January started the year off with a slap in the face, and I’m not even going to mention February. Since tomorrow is March 31st, as of this writing. I’m feeling safe to call March a success, so here we go!
Spring has officially sprung and so have all the goat babies! 20 born with one loss at birth, four more goats to go and then the kidding season on our farm is officially over. March has been insane. So insane that my hopeful goal of finally organizing the house has been left unaccomplished, yet again. On a personal level, I have become more involved with our church, and in our township. In addition to that, my mom and stepdad are moving to Michigan and I’ve been put in charge of deliveries. Which wasn’t a bad thing, I was very excited and happy to help. However all my big plans for both houses make it look like I’ve done absolutely nothing but sit around and binge on Netflix. So what exactly has been going on?
March started off with an introduction to our official Goats On The Go® training. That was a wonderful networking opportunity, and we got some great advice from others who also have farms and not just goats. Think “goat snuggles” - something we’re hoping to do soon.
This was a three day event, and we had one day of hands-on learning about how to set up and tear down the electric netting that we will be using at each job. Chris is already a pro at this, but myself and our dad’s are not. So that was a fun learning activity. The following day was death by powerpoint, but full of great information and followed by a social. That was my favorite part! We met some amazing people who have already had some great years, and they shared some helpful "learn from our mistakes" with us. The last day was small groups and then we were set free. Immediately, our phone started ringing and we’ve been fielding questions and scheduling site visits. We’ve also just booked our first job! To say we’re pumped is an understatement. We placed an order for Goats On The Go® advertising stuff, Chris’ mom did a fantastic job designing our new pamphlet to pass out at the markets and we’re putting our order together for our new work shirts! So keep an eye out for our spiffy new look at the markets.
Keeping with the goat theme, we had babies, they came fast and plenty! We only had two singles, and about half were triplets and the other half twins. I was supposed to go to Chicago for a week, but ended up staying home because we felt like the babies might come sooner. And they absolutely did. Luckily I have a pretty good eye, and I can feel what I like to call the “pencils”, or the ligaments of the goats. They feel like pencils, hence the name. I felt the goats every day at feeding time, and one day, the pencils were gone. Right around the same time their utters swelled up. The next day
Chris told me “you shouldn’t rely on that, it seems like you were wrong”. And bam, I walked into the goat area, one of the goats, Spots was laying in a little house, I stuck my hand in the house to say hi and she gave me a kiss. I told Chris, “she’s going to have a baby, she just kissed me”. And what do you know, she started pushing about five minutes later. Twins! As soon as she was done, I looked over and knew Rosie was next, so I sat and waited for her. All the while Edith was also yelling, but she ended up going in the middle of the night. Rosie surprised me with three!! She likes to have her kids in the woods, and makes no sound whatsoever. I finally gave up on Edith and went inside to have dinner with the kids and feed the dogs.
At 6:00 the next morning Jacob woke me up and told me Edith had a baby. He just so happened to look on the Ring camera. I jumped on the camera and saw in fact that she had THREE babies!!! (Yes, we’re those farmers). It just so happened to be a cold night, and she decided not to have them close to the heat lamp I so carefully set up for her. By the time I got to her babies, two of them were on the brink of death. I scooped them up, dried them off with a towel and placed them under the heat lamp. I took the third one that was doing better and put it under the lamp as well. Edith decided this was a great time to run off and get food, ugh! I grabbed Edith to show her where her babies had moved to, and ran off to grab some colostrum replacement not being too sure they had nursed yet. Apparently we didn’t have any, but they were very weak and we did have Salinium and Vitamin E that I could give them to help with their energy
level and then just keep working on drying them off. So I ran back to the babies went to grab one, and was immediately met with a head butt to the head. Ouch!! I was a little shocked. I told her I was trying to save her babies! But she didn’t seem to care. I started to call Chris, but didn’t want to wake him because he has a horrible time getting and staying asleep, and he had a long day of flying ahead of him. So I called a neighbor, who was awake, but at work. So I decided to put the paste on my finger, and protect my head with the pallet wall, open the babies mouth and shove the paste in. I did that twice. Success!! But I still needed colostrum. Our local farm store Family Farm and Home, opened at 8 and it was only 7:30. I jumped in the car, and waited in the parking lot for them to open, ran inside and found exactly what I was hoping for a colostrum replacement paste, and a milk replacement powder - in case. I did the same maneuver with each baby. But all I could do now was wait. I decided to walk away because I’d rather come back to dead babies, then watch them die.
At 11am I felt like it was safe, they had a few hours, it was warming up, by now Chris was awake so I filled him in on my morning, turns out, he saw her have babies at 1am, and he saw them nurse. Moving forward, he’s going to call me if there’s another night time birth. So while I was on the phone with him to check on the babies, I looked in another shelter and there stood three more babies, this time from Georgia. Those were the four goats I had claimed would give birth soon, and they sure did! It’s been about two weeks since Edith had her babies, and boy are they full of life and doing little goat tricks. Since then, I successfully called the rest of the Kiko’s births, minus one because she won’t let us touch her.
Then there’s Mara - one of our Nigerian Dwarfs, who is basically the only one without horns and is very docile with the other goats, but also doesn’t exactly trust us. She
didn’t have a very large utter, her milk had come in, and her pencils gone. We moved her to a private stall so she wouldn’t get pushed around and for days, nothing. Then finally, on a night when Chris and I went to check on my moms house, she finally had a kid. I ran to her as soon as I realized. She was pushing, so I knew another one was coming, but oddly enough, the first baby was dry. I was confused but not too concerned. She kept pushing, and I thought, she’s pushing and nothing is happening. I talked with Chris he said she had her first baby about 20 mins before. That seemed like a long time for her to be pushing again. So I watched the video just to see when she had started pushing again. From what I could see, the baby was now bouncing around and she was pushing. So I decided to take a quick feel, I felt something there, so I figured she was close and I backed off and allowed her to do her thing with the intention that in 20 minutes, I’m going in. I had my glove on and was ready to go. At this time I was looking at the video again, and had googled how long was too long? I put it all together, she had been pushing for about an hour and a goat birthing should be done in 30 mins from the first push to the last. Right at that second Mara looked up at me and whimpered. I yelled at Chris to call the vet and in I went. While Chris meandered over to me and Mara, I had my hand on a kid that felt as though it was folded in half. I had to go deeper and try to find a head, which I did, but it didn’t belong to that baby. Chris got the vet on the phone who walked me through pushing the folded baby to the side and grabbing hold of the baby with the head. Baby two arrived, alive. Now time for baby three. We gave Mara a break while the vet headed over and then in she went. She had to go much deeper that I went, dig around and out came baby three. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. I felt terrible about that. But we learned a new lesson and I’m sure I can deal with it next time. Chris left to bury the baby, the vet gave Mara some pain killers, we gave her food and water, watched to make sure the babies nursed and then we ordered a pizza and enjoyed a nice cold beer.
After Mara, I got a little freaked out about leaving the house, and we had six goats left to have babies. Naturally, while I was home, inside the house, two more goats had babies. One decided to give birth on one of our many cold rainy days far away from
the heat lamps we had set up for them. So I had to kidnap her baby and lure her into the barn and place her baby under the heat lamp. Since then, we are still waiting for four, all dwarfs to have babies. Two of the four however were accidentally bred to Giuseppe, our Kiko sire. So, we may have accidentally started a new breed, Kiko Dwarfs anyone?
Between all these births, and meeting my moms many deliveries, I signed up for a second Bible study group, and became a greeter at our church, once a month. In addition I’m now on the Parks and Recreation Special Committee for our township, and was selected to be on the Planning Commission. If that wasn’t enough, I also added my name to the ballot to be a Precinct Delegate. I decided that meal prepping was the only way our family was going to eat healthy, so I logged back in to www.thefamilyfreezer.com and prepped 30 meals. All in all I feel like I was pretty successful this month, even if my house doesn’t look like it. To be fair, I did also binge on some Netflix, because some days you just don’t want to move.