Thursday, 25 September 2014

Normal service will now be resumed ..

So .. have you missed me?  Missed who? ME!!!  Hasn't anyone noticed that it's been rather quiet on the blogging front? ...  Of course you have. 

Many apologies for the slight hiatus in service but I have been laid low by a rather nasty stomach bug.  Not completely sorted yet but a hundred times better than I have been.  Needless to say, it's been rather of a pain in the bottom (if you will forgive the expression) with trying to sort out extra people to cover all the work that Yours Truly usually does ..

But the rest of the Ellie's Dairy team has rallied round and everyone has been brilliant at doing all sorts of extra jobs at strange hours of the day and night.  Dairy Fairy Julie was busy bottling milk for orders at 7.30 one morning and Kelly (daughter of Jane the Cheese) sped up on her motorbike to lend a hand feeding babies when I had to retire to bed.  Joe (and girlfriend Rosie) spent a happy day at Wimbledon market and Milking Mel has been doing all sorts of extra shifts to keep the milking parlour going. 

So a big THANK YOU to everyone .. especially David who has had to put up with all these extra people doing things in his goatshed!!

So, here I am back again .. about a stone lighter but almost back to normal.

We're not sure but we think we may have finished the second round of kidding as nothing has appeared for a couple of weeks now, although there are a few suspiciously fat goaties still lying around.  All the babies are growing well and even the little tiny Wilma goat is up and about.



We think that she is still partly blind but this may be a temporary condition which will sort itself out in time.  But she is a chirpy little soul - very sweet.  She has been named Thumbelina.

It would seem that Daramac is responsible for most of these babies and it is very easy to spot the family resemblance.  All the kids have the 'slightly surprised' expression that Daramac wears most of the time and it does make me chuckle to see all these little goats of different colours with faces exactly like their dad.

Here's one little handsome chap..


And talking of handsome chaps .. With a couple of strategically planned 'comfort breaks' I drove up to Cambridge today to collect a new BT boy.  Strangely enough, it turns out that he is the brother of a male which has recently been bought by our friends in Dorset.

So here he is on a brief trot into the goat barn to meet his future girlfriends.  As you can see, there was rather a lot of interest in the new boy!
 


He is in temporary quarters in the hay barn with the babies at the moment while he has a few days to get settled.  Then it will be off to work for him! 

The beautiful September weather has seen the goaties outside for much of the time, especially when David opened up the other field for them again ..



And finally .. you will be pleased to know that all the girls have settled well into their new home in Herefordshire and are busy getting to know the 3 new boys who have been put in to keep them company.  Lucky goatlings!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Babies, babies and more babies!

Seems that rather a lot of our girls were very late in season this spring .. all that fluttering of eyelashes at the boys has resulted in an Indian Summer of kids .. 24 so far and still more to come I'm sure!

Two of Mary's goats set the ball rolling with Katya having a female and Kismet a male .. They were closely followed by Goblin who decided that she would have 3 little girls ..


Other new mums include Bassey:


 
 Blossom:


Astra:



 And our dear old Wilma goat:


Wilma had two little white girlies which David had to pull out backwards.  They have been a little bit poorly, especially the one at the front of this picture who has not been doing very well at all.  But a few nights in the caravan with goatie mum Debbie, lots of warm milk and attention from Wilma have made a huge improvement and she actually managed to stand up on her own today. 

Wilma is doing really well, if a little tired.  Of course, as a geriatric mother, she has all the privileges of age - lots of treats and many bananas!

And how about this little girlie?

 

Isn't she just beautiful?!  We haven't had one marked like this before .. she is going to be called Domino.

And in the midst of all this activity, we have got another racing pigeon to look after.  It landed on Saturday afternoon but we were not able to catch it for a couple of days.  It is looking a bit poorly at the moment and so I am having to feed it and look after it until it is picked up at the end of the week.  It belongs to a very nice chap in South Wales.


I'm back off to another night in the caravan outside the goat barn tonight .. very late in the year to be doing that!

I leave you with a little clip of what babies get up to while mums are busy eating their breakfast ..

video

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Goaties on the move

Today was the day when 130 of our lovely goatlings and kids moved to their new home near Hereford.  It has been an exhausting couple of weeks getting them and their paperwork all ready to go.  All those feet to trim and blood tests to do.  Lots of checking and rechecking of paperwork and the final selection of who was going and who was staying ..

So, finally, whilst Anita and Mel did the milking this morning, David and I went and sorted everyone out ready for loading into a huge lorry that was due to turn up around 9.30am.

We penned goatlings and kids separately - here's all those stroppy teenage goatlings waiting to be loaded:


The lorry turned up dead on time and we loaded the goaties in groups of around 20 to each section of the lorry. 


The babies went in first, up on the top deck ..


It all went pretty smoothly and soon we were ready to go.  Anita and I had tears in our eyes as we waved the lorry off ... a very proud moment that we were sending our babies to start another herd but sadness that so many of our lovely girls were moving so far away.


After a quick wash and change, I jumped in my van and drove like the clappers to catch up with the lorry.  I finally made contact with him at Warwick Services where he had stopped for a break .. and then it was off along the M5 and through that beautiful rolling Herefordshire countryside towards the Welsh mountains.

The goaties' new dad, Andrew, was waiting to meet us and lead us up  to the farm.  The lane got narrower and narrower and the lorry only just made it through in places!

 
And finally we reached the farm.  Absolutely gorgeous!  Stunning views across the valley to Wales .. lucky goaties! 


Unloading was pretty quick as all the goaties ran down the ramps and into their new barn .. goatlings in one section and kids in another.




They all seemed to have travelled very well and were soon investigating their new houses and tucking into the lovely hay and straw that Andrew and his family had got ready for them.  But in true goatie fashion, the kids had managed to break their automatic water bowl within minutes of being there!  Welcome to goat keeping, Andrew and Diane!!!

So, I am spending tonight in the most gorgeous farmhouse B&B a few miles up the road.  I will go back and say goodbye to the goaties in the morning before I wend my weary way back to the south ..  Must say that I would much prefer to stay up here!  No traffic, no people and lots of mountains.  Idyllic!!

David will be busy while I am away .. especially as we now have another new arrival.  This little girlie arrived during morning milking yesterday ...


And with very proud mum Katya (one of the big Mary goats):


 

 
 More to come .. we just don't know when!