Friday, 28 March 2014

And life goes on

As if it was not enough to lose our dear Flora, we also had to say goodbye to one of our younger goaties yesterday morning.  Dory, a granddaughter of the original Ellie goat, fell suddenly ill with something which our vet could only describe as 'sudden toxic shock'.  Cause unknown but possibly may have been one of her unborn kids dying inside.

I spent a long and sleepless night snuggled up next to her in the barn but by the time dawn broke it was clear that I wan't going to be able to save her.  Our vet came out early and poor Dory was sent to the big goatshed in the sky.

A miserable couple of days indeed.

But life goes on and we have had more lovely babies arrive.  Klara, one of the larger Mary goats, had the two tiniest little girlies, one of whom seemed to enjoy climbing all over mum.

 
  video

Some kids are not so active - here's one of Persi's little people absolutely flat out.


And in the midst of all this goatiness, our dear friend Mark came to spend a day with us.  He turned up in his lovely motor home and had the audacity to park right next to my caravan.  Bit of a contrast between the two, don't you think!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Heartbreak

This time of year is always full of joy as we welcome all the new arrivals.  The barn is full of bouncing squeaky babies and the low maternal bleating of proud goats.

But it is also a very stressful time of year for humans and goats alike as sometimes we fail to save one of our kids or, more rarely, one of our new mums.  But we feel every loss as keenly as ever, especially when it is one of our dearest girls.

Yesterday evening I had to say goodbye to my dear old Flora goat as she had become suddenly and desperately ill during the day, although she was not pregnant.  Though we fought to save her, it was clear that this time she was not going to make it and so I had to make that dreaded phone call to the on-call vet.


I sat and held her tired old head in my arms as we waited for the vet to arrive.  I wanted her to come quickly so that Flora would no longer be in pain but, at the same time, I wanted her to take forever to arrive so that I could just sit and hold my beautiful girl. 

We are not allowed to have favourites, but Flora was very special to me.  Whenever I went into the barn she would come and find me, look up into my eyes and rub her head against me.  She was big and beautiful and I loved her dearly.  Although there are still crowds of goats in the barn, it somehow seems empty now without my special girl there to greet me.

When it was all over, I came home and got my records out to check her age.  And found that my beloved girl had died on her 10th birthday.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A steady stream of babies

Since our last post we have had a steady stream of new arrivals with the latest two tinies arriving just after milking this evening to make 38 in total so far. 

The first mums are now back in with the rest of the girls and so I seem to spend many hours each day bottle feeding squeaky babies.  I love it  ...

So, in no particular order, here's a few of the lastest for your enjoyment:


Cassie with her two babies

 
Doris with Fremlina (our first kid this year from our dear old Fremlin goat)

 
Gilly fast asleep with her babies

 
Tinky

 
Saffron with two very relaxed little people

 
Clever babies at feeding time
 
 
And some boys relaxing ....  

 
Old Frederick

 
Oliver's Bakery and Bath Soft Cheese enjoying the sunshine at the end of Parson's Green market on Sunday!
 

So that's it from me .. I'm back off to my little caravan for the night with the goaties.  Got to check on new mum Klara before I turn in.

Night night everyone ..

Friday, 14 March 2014

Sleepy kids and naughty goats

Gladys finally stopped trampling on her babies .. The addition of a plastic crate in her pen seemed to help as the babies then had somewhere to curl up.  Fast asleep ... With mum watching over them.
 
 
Kelly, daughter of Jane the Cheese, spent a goatie day with us yesterday.  One of our first jobs of the day was to get 7 of the little girlies to the vet for disbudding.  They are knocked out completely with general anaesthetic and sometimes can take a few minutes to come round again .. As you can see, Freddie's little girlie is flat out!
 

Whilst many of the goatie girls are busy with their babies, some of the other goats just continue to be their usual naughty selves.  Remember Ginger?  As you can see, age and increased udder size have not made the slightest difference to her ..


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

More new arrivals

Just a quickie!  More babies for you ..

How cute is this little face?  One of Myrtle's girlies.


And fast asleep with her sister:


The first of the Mary goats - Kaitlin.  With newly arrived little chap:


Closely followed by his sister:


And Fatty Fuschia with her little brown boy and black girl.  Guess what colour the daddy is?!

Monday, 10 March 2014

David the midwife

While I was off sunning myself at Brixton Farmers' Market yesterday, the goatie girls decided that David needed to be kept occupied and so kept producing babies for him.  Out they popped, one after another.  Noone was due but several of them have decided to be early!

So, along with Millie we now have Mora (she of the 'Dolly Partons') with 2 girls:


Mora is Millie's mum .. I think you can see the family resemblance ..


Myrtle also had 2 little girls.. The smaller one is hiding in the corner in the straw ..


Freddie had a single girl.  And then decided to push the gate of her pen open this afternoon and go for a walk in search of food.  She found the (empty) wheelbarrow:


Whilst the little one trotted off to talk to some of her new aunties:


And then this afternoon young Gladys decided that she was going to join in the fun as well.  Here she is waiting for her babies to arrive:


She had 2 girls as well!  Gladys is not so well coordinated as the other mums and keeps standing on her babies.  I spent a couple of hours just walking back and forth to her pen as the little ones kept on yelling!

And, talking of family resemblance ... Who does this little goatie remind you of?


Our young Husky maybe??  This is Wolfie who is Husky's little sister.  Same cheeky face.

And how about this for an unfortunate eartag number ..


Mmm .. 666.  Or 999 if you look at it upside down!  This was one of the little meat boys that I had to take to the butcher this morning.  As you may remember, meat boys don't usually have names but this one was affectionately know as 'Satan' for obvious reasons!

And finally .. the return of Limpy Fred.  Regular followers of our little blog will remember the lovely old Sussex bull who came to stay with us for a few months last year.  Well, it's that time again and so dear old Frederick has come back.

As you can see, he finds the whole experience extremely stressful ...


His calves seem to enjoy sitting near to him.  He looks like a very proud dad don't you think!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Millie gets the ball rolling

Good old Millie!  Had her babies all by herself this morning.  I stayed in my little caravan last night as she was chortling away to herself and looking very goatie ... I got up around 2.30 am to check on her and all was OK.  By the time I looked in again around 5.30am she had 2 bouncing babies, all cleaned and fed and jumping around the barn!


Amidst all the excitement of new arrivals, some of the girls wandered out to enjoy another day of glorious spring sunshine


Whilst others decided to just laze around with their sisters


The boys were chilling out in the sunshine over their side of the barn


And Ginger wandered out to have a chat with Oliver, an anthropology student from Canterbury, who was visiting us to do a bit of filming for a project that he is working on.


He spent a very pleasant couple of hours with us and I think he enjoyed himself.  The goaties certainly enjoyed meeting him!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Only a few days to go

Just a few days left before the chaos of kidding begins once again. Hardly seems 5 minutes since we did it all last year!

The girls are starting to look rather plump.  Our first two expectant mums are especially round.  Millie was well settled into the straw tonight and firmly refused to get up for her tea:


Whilst her mum Mora was sporting a rather nice pair of 'Dolly Partons' as she came through the parlour.  Poor girlie has her udder round her ankles at the moment.  The red dot is to remind everyone that she shouldn't be milked, even if she comes into the milking parlour.  Got to save that lovely colostrum for those little people!


However, you don't have to be pregnant to be lazy, as demonstrated here by Siouxsie goat who had settled herself in the best spot under one of the hay racks.

video
 
Eventually, curiosity (and the rattling of feed buckets) got the better of her and she appeared (with much grumbling)
 
video

David thinks that the hayrack may be a favourite place for kidding this year as it's quite cosy and private.  There are also a couple of favourite corners in the barn. 

My little caravan outside the barn is cleaned and shiny and ready for me to move in .. we have patched up the leak in the roof (which left the carpet and mats rather damp after all that dreadful rain).  A few days with the door open and a fan heater on has done the trick and everything is dry again.

So, we are ready as we can be!  Bring it on ... let kidding begin!