Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Exhausted by baby goats...

Well, the testing of the first semester is over at school, and we have just started new classes with new faces.  If that were not enough to wear me out, I also spent last weekend and today at the farm with kidding does because Chuck had to work.  Normally it isn't a big deal, but last Friday and Saturday were unusually cold for this area... like single digit cold with a 20 mph wind.  Yikes. 

Notice the outdoor temperature.  A balmy seven degrees.
Baby goats.
We might get a couple of days this cold every few years, but this time, we have had it on and off for over a week!  Then we had snow on top of the frigid ground.  We had made it so we could sequester the does that were bagging up and looked ready to kid near the barn, so we thought, well, they can go in the barn to kid and they'll have a windbreak (which our pastures sorely lack).  Cool.  We normally have maybe a couple does kid at a time, followed by a few more the next week, and so on and so on.  Since we have bucks on the farm pretty close to the does all the time, we've never really seen the "buck effect," which is when all the does come in heat at one time due to the introduction of a buck and his pheromones.

And more baby goats.
It would appear that some strange alignment of the planets about 150 days ago turned our farm into a giant "love in" of epic proportion.  Chip's goat, Tempy, kidded on the 23rd.  Chuck had picked Chip up a little early from school, so Chip got to be there to see his brand new baby goats.  All well and good.  It was cold, but these guys were doing fine, so no worries.

Chip's baby goats.
The littlest guys so far.
Then, the floodgates opened.  Does started dropping kids right and left (or so it seemed).  The cold remained brutal.  I sat in the car and watched a 50% doe go to a shed, have her kids, and frantically spin from kid to kid, cleaning furiously.  I went to check on them after a few minutes and ice was already forming a crust on the kids' fur, despite her best efforts to warm them.  Fabulous.  I grabbed them up and took them to the car and toweled them off.  I had the heat in the car blasting to the point even I was miserable (did I mention I had all three human kids in the car with me?) and Annalee, Chip, and Virginia were begging me to turn down the heat.  I took the kids back out and the doe came over, but they would get cold again and lose the strength to try to nurse.  Great.  Annalee helped me catch the doe and milk some colostrum into a syringe, and I took the kids back to the car and once they warmed up, they drank some from the syringe.  These kids were quite small, so part of their problem was a sheer lack of body mass.  They just got so cold so fast they lost strength.  The human kids were wailing about starving to death, so I drove the goat kids home with me.  Chuck was about to get off work, and he could drive them back up.  I just knew there was nowhere I could put them that they would have a chance to retain any warmth.

And more baby goats.
By the time I got home, the kids were completely dry and rather invigorated.  I had two tiny little urchins sliding around on the floor trying to nurse everything in sight.  Chuck came home, filled up water jugs with hot water (keeping water available has been a challenge), and took off back to the farm.  He said that when the doe heard her kids, she nearly crawled into his car.  He was able to reunite the family, and the doe took over.  Chuck weighed the kids, and one was a little under four pounds and one just a little over.  Our kids aren't normally that small, but this doe is a second time mom and still growing herself.  We have weights and sized all over the place this year.
Would you believe more baby goats?
Baby goats to old mamas.
Baby goats to new mamas.
School was cancelled today, and it also cancelled tomorrow.  There is an optional teacher workday, and I sure need to go in to play catch up.  Annalee and Chip are on a two hour delay.  I want to post some pictures of the kids, but I will have to finish writing later because I am just that tired and I have laundry to finish.  Oh, how I am looking forward to the more typical temperatures forecast for later this week!  I think we are somewhere around 25 baby goats in the past few days, but I'm not even sure.  It is a bit of a blur...
We even have triplet baby goats.

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