What to Expect When The Goats Are Expecting
This morning, the Bibbed Wonder informed me that my favorite girl, Honeybelle, aka Big Red, is expected to deliver on December 7th. December 7th is just one month away! I’m not ready for the baby season. I’m not prepared to be covered in blood, mucus, poo, and milk. I’m not ready to play nursemaid if something goes wrong. I’m not prepared for the stress that goes along with the baby season. Sigh. I have one month to get ready.
To have a steady supply of milk year-round, we have to stagger the goat’s delivery dates. Some of the girls have to deliver in early winter. We have ten who are expecting to deliver between December 7th and the 13th. That means we will have a minimum of ten babies or a maximum of 40. In reality, we will have somewhere in between. All the ladies set to deliver are seasoned, good mamas. That is a relief. However, as with any delivery, there is always a risk for our girls and a risk for the babies. I view baby season with excitement and trepidation.
Having baby goats is always wonderful. There is nothing cuter than a bouncing baby goat. The birth of a healthy baby with no harm to the mama is exciting. We are often tired during the baby season, but we never tire of the excitement. I just can’t believe we are already preparing for the baby season. Once Big Red, Lily, Cindy Crawford, Belle, Brown-Brown, Lil Mouse, Mocha, Little Black, Mama Boo, and Socks deliver, we won’t have any babies until late March. Not having any deliveries in January, February, and March is a relief. The cold is hard on everyone. By the time the severe cold sets in, all the babies will be big enough to handle it. I have flannel blankets, fleece, jackets, and pajamas at the ready just in case, but we anticipate everyone should be thriving by then.
As you have read many times before, we feel prepared, but every baby season seems to bring a new challenge. Last year, the challenge we faced was some of the girls abandoning some of their babies. We hope this year is filled with healthy babies, healthy mamas, and no significant issues for anyone. We may have baby goats in the house for Christmas. My bean would love that, her mama, not so much. However, we will do whatever needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of our beloved goats.
Restocking our baby delivery kit is now a top priority. Pulling the large tote filled with towels from storage needs to happen soon. We have to make sure we have electrolytes, propylene glycol, and penicillin on hand for the mamas. We have to restock belly button clips, iodine, and vitamin B with thiamin for the little ones. We also have to have lubrication, rubber gloves, and our kid puller ready should something go wrong. Making sure we have new bulbs for the heat lamps and checking the extension cords for frays also has to happen soon. We need to replace our baby bottles with large holed nipples if we have to bottle feed. I also need to make sure we all have warm winter gear to wear to the barn and possibly spend hours. Sigh. Have I mentioned I don’t feel mentally prepared for this?
Of course, there is also the preparation of the barn for the baby season. We will have to clean, disinfect, and bed down several stalls. We will have to make sure the warming boxes are cleaned and ready with heat lamps and soft bedding. We will also have to have stalls prepared for the mamas and babies to bond in privacy. What do I expect when the girls are expecting? The answer is a lot of work. It feels daunting because we are in the midst of our holiday season, and we have two big shows coming up, but in reality, it is fun work, and the anticipation of babies is exciting.
Once our Ligonier Market is over on Saturday, we can dedicate our time to preparing for babies. Like Santa, we will be making a list and checking it twice. Fortunately, the weather will be mild to clean the barn and prepare the stalls. Let’s hope the weather remains mild well into January. Ready or not, the baby season is about to begin.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, be prepared, and keep washing your hands.