Sunday, January 31, 2010

End of January Update

Incredibly long, hard days spent mostly in the barns are how I spent January this year.  It's not over.  I'll be spending much of February the same way.

We have 46 live newborn goats as of yesterday.  They are tucked in with their mothers everywhere we can devise.  All mother goats need feed, hay, and water twice daily.  Babies need a chance to exercise and learn their baby goat dances.  We have three little kids who require bottle feeding three times a day.  Two were abandoned by their mothers, most likely because of harsh weather conditions. 

One was bottle fed "temporarily" while here mother was being treated for massive engorgement.  When the mother goat's udder and teats are painful, the babies cannot nurse successfully.  Once the engorgement was resolved, one of the twins re-learned nursing from her mother.  The other refuses and yells for a bottle.

Mother goat does not want her baby to drink from a baby bottle.  She chews at the bottle and tries to nudge the kid off it.  I'd like to get the kid to revert to Mom, too.  The danger is that the baby will decline and literally die of starvation -- they can be that stubborn.  So, for now, I milk Mamma goat and put her milk in a bottle to feed her little Sarah Burnheart.  We'll resolve it when the kid is old enough to be eating hay and grain and there is more leeway.

This year, weather is a huge factor.  I don't remember a colder Winter since we moved to Virginia.  On some days it has been so frigid that kids froze to death as they were born.  This, even though we've provided shelter inside, out of the wind.  It is heartbreaking.

Yesterday, we had a foot and a half of snow dumped on us, which really impacted on the ability to travel to and from the barns.  Thankfully, it was on a weekend and my husband has been driving me up and down and helping tremendously.

There is a lot of barn clean-up that is being done as energy and time allow.  Last week, little Hillery people and their Mom materialized to do a multi-hour clean-up, with vigor.  For that, I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Most of the snow is melted, except for shady pockets up high.  We've had rain, mud, sunshine, and are back to expected rain and freezing rain in the forecast for today.  I guess the temperatures are on the way back down.

Kidding started on Sunday afternoon with triplet doelings.  We have only one buckling in ten births so far.  I don't know if it has something to do with the buck or if it is a statistical fluke.  If you're looking for me, I'll be down in the barn for the next month, or so.  We'll need names that start with "B" if you want to make some suggestions -- and a lot of female names, please.  I'll let you know how things shake out.

'Am typing with one eye -- and two hands, of course.  Scotch tape is better than an eye patch.  It is the rain in the forecast that makes my eyes so dry and painful.  Anyway, that should cover me for typos in this post.

'Talk to you when I get a chance...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Black Crows

For the first time since we built this many-windowed house, big black crows have been coming to the windows and pounding on the glass during the day.  I think it is a group of three.  They've been here since Christmas.

Is it a sign, a symbol, a metaphor?  What do they want?  Do they want me to fly away with them?

'Sorry.  I'm busy right now.

The goats are ready to start kidding.  We're having a little warm spell after brutal cold days.  I just need to keep my strength up.

Go away, crows!