Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to Moose , Our Italian Spinone

Italian Spinoni, a pointing breed, have been part of our farm life for almost 10 years now.  Three of these silly and wonderful dogs own us.  The Italian Spinone excels as a hunter, companion, entertainer and counter surfer.  This week is special because our first Spinone turned 10 this week.  Mals-About Moose Tracks came to us in May of 2002 from Kentucky and has been a huge part of our lives.  Although I never showed him in conformation classes, we did earn an AKC obedience title (CD).  I remember heeling off lead and being a nervous wreck when a fly started buzzing around Moose's head.  He snapped at the fly several times but never left my side.  Moose is perfect like that.  Well almost.  I remember getting together for an informal obedience class where we could practice the long "down-stay" with other dogs.  I left Moose in position and started walking away when I saw people trying not to laugh.  I turned around and Moose was belly-crawling behind me.  He never left his down position.  I put him back in position, trying really hard not to laugh at his antics and sure enough, he resumed crawling.  When I returned to him he rolled over and stuck all four feet in the air.  I think it was his way of saying "enough is enough!  I've got this already Mom".  He was right, he never broke a down-stay in the ring. Such is life with Moose.

Here is Moose...in pictures.

An adorable puppy!
A handsome adult.

A day at the beach.

A bed is where you make it.
This is MY crab!
Are you in here????
There's a bird in there!

Obedience medal.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nigerian Dwarf goat babies - two weeks old

The goat babies are two weeks old this weekend and it is simply amazing how much they change from week to week.  They spend their time playing, resting and EATING!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Special delivery!

It has certainly been a whirlwind week down on the farm.  After getting settled into a steady and generally relaxing three months of winter, March arrived.  With a vengance.  Followed by babies.  Lots of babies!
Friday the second of March brought tornado warnings to our area which is generally an uncommon event in our region, especially in early March.  I had five goats about ready to pop and I was willing them from the confines of my root cellar where I was sitting, NOT to go into labor now.  Fortunately they listened and waited until Saturday afternoon.  It was a pleasant, mild day so I spent part of my afternoon on baby watch sitting in the kidding stall reading.

Its' a boy!
Snickers was getting restless so I knew we were off to the start of our kidding season.  She went into labor and after a half an hour or so she was getting nowhere in her delivery.  I don't like to intervene but I just felt in my gut there was a problem.  I mixed up my lubricating gel, slimed my hand and proceeded to investigate.  All I could feel was a large bony something and it wasn't a head.  I think it was a butt.  It seemed to be wedged on the pelvic bone.  I sort of pushed and manuevered the kid around and it finally presented and popped out.  A beautiful baby boy!  He was followed in rapid succession by his two sisters.  Ginger, Snickers' stall mate and twin sister began helping  clean the babies and also started cleaning the afterbirth from Snickers.  Apparently all this motherly activity was just too much for Ginger so in 3 hours Ginger went into labor and literally popped out her first kid.  She was standing up at the time and before I could grab a towel the kid went sliding under the gate in it's slimy birth sack.  The next two came within a few minutes while I was still drying off the first kid.  Whew.  Six kids on the ground and doing well.  Don headed off to wash towels and get ready for the next blessed event.

I keep a baby monitor in the bedroom and I woke to the sounds of a squeaking kid at 4am on Sunday.  I thought a kid had gotten separated from its mother somehow so I went out to check on the six babies.  I did a head count and all seemed to be tucked in close to their mommas.  Why do I still hear squeaking?  Uh-oh.  It seems to be coming from the adjacent pen.  I go in there and I see three wet babies with Do-Dah working frantically to clean them in the sub-freezing chill.  Do-Dah is a stoic little doe and somehow managed to have three kids without uttering a peep, let alone the screams that usually accompany labor.  I was temporarily in shock. I finally regained my composure and yelled into the baby monitor which woke up Don, who promply came down to help.  I plugged in the heat lamp to help dry and warm the babies.  Two were vigorous and squeaking  and looking for a meal.  The third little kid seemed chilled so we brought her into the house and warmed her with the hair dryer.  Soon she took a bottle and she became our first bottle baby.

Jamboree, Do-Dah's pen mate also helped clean her two remaining kids.  Twelve hours later Jamboree decided it was time for her own babies to make their entrance and popped out three of her own.  She also decided that they were not hers because she apparently adopted Do-Dah's kids.  Long story short, it was easier to make them bottle babies than to fight with Jam over feeding them so three more bottle kids came into the house.  I just love bottle kids though.  Because I decided before the kids came that I was going to only leave two kids on their moms, I also took one each of Ginger and Snickers' kids and started them on the bottle.  Ginger and Snickers didn't seem to mind because between the two of them they were both feeding and tending 4 kids.  That's enough for any goat mom.

With four does safely kidded and all bottle babies fed, I settle into bed for my long winters nap, only to be awakened at 4am...again on Monday.  Tenacious my older doe was calling and nickering and generally making enough noise that I got up to check on her.  She didn't look like she was in labor and she has a history of a long preparation period involving much noise (talking to her babies I like to think of it), nesting and general restlessness.  Being the kind and considerate doe she is, she waited for an appropriate period of time which allow us to have some much needed coffee and a bit of breakfast.

Oh did I mention it was snowing really hard at 4am?  So much for considerate.  Anyway, at 9:30 in the freezing barn under a heat lamp she had beautiful twins, a boy and a girl.  All 14 kids arrived in the space of about 30-some hours and were doing well.  Finally we could sit back and relax and watch (and feed) babies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The two faces of Heidi

Heidi is at the age now where she is beginning to take her job seriously.

Or maybe not.

Goat Babies - In Pictures

It was a busy weekend here at the farm.  Five does kidded with four sets of triplets and one set of twins.

Lunch time!


Cuddle time.

It takes a village.

Five bottle babies.

Momma and baby.
Boy am I ever cute!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Waiting....for babies

 After Monday's ordeal with Phantom's scur, I was very happy to spend a pleasant day yesterday preparing for the arrival of 12 to 14 babies.  Several of our does are now officially due to kid and I spend most of my nights half awake listening to the them paw and rustle around via my baby monitor in the barn.  Fortunately they do tend to sleep at night but I imagine it is hard to get comfortable with all those babies plotting and scheming to get liberated from their close quarters in utero.

Some of the day was spent finishing up preparations in the sunroom adjacent to the kitchen where bottle babies will live for a few weeks.  There was something comforting about aroma of  last night's dinner of sausage and cabbage co-mingled with pine shavings and hay.

I also cleaned all the old bedding out of the stalls and let them dry out with help from the sun and a good breeze.  I put down lime and covered it all with fresh hay so now I'm WAITING!  The does didn't seem too impressed to be in there so where did I find them this morning?

Out side eating of course.  Don't they know I'm WAITING!!

Heidi of course was helping as usual.