Our second of five pregnant does gave birth yesterday. A traditional red-headed doeling followed by a similar buckling. This is a bit unusual as more often than not, bucklings are born first. Both were very-good sized, much bigger at birth than Jessie’s three surviving quadruplets.
Ruby is our “loudmouth” doe, and the doeling takes after her. The human kids have decided to name her “Tweet,” after the T-37B trainer aircraft known as one of the loudest in the Air Force inventory (it was also known as the “6,000 dog whistle” and the “Converter” because it was the most efficient machine ever made for converting fuel into noise).
Tweet’s brother has been named “Hercules,” after the C-130. Herc is a big boy, and once he dried off weighed 11 pounds and 12 ounces, more than a pound heavier than Tweet, who was on the heavy side for a doeling (10 lbs 6 ounces).
We still have three girls left to kid, and the barn is getting full and loud!
The baby goats are now 5 days old and growing quickly, already skipping around the barn (they’re saving their pasture skipping for when the snow melts). We’ve posted more pics on our facebook page, but here are a couple of them:
When we’re not tending the farm or homeschooling the kids, we’ve got “real world” jobs. My (Martha’s) passion is being a childbirth educator and a doula – Greek for “servant” – a woman who comes alongside families before, during, and after childbirth. You can read more about what I do on my webpage for my business, “A Joyful Birth.”
So today, I was a different kind of doula. I was much more involved with the wet, cuddly newborn side of birth than I usually am as we welcomed baby goats on our farm. We are relatively new to farming, but I was struck by how many similarities there are in birth among mammals.
These mamas craved safety and peace as all mothers in labor do. One of the mamas appreciated my quiet presence, reaching out to nuzzle me — and then after the babies were born, she gently butted me and told me to get out. Each mama “counted fingers and toes” on her baby, licking them dry from head to toe. They also encouraged their babies to nurse when they were ready, patiently giving them time to transition from womb to world. And, like I often see with human babies, they were ready to nurse at about the one hour mark after birth. Goats have a special vocalization that they only make to their new babies. Amazing how wondrous birth is!
I am blessed to have seen birth in its completely natural state (well, except five quiet family members watching) and will ponder the lessons from today to see how I can bring that to my human doula work too.
This is just a quick post (you can check out our Facebook page for more photos) to announce that in the middle of this huge snowstorm, we took a break from other subjects for a biology lesson. We now have four brand new baby Boer Goats – 3 bucklings and a doeling.
We’re busy making sure they are all settled for a cold night, and will post more later!
Blessings to all,
The Flying T
We pasture bred our two older Boer does in October, so we don’t have a tight date on when they’re due but it’s going to be soon. The girls are double-wide, their udders are filling out, and Jessie in particular has started to spend a lot of her time lying down, moaning softly. Good thing I got some time today (after the 4-H activities this morning) to finish up the kidding stalls and warming huts.
The girls were a bit nervous about the new digs, and squished into one stall together for a bit. They calmed down later.
As I wrote earlier, we made the stalls primarily out of recycled hard plastic pallets. However, I got preoccupied with other chores and projects once I got the walls up, so it wasn’t until this week I was able to get the doors completed. I made those doors out of new lumber, mostly because I wanted them to be relatively clean and nail free.
A better view of the door.
You might notice that the center “bar” is connected differently. My plan is, once the kids are older, to remove that center piece and add another one offset to the side to make a barrier for our creep feeder. The idea is to have an opening small enough for the kids to get through to free-feed on grain, but tight enough to keep the greedy adults out. The next trick is to design a feeder to put in the stall that the kids can get to, but the ducks and chickens can’t. That will be a trick.
One of the two warming huts
The warming huts are salvaged 55-gallon poly drums, cut at the 2/3 point. I cut a circular hole in the top for the warming lamps, then used sheet metal screws to mount the brooder lamp fixture. The huts are screwed into the stall divider (which is made of dimensional lumber) to keep the adults from knocking them over.
So now we wait…