Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

First On Base.

Posted on | February 6, 2013 | 8 Comments

I finally put my foot down last fall.  And I told Charlotte that if she did not freshen this year then she was going to a pet home.  Charlotte has been with us for 2 1/2 years but she has never freshened.  Despite being bred in both fall and spring.  Despite being left with the bucks for 2 and 3 months at a time.  I reminded her that we are in the business of dairy goats, not pet goats.

Charlotte didn’t say anything, but I think she was questioning the whole business thing.  I mean, can you call it a business when you refuse to sell the milk because you want it all for yourself and you are always giving away baby goats to friends?  That kind of activity seems to scream “EXPENSIVE HOBBY,” at least according to the tax definition.  She appeared to be full of skepticism.

Regardless of her doubts, Charlotte received Merlin’s attentions with some interest back in September.  And I threw her back in with him in October.  Which is good for helping ensure that a goat gets bred.  But bad for determining kidding dates.  Nothing like turning a 10 day waiting period (kidding usually occurs 145-155 days from date of breeding) into 2 entire months of inspecting udders for bagging up and checking goat nether regions for discharge.  It takes the old adage “Know your goat” to a whole, new freakish level.

I actually didn’t have high hopes for Charlotte.  She has 3 teats on her udder instead of the usual 2.  I was beginning to think that was a sign that she had some genetic defect that prevented her from getting pregnant.  Maybe everything wasn’t properly formed in her reproductive system.  And she had an unpredictable heat cycle—often only seeming to cycle once or twice a year.  That combined with her brassy bullying of other goats on occasion, made me think she might be a hermaphrodite.

But just to prove the point that animals have every idea what humans are talking about (which is why most dog owners have to spell the word W-A-L-K rather than say it), Charlotte finally freshened.

And she kidded 148 days after her first breeding session with Merlin.  Which means I should have put my foot down a long time ago.  Charlotte got a free ride for 2 1/2 years.  All feed, no production.  Why are the pretty colored ones always so tricky???!!!!

She had a bit of trouble with kidding as her kid presented with a nose and only one foot.  So I had to sweep for the second leg.  Kidding can be shocking for first timers and she took in the sight of her baby with more wide-eyed surprise than maternal interest.

I hear ya, Charlotte.

Been there, done that.

But once Charlotte was encouraged to clean her baby, she got the idea and took it seriously.

So seriously that I was worried she was making the little one cold.  And she wouldn’t let the baby nurse either because she wouldn’t stop licking.  But I hesitated to interfere with bonding between a goat and her kid.  I don’t like to use kid coats of any kind because I think that slows the kids ability to adjust to temperatures.  Although I recognize we are lucky with North Carolina temperatures and I probably would use them if I lived up north.  And I know the kid needs to figure out nursing even with a reluctant mother.  I settled for using a heat lamp for added warmth and feeding Charlotte some animal crackers to keep her distracted while the baby managed some initial nursing.

I was disappointed when Charlotte passed her placenta after only having one kid.  But that’s not unusual for first timers.  And this kid just happened to be a female!  Here’s hoping this is the start of a doe-ish season!  Even better, her father is Merlin (my polled buck), so she may turn to be polled.  Meaning Charlotte’s first kid has quite a potential for profit.  I mean, minus the 2 1/2 years of feed it took to produce her. 😉

With the baby nursing well and Charlotte keeping her under the heat lamp, I figured I could head inside.

So congratulations to Charlotte for (finally) earning her place in the herd and getting to stay here at Woodland Pond.  And good work on birthing a beautiful doeling, despite a difficult delivery.

Welcome to Cassie, a miniature version of Charlotte and the winner of the Kidding Opener for Spring 2013.  You are first on base, sweetheart!

I wonder if Cassie will be as tricky as her mother.



8 Responses to “First On Base.”

  1. Lin
    February 6th, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

    Hooray! I am a firm believer in laying down the law and communicating to the animals what we expect of them. Okay, so they don’t always listen or go along with the program, but at least we give them fair warning. We “cured” a peeing problem with our cat by a discussion about appropriate peeing and an extra litter box. She got the message and we got a clean rug in the bathroom. Everybody is happy.

    LOVE that new baby–she is ADORABLE!

  2. Jenny
    February 7th, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    Congrats on the new baby! Mama and baby are both such pretty goats. Hope she turns out to be polled for you. We had a couple polled goats which was great since dehorning has been one of our least favorite and least successful chores here.

  3. Jill
    February 7th, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    oh how cute!!! Cassie is adorable!!

  4. Lisa D
    February 7th, 2013 @ 9:05 am

    I can see it in her eyes. She is going to be another troubled beauty!

    Can’t wait to meet her –

  5. TexWisGirl
    February 7th, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    so, so cute! glad charlotte ‘got with the program’ finally and gave you a healthy little doe!

  6. Cheryl
    February 7th, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    congratulation on the new baby. We started our kidding today also with Triplets!! I love kidding season. I love how you describe it all. Keep up the great work. You make my day when you have a new story.

  7. Kim
    February 14th, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    That is one cute baby! I ranted at the hens today for producing one measly egg between the 4 elephants that pretend they’re hens – placed it in my pocket, bent down to pick up poop – broke the egg – whoops……

  8. The Universe Has Spoken. : Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk
    February 18th, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    […] started the fencing yet and I was hoping to use the money from selling the spring goat kids (Cassie is polled!) to purchase that fencing.  In addition, it’s way too cold to put piglets down […]

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