Happy Spring! Well, not officially until 5:24, but spring is near. For me, it’s officially spring when I see a robin. Looking for those little dark birds with red breasts and a distinctive song has been happening for weeks. Finally, yesterday, I spotted a large cluster of robins in the field. Seeing those little red-breasted songbirds gives me hope for sunshine and warmer temperatures.
The Bibbed Wonder planned the goat’s delivery dates for mid to late March because the frigid temperatures should be just about over by March, right? Wrong. This year, we would have been better off planning the deliveries in February when we had several weeks of 50+ degree weather. Sigh. At the beginning of the weekend, we had thirteen baby goats. Now, on Monday morning, we only have eleven.
We are not having a lot of luck with multiple births this kidding season. My sweet girl, Red, delivered quadruplets and only has one left. Alice, our little black and white Boer goat, delivered triplets; only one remains. We don’t understand what is going on with the multiple births. The kids start strong but crash quickly with no symptoms or signs of illness. They were all up, eating, standing, walking, and doing everything a newborn baby goat should be doing. We check them, and an hour later, we find them limp and on the verge of death. It’s a mystery.
On a more positive note, I am thankful Red is doing well. She is now on her feet, eating and drinking; all her systems are functioning, and she is happy to have her little one back with her. Midge, Red’s baby, is doing great. She can nurse a little bit from her mama, but we feed her two bottles for a total of eighteen ounces per feeding every four hours. I am thrilled that she is fat, happy, bouncing, and very active. Returning her to Red’s side definitely helped in raising Red’s spirits. My sweet Red goat is an excellent mom and such a loving girl. As soon as the temperatures warm up and level off, we will turn Red loose with the rest of the herd for a few hours daily. Goats are very social creatures, and they enjoy the company of their herd. Although we will continue to keep Red and her little one in a large stall during the late afternoon and overnight, she needs to have some limited social interactions with her friends. However, she does not need to fight her way to the feeder or compete for a place at the feeding trough. Goats are very pushy animals. One would swear our girls don’t have steady access to grain twice daily by how they push and compete for their space at the feeding trough. My sweet girl gets to eat in the peace and quiet of her own private stall, where we can monitor her closely.
Also, we have a house goat. Sigh. Alice’s remaining baby is currently in the house with us until the temperatures rise, and she is strong enough to eat and bounce with her mama. This weekend was touch and go with her. We were not confident she would survive. Eric had to tube her for two days, and we kept her in a box with a heating pad in my bedroom should she need anything through the night. Tube feeding a baby goat is not for the weak. My bib overall wearing, goat-saving wonder buns is patient, capable, and fearless when treating baby goats. He makes me very proud. Our diligence in caring for her helped her pull through. I am pleased to share that her last two feedings have been on the bottle. Although it takes her quite a while, she now eats around five ounces per feeding every four hours. Her suck reflex is not as strong as I would like. She needs to work on eating independently and moving better before we return her to her mama. I am confident she will return with her mom in the barn by the week’s end.
Having a baby goat in the house is much like having a human baby. One must watch them every moment. They love being cuddled and played with when they are awake. However, much of the time is spent feeding them and cleaning up their messes. My laundry workload has dramatically increased this weekend. Every time I turn around, I change my clothes because I am smeared with yellow, stinky baby goat poo, or I am being peed on, or milk is being dribbled all over me. I quickly tire of smelling like poo, pee, milk, and afterbirth. Baby season is gross, if I’m being transparent. However, once all the babies are born and they are strong, bouncing, healthy, and playing, it is worth all the work, effort, and sleepless nights. I am holding off on naming this little girl until she is stronger. I know it seems odd, but I feel like it is less painful should she die if I don’t name her. It’s just a weird coping device I utilize. Although, I have a running list of potential names for her. My first choice is Sweet Pea, but Polka also has potential. She has a perfect circle, like a polka dot, in the center of her back. She’s a beautiful little girl.
Thankfully, nobody is showing signs of labor this morning. The Bibbed Wonder and I are walking around in a state of exhaustion. Between the girls delivering, the babies needing special care, my bean performing in her school musical three times this weekend, running her to after-show events, and waking every four hours to feed a baby goat, it’s been a long weekend. I must admit, I am looking forward to baby season being over.
I told my bib overall-wearing buddy I am getting too old for this nonsense. He is in agreeance. He told me to begin looking for a condo in a warm climate because he is over this cold weather, hard work, and uncertainty. I feel like we go through this every year around this time. Last year, I was ready to move us to the murder capital of Belize. No worries; when the sun shines, temperatures rise, and the babies are healthy, we will return to loving our farm life. However, the longer this goes on, the more I look forward to giving my little bean the keys to the castle. Sigh. I am ready for retirement. It’s just the exhaustion talking.
On this sunny, soon-to-be-spring day, be safe, stay smart, get some rest, wash the yucky smells off with some amazing goat’s milk soap, and keep washing your hands.