Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Milk of Human Kindness

On Friday afternoon, my friend Ginger came over with four of her kids to clean out barn stalls. This was labor bartered for milk buckets. We all pitched in and raked out the maternity barn, all the while playing musical goats to pen them while we cleaned.

The baby goats tend to get under foot, especially the little "ice princess" who was a bottle baby by necessity, as her mother had been in deep shock, having kidded in the extreme cold. The first kid, a buckling, only made it for a day, but the doeling seemed healthy and hungry, so I fed her until her momma's hormones kicked in. When Una was ready and eager to feed her baby, baby was rejecting her, preferring the baby bottle she was used to. She tended to follow me around, believing that there must be milk in my legs somewhere, while her mother followed HER, wanting desperately to nurse her.

I asked Maggie, the goat tender on her family farm, to please sit on the floor and try to get the baby to nurse. My arthritis makes it hard for me to do that.

Meanwhile, we cleaned and cleaned, Patrick hauled cartloads of used hay and sawdust out to the pile. The littlest girls, Rose and Nora, filled buckets with clean sawdust and spread it on the floor after each stall was cleaned out. Clean hay was placed in racks, water buckets were filled. All was clean and dry and mothers matched up with babies for grain feeding before we left.

Maggie was successful in getting the "ice princess" to nurse! Hallelujia! What a revelation to the little goat that a constant supply of perfectly delicious, warm milk was hovering nearby all along.

We moved on to the big barn for a while, and great progress was made. The days spent attending kidding goats had put me behind in the barn cleaning business.

I think the (human) kids actually enjoyed the experience. I know I appreciated the help.

1 comment:

CountryDew said...

I am really glad I am not raising goats right now. You're working very hard.