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Posts Tagged ‘memphis’

The goat kids are growing like weeds.  I weighed them the other night, they average around 30 pounds, just over one month old.  Fred and Bogart (Memphis’ kids) are the biggest, and the youngest.  Their bone structure is much more substantial, while Rock and Doris (Abba’s kids) are taller, leaner, but weigh more than you think!

One month.

I can’t believe it.

I spent five months waiting, planning, and in the span of 30 days, time has flown by.  We have a new routine, new kids to play with.  To laugh at.  To cuddle with.  To wince at when they chew a little too much on your hair…

We expect Xenia to kid soon! She is due on Thursday the 29th.  She’s no where near as big as the other does were this close to birth.  Her udder isn’t nearly as full, but I really do think she’s still pregnant – over the past month her sides have taken on a more rotund dimension.  She’s such a high-stress girl.

All the kids have homes:  Doris will remain with us and become a future milker, Bogart will move in with Donut once he’s old enough for weaning – we plan on him to become a companion as we will eventually have to put Sweet Roll down due to his illness.  Fred and Rock will move in with Donut and be fed out and sold to buyers in North Carolina, co-workers of good friends there. I think I managed to pick the most mischievous buckling to keep for our own pet (he will be castrated shortly).  Bogey’s into anything and everything and often keeps me company while I do chores and clean Huck’s paddock.  He finds great joy and jumping on and off objects.  I love his zest for life.  I love all of the goat’s enthusiasm towards life.  It’s something good to model in our own lives.

We put a deposit down on a buckling this week, and we will go pick him up this summer.  He’s a nicely bred French Alpine with good conformation and bloodlines that overlap very little with our current stock.  I wouldn’t have minded something a little more flashy – a nice wide belt? – but we’re not breeding for color — we’re breeding for quality stock with good conformation, attitudes, and milking ability.

Our cheesemaking is going well.  We’ve had chevre transported up and down the East Coast by friends, who all come back with rave reviews.  Our friends have been known to hoard their chevre.  We’re up to several different flavors: plain, herbs de provence, cracked peppercorn, and the newest – a smokey chipotle.  My co-workers love me, since I regularly bring in cheese to share.   I luckily work with some pretty daring taste-testers, lots of foodie’s in one animal hospital!  We call them our “R&D department” and test run new flavors on them and get feedback on new flavors to try.  Some work, others need some tweaking.  They in turn share it with their friends, and we’re already developing a future customer base.  It’s the life of the party.   Not really.  But close. 😉

My father has surgery tomorrow, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  I’m likely to be gone for another short stint depending on how everything goes.  It’s been a rough week:  last Thursday HB’s mom had her first chemo session at the same time her father was having quadruple bypass surgery.  Everyone is doing well, thankfully.

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Some days it’s so hard to find the time to do everything I need to do.

On those days, besides not getting my “to-do” list completed, the blog doesn’t get updated.

Take the past few weeks as an example. 🙂

The goat kids are growing like weeds.  I need to weigh them, because I seriously think Fred Astaire could easily weigh 30 pounds or more.  He’s hefty, big boned.  They are so much fun!  The bucklings are the most outgoing, little Doris is shy but she wants to interact.  Her features are so feminine in comparison to the bucklings.

The momma goats are doing well. Memphis is astounding me with her milk production, she’s getting more grain than anyone else and still could stand to put on a few pounds.  Xenia is due in roughly 10 days, which is very exciting!

The goat shed is coming along.  We’ve got a lot of the siding up, in rough-cut hemlock.  We still have to do the front, and then apply the batting, but it looks really good.  And really big.

Huck is doing wonderfully.  We’ve been out on the trail twice and he loves it.  So do it.  Our most recent ultrasound was Saturday, and we’re cleared to canter and next week he can go on turnout.  His hooves are chipping some, from the trails, and I need to ask Anita about that.  I’m trying to schedule a soundness exam for him as well.  I stupidly scheduled one for next Wednesday before I realized it’s the same day as my dad’s surgery – so I’m trying to re-schedule it.

I’m behind on house-work, so I really should go.  Good thing I have Wednesday off.  I need to weed the bulb bed, mow the grass, and do a million other things.

Just for kicks, here’s a picture of the chicken we had come into work the other day:

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Tuesday morning we decided that if Memphis wasn’t showing any signs of progress we would give her a shot of lutalyse to induce her.  The theory is, the average dairy goat gestation is 145-155 days.  Monday was day 150 for Memphis’ pregnancy, and we were worried about having her hold the kids too long.  Then we may have run into a series of problems created by too-large kids.

Let me state: from what I understand (from reading and talking to other goat people), you should only induce a doe if you are completely sure of her breeding date.  Otherwise you risk inducing a doe too soon – which can cause another set of problems.  After inducing with lutalyse, it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for the doe to go into labor, with most averaging around 36 hours.

So, we gave Memphis a shot of Lutalyse on Tuesday evening and went to bed.  Wednesday our neighbors checked on her and called to report that she was very vocal and nervous.  We moved Jacqsonne back into the stall with Abba and her kids.  We watched them carefully through the evening and everyone got a long fine.  Jacqsonne was quick to remind a kid that her udder was not for them, but otherwise pleasant to them.

I got up periodically Wednesday night and there was no forward progression into labor.  I sadly went to work, worrying that she would go into labor while I was gone and have trouble with no one around to help.  Our neighbors visited again this afternoon and called to say that she was very serene – “the calm before the storm” as they said.  HB got home this evening to find Memphis drying off a little buckling!  HB named him “Fred Astaire” and we marvled at his size.  Memphis is a larger goat than Abba, and I bet her kids are twice their size!

Memphis and Fred Astaire

We let Memphis work on Fred, cleaning and drying his coat.  An hour later, she laid down and began to push, and with some effort out popped a dark buckling that HB named “Humphrey Bogart”!  Memphis laid their quietly for a few minutes and I started to worry.  Bogart started struggling within the amniotic sac and finally broke through.  Memphis got up and resumed cleaning Fred.  I waited a few minutes, washed my hands, grabbed a towel, and went to help Bogart dry off and get the mucous out of his mouth.

Drying off Bogart

Almost immediately Bogart started trying to suckle on my hands.  I tried to get Memphis to cooperate and let the boys nurse, but she would have nothing to do with it.

Humphrey Bogart

Eventually we put Memphis on the milking stand and I milked her.  We bottle-fed Bogart, but Fred wouldn’t latch onto the nipple.  He has limited sucking reflex, I guess.  We went back later this evening and offered a second bottle.  Bogart sucked it dry, but once again Fred wasn’t cooperating – and neither was Memphis.

Luckily, I had brought home a syringe and red rubber catheter from work (a homemade “Save-a-kid” syringe, we wanted one to leave in our kidding kit) and after doing some reading on line decided to syringe feed Fred.  At that point it had been 3 hours since being born and he hadn’t taken in any colostrum other than a few sips.  We felt it was necessary.  It went smoothly and he seemed stronger afterward.

I just peeked in on them and everyone is resting quietly.  I had hoped that relieving some of the pressure in Memphis’ udder would make her willing to let the kids nurse, but she is still not allowing it.  We plan to get up at least once through the night and make sure they’re eating, and bottle feed if we need too.

Little Doris and Rock, Abba’s kids are doing very well.  They’re small, but spunky!  Tomorrow night I’m taking them over to my Jennifer’s for a lesson in disbudding.  Hard to believe that you disbud so early, but it makes sense.

Rock Hudson

Doris & Rock playing with the hay manger

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Abba, 148 days

Today marks 148 days bred for Abba and Memphis.   This morning I measured the circumference of their ever-widening abdomens.  Their last measurement was at a month out, so about 3.5 weeks ago.

Today’s measurements:

Abba – 50 inches

Memphis – 51 inches

That’s a gain of nearly 5 inches each!  It’s been a lot of fun watching their bellies (and udders) swell as the time draws closer.

They say their tail ligaments soften as they approach kidding time.  You see the same things in horses, the tail head begins to feel very flaccid.  I’ve been feeling the ligaments for over a week now, at least twice a day, and I don’t really know if they feel “soft” or not.  They’re certainly a lot softer than Jacqsonne or the other goats!  I figure one day I’ll palpate the ligaments and be like “OH!” and know what it’s supposed to feel like.

The girls have been loving the break in weather, warm days combined with extra sunlight and fresh green grass in the pastures has made them very happy.  Yesterday Jacqsonne’s milk production increased by 2/3 of a pound!  She gave a full 3/4 of a gallon yesterday – her biggest production day yet, and definitely the biggest increase we’ve seen in her production.  I couldn’t believe how full her udder looked last night.  I’m sure I insulted HB when I questioned if he had milked in the morning – she was just that full!

We’ve started letting Sweet Roll, Donut, and Xenia out in the barn lot during the day.  Xenia is cooperating with the new schedule, and Sweet Roll enjoys the sunshine so much.  I hate that it’s bad for him – UV light aggravates his pemphigus (go figure).  While I figure out the next step for him, I figure why not let him enjoy sleeping in the sun?  Today is such a nice day, that as long as everyone gets along, I’m letting Huck roam the barn lot with the boys and Xenia.  They adore Huck’s haynets to the point where I’m considering getting them their own!

Well I better get busy.  HB and his dad are putting the roof on the barn shed today.  I picked up some summer-blooming bulbs that need planting (glads and dahlias) and I really want to start some seeds today too.  And Huck needs a ride.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

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146 days

Abba's udder, 145 days pregnant

Today marks the girl’s 146th day of pregnancy.  I took photos of them yesterday to show their developing udders.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to take photos of the girl’s hind ends when you’re by yourself?  It’s nearly impossible! because they want to inspect what you’re doing.  I found myself dipping into the barn for a few minutes to do chores, then popping outside really fast before they noticed me so I could get pictures.

I knew it was unlikely they would kid on St. Patrick’s Day, but it would have been fun if they had!  If we had March 17th kids, I wanted to give them Irish names, like Clare (as in County Clare) and Killarney, just for kicks.  But I like the names so much I might just do that anyway!  Irish names for 2010?  Why not? 😉

Memphis's Udder, 145 days pregnant

Here’s to patience! 🙂

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I guess the grass is readying itself for St. Patrick’s Day?

We’ve been blessed with a week and a half of warm weather.  Overnight lows in the 50’s and daytime highs in the 60’s, sometimes nearly 70!  It’s wonderful!  I’m always amazed by how quickly the grass rallies when warm spring days begin to appear.  The horses have set aside their hay and search out tender sprigs of grass.  The chickens, after a few days of a warm steady rain, are having a heyday going after bugs.

The doe’s bellies continue to swell, as do their udders.  Memphis, in particular, has an udder becoming more bulbous every day.  Abba, in accordance with her petite size, has an appropriately sized udder.  Both girls are now displaying a little discharge.  I’m patiently waiting, but becoming more excited every day.

Spring’s almost here!

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she teases me

For the past few weeks I’ve occasionally seen discharge coming from Abba.  Since yesterday, she’s had a small amount of discharge every time I’ve checked her.  Her ligaments seem to be getting softer.  Her respirations have increased.

Thus begins the waiting game.

First freshners are notorious for showing premature signs of labor.  I pulled out the calendar this week and did some counting.  The average gestation of a goat is 5 months, roughly 145-155 days.  Technically 145 days post-breeding would me Wednesday, March 17th.  We were told by the former owner to expect kids sometime between March 13th and 22nd.

I’m so excited to have kids of my own on the farm!

I’ve yet to see Memphis display any signs.  The breeder told us Memphis would likely kid first.  For a while we thought Abba would kid first because she is so large!  Then Memphis started to suddenly fill out and we decided that perhaps Memphis would be first.  Now, I’m beginning to wonder…!  Both girls are forming nice udders, and their bellies continue to swell.  When they lay down to sleep, they look enormous!

Our neighbors, who home school their children have begun to take daily “field trips” across the road to our barn and peek in on the goats.  If they see sings of labor, they will call us at work.  The deal is, if we’re home when the does begin to kid we’ll call them and let the kids come over to (quietly) watch.

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