Sunday, January 13, 2013

Goat Psychology 101

It got up to 74 degrees this afternoon, but I feel a little chill creeping in now.  It will rain and get much cooler tonight and the rest of the week may even be colder than normal for this time of year.

Yesterday was also balmy.  We are having a short-lived “Spring” in January.  I raked out the big barn and let some of the mother goats and babies out of their maternity stalls to get some exercise.  All the mothers and babies in the Green Barn got to go out into its fenced yard.  We are somewhere over thirty kids with some more still to come.  Two were born today so far.  I am glad I was strict on how long the buck could stay, because I appear to be coping pretty well, despite the intense management and record keeping.  My husband has been helping out.

Here is something I told him this morning after he made the mistake of dragging the new mother away from the place where her new kids were to set her up in a clean stall:

Never try to move the mother goat first.  Move the kids to the stall and let her follow.

She is in a sea of hormones.  Goats, at first, do not identify their kids visually.  They use smell and the taste of the afterbirth they’ve been licking off to establish which kids are theirs – especially in a herd of any size. 

If you pick up a newborn or even a week old goat kid, its mother becomes confused and searches for it.  She knows who you are but does not look up into your arms for her baby.  If it isn’t on the ground, she just can’t figure out where it is!  So, let her follow you and search for her kids on the ground in the new stall.  This will also have the effect of saving your back when you are wrestling with a frantic new mother. 

When Don dragged the new mother to the new stall, where I had taken the babies in advance of the struggle, she just ran back to the place she’d been licking them off.  All that was in her head is that he’d taken her away from her kids!  She didn’t even see them there in the newly prepared stall.  I had to talk her down and make a fuss over the babies to get her to sniff them and calm down from the trauma of being dragged away.  Hopefully, all is well.  They’re certainly making a good attempt at nursing.  If her colostrum comes in quickly they’ll all be happy and well.


Sunday, January 06, 2013


'Just popping in to say that kidding began on Friday.  So far, it's been slow and steady -- eleven births from five does.  Of course, that is just two days in.  We won't know what today holds until I get down to the barns.

All the preparations done in the Fall, with my brother's help, have paid off in terms of ease of housing does with their young.  And everytime I look at the full spring-fed waterer, I think of him.  Thanks!

I'll take some pictures at some point.  The kiddies are too cute not to share.  For now, I'm trying to balance doing what needs to be done with taking care of myself.