Thursday 28 March 2013

Everything comes in threes

It's been something of a week of triplets.  Our lovely JoJo had 3 beautiful long-eared babies:

This year we mated her to our British Alpine male, Beamish.  So we were fully expecting black kids with long (but not Anglo Nubian) ears.  Shows how colour can play tricks!  Aren't they just gorgeous?  Light brown with cream on their faces and black spines.  Beautiful! Two males and a female - exactly the same as last year.  And, as last year, the two boys will be going to the Museum of Kent Life farm to live.

Then there was Marcie:

Lovely Marcie who was left slightly simple by a serious brain condition a couple of years ago.  She was a bit confused at first as something fell out of her bottom and then, all of a sudden, there were all these small bleating things shouting at her.  But she soon got the hang of it again and was a wonderful mum.  Three girls as well!  Makes up for the three boys that she had last time she kidded ...

And Marge:

And Sibyl:

And young Miranda who was scanned for quads, actually gave birth to triplets last night.

Valerie is still free range in the barn with her boys and has almost got full use of her leg back.  David thinks that it's all OK and she's just playing on it now!  Her little chaps are growing quickly and are getting into all sorts of naughtiness.  Like their mum, they always find the best spot to lie down for a rest:

As the weather is so cold at the moment, the groups of kids are all snuggling up together to keep warm.  They are all so cosy:

Sunday 24 March 2013

Kids at play

Just a very quick post.  Had to share this little video with you. 

Saturday 23 March 2013

Wet and windy in Wimbledon

What a horrendous day for market.  Two sets of thermals, two pairs of socks and I was still freezing!  Snow, wind and sleet made for a crippling combination at Wimbledon today but, fortunately, there were still quite a few brave souls who ventured out to do their shopping.  After last week's wet and windy West Hampstead, I was hoping for a drier market but it was not to be.  At least we didn't get as much weather as those poor people further north.  Lucky old Jane the Cheese was snug and warm indoors at Whitstable Farmers Market and had the audacity to send me a text saying how nice it was to be indoors watching the snow out of the window. 

Meanwhile, it's been another busy week in the goatshed.  Our young work experience student Jess finished on Friday and seemed to have enjoyed herself.  I think her favourite bit was bottle feeding some of the little people:

On Thursday night she and her dad came to help with the milking as David wasn't around and I needed a couple of extra pairs of hands to get all those naughty new milkers in.  Jess's dad John is a fireman and so I knew that he would be great at goat wrestling! 

By 8pm, we were going great guns with only 4 new milkers left to do.  We opened the gate for the final time and in came 9 goats.  Ah ... Must have been hiding round the corner where we couldn't see them.  But, as we worked along the line, it became clear that they had all been in for milking already.  On closer investigation, I discovered that a group of them had broken down the back gate and let themselves back in.  Only a few days into milking and they are already learning all those bad habits.

And some of them are still trying to get the hang of the parlour stalls and the 'one goat - one stall' rule.  Here we have the 'two goats - one stall' variation ..

And it has to be said that it is SO nice to have milk back on stream after a long winter of very little milk at all.  It is so good to see all those lovely full udders coming through the parlour every day!

Needless to say, there have been numerous more new arrivals with another 6 kids appearing while I was battling the elements at Wimbledon today.  I think that we are still slightly ahead on the boys but we did send quite a large group of little men off to Somerset on Thursday.  A chef and a farmer started up a new business last year to promote English kid meat to restaurants around the country and they did such a good job of it that they sold over 3000 kids last year.  As a result, they need more kids to rear this year and are always looking for large groups of kids that they can take and rear on for meat.

As you know, we raise all our boys for meat but as we have so many this year,  we had to find a way of moving them on quicker than normal.  A timely email put me in touch with James and Jack and, on Thursday, Jack drove up from Somerset to pick up a group of our boys.

We spent much of Wednesday selecting those who would be going and making sure that they were all fit and healthy.  David set up some temporary pens in the tractor shed so that we could have them all in the same place:

So, when James arrived, all we had to do was move them all quickly out of their pens and into the lorry and then off they all went to their new home.  It was sad to see them go but I know that they will be very well looked after.

That tiny little white girl is doing really well.  Here she is asleep with her sister:

And here's a few more of the recent arrivals:

Valerie and her little men are doing very well in the barn.  Val is walking very well on her bad leg but still likes to find the most comfy place to lie down:

Her little chaps are really growing well and getting into all sorts of mischief.  But they are both doing a very important job of looking after their mum and giving her plenty of exercise, so they will be free range in the barn for quite a while yet I think!

Monday 18 March 2013

More tales of kidding

So, what do you do with your bucket when you've finished your breakfast?  You curl up and go to sleep in it .... obviously ...

We are getting some beautifully coloured kids this year and this little chap is no exception.  Resembles something like a freisian cow!

This week we have a young work experience girl with us - Jess.  She wants to be a vet and so is getting some animal handling experience while she is with us.  She came with me to the vet today for some disbudding and we also took Thelma's little girl with us as well.  This little one has very strange front legs and I wondered if the vets thought that anything could be done.  If not, then she would have to be sent to the big goatshed in the sky.

Fortunately, two of the vets agreed that it was worth taking a chance and they strapped the whole of her leg to try and keep it straight.  It makes her a bit miserable but I'm sure that she will be fine when she gets the hang of swinging that spare leg around.

Only one set of twins born today so maybe things are slowing down a bit!

Sunday 17 March 2013

177 and counting

The grand total so far!  but you never know, it could still rise before the end of the night.

Babies everywhere.  Pens and hurdles and more buckets than you can shake a stick at.  David always laughs at me as he thinks I have a bucket fixation.  A woman can never have too many buckets ... and at this time of year, he agrees with me!

Most of the work this week has been done by the goatlings who are all first time mums.  They have all done very well, with a couple of minor exceptions, and are now getting to grips with coming in for milking.

As you see, there is a lot of noise involved as well.  This is Vivien waiting at the gate to come in for milking this evening!


All kids are cute but there are always a few special ones every year..This week I have shared my sleeping bag with 3 other little people. First up was a tiny white girl born to new mum Nibor.  She is so small  ....

But seems to be doing really well now as mum has decided that she does like her after all!.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Valerie and her babies

Followers of our little blog may be interested to know that young Valerie has had her babies.  Remember Valerie?  She of the dodgy sore leg who was living free range out in the hay barn while her leg mended.

Well, she has had her babies - two fine young men - and now they are all free range in the hay barn!!

One white baby and one black baby!

We have left them with her so that it keeps her moving around and gives her leg plenty of exercise.  It also keeps control of her milk as she would really struggle to get into the milking parlour with her bad leg at the moment and so the babies may as well have it.

They are such funny little creatures.  They run about and play and then suddenly curl up under a wheelbarrow and go to sleep.  And of course, mum Valerie is very attentive and doesn't like them to stray too far where she can't see them.

But the funniest thing is watching them feed.  Valerie will often stand up for them but sometimes when she is resting her leg, the babies just feed while she is lying down.  Something like this:

Clever babies!

Monday 11 March 2013

My new boyfriend

I realise that some of you may be shocked by this but ... I have a new boyfriend.  Yes indeed.  Small, handsome, perfectly formed and doesn't snore.  Sounds good eh?  And ... we have spent the last two nights together.  In fact, this morning I left him sound asleep in my sleeping bag as I awoke around 3am to attend another birth.

Bet you're jealous!!

Here he is a couple of hours later when he decided that it was time to get out of bed and play:

He is the son of Bakeeki, one of our lovely British Alpine girlies, and was born about 3 days ago.  He seemed to start off pretty well but went rapidly downhill on Saturday for no apparent reason.  David spent the day trying to feed him whilst I was at market and then I took over when I arrived home.  He was in a bad way - limp and shivering and not wanting to feed.

So, he spent the night with me tucked up in my sleeping bag.  Very cosy and warm.  And every time he woke, I fed him a little warm milk and we spent a very restless night together.  And we did it all again last night!  He is looking so much better now and is hopefully on the mend.

By the way .. Jane the Cheese is selling her caravan and so I am back in my goat trailer for the nights.

Yes, it's chilly but I have a selection of sleeping bags, quilts and blankets and am rather nicely warm and toasty once I am inside.  The lovely Sal (GeeGee Parrot's Mama) came to visit at Parson's Green market last Sunday and brought me a belated Xmas pressie of a lovely jacketed hot water bottle.  It's wonderful!

And we were thrilled that our oldest girl Tammy has had her babies safely - all doing fine.  One male and one female.

Whilst Betty's babies were using her as a climbing frame:

Right, I'm back off to my trailer.  No little man to keep me company tonight though - I think he is fine in his own house.  Because the weather is so foul tonight, the babies all decided to curl up next to each other:

Not sure how much snow we are going to get, but it's certainly blustery and exceedingly cold.  More thermals for me tonight.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Exhaustion sets in ..

Total brain fade ... Maybe it's just my age.  Or perhaps it's the fact that I haven't really had much sleep at all this week.  It's been a loooooonnnnnnggggg week of kidding and as I left the barn tonight for a brief visit home, there were 122 babies there.  Like I said .. a busy week.  Hence, no blog for a few days and I am seriously behind on taking photos.

The girls have kept us all very busy this week with babies popping out all over the place.  Mostly the milkers but we have had a couple of the first time mums and I think that the youngsters will keep us on our toes for the next few days.

As always, there have been ups and downs.  Mostly good deliveries but we have had a couple of really horrendous births which both I and the goat would rather forget about!

However, we do have a new midwife on hand.  Remember Margot?  The lovely white girlie who lost her babies a few weeks ago?

  She has taken it upon herself to attend every birth and help clean the babies.  Then, if the new mum is not paying attention, she stands over them and tries to feed them.  Poor Margot - she is so desperate to have a baby of her own to look after.  If we have any orphaned ones this year, we know who to go to for help.

Here she is helping Gilly with her new arrival:

Anyhow - it's getting very late again and I must return to my duties in the barn.  I will hopefully get more time to blog properly over the next few days but I leave you with a few baby pics to keep you going until then ...

Sunday 3 March 2013

And they keep on coming ..

Running total of 36 babies so far - bit top heavy on the boys at the moment with 21 of those but we don't mind!

It's been a busy few days, especially as I have been back at Farmers Markets this weekend and so David was left holding the baby (as it were).  Poor Bunty had problems delivering her two babies and David had to do rather a lot of fiddling around.  He has quite large hands and I think poor Bunty was feeling the after effects last night.  She looked pretty miserable when I got home.  Didn't even want a banana.  Must be bad!  But, after a restful night, she is much better today.

There are pens up everywhere there is a space:

At the moment there are only 3 pens spare ... but we do have a few girls coming out tomorrow and Tuesday to go back in with the main herd, so that will release a few. 

Here's a couple of the latest new mums:

Coco using one of her babies as a pillow!

Tinky and her little people.
And a couple of 'spot the baby' pics.  They're in there somewhere!
Meanwhile, down in the youngsters' house, I have my suspicions that little Fizzy may actually have grown a bit, as she now seems to be able to reach the hayrack (just!)
Right .. back up to the barn for the night.  Possibly the third in a row with very little sleep.  Not looking my most attractive or alert at the moment .. and it's only the first week!!