The kids prove to be very agile
When the sun finally fought its way out from behind the clouds and the rain stopped, we took the dogwalk out into the field for the dogs to do some training.
Daisy was the star, showing the other two how it should be done, before they all raced off for a well deserved game.
For a bit of fun we put it in the field where the kids were enjoying some fresh air with their mothers and it was an instant hit! We couldn’t keep them off it.
You can see their antics in the video below.
We relax into kidding
After the stress, lack of sleep and vets visits that accompanied this year’s lambing, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of fuss over kidding.
Firstly, we knew the exact date that the goats had visited the billy so the due date wasn’t guess work, and secondly they usually get on with it on their own.
Even so, we were taken somewhat by surprise when Lulu kidded 3 days early. She wasn’t interested in her food in the morning so we knew something was up. By 11.00am she was laying down pushing and making a hell of a racket (sheep rarely make much noise at all). Not long after that, she popped out two kids, one of each and was soon cleaning them up. She had plenty of milk and was happy to let them feed.
A few days later, Betsy started, again a day or two earlier than planned but she followed a very similar pattern, giving birth to another boy and girl and requiring no assistance from us.
When the kids were just a few days old we took them to the vets for disbudding so they won’t be sporting horns like their mothers. All four recovered quickly from their ordeal and are growing rapidly into cheeky little minxes that you have to keep your eyes on as they are constantly on the lookout for trouble!
Our other goat, Lily, also visited the billy but some time after the first two, so she missed out on being scanned. If she is pregnant, she will be due in early June so we are looking forward to that and after the recent successful experiences, very relaxed about it.
After lambing we are kidding
It’s been an exhausting couple of months, with long nights watching the CCTV cameras, on the lookout for ewes in the process of lambing. Not so for kidding. We knew the exact date when the goats had conceived so there was less speculation on when they would give birth. Our window of watching was much narrower.
It turned out that both Betsy and Lulu had their twins one day earlier than expected but we were prepared and not taken unawares. Betsy was first, easily giving birth to a boy and girl – Cocoa and Chanel. Lulu followed up a few days later, with an equally painless (for us anyway!) birth of twin girls – Mitzi and Melody.
We decided to have them disbudded as we have found in the past that people are not keen on owning horned goats. This would give us a better chance of selling them if we chose to do so. The visit to the vet wasn’t very pleasant but they all came through it OK and had forgotten all about their traumatic experience by the following day.
They are delightful little creatures, very fluffy and full of fun and Lulu is a fantastic first time mother. Betsy also a first-timer, loves Cocoa but is not at all keen on Chanel. When Betsy is busy eating, Chanel sneaks in for quick drink, but to ensure she’s getting enough nourishment, we have to tether her mother to allow her to feed.
Every few days, we are separating the kids from their mothers overnight so that we can have our own fill of milk in the morning. It’s lovely to have our regular supply back again and as the weeks go on, we can look forward once again to ice cream, butter and cheese!
First time mum serves up her kids
According to the goat gestation calendar, Lily was due to kid on 4th May. In reality though, it could have been any time from 28th of April to 8th of May as these dates were 145-155 days from the time she met with the billy. In fact she met with 2 billy goats, we were hedging our bets.
We moved her out of the pen away from the other goats, particularly Anastasia who is a bit of a thug, into her own personal birthing suite. She seemed relieved and soon relaxed into her new domain. We kept a close eye on her, counting down the days until the morning of the first of May when she was acting a little oddly. By the afternoon we were certain she was in labour and at around 6pm she laid down on her deluxe straw bed, made a noise like someone throwing up and produced 2 tiny kids, easy as pie.
We had just spent weeks ewe watching, seeing them pacing, panting and groaning, thinking any minute they were about to give birth, then spending the night checking them every two hours, only for them to finally lamb at 9am the following morning. The quick and stress-free birth of the kids was like a breath of fresh air. We didn’t even need the rubber gloves!
Although very small, they seemed healthy and lively and she was keen to clean them up, which meant hopefully, that she would be a good mother. Since this was her first time we had no idea how she would take to it.
Strangely, the female kid was black with distinct white markings and pricked ears, the image of one of the beaus that Lily had met with, but the male kid was golden brown with floppy ears and looked eerily like the other billy she had a liaison with on the same day. Neither took after their pure white mother. We wondered if it was possible that there could be two different fathers. I guess we will never know unless they do DNA tests for goats!
Our first kids
We have been extremely busy just lately..
At the end of June, one of our goats had kids (our first at the croft, due to some unfortunate timing last year). Everything obviously went without a hitch, as they were waiting for us in the pen one morning, newly born. They are doing extremely well.
We managed to harvest a small amount of goats milk for ourselves, and made some cheese. Delicious!
Our annual battle with the peats is finally over, all bagged and stored in the peat shed for another year. They should keep us going until the next time.
And, the grass is cut ready for baling. With the weather being even more unpredictable than usual, this is no mean feat!