Braided Bower Farm, animal population
31 36 37*:
* I missed a hidden peep the first time I saw them
Braided Bower Farm, animal population
31 36 37*:
* I missed a hidden peep the first time I saw them
Galahad (more commonly known as “You Little Weasel” or simply “Pesky”) meeting the rest of the herd for the first time, with mama Lulu keeping watch
Galahad introducing himself to cousin Isis (again, with mama Lulu keeping a close eye on things)
Sorry for the blurry image, but I love this shot… and goats love Peter!
Broodies, broodies everywhere… (The record so far was seven hens broody – i.e., wanting to hatch eggs, and therefore not laying – at the same time. I did give in and give eggs to two of them, one in each coop… 1-1/2 weeks until we have chicks!)
Nettle harvest, from a very small patch by the river – enough for a nice helping of steamed nettles for each of us with dinner! (The nettles were so tasty, I can’t even remember what the main course was…) I’m hoping to get one or two more meals from this patch before they get too large and tough.
Our first spring salad! Lettuce from the farmer’s market, volunteer arugula, spearmint and chives from our garden, wild dandelion leaves, oxeye daisy leaves (so sweet!) and purple deadnettle tops, and wood sorrel from the woodsy area by the river… eating this salad, my body sang!
Our beautiful eggs, from our beautiful hens… these are a staple in our diet almost year-round
Three nights of very little sleep, thinking she was going into labor. Today, finally, in labor. All day. Single birth. Giant kid, with really giant head. First-time goat mama, with really tiny birth canal. Head stuck. Amniotic sac burst. Me pulling while she’s pushing. Mama goat hollering. Can’t budge head. Mama goat tiring, stopping. Kid’s tongue turning blue. Thought we’d lost him. Still not sure how we finally got him out of there. Wonderful surprise to find him still alive. Choking and wheezing on aspirated amniotic fluid. Swung him several times, now seems fine. He’s a little firecracker. Mama Lulu is tired and torn, but seems happy with her brand new baby. Did I mention he’s huge?
Finally threw together some footage of Zoe’s babies!
Two little doelings, one black and one bay; born at about 5:15 or 5:30 this morning. The black girl came out first, frank breech (butt first). Zoe was a trooper – that couldn’t have felt good! It took us a minute to figure out what we were seeing – most often the kids come out in a “diving” position, front feet and head first, so we were looking for a pair of hooves and perhaps a nose. When we first saw a “blob” with no hooves, we thought we were seeing the head and that the front legs were bent back. In that case, it’s important to gently reposition one or both legs so that the baby doesn’t get stuck at the shoulders. So, I scrubbed up, lubed, and (gently!) went in. I had to feel around for a minute to realize that what I felt was not the head, but the butt. Meanwhile, Zoe was still pushing, but the baby seemed to be stuck at the vulval opening. While Peter held Zoe and encouraged her, I used my lubed hands to gently help her vulva open wide enough for the baby’s big butt and back legs to make their way out.
With a breech birth, there’s more of a danger of the baby aspirating some of the amniotic fluid, so as soon as she was fully out we moved quickly to clear her mouth and nose of any fluids. Then Peter held her up by her back legs and (again, gently!) swung her back and forth. This is a trick we learned from our friend and goat mentor to ensure that any fluids that may have entered her lungs are drained back out. This all happened in the space of only a minute or two, and immediately after we plunked her down on a towel in front of mama Zoe, so she could get down to the business of cleaning off her new daughter.
While Zoe licked and cleaned and Peter towel-dried the newborn, I turned my attention back to the two little hooves showing at Zoe’s back end. They were back hooves, meaning that this baby was coming out footling breech (back feet first). So, this one would also need to be “swung”. She came out smoothly, a tiny little thing, and we once again worked quickly to get her mouth and nose cleared. But we couldn’t swing her – her umbilical cord was thick and twisted around and around on itself, and only a few inches long. It had not broken or separated on its own, so she was still attached to her mama’s insides. Did I mention it was only a few inches long? We couldn’t move her, couldn’t swing her, couldn’t even get her out of the now chilling puddle of amniotic fluid in which she was laying. I held her and rubbed her vigorously to try to warm her while Peter grabbed dental floss and scissors from our birthing kit. He used the floss to carefully tie off her cord in two places, and then cut the cord in between. He immediately swung her to clear her lungs and placed her on a clean dry towel in front of Zoe. Zoe went to work cleaning her up while we rubbed her vigorously with towels, both to get her dried off and to get her warmed up and get her blood pumping. At about this time we noticed that she was bleeding quite a bit from her umbilical cord, so we tied it off again, as tightly as we could.
It took a little while to get this second little girl warmed to the point where she was no longer shivering, but surprisingly, she was the first to go for the teat. She was determined to get her colostrum! Zoe didn’t know what to make of this at first and kept moving away, but once her little girl latched on and started guzzling away she settled right down.
We began cleaning up while we waited for Zoe to pass her placenta. While scooping up the sopping towels and fluid-soaked straw (birth is messy!), we also kept an eye on the little black doeling, who hadn’t yet nursed. Once we had helped her to find the teat and we saw that she got a good dose of colostrum, we packed out our birthing kit and garbage and brought Zoe some grain and alfalfa and a fresh bucket of hot water (Peter had already brought her a bucket of hot water with molasses immediately after she finished kidding; she sucked most of it down right away).
At this point all that was left to do was to dip each kid’s umbilical cord in iodine, in order to prevent infection. We poured our iodine solution into a pill bottle, picked up the first kid, dipped her cord into the bottle, and then tipped her over onto her back with the bottle pressed firmly to her belly. This ensures that the iodine coats the entire area. We repeated the process with the second kid, and then left mama and babies to rest and bond.
And, oh yeah – about that placenta? Zoe, smart mama that she is, ate most of it. What little bit she left went to the dog. Nothing goes to waste on the farm!
Our beloved and rascally Reepicheep and Pattertwig (now known as Waylon and Willie) went to their fantastic new home a couple of weeks ago. We miss them, but we know that they are being treasured and loved by their new keepers. We feel so grateful to have found such wonderful homes for both sets of twins we’ve sold over the past few months. (The above photos were taken on a sunny day in January; the bottom one is the two of them with their mama, Drama Queen.)
But don’t despair, ye lovers of baby goats: our little Zoe (Aberdeen’s daughter from 2009, now not so little anymore) appears to be in the beginning stages of labor. Soon there will be cute goat baby photos yet again! (We know that’s the only reason y’all come here…)
(For those of you that are actually still reading, apologies for yet another long absence – it was a crazy winter for us, but we’re hoping to be much more regular with posting now and maybe even catch up on some back posts we’ve wanted to write!)
Barnabas and Clarisse, Aberdeen’s kids from this spring, are the first of our goats that we’ve ever sold. It was hard, but we don’t have the space, money or time to keep all of the goats that have been and will be born here. In order to produce milk, the mamas need to have babies. (And also for their own health ? unbred does can have a tendency to put on weight.)
So far, all of Aberdeen’s offspring have inherited her sweet and gentle personality. We sure do miss those two, but oh boy did they (and we) luck out ? they went to a fantastic home, where I suspect they’re receiving even more scritches and nose-kisses than they did here.
If you want to see them in their new surroundings, click the link below (posted with the permission of their wonderful new caretaker).
(And if you’re ever in the Bend, Oregon, area and have a need to board your dog, something tells me that Tumalo Bed & Biscuit would be the place to do so!)
Update Nov 2: Barnabas and Clarisse have left for their wonderful new home (where, I’m confident to say, they will be spoiled rotten). Drama Queen’s two little boys have also been spoken for, but we’ll have more goat babies coming in the spring!
Update Oct 27: We are pretty sure that Barnabas and Clarisse have found their happy home, but we will leave the ad up until they’re gone just in case. We will also be selling a pair of Oberian wethers in a couple of months, beautiful boys with intact horns. We would prefer that they go together.
Clarisse and Barnabas are a six-month-old sister/brother pair of 3rd generation Oberian (Mini-Oberhasli) dairy goats looking for a loving home.
Gentle Clarisse will make a wonderful family milk goat ? her dam is an easy milker and currently giving us well over a half-gallon a day with only minimal grain supplementation.
Barnabas is a wethered (“fixed”) male, and is her best friend. Wethers are the friendliest goats, and this little cutie is no exception. We want these two to go together, as goats are social animals (a goat alone is a miserable goat) with very strong sibling bonds.
Our goats are dam-raised until weaned, but very friendly due to frequent interaction with humans. Their main diet is a mix of organically maintained pasture and local grass hay. We use gentle herbal wormers and have never had to resort to chemical ones.
Clarisse has a scur (incompletely removed horn) that lays back along the top of her head, and Barnabas has two that are shaped like full horns but smaller. Their dam (on-site) and sire are both from Mystic Acres Farm’s Oberian lines.
They are available as a pair for $175.