Archive for April, 2010
Shy Girl Leo's two-week-old chicks take their first steps outdoors:
Aberdeen's babies at two days old and already bouncy:
These photos are just a teaser…
…video footage of Babies' First Day Out is coming in a couple of days!
Two beautiful little babies arrived this afternoon.
After being up every hour or two to check on Aberdeen during the night, I had been up in our loft bed grabbing some more shut-eye. Peter had just come in to say that she was still the same (laboring in first stage, contractions but no pushing yet) and I was trying to convince myself that I should get up and have some caffeine so I'd be ready when the time came, when through the open window I heard what can only be described as a bellow.
Peter went running out to check on her, while I fumbled my bleary-eyed way down the ladder and threw on some farm clothes. Peter yelled "NOW!" and I went running out to find her laying on the floor, with a "bubble" containing two tiny little hooves making its way out.
The birth went smoothly, if a little haphazardly (on our end – we'd been convinced we still had a ways to go; Aberdeen was amazing). While we fumbled around trying to get an empty feed bag under her to catch the messy baby, she pushed her little boy right out (with a few more bellows).
Her little girl followed not fifteen minutes later.
We helped as much as we could to get them cleaned off and dry (mama did most of it), and watched to make sure they both stood up and found the teat. We tied off and cut the umbilical cords, and dipped each one in iodine to prevent infection.
We brought mama goat a bucket of molasses water (which she sucked down), along with some grain and alfalfa. I gave her a couple of homeopathic arnica pellets to help with healing, and also mixed some dried herbs (mostly red raspberry leaf and nettle) into her grain. Then we sat back to enjoy the new babies while we waited for her to pass the placenta.
Aberdeen's little boy:
And her little girl:
New mama, after a job well done:
Oh yeah, Daks was on the clean-up crew:
Off now to take a nice hot bath before dinner, then check on the new babies one last time before bed.
It's very early yet: her ligaments have been playing peek-a-boo (the ones that disappear when birth is imminent), but she's been keeping to herself and breathing differently (rhythmic and heavy, like when she was in labor last year) all day.
And when I just checked on her about half an hour ago, her ligaments were gone!
We've probably still got another 12-24 hours to go, so it's going to be a long night of dozing for a bit and taking turns checking on her. (And last year, she ever-so-helpfully labored for a day and a half in first stage, then QUIT – as in totally back to normal – for a day and a half before starting over again and finally – FINALLY – having her babies. So we'll see.)
Back when we have more news (and cute baby photos)!
I made up a poem today. It goes like this:
Chickens, chickens, everywhere;
Chickens, chickens, in my hair;
Chickens, chickens, with plenty to spare;
Chickens, chickens, everywhere!
(Note: The photo was actually taken around the end of January – I just hadn't gotten around to posting it. The "poem" is from today.)
Our Aberdeen is getting ready to bring her next generation of kids into the world. These photos were taken about two weeks ago, and – if you can believe it – she's now even bigger! Her udder has been filling for a couple of weeks, and today I've noticed that she seems a little more restless than usual.
Gestation in goats can vary between 145 and 155 days, with 150 days considered the norm. Last year, Aberdeen kidded at 148 days. She is currently at 145 days, and Peter and I both think she's not going to wait too much longer. I'm guessing that we'll have new little goat babies by Tuesday!
Look at the size of her – I'm hoping she only has two in there!
Just for kicks, here's a shot of Peter giving treats (er, weeds) to last year's babies (now yearlings). From left to right: Nikabrik (the only boy), Lulu, Zoe and Inara.
And, because it wouldn't be right to leave them out (and because they're just too darn cute), I have to include a shot of Drama Queen and Koko.
Unlike Aberdeen, Drama is not in the family way. We didn't breed her in the fall due to a recurring staph infection on her udder; after two rounds of Penicillin and still no relief, we wanted to give her body a break.
What finally seems to have done the trick (fingers crossed)? Grapefruit Seed Extract, which you can find in any health food store. It's been shown to have antibiotic and antimicrobial actions – I've used it myself to guard against "traveler's diarrhea" while in India, and more recently, when a flu-like virus turned into what appeared to be some kind of bronchial or respiratory infection. It hadn't occurred to me to try it with Drama, until we were faced with having to move her to a stronger antibiotic (with more potential side effects and more potential damage to our soil). I saw the bottle sitting on a shelf, did a little research to find that it is indeed used for both pets and livestock, and figured we had nothing to lose by giving it a try.
I guesstimated a dosage (6 drops daily, based on her weight – 3 drops mixed in with her morning snack and 3 with her afternoon snack), and also mixed it into an herbal salve I'd been putting directly on her sores. We continued this for several weeks, until all of the sores had been healed and gone for at least two to three weeks. Then we weaned her off of it – going down to two drops per feeding for a few days, then one, then none.
So far (knock on wood), we've seen no sign of her sores reappearing. So this past Monday, when she went into heat, we finally allowed her to be bred. If she took she'll be due in early September, giving us the gift of year-round fresh yummy goat milk. Go Drama!
This time from the front, the cuteness that is Inara:
Last, but definitely not least, we've received so many nice comments on this blog lately, both here and via email, and I just want to say thank you. We've enjoyed and appreciated each and every one. If you've contacted us recently and not yet gotten a response, please know that we're not ignoring you! It's been an incredibly busy time here lately, but we will be responding to every email as soon as we get the chance.
We'll be back with news from Goatlandia very soon, along with an update on the many recent happenings in Chickenville. As always, thanks for reading.
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- New goat house almost ready!
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- “Goat crossing”
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- Winnie on Harvest time is so beautiful…
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