date based on when we saw Bobcat do his thing, and we have been on KidWatch for the past week and a half. And last Monday our dream was finally realized. Our girl, Swiss Miss, gave birth to not one, not two and not three…but wait for it….four healthy kids. 3 doelings and a little buckling (the black one). I guess the goat gods were saving them up for me.
Despite my warnings to the kids that they might not all live (given that there are 4), they seem to be thriving.
We are so lucky! And still have 3 more pregnant girls! Holy goats, Batman!
Hooray for our kidding victory!
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge. Come blog through the alphabet with me.