Thursday, 26 March 2015

Not even half way there yet!

Exhaustion is starting to set in and we're not even half way through kidding yet.  It's been a bit of a busy week with several sleepless nights as girls decided that they were going to have babies at ridiculous hours of the morning.

So, we have 69 babies so far .. about a 50/50 split at the moment between male and female, so that's all fine.

A couple of difficult births this week but nothing too traumatic.  Yet ...

So, here's a few of the latest arrivals:




You may remember that dear old Margot was the goatie midwife for last year.  Well, this year she has handed over responsibility to Thelma goat who is taking her duties very seriously.  Thelma has been with us right from the start and is 11 years old.  She loves babies and enjoys kidding season even more than the humans do!

Whenever any goat is in labour, Thelma will be there by her side with little bleats of encouragement.  As soon as any babies appear, she will help to clean them up and will show new mums what to do.  Here she is (on the left) helping young Prunella with her two new little arrivals:


And, together with Wilma, she is also a nursemaid.  Thelma does not have any milk at the moment but that doesn't stop her trying to feed other people's babies!  Wilma, however, does have milk and happily shares it with anyone who wants it!

A young goat called Dette had 3 lovely babies earlier this week.  As the kidding pens were all occupied, I set up a pen inside the main area where the other goats live.  So, she was still in with the main herd but separated by metal hurdles.  You can just see the corner of her pen in the left of this photo.  A small kiddy-sized gap in the construction meant that her little people could squeeze out and go for a run around with all their aunties.


But Dette needn't have worried as Auntie Thelma always came running over to make sure that the little person was safe.  


Sadly I didn't manage to get a picture of Wilma feeding the babies but she came into the parlour completely empty on several occasions!

Over the other side of the barn, another little person was also getting a sneaky feed.  The backside you can see belongs to Katkin who has 3 kids of her own.  Feeding time is busy below her udder and so she doesn't notice that someone else, in the pen behind, is leaning through to have a sneaky feed. Funniest thing I have seen for a long time!


And finally - one of Connie's little chaps was catching some rays today when the sun came out ..

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Babies, babies everywhere ...

It's that time of year again!  The noise level in the barn increases beyond reasonable levels and there are babies, maternity pens and buckets everywhere.  Chaos ... I love it!!!!

So, our mums have continued to oblige this week with the arrival of a number of new babies.  Many bear a striking resemblance to their daddy Hugo and so we have quite a selection of ridiculously large ears.

Here's some of the new kids on the block ..

Valerie's little men having a stressful day:


One of Meryl's babies - this is the male.  You can see him snuggled up to his sister on the second photo.  Meryl loves her babies and was very glad to finally get rid of that enormous udder!



JoJo had 3 babies - I have nicknamed them 'The Velvet Spiders'.  These are pure Anglo-Nubian and so have very excessive ears, strange bleats, long gangly black legs and coats like velvet.  Utterly gorgeous.  JoJo is a very lazy mother though and so I have spent most of my time in the barn attending to her babies - making sure that they are fed and cleaned as JoJo chooses to do neither!






JoJo's daughter Cleo, on the other hand, is a wonderful mum and very attentive to her two beautiful brown babies:


One of our young goatlings, Cara, is very proud of her new son:




And how about this for a cute little face - Constance's little man:




Monday, 16 March 2015

New collaboration with Gourmet Goat and Slow Food

We are very excited to now be supplying the wonderful Gourmet Goat with our delicious kid meat!  Debbie took the first delivery of almost 50 kgs of meat to their stall at Borough Market in South London last Friday where it was very well received by an enthusiastic Nick, owner and founder of GG.

Barely had it been delivered than it was in the pot cooking and, later that afternoon, was being devoured by hungry market goers.  A text from Nick on Saturday afternoon confirmed that it had all gone!  He was so pleased with the quality and taste that he has ordered more for this week.

So, if you find yourself in Borough Market - pay them a visit for some delicious hot food.

 
And check out their website for fantastic recipes and the full story about Gourmet Goat  www.gourmetgoat.co.uk

One of the reasons that we think our meat is so delicious is that our boys are slow-grown.  We do not force huge amounts of concentrate feed into them to make them gain weight quickly, but they are allowed to mature slowly.  They are also thoroughly spoiled!  Happy animals mean tasty meat.  And our fantastic slaughterman and butcher at S W Doughty ensures that they are dealt with quickly and sympathetically when their time comes.  No slaughterhouse is pleasant but we are very fortunate to have such an excellent and caring team less than a mile from the farm.

And, whilst we are on the subject of slow-grown meat .. we are also proud to announce that we have been accepted as a supporter member of Slow Food UK.  Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.  Read all about them at www.slowfood.org.uk


And, of course, no blog entry at this time of year would be complete without a cute baby pic ..  Here's one of Connie's tiny men having a little 'mummy time'.




Saturday, 14 March 2015

Keep them coming!

Babies everywhere!  Little TiddlyWiddly goat had quite a large female kid but handled it all very well, despite her size!


Young Connie produced 2 tiny little babies ..


Whilst Daisy popped out 3 with ridiculous ears!



Valerie is proud mum to 2 and, it has to be said, Handsome Humps is missing his mum very much.  He has also hurt one of his rear legs and was standing about looking very sad.  All he wants is a little cuddle from mum but, as you see, she is far too busy.  Poor Humps!


And Husky's sister Wolfie has a little female yesterday afternoon.  She very kindly lifts her leg in the air so that baby gets a good shot at the teat.


Meanwhile, Husky is back in with the milking herd and now has to work for a living (which she is not impressed about).  She made a pretty good mum - here she is with one of the babies.

video

Other new mums also include Enid, Lamia and Tiffany but I haven't been able to get any decent pics so far.  Will try tomorrow for you!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Just an excuse for more pics!

Little Huskyettes fast asleep in the sunshine:


And the new mums for today .. Quince with her 2 girls.  Pure white and silly ears!



And first time mum Dumdidum who gave birth to a little mini Hugo during our Trading Standards inspection this morning!  Fortunately, our lovely TS officer Wendy was thrilled to be present at the birth and so everything turned out well.



All mums and babies are doing very well so far.  Husky's babies are off to the vet tomorrow for disbudding and so Husky will return to the main herd.  We will see how she copes without her babies.  I suspect that she will just revert to being her normal stroppy goatie self.  Only now, she has to work for a living and come through the parlour for milking.  Don't think she will be impressed with that!


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Settling into motherhood

Husky has so far proved to be a very good new mum, but this evening she does seem to have taken exception to one of her babies for no apparent reason.  She keeps pushing her away, will not let her near the others but will let her feed and cleans her up.  So, not exactly sure what is going on in that little Husky brain but we are keeping a close eye on her.  We have also doubled the size of her pen to give her and the babies plenty more space and allow the little ones to find a corner away from mum when she is being stroppy.

This morning two of them were fast asleep in the food bowl:


And the third was having a little chat with mum:


The next lot are due towards the end of the week and then it's going to be full on for a few more weeks.  Fortunately, we have several excellent vet students coming to help - all of whom have been to us before.  I find it really thrilling that these young people are so keen to come back and visit us again.  Must be all the cake that we feed them!

Those of you who have followed our blog for some time may remember my dear Flora goat.  We are not allowed to have favourites but Flora was a very special goat and I was desperately upset when she died.  She left us a number of wonderful girls but there is one in particular who is beginning to look and act very much like Flora.  It is quite strange how she has taken on many of the mannerisms of her mum.

Here's my lovely Flora:


And here is Summer.


Very similar to her mum don't you think?  Sane colour, facial markings, ears and shape of face ... I know that one goat looks much like another to most people but you have to humour me on this one! When I look at Summer I see my dear Flora and she makes me smile every time!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Meet The Huskyettes!

Today started just like any other day .. me dashing about trying to get Joe off to West Hampstead and myself off to Penshurst.  David and Mel were busy milking those goatie girls before David got all his toys out of the shed and spent a gruelling day muck spreading.

All those piles of dung have to go somewhere and, in true grassland management fashion, we spread our manure (or FYM, as it is known in the trade!) over our fields to put nourishment back into the ground so that we can make good, nutritious hay for all those hungry goats.  This has to be done in fairly good weather and as this weekend was forecast to be dry and sunny, David decided to go for it!

He uses the smaller old tractor to load the dung into a large muckspreader..



And then he drives it up and down the field behind the larger tractor, flinging it all out of the back.  Which goes something like this ..

video
 
We have our own muckspreader but it's not man enough for this job and so we have to hire a larger one for a couple of days.  As it's quite expensive to do this, David works absolutely flat out to get everything done.  Poor chap is absolutely exhausted this evening.  And he has another day of it ahead of him tomorrow.

When I returned from market early this afternoon I went straight into the barn to check on young Husky who was due to kid today.  I found her standing around looking very 'goatie' and she chortled when she saw me.  Unusual .. she is not generally very vocal and so this was a fairly good sign that she was up to something!


I kept a close eye on her during the rest of the afternoon and we made her a little pen of her own just before milking started as she was clearly searching for somewhere to settle down.  Barely had we got the gates in place when the first little brown kid appeared!  Closely followed by a second one - a miniature of her mum.


Satisfied that all was well (as she had been scanned for 2 kids), I went to get her a nice bucket of warm water.  When I returned moments later, there was another little brown kid in the pen!!

And so here they are, ladies and gentlemen .. The Huskyettes.  Yes indeed - triplet girls.  Not a bad start to the season!


And young Fenn is a very proud daddy.  His first babies!  Contrary to expectation, Husky has been an absolutely brilliant new mum so far.  Babies were cleaned and fed very quickly and she is very attentive to them.  We shall see how long it lasts!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The waiting game

David spent a happy weekend mucking out so that we are all ready for kidding.  The girlies have a bit less space at this time of year to allow room for all those kidding pens to be put up.

At the moment there is a big empty space on one side of the barn:



But it will soon start to fill up!

The Boys have been moved back into the hay barn for the moment - Daramac and Hugo took it all in their stride as usual ..


Fenn and Clark were quite happy to have the big lads back in their house, though Fenn is still a little wary of Hugo.  I think it may have something to do with those ears!  And Beamish still has his smart coat on - probably for a couple more weeks.


The weather has been glorious for the last couple of days and the girls have been taking full advantage of the sunshine to get some fresh air in their field.  However, they have to cross the mud in the back yard to get out there and so there has to be a huge risk assessment meeting before anyone is allowed out in the field.

Everyone gathers in the sunshine up the side of the barn after milking ..


There is a lot of ear-pointing whilst everyone stares into the field to make sure that there are no trolls hanging about waiting to scare poor unsuspecting young goaties ..


And then finally, the brave ones tramp through the mud to reach the grass ..



And of course, there are always those who just prefer to stay indoors and keep their little goatie feet clean and dry ..


At milking time, Fizzy is still demanding to come into the parlour.  She likes to go up the ramp and join in with the other girls - I think it makes her feel important!  And so she comes round to the back gate, stands up on the fence and demands to be let in ..

video

Dear simple Marcie goat likes to come in with the very last lot and heads straight for the wheelbarrow.  Then she lies in it to make sure that she can reach the furthest and most tasty bits of food ..


No babies as yet but Husky is due in a couple of days and I think she will probably kid on time.  She has gone off her food a little and seems very restless.  Watch this space!