Early morning in the barn and the two Anglo-Nubians are sitting next to each other. Mum JoJo to the left and daughter Cleo to the right. So, what's so interesting about that? Well ... as you may remember, babies are taken from their mums after about a week when mums return to the milking herd. We continue to feed all the babies until they are weaned. Babies grow into goatlings and then goatlings are gradually introduced back into the milking herd before they are mated and become pregnant so that life is not so stressful for them when it comes to kidding and milking in the parlour.
So .. this means that, although the goats are all in the same area, babies do not come back into close contact with their mums until around 18 months old.
Cleo is now 3 years old but it is only during the past few weeks that she and mum JoJo have been seen lying next to each other. So, this begs a question ... Do they know that they are mum and daughter? If so, then why has it taken them almost 3 years to get back together? Or do they just sit together because they look the same as each other? If this is the case, then this must mean that they themselves know what they look like .. and they know that they look different to the other goats ... and they know that there is one other goat which looks identical. Interesting eh?!
Autumn/winter mornings always start with the same routine with us having to wake up lazy goats for milking time. They hate getting up in the dark (who can blame them?!) and some of them will try and ignore us for as long as they can ..
Eventually, we manage to get all the milking goats over to one side of the barn - you can see the parlour lights in the background ..
Which leaves the goatlings, a few kids and the old girls over the other side of the barn to enjoy their breakfast in peace ..
Every couple of days we roll out bales of new straw so that everyone is warm and cosy in all this damp and windy weather. And it is interesting to note that this task is handled completely differently by the male and female humans.
Male humans just roll the bale out and leave the straw flat in lines .. so all the goats sit in rows, like they are on a bus. Female humans spend much more time laying out the straw - it all has to be spread properly and fluffed up so that it is lovely and comfy for those goatie girls coming back in from milking. I always think it is like plumping up cushions on the sofa. It's a girl thing ..
And, of course, you have to make sure that there is plenty of straw sprinkled into those far corners as that is where many of the old girls prefer to settle down .. like Thelma:
Everyone loves new straw and the goatlings are always keen to help:
Then we open the back door and everyone comes running back in. Incidentally, that noise you can hear in the background is another one of those hormonal goats in season!!