Kidding season is supposed to be fun – all those cute babies, the anticipation of girl or boy and what color. That does not portray this year’s kidding season. The road has been a bit bumpy.
I’ve been posting pictures on Facebook of the little cute things, but I’ve been hiding what’s really been happening behind the scenes. I thought I would take a moment to tell you the “rest of the story.”
Our April Fool’s begat quads – that’s right 4 bouncing baby boys – first time ever for us on the 444Farm! Neighbors answered our distress call after momma wouldn’t get up but yet didn’t appear in active labor. After a team huddle and consultation with neighbors Joe and 85 year old Donna, it was decided to go ahead and pull goats. We’ve only had to assist the labor of one other goat in our 7 years of raising them so to say we didn’t know what we were doing would be a major understatement. Jason and Sally stepped in and pulled out goat after goat until we reached the magical number 4. Unfortunately we lost momma so we became surrogate mothers.
The quads spent the first night in the bathtub in the house so we could bottle feed them every 4 hours but they have been amazingly healthy. We graduated to every 6 hours and then every 8 hours, and changed from bottle feeding to pail feeding. They started out weighing 4.4 lbs to 7.5 lbs. but have been growing quickly.
You don’t actually walk in the corral. You shuffle with a minimum of three kids between your ankles at all times. We are now trying to break them of all the annoying habits that bottle feeding brings like being mobbed every time you go into the pen.
I have to tell you about our little granddaughter did NOT fall immediately in love with the baby goats. Her first impressions were they were really loud, that mommy gives them an awful lot of hugs, and it's not fair that they get a bottle. Her opinions have since changed. :) The mommas' opinions have not changed tho. They find Sage quite scary!
Names? Well, with four of them, I figured that was enough that they would be a bunch of outlaws so we borrowed some well-known outlaw names – from left to right - Doc Holliday, The Duke (one good guy to keep the others in line!), Jesse James, and Billy The Kid.
Next up was triplets! Momma did great and babies did mostly great. Amos was born with splayed back legs. Not that big of a deal as they self-correct very quickly. But then we noticed that his front leg was also “not right” and momma said “reject.” Now if I had been in my right mind, I should have said “Momma, this here is your son, and you WILL take care of him!” Instead I said, “You have more than enough milk for that baby so if you’re not going to let him eat, I’m going to milk you!” To which Momma replied, “Do I get extra feed for that service?” Yup, she jumps right up on that milk stand and stands perfect for milking. And I created another bottle baby on my own accord. What was I thinking?? Mostly that I needed milk for soap, I think, but momma definitely won’t let me reverse my answer. And Baby Amos now has 4 perfect legs. For the record – the triplets are Amos, Andy, and Annie – 2 boys and 1 girl.
Annie (with her helicopter ears)
Andy - aka Tank
Finally, Twins – Goober and Gomer (both boys)… BUT…Goober is too weak to stand. I think the technical name for it is “Weak Kid Syndrome”. Back to bottle feedings every 3-4 hours and daily energy drink with lots of vitamins (Vit. E!) and minerals. On day 3 he is able to stand on his own and momma said “thanks, I think I can feed him now.” (Alleluia!) He is plump and has no issues walking per se, but we noticed that he doesn’t run and jump much. Made a call to the vet to see if he has more helpful hints for us and we're going to do a round of antibiotics for a possible cord infection.
Twins, Again! – Girl and Boy (no names). Born in the rain, but healthy and happy just the way we like them. No bottle feedings, no loss of sleep! The white one is the big guy so far and weighed 9.5 lbs at birth. Discussions about the names are the worst things these two have caused. We believe that we will also be keeping the black and white female back so that is exciting for us.
Twins, sort of … Tula had twins, but one died shortly after birth. Tula had been on probation. While she is a good mommy, she doesn’t do birthing well and you have to be there when she kids. DH talked me into keeping her to try one more time but we are now on the same page and Tula will be sold this fall. Beautiful goat but just higher maintenance that we can handle. The surviving twin is a girl and since their markings are very close she became Tula Junior or TJ for short! And I think she's a keeper too!
Out of the first 5 momma’s that have kidded, only 1 has been uneventful. That is not the way we like it! The last two momma's decided to take it easy on me.
These are Mocha's twins who look amazingly similar to last years twins. You really have to think about who is who. These two girls are still searching for the right name.
And then there is my favorite mama - Jo-Jo. She also gave us twin girls in a most uneventful way.
The final tally - 7 mommas, 16 babies so an average of 2.2 kids per goat. Our goal is always 2.0 so we did great! In the end we had 11 boys (bucklings) and 5 girls (doelings). The boys will be sold along with at least one girl come Decemberish.
The soaping has been neglected but soon I’ll be switching gears and back to full production again. Right now, I would be happy with a list to give me the sensation of organization and a right sided up world. Cuz it sure has felt upside down right now!
Have a great day and may you get lots of sleep! Penny