The last ones in this wave finally arrived yesterday. We had concerns about this doe not only because Bo is still getting carried away with himself and a couple of the does have bite marks on their faces to show for it, but because this doe has, for lack of a better way to put it, "too much" in the milk department. We bought this doe, bred, at Cream of the Crop 2010, and she had a nice doeling the following spring, but her udder had gotten just huge and stayed huge for over a week before she kidded. I had googled it, and it sounded like a congested udder. It was actually bruised looking, and Chuck had to milk it down so her doeling could even use it. The milk she produced was good quality, so she never got classic mastitis, and it receded somewhat as she nursed her kid. I had read that feeding corn could cause this, so this year we didn't feed any straight corn, athough there is some corn in the mix. Over the past week, her udder was getting bigger and bigger again, although her teats had remained a reasonable size. Her udder was causing her trouble when she walked, though, and she could hardly lie down. It almost looked like she was riding a Hippity Hop, for those of you that know what that is. Yesterday, her udder had begun to do what it did last year, and her teats began to expand. Thankfully it never got as bad as last year.
When I got to the farm yesterday afternoon, I saw one wet new looking kid behind one shed, and Speckles in the middle of the field with another one, obviously brand spanking new. I advised Bo to keep himself away from them, because it was a cold, wet day indeed. I took the liberty of moving the kids to one of the little kidding sheds we have just because of how miserably cold it was. Speckles continued to dry her kids, and I called Chuck and told him what was going on. Virginia had had enough (she calls the shots, and will for some time I expect) and I didn't figure I could catch Speckles to work her udder. Chuck and the other two kids had been out spending a small fortune at the Dinosaur show, and he was happy to have a reason to leave the long lines and crazy prices, and the kids were getting tired, too. Chip and Annalee both got to ride an animatronic dinosaur, but Chip never cracked a smile the whole ride. Apparently, he had some concerns about the whole thing. Discretion is, of course, the better part of valor.
When Chuck arrived at the farm, he blocked Speckles in the shed and took the opportunity to collect some colostrum... a lot of colostrum, and there was still a gracious plenty for the kids. I would never recommend this doe to someone who was a totally hands off producer, but to tighten up her udder some but still keep her capacity to produce a lot of milk would make some good does in future generations. Tightening up that udder is the trick, though, and only time will tell how well these bucks do that for her. She makes me mad sometimes , but she almost always has Famacha scores of 1, so I'll put up with her. Her kids were out beginning to bounce a bit, a buck and a doe.
The strangest thing we have had this kidding season (so far, as the season is quite young yet) is the ordeal endured by the old wide, wide doe. Chuck called me and said she had gone into labor, but nothing was happening. By the time I drove up to help (what I thought I was going to do, I don't know) she had delivered one buck kid, and was starting with something strange. Hours later she passed what appeared to be a mummified kid. After that, we gave up watching to see if there was another (surely dead at that point) kid or just afterbirth going to come after about 12 hours of her being in and out of labor. Since stuff was coming out, slowly but surely, we really didn't want to try to go up in her and risk screwing something up really bad. She and Bo also had gotten into it during all this. We started giving her LA 200 because of what she had been through, and have adopted a wait and see attitude. If she has internal damage, there isn't much that can be done. Chuck sequestered her and her kid for a day for everyone's safety, and today, she seemed brighter. She is absolutely in love with this buck kid, too. I may be anthropomorphizing too much, but somehow it seems when a doe loses one kid but the other survives, she pours a twins' worth of mothering into that one remaining kid. CB and Bo were not real fans of each other even before all this, and today, even though he was asleep about thirty feet from her and facing away, she stood there staring daggers at him, the look on her face saying with no uncertainty, "bud, you come near me or my kid, and they'll be cleaning up what's left of you with a mop." Now, I watched from the car with Virginia as her buck kid looked over at the sleeping Bo, and went bouncity bounce bounce right over to him. You could just see in the kid's posture that he was just itching to use Bo as a trampoline. Bo looked at him disinterestedly, then over at me as if to say, "clearly, you see I was minding my own business." CB continued her venomous stare. Three or four times the buck bounced back and forth between Bo and his momma. It was funny to watch, but I didn't want to risk Bo walking over to her because she would have gone after him full force, and he would have retailated... and I just didn't need all that drama. Bo seems to lose interest in the kids as "his" within a few days, so hopefully this is just part of his learning curve. If the difference in his style versus Ralph the Pyrenees' style is truly breed related, I can see why Tennessee State's goat program uses a cross between the two breeds. Ralph is a little too hands off, and Bo gets carried away with himself, and there are pros and cons to both. This is all part of the journey, and hopefully by next season both dogs will be old pros. The kids are getting out and about with their mommas now, and starting to be a lot of fun to watch. As I have seen written, it truly is impossible to remain in a bad mood when watching kid goats playing.
I want to mention one thing we've found about our kidding sheds. We made the originals 8 feet long by 4 feet wide and about 4 feet high. They make nice shelters from precipitation for adult goats, but the smaller versions of these we made are by far better for kidding and kids. Since we kid in the winter, it is more important for the sheds to retain heat. Even the larger ones aren't tall and airy enough to not get hotter than they should in the summer, so we will probably make some summer vent modifications to those. The smaller sheds do trap a lot of heat, though, and for one doe and kids, they are perfect for pastures like ours with no natural cover or windbreaks. We had painted the original sheds white, but we are going to paint them all a darker color to make them a degree or two warmer in winter, because the white paint isn't enough to cool them off in the summer. I'll try to get some pictures to post of both, and what modifications we can make to tailor them to best meet our needs.