How to know when your goat is about to kid.

This post has been written and waiting for pictures for quite a while. Goats are difficult to photograph, because they are always in your face.2013-April-014

The most obvious way is to keep track of the breeding date. The tricky part is when you have more than one breeding to track. For example, if you breed your goat around October 20 and she comes back into heat a couple weeks later you want to track both breedings, even if you are positive that she’ll be kidding according to the second breeding.

The surest way to tell is to watch the goat’s ligaments. If you are fortunate enough to have a goat-obsessed teenage daughter, she will watch the ligaments like a hawk for several weeks, the only drawback to this is she may drive you crazy by announcing that the goats are about to kid ‘any day now’ for at least three weeks.

When the doe’s tail goes over to the side we know that kidding is hours or minutes away.

When Tuppence was due to kid around March 12 (second breeding) we were a little surprised (annoyed) to see her tail over on the late, frigid evening of Feb. 22 (first breeding). I confess to denial- the whimpering “this can’t be happening on this freezing cold night in February”- type of denial.  We put the baby monitor in the barn and headed off for bed, or at least for a barn noises ‘sleepover’ in the girls room. We never even got to sleep before it was time to head back out again.

The baby was a decent sized boy, and he was the only baby in there, much to our surprise.


The baby came out frontward!!!

You have no idea how happy that makes me. Almost all of last year’s babies were backwards or worse. We made sure that they got more exercise this year.

Exercise is important for pregnant goats.

Tuppence tried to climb the wall and sit in my lap while she was in labor. Both of which  were new ones on me.

The baby was born just a couple minutes after midnight. Since it was her goat, Abigail got the honors of getting up to feed the baby again in 3 hours.

If they’re born earlier in the day and are healthy I usually let them go eight hours overnight, but we try to get several feedings around four-six hours apart until we’re positive that they’re eating well.

The next morning brought more excitement. By mid morning Missus G’s tail was over and her ligaments were gone. Thankfully we had a lot of bath towels this year. Missus G kidded about 12:00 noon, which was 12 hours after Tuppence kidded and 2 weeks earlier than anticipated. All of Missus G’s babies came out frontwards as well. One had a hoof back, but that was easily fixable. She had two does and a buck, which makes my ratios 50% this year.

Last year it felt like we waited and waited and waited; this year we didn’t wait at all, but, dang, was it cold.

Just a couple more goofy photos for you.boys-will-be-boys2013 April 033

Comments Off on How to know when your goat is about to kid.

Filed under Goats, Hobby farm

In which I become a tattoo artist.

Once upon my lengthy list of things that I have been absolutely dreading and procrastinating about has been TATTOO GOAT BABIES. First, my excuse was that I didn’t have tattoo pliers, but the tattoo pliers have been sitting in my laundry room for a couple months and the babies still lacked their tattoos. I awoke this morning with the determination that by the end of the day I would know more about tattooing goats than I knew at the moment, and the babies would have tattoos or something very like them on their floppy ears.

Yes, I am the woman who was unable to pierce her five year old daughter’s ear resulting Daddy being the one to punch the hole. This was rather ironic as he was less than ecstatic  about the prospect anyway. However, a man with four daughters picks his battles carefully.

With that background of my former squeamishness, you can possibly imagine my thrill at needing to punch this baby through some floppy goat ears.

First you clean their ears.

Then you ink them and punch them, or punch them and ink them, depending on whose directions you are reading. I did some both ways, we shall see if it makes a difference.

Your herd identification goes in the right ear, and the animal’s identification goes in the left ear. I hope it all came out right side up. I put it forward from the direction you’d be reading it if you flipped the ear up to read it standing in front of the goat.

They fussed about the initial piercing, then went back to happily munching their grain, making all my dread and panic attacks completely and totally wasted. I am not at all confident that this project went well, because it went too easily. (Note to self, new thing to worry about.) Everyone talks about how messy tattooing is, I assumed they meant blood and guts, but I think they meant the icky, sticky, get everywhere, cling to everything ink.

Comments Off on In which I become a tattoo artist.

Filed under Goats, Hobby farm

Good-bye, Hector

Our sweet Golden Retriever, Hector wasn’t ever very healthy and the time  came last month that we knew we had to let him go. The vet had let us know that it was likely stomach cancer and there is just not anything they can do about it. We miss Hector. He was a beautiful dog and had all the positive characteristics of his breed.

Comments Off on Good-bye, Hector

Filed under Hobby farm, Uncategorized

Wordless Weekend

Because sometimes you just don’t need words.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Comments Off on Wordless Weekend

Filed under Uncategorized

How not to de-horn goats.

You are riding on the range. Suddenly, Bad Nosed Bill rides up behind you and asks, “Would you like me to shoot a hole in your head?” What do you say dear?

from What Do You Say Dear? by Sesyle Joslin

There is a reason the devil has horns in most popular depictions. Horns are scary. Goats also have horns. The remedy for this condition involves holding a tiny cute baby goat down and burning the heck out of the horn buds. And I, wimp of the year, klutz extraordinaire, didn’t quite get the heck burnt out of the horn buds I did.

The vet quoted me a reasonable price to sedate them and burn them. Ah ha! Problem solved, thought I. Down they will go to the vet, the vet will fix my stupid bumbling error, and it will be all better.

The vet gave them a sedative and they staggered and went down within minutes. Then she clipped off the existing horn so that we could get to the bud. This left a hole, as in two extra holes, in the heads of Tani and Othello. The holes are into the sinus cavity, perhaps no worse than having a couple extra nostrils, but it is a bit disconcerting. (Read Shannon was silently freaking out while gazing deeply into the brain of her goat.) The vet then held a burning hot iron onto the bud and burned it, careful not to leave the iron applied too long, again and again, until the job was done correctly. (Think smoke from burning hair, blood, and a screaming writhing baby goat held on the ground by two respectable middle-class women.)

This is the only picture available of this joyful experience. I wish you could really see down into the hole; it was quite fascinating.

The vet instructed me to pack the holes with gauze, and keep it fly sprayed. Don’t want any guests! Large animal vets earn every penny they make. This was my first experience with a large animal vet and I was very impressed with her. It must be an incredibly demanding life.

If you plug a goat head hole with gauze, the goat will probably knock it out.

If the goat knocks it gauze out, it will probably get hay in its head.

If it gets hay in its head you are going to need to take it out, for this you will need tweezers, and a big strong man to hold the goat down.

If you put a hole in a goats head maybe you should patch it. For this you will want super glue… and vet tape.

Life is full of new experiences. Try to avoid this one.

Lessons learned:

1.It may seem cruel to hold a baby goat down and burn the heck out of it, but it is nothing compared to what will happen if you have to do it again later.

2. If one is going to keep animals, one should procure a bottle of strong drink, regardless of religious background.

Comments Off on How not to de-horn goats.

Filed under Goats, Hobby farm, Uncategorized

Spent most of m…

Spent most of my Friday up-loading photos to Craigslist! I love the instant classifieds for both selling and buying, but my slow internet service can make it a little time consuming. Do you ever wonder how those super bloggers like Pioneer Woman, who live out in the stinkin’ middle of nowhere manage to upload those millions of fabulous photos? Don’t take your information autobahn for granted, you people who don’t live in the digital black hole. They have faster inter-webs in the third world. Not that I’d change places for a higher kilobyte transfer, but sometimes you just have to wonder.

We’ve some goat kids for sale, we start carefully saying children this time of year when we are referring to our children vs our kids. It get confusing if we do not.

It’s happy-sad occasion. It’s hard not to get attached to them, of all the baby animals in world goat kids are the most endearing.

There are some new photos up on my goat page. The girls are looking a little scruffy from winter, but that’s North Idaho for you, we’re all a little scruffy at the end of winter. There is no point in removing any hair (or dirt) when it’s below freezing.

If you’re ever looking for a major photography challenge try goats. I kid you not! They do not want to stand there and let you take their picture. They want to be with you. The digital camera is a great boon.

1 Comment

May 5, 2012 · 6:27 pm