Sunday, 19 February 2012

Happy Birthday Daphne!

In our herd of goats, most people have their birthdays between February and May (for obvious reasons).  When we only had a few girls, everyone would get a banana on a birthday .. Sadly a bit impractical now - not to mention expensive!  But, with the older girls, each birthday is special and today Daphne was 8 years old.

As one of our original 5 goats, Daphne has been with us from the beginning and so today marked a special kind of day for the herd.  We did manage to sneak her a banana skin and a bit of bread when noone else was looking!

Next significant birthday is Thelma who will be 8 on 23rd Feb.

I had a pretty restful day attending a British Toggenburg Breed Society meeting in Guildford today.  Met up with a few goatkeepers and had a very nice lunch.  Quick trip around Nick and Michael's goatsheds to see the gorgeous Ashdene and Theban herds (two of the most prestigious show herds in the country) and then back round the M25 to start feeding and milking once again.

Siouxsie had obviously had a busy day though as she was absolutely fast asleep at milking time - she had found a nice comfy spot in front of the hay rack and was far away dreaming little goatie dreams.

Well, we are now into the final full week before kidding so it's time to start getting the place sorted out.  David has mostly finished the mucking out and a space has been cleared for the kidding pens to go up. The caravan ('Kidding Control Centre') will be moved in sometime over next weekend and I need to start gathering bottles and teats.  We have a box full already but some of them are getting quite old now and need to be replaced.

We already have the automatic milk feeder machine on site but that won't need to be set up until a couple of weeks time when the first babies are ready to be moved onto it. 

We leave them on their mums for about 5 days, then they are bottle fed for a week or so and then they are moved onto the auto feeder which is rather like a huge coffee machine that whips up lovely warm milk all day long!  Francesca and I had a good system in place last year to deal with large numbers of hungry babies, so hopefully we should be able to do it all again without too much trauma but only time will tell!

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