Sunday 28 February 2016

But it was not to be ...

Sadly, our sweet girl Alice did not make it and has gone to goatie heaven with her two unborn kids.  A traumatic end to the week which made us all very sad.

She had been doing so well but became much worse on Thursday, barely eating or drinking.  On Friday, I had to syringe glucose and liquids down her throat in the hope of giving her the boost that she so desperately needed.  But it became clear that she was fading rapidly and so that dreaded call was made to the vet.

Our wonderful vet Peter checked her out again and confirmed what we already knew .. that she was struggling.  Sadly, there was no way to save the kids without considerable trauma to Alice in her last moments and, with her having been so poorly, it was very unlikely that they would have survived an induced birth 3 weeks early.  As I held her close, the three of them slipped away together and another little hole was left in our herd.

Alice was a beautiful girl and at 7 years old she should still have had a few more years ahead of her.  But it was not to be.

Goodbye sweet Alice ..

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Let's hear it for Alice!

In between all that dismal grey and wet weather, we have had some cracking days!  Early morning sunrise saw the goaties race out into the field and up their mountain:

Then as the day warmed up a little, they went all the way down to the bottom of the field ..

Some people noticed that the hedges needed trimming ..

And it wasn't long before a fallen branch grabbed their attention and was eagerly devoured!

With only a week or so to go until the start of kidding, some girls are displaying distinctly large waistlines.  Patsy goat looks like she has swallowed a yoga ball ..

Meanwhile, udders are sprouting everywhere and the first contender for the 2016 Dolly Parton Award is Oopsie goat ..

Many more to come I suspect!  By the way ... the red mark is to show that she is in kid and shouldn't be milked.

And finally, poor Alice goat is feeling under the weather at the moment.

She is a very sweet girlie and is carrying twins, due mid March.  Normally a very healthy goat, she is really struggling with her pregnancy this time round for some reason.  She is bright and alert but picking at food and her little goatie legs don't want to hold her up any more.  Poor Alice .. 

So she has her own little cosy area where she can eat and drink by herself without anyone else shoving their nose in.  Plenty of straw, a cosy warm coat, regular banana treats and bucketloads of TLC will hopefully carry her through.  Our wonderful vet Peter called in to check her out this evening and he is happy that she is comfortable.

So we just keep a very close eye on her and hope that she makes it through the next few weeks.  Everyone send their warm thoughts and good wishes to Alice for a speedy recovery and a successful kidding!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Still thawing out after a rather chilly day at Chiswick Food Market today.  Despite thermal leggings, fantastic socks and neoprene boots, I still lost contact with my toes around 11am!  Sign of age I think.

Well, I have to say that's it not been a brilliant week on the goatie front as a couple of our girls have aborted their kids.  Not entirely unexpected as the scanning had showed up a couple of potential problems, but it's always sad when it does happen.  And we always have to cross our fingers and hope that everyone else will be OK and that we are not heading for lots of problems.  Just to be sure, we have sent a couple of the foetuses off to the new vet school at the University of Surrey to have a post mortem.

But we did have a bit of a traumatic Friday night as we had to rush young Esther goat off to the surgery to have her kid removed.  It was very bloated and swollen and neither myself or David could get it out.  It's not often we can't sort out a kidding but this needed smaller hands and more equipment!  The new young vet on call was excellent and, between the three of us, we did finally manage to extract it .. poor Esther was absolutely exhausted by the time we had finished.  She was glad to get back home to her comfy warm bed of straw and bucket of warm water.  She was a very brave girl.

The drier weather during the week tempted many of the goaties outside onto their mountain and they all had a happy hour or two skipping around in the sunshine:

And when the sun moved round, the usual group of sun-worshippers lined themselves up to enjoy the warmth:

And finally, Fizzy Whizz would like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.  Goatie Auntie Anita had an artistic moment with the spray marker when Fizzy had her feet trimmed last week ..

Monday 8 February 2016

The scanning man cometh!

Today was the day when our exceedingly busy scanning man came to call.  All the goaties were moved over one side of the barn and gates placed in strategic places so that everyone could be walked/shoved through Michael's special scanning contraption.

Michael sits in his little machine so that he can scan the goats as they come through and he can see the image on a screen in front of him:

Joe, Anita and Sam were catching goaties and pushing them through:

- some were more reluctant than others to walk into the strange contraption!

David was at the front end to read ear tags and spray mark bottoms and I was trying to keep up with all the paperwork on the right hand side!

It was a bit of a marathon but everyone behaved very well and so I now have a complete list of all the babies that are due to arrive in a few weeks.

We had a couple of nice surprises as some of the older girls are actually in kid.  Highlight of the day was our dear old Thelma goat who is having twins.  Thelma has been with us for almost 12 years and hasn't kidded for some time.  This year, despite her grand old age, she was fit and healthy and wagging her tail at the boys and so we let her in for a little romantic liaison with Fenn.

Thelma absolutely adores babies .. you may remember from years gone by that she and Margot are the herd midwives.  Between them, they attend every birth and help the new mums clean up their new born babies.  So, it will be absolutely wonderful to see Thelma with her own kids once again,  Can't wait!

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Hey Fatty Tum Tum!

It's that time of year again .... fat, lazy goats just lying around waiting to have babies ..

Young Husky is particularly portly at the moment ..

Scanning is scheduled for next Monday so we will have a better idea how many babies are on the way!

And I know you all think that I am obsessed with goats drinking water from a tap .. but I couldn't resist taking this piccie at evening milking tonight.  Husky and daughter Monkey:

And it would seem that Hugo has a little friend.  I have spotted it a couple of times snuggled up in the straw, sometimes inside Hugo's pen close to him.  Tonight it was just the other side of the gate curled up in the straw .. You can just make it out in the darkness.

 A little black and white cat ..  Everyone needs a friend, even big smelly chaps like Hugo!

Monday 1 February 2016

Learning new tricks

Now I'm not sure if you have met Martha goat before ... She is a black goat, granddaughter of our dear old Betty goat, and refuses to go up the ramp in the milking parlour as she comes through the gate.  Instead, she barges past whichever human happens to be on gate duty and plunges herself into the feed wheelbarrow.  Then, once she has had a few mouthfuls, she is happy to go up the ramp and take her proper place for milking.

She often watches Husky and Monkey as they trot around 'helping' with milking .. and it would seem that she has been watching them drinking water from the tap in the parlour as last night, this happened ..

Looks like there's going to be a bit of a queue at the parlour water fountain!