Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Welcome to the World!

I had the best surprise EVER yesterday! I had decided to take the goats down to the farmgate stand area (which is now fenced off, and safe from the dogs). I leashed up Trouble, grabbed some grain, and led him down the driveway. The others just followed along. I got them in the area, dumped the grain, then realized Lily wasn't there. I couldn't see her in the field... where was she? So, grumbling and groaning that the damn goats were so much trouble, I went up to the pasture to find Lily. I peeked in the shelter, and what do I see? Lily standing next to the most beautiful little tiny baby goat! She was so sneaky! I didn't even notice signs of labour or anything. Just... voila! There's a kid! It's a little doe, and her name is Clover. (all my baby goats will have plant names for now. It's a theme).

Anyway, little Clover looked very strong, but she couldn't seem to find the teat. I waited and watched for over an hour. During that time, I cut down the umbilical cord, and dipped it in iodine, so it would dry up and not get infected. I also realized I wasn't yet ready for a baby... I didn't have anything ready! I needed to make sure Lily had water, and fresh bedding. Oh, and I needed a camera! So, I walked inside, found a likely container to put water in. Walked back out to the pasture, realized I had forgotten the water. Walked part way back to the house, realized I had forgotten the camera. Got the camera, left the container, walked out to the pasture, realized I had forgotten both the container AND the water. Laughed myself silly at what a flustered zombie I was, then finally got it together. Gave Lily water. Noticed Clover STILL hadn't had a drink. I started to worry... apparently they need to get collustrum in the first 90 minutes or so in order to be strong and healthy. It was coming up to that time!
First steps!

Went back inside, grabbed some syringes (which amazingly I had the foresite to purchase just a couple of days before) and a container, and proceeded to milk Lily. I've never milked a goat or anything before, so I was flying blind. There was some wax buildup clogging up the teats, so I cleared that, then stripped out milk and collustrum into the little container. Syringed it up, and fed it to little Clover. I gave her about 5 syringefuls. Then, I showed her the teats... again.... and she finally latched on! Within seconds, though, Lily kicked her off. She seemed really uncomfortable, so I wondered if maybe there was another baby in there. I kept watch for a while longer, then Lily shed the afterbirth. As soon as that happened, she felt better, and let Clover suckle. YAY!!! Almost everytime I checked on them today, Clover was eating. She is healthy and sturdy, but oh, so tiny!! Barely as big as a chicken! I got some pics, but none of them are very good. My flash in my camera decided to die, so I did the best I could. Clover is all brown, with a tiny white fleck on one side. And, amazingly enough, she was even cuter today than she was yesterday!! ;-)

Lily is being a super good mom, especially considering she is a first timer. She is cleaning her, and nuzzling her, and letting her feed as much as she wants. I was hoping for twins, but you know what? Just super happy I have a healthy baby!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

End of an Era

I had to make a hard, hard farming decision last month. Bully, the Dorking roo I've had since the day after I moved into my farm has long been proven infertile. He was a beautiful bird. BUT, I need to find a way to make some moulah on these chickens. Selling eggs doesn't quite cut it. So, the last batch of chickens I took in to the processor included Bully. I will admit, I shed a tear as I was driving him there. He ended up being about 7 lbs, and he went on to make lots and lots of nourishing chicken broth for me, and thus went into a few batches of soups. It was probably the best soup stock I've made yet. So, at least poor Bully was useful for something in the end.

Bye-bye, Bully. You were a good rooster.
I had 9 dorking roos from the batch I hatched out last fall - they are Bloody Monday's get. I replaced Bully with one of them. I waited three weeks, then put some eggs into the incubator... hopefully I'll get some babies!! The only sucky part is that all my dorking chicks will be related now. Not as much genetic diversity.

Flooded Driveway

Flooded Driveway
Too much RAIN!