Wednesday, March 5, 2014

February Recap

Since it appears that I somehow missed the entire month of February I'll attempt to recap:

February 2
My Nigerian doe 17 Syllables had four beautiful babies.  I brought the two does inside so I could bottle feed them exclusively.  I left the two boys with their momma.

The two boys.

The little doeling we kept.

This little girl went to Indigo Acres Farm.

February 3
My Alpine doe Diesel had buck/doe twins.  I brought them in the house to bottle feed so I could milk her.
The doeling Kay Kay.

The sweet little buckling Bit O Honey.

Lets see, with Snicker's three January kids already in the house and the addition of four new ones, that made 7 babies running around inside an x-pen in my sunroom.  It looked something like this:

This is apparently what happened to a lot of February.  We bottle fed babies 6 times a day, cleaned crates,  mopped floors and got into a routine of milking two goats again.  We sold one of the Nigerian bucklings to an experienced goat owner as a bottle baby and three other Nigerian bottle kids went to a new home too.  As the 4 remaining kids grew (which they do at an astonishing rate) I spent more and more time matching wits with their ability to jump and climb.  I am still winning but just barely.

Usually I try to get kids to the kid pen outside long before a month of age.  For the first couple of weeks though, the kids are bottle fed every two and three hours (except overnight) so it is handy not to have to run to the barn with bottles every few hours.  The weather this winter, however, just wouldn't allow a transition from a heated house to an unheated barn so at over a month old they are still in the sunroom.  The occasional breaks in the weather were spent doing various outside chores such as cleaning pens, moving goats around to kidding stalls, giving vaccinations, trimming feet and even going to town to replenish supplies.  We also spent a couple of lovely hours on our deck during warm afternoons watching the babies run and play OUTSIDE.

Sometime during that February blur, the two mini-alpine kids also went to their new home, we bought a breeding pair of guineas and I started making cheese and yogurt again. Don was able to restart his kefir culture too.  Our Alpine Diesel gives a lot of milk (well over a gallon a day), so we have enough to easily feed bottle babies, drink, and make cheese.  I save my Nigerian milk for yogurt since it makes THE BEST thick and creamy yogurt.
Thick and creamy yogurt with NO additives!

I think that about sums up the last few weeks.  Now we are heading into our second kidding period and will have 6 does kidding this month.  Now if I can just get these kids out of my sunroom so I can start all over again....

Monday, March 3, 2014

What happened to February?

This is post I started but never finished in a timely manner.  These darn cute kids that this post is about just kept keeping me busy.  So another month has passed and it is March.  So now I will finish the post I started on Jan 28th.
Flashback to January 28, 2014:

Well this morning it is below zero - again.  Snickers, my first doe to kid this season, did me the most wonderful favor and kidded on Sunday afternoon during the warmest part of the day on the warmest day we have had for a week.  Temperatures were actually above freezing and the skies were clear.  I had been doing some outside chores in the warmth of the high 30's and had noticed that Snickers was more restless than usual.  Since she had reached day 147 in a 150 day gestation period I knew the time was near and that we would have kids before the end of the day.  I had started feeding the goats and noticed that she was standing hunched up.  Well she was pushing kids!  We have a baby monitor in the barn so I excitedly yelled to Don who was in the house, that we had kids on the way.  I had my box of towels, puppy pads and other kidding supplies by the door.  The recipe for the molasses water was taped to the refrigerator door.  The crate was in the house and we had an empty tote lined with towels ready to take to the barn in which to place the newborn kids.  Don set about his job of mixing up Snicker's post-kidding hot drink of molasses corn syrup salt and baking soda.  He also made sure he had his notebook to record pertinent birthing information (birth order for proper tattoo sequence, description of kids etc).

By the time I retrieved my kidding box, Snickers was standing up and had pushed her first kid out, a smallish but squirming light colored kid.  These were the first kids from my new buck and I really wanted to keep a doe kid from this pairing so a quick peek confirmed it was a doe.  Yay!  I took the baby and wrapped her in a towel and gave her to Don to towel dry.  By the time I looked back to Snickers another kid was on the way, with her still standing. Out came another small squirming kid that looked a lot like the first one.  A boy.  Okay well at least we can tell them apart now.  We put the first kid in the box and started drying the second kid.  In the meantime Snickers had her third kid on the way.  This kid was larger and had a large brown patch on her neck.  Yep, that is my buck NC Promisedland RC Obama's kid.  It has moonspots!

Newborns tucked in their box.  You can see the moonspot on the middle kid's ear.

We had decided that these kids would be bottle fed in the house because I wanted to start milking Snickers right away and because the weather was forecast to be the coldest of the season with night time temperatures below zero.  Besides, we like bottle kids because they are so friendly and fun to watch romping around in the house and we have lots of time in January and February to devote to them.  And quite frankly, with the weather the way it is, I would likely not spend the time in the barn  playing and interacting with them those first few days that are so critical for raising people-friendly kids.

I had thawed some colostrum so I could feed the kids right away and allow Snickers an hour or so to pass the afterbirth before I milked her.  The kids took to the bottle after a few attempts and happily sucked down a little bit of the sticky, sweet colostrum.  Newborn kids eat often in tiny amounts so I try to mimic that feeding pattern as much as possible, feeding them a few sips every couple of hours for the first day or two.

It is common for some kids to be a bit more advanced than others and such was the case with these kids.  The little buckling was a bit slow but had a suck reflex and was eating. However, as the two doe kids were happily testing their new legs within a few hours, the little buckling was not.  Not leaving anything to chance, I administered a bit of Selenium/Vitamin E paste, gave him an injection of fortified B complex and gave him a few dabs Nutridrench, a concentrated commercial vitamin/energy boosting product. By late evening they all had consumed a few ounces of Colostrum so I tucked them into their crate and went to bed.  Newborns do fine with no food overnight and I like it that they wake up nice and eager to eat breakfast.

Fast forward a few days...
A friend at Indigo Acres is raising one doe and buck kid (he is special needs and his name is Sawyer).  I kept the moonspotted doe.   In the mean time more kids arrived from Diesel (mini-Alpines)  and quads from 17 Syllables.

I will try to summarize February in another post so I can get caught up (again).