Friday, 18 April 2014

All behind with everything ...

Behind with the washing, behind with writing my blog, behind with paperwork, no sleep.  You get the general idea.  The last 10 days have been a bit of a blur to be honest!  Students coming and going, babies continually arriving, a couple of sad farewells to goaties and endless buckets and bottles of milk.

Our students have been wonderful so far.  You have already met Emma from Nottingham Vet School.  Last week we had young Louisa, a work experience student who is trying to get lots of work under her belt before she applies to vet school.  Here she is working hard with the babies ..

This week and next week, we are in the very capable hands of Matt from Bristol Uni vet school.  Originally from North Yorkshire, he is a 'mature' student (at only 26 ... That makes me somewhere in the region of 'geriatric' I think!). 

And yesterday we also had a visit from Rebecca, another Nottingham student who is coming to join us for kidding next year.  Barely had she stepped out of her car when we had her in overalls feeding babies with Matt.  She only came to have a look round!

The goatie girls are all doing a wonderful job of looking after their new babies.  Here is Irma hard at work with her two:

And Kelpie, one of the young Mary goats, with one of her little girls:

Everywhere you look there are babies fast asleep:

And a pile of JoJo triplets.  Beautiful little Anglo-Nubian creatures.  Two boys and a girl .. same as every time.  At least she is consistent!

Even Humphrey has found the kidding experience very tiring ...

But in amongst all the excitement of new arrivals, we have had a couple of tragedies.  Our lovely Mimi produced 3 little dead babies.  I have never seen a goat so utterly depressed and distraught.  Standing with head down, just licking at the small dead kid in front of her.  I climbed into her pen to comfort her and she just pressed her head against my shoulder and stayed there for ages - almost like she was crying.

I had to do something ... I couldn't leave her like that.  So, I went over to Marietta who had produced 3 little girlies earlier on that same day.  Although the kids were healthy, Marietta didn't really have enough milk for all of them and we had been 'topping up' one of them regularly.  So, with an apology to Marietta (who didn't bat a goatie eyelid), I stole one of her babies and took it over to Mimi.

A quick sniff was all that was needed.  Mimi bleated softly at the little creature in front of her and immediately started to lick her.  Despite the fact that her little foster daughter is brown and she is white, Mimi cares for her as if she was her own.  She was happy again.  So content to have a baby to look after.  It doesn't always work but it's a joy when it does!

But worse was to come and yesterday we had to bid a fond farewell to one of our older girls Saffron who had become suddenly very poorly.  Having spent another long and cold night with her in the barn, it was obvious that we could not do anything for her and so we had to say goodbye as she went to join her sister Cora in that big goatshed in the sky. 

In between all the goatie business, everything else also has to carry on as usual and David has been hard at work on another new field.  This will be another grass field for making hay and as he was cultivating it, he took this photo out of the tractor.  Very popular with the seagulls!

So, off to markets as usual this weekend.  At least Matt will be around to look after all those greedy babies whilst David does battle in the parlour with all those new milkers.  Attitude seems to appear as soon as those girls get udders!
And talking of attitude ... here's Willow:

A fab picture taken by our lovely friend Flo who came to visit us again for a couple of days last week.


  1. Phew! I'm exhausted just reading this post Debbie. So sad about the losses, but looks as though the littlies are keeping you firmly in hand. What is the goatie headcount at Ellie's nowadays?

  2. Hi Sue

    Headcount somewhere in the region of 450/500. Getting my goatie lists up to date is on my 'to do' list when kidding is finished!