April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Fresh from the Farm: Bringing out the kids

By Shelley [email protected]

And the Crazy Begins!

And so it has here on the farm. Kidding season is upon us as it is for many goat folks. Especially dairy goat folk. Our kidding season got off to a rough start, but it has smoothed out since that first kidding day.

We have 13 babies in the "itty bitty" pen. All of them have been born in the past seven days. There are seven in the bigger pen.

Feeding time resembles a small stampede when you walk into the pen. The bigger pen are on a lamb bar (a 5-gallon bucket with 10 nipples attached to it so 10 can be fed at a time.) I don't have to risk life and limb getting in with them, since I can hang the lamb bar on the fence. The goats in the other pen, as cute as they are, are vicious little creatures with sharp front teeth that will slice into your fingers as they fight to get the next bottle.

It is a 24/7 job washing bottles, bleaching lamb bars, vaccinations, disbudding, and of course milking. We are milking 11 right now, and it is all done by hand. When we first got into dairy goats, I did not have enough animals to justify the cost of a milk machine. As the herd grew I said I was not going to do this long enough to justify the cost of the milk machine. And here I am, 20 years later with the closest things I have to a milk machine are Sydnie and Ayana. We still have 12 does left to kid. But that's okay. I don't plan on doing this much longer.

Olive kidded on Saturday along with three other does. Time is precious during kidding season. While I keep an eye on my animals as they give birth, I must keep moving. Olive delivered a nice healthy doe kid with no problems. I waited and watched for the next kid. I sat there and watched and watched and watched. After waiting an hour, I decided that I should intervene. Olive is now known as the slacker for the year. As big as she was, there was only one kid in there.

Now while I was watching Olive, I also had my eye on Darky in the other pen. She wasn't due until the 31st, but she had that look about her. Darky is only a year old, but she is a rather large doe. According to the paperwork that someone did (I will not mention Ayana's name here) she still wasn't due to kid for a few weeks.

I had been up with Nora at 3 a.m. as she had triplets. After I got them fed and Nora taken care of, it was just better to stay up and start on chores. By 9 p.m. I was tired and went to bed. Then I got the call. Darky was kidding with a large kid and Ayana needed help. I went out to the utility room, still in my nightgown which is proper attire for late night barn runs, and my boots were gone. Ayana had swiped them. So I put Syd's on which were a little large but they would suffice. Away to the barn I went.

By the time I got there Ayana had the first kid out, a whopping 11-lb doe kid. (For those of you who don't know, the average size dairy goat kid is about the size of a newborn human baby.) She handed the baby off to me, so she could help Darky deliver the next kid which ended up being a 10-lb buck. Out the barn door I went with this newborn.

Sadly, I had forgotten about the mud. I can only imagine what I looked like trying to keep my balance in ankle deep mud holding that kid. But manage my balance I did. However, in the process I lost a boot. I managed to keep the sock though! I thought I had it under control, and that was about the time I lost the other boot and sock. To the house barefoot I went. I handed the kid off to the closest person, tiptoed across the kitchen rugs, and then laid towels down as I made my way to the bathroom. Finally, with clean legs and feet, I made my way to bed. That's when Anthony asked if I had gotten the baby goo off my nightgown. UGH! Clothes changed and in bed finally!

I got up the next morning to eight baby goats in plastic totes in my house. Each one swearing they were starving to death.

This is just 24 hours of kidding on a small dairy goat farm. I took another set of twins, that Fase had yesterday, to the barn this morning. Yomo is due today. It is crazy at our house. I just hope it quits raining, and Ayana leaves my boots alone!

As a side note, for those of you who read my column you may remember I wrote about my dog Baracaas last month. I am sad to say that we lost that gentle giant this morning. I slept with him outside in the trailer last night. I did not want him to be alone. He has given us so much I figured that was the least I could do for him. He will be sadly missed. RIP old man!

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