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Scenes from the Kidding/Lambing Season

As I write this at the beginning of March, we've got somewhere around 25 goat kids and nearly 70 lambs hopping around the farm.



Just as predicted, it's been an adorable roller coaster, complete with late nights, lots of celebrating and a little bit of heartbreak. We'd like to share a few of the stand-out stories from the 2024 lambing/kidding season (so far).


Chapter 1: Thea

Thea is one of our seasoned milkers, a Nubian with a very sweet temper and lovely mothering skills. She failed to get pregnant last year, and this season we were happy that she was going to have a chance to love up a kid or two again.


Kansas is another of our milk line mainstays. She is also a great mom, and that is a good thing, because behold the girth of THIS lovely lady:



We knew that she had multiples in there... and we were correct! Kansas gave birth to three adorable kids.



Sometimes goat moms decide that they really only want to count to two. Alas, one of Kansas' triplets was just not getting enough milk to thrive. We started supplementing Wren, as we call her, with a bottle. A few days in, she was on her way to being back on track.


About a week later, Thea gave birth to her kid. Sadly, it was stillborn. According to our records and the appearance of the tiny baby, it was a premature birth. We felt terrible for Thea, and then had the idea of persuading her to adopt Kansas' baby Wren. Bottle babies are adorable, but they are a lot of work, and if we could get Thea to take on the task of feeding her it would be a win/win/win.


The way to convince a doe to foster a baby is by scent. We rubbed Wren in the afterbirth of Thea's stillborn (don't worry, no photos at this point) to try and "trick" Thea into thinking that this was her new baby. She wasn't entirely convinced. But she tolerated Wren, warming up more to the idea with each milking session.


Wren also had to decide that a new mom was acceptable. When she realized she had full rein of the milk bar, she wisely agreed to the arrangement. We kept the pair in their own little space to encourage bonding, and when we peeked in one morning and saw them snuggling, we knew that we had a love match!



These two are a very sweet pair now. Thea is very attentive and Wren is thriving.


 
Chapter 2: Jellybean

It can tricky not to anthropomorphize our goats in pregnancy and labor. For some of us uterus-hosting humans, there may be very recognizable moments. For example, we may understand how this early-laboring doe was feeling, as she spent her afternoon with her head pressed against a board.



Another such uncomfortable goat was Jellybean, daughter of Bean (of petting zoo fame). This season Jellybean was old enough to have her own kid, and she seemed to have many opinions about it. While she wasn't necessarily larger in girth than the average pregnant doe, she most definitely was above-average in pregnancy drama.



In the weeks before delivering her twins, Jellybean would stretch out on her side and groan, trying to find a comfortable position. It was a little disconcerting to enter the barn and find a goat prostrate amongst the others contentedly chewing cud. We may or may not have started calling her "Drama Bean".


Much to her relief (there I go, anthropomorphizing) Jellybean gave birth to twins, who already display the extra sweet and snuggly nature of their mom and grandmom.



We affectionately refer to them as the Jelly Bellies.



As it turns out, Jellybean is one of our most productive new mom milkers! We are thrilled that she will be joining the milk line this season and in the future. Hopefully the "being pregnant" part will come a little easier to her next time.


And motherhood? Has she settled down and become a little less dramatic? Here's a screenshot of the farm text thread:




 

Chapter 3: Sufu

This story is simply a moment captured in photographs too cute not to share. Sufu is one of our Friesian milk goats. Last season she had quadruplets and joined the milk line to contribute towards our feta cheese. This season she had twins.


We are bringing all of our new moms up onto the milk stand for their breakfasts so that they acclimate to the routine and handling. Sufu was not thrilled about leaving her babies, so we brought them along to encourage the process. One was quite happy to nest in the kibble bucket while Sufu nibbled around her.








Such endearing moments amidst all the hard work. It's just like I used to say to my own babies in those early days: "It's a good thing you're so cute!"

1 Comment


B. Bailey
B. Bailey
Mar 20

I love these heart warming stories of moms and babies, and all of your obvious love and care and relationships with them all. - Sadie B

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