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.

1 comment: said...

I was thinking of you guys yesterday and this morning, worried about the trek. Even the kids mentioned it. As soon as the roads are traversible (is that a word?), we will be back to clean some more. But maybe you better hide the cheese and crackers before we get there!