On Kidding, Process and Preparation

Baby goats get 60% of their growth in the last month, so does won’t really show until last month. It’s most common for goats to have two kids (as long as they’ve been well cared for). Then, in order of most common, it’s one, three, four, etc, etc. I’ve heard of goats who have had sextuplets! That’s insane though.

Goat udders will start filling up to a week before their due date. Some don’t until a few days before, or even hours before. The hormones of birth really start the milk flowing, but the body does like to prepare. The first milk that comes in is called colostrum, and is packed full of important nutrients and antibodies to get baby immune systems up and running.

There may also be some changes in personality a few days before. Blackberry gets incredibly clingy. Phe, when she kidded before, was just sleepy and wanted to lay on you all the time. Sari? She’s on the other side of the barn squinting at me. (Feelin’ the love, goat.)

As they start preparing, they’ll begin to stake out a spot in the barn they feel the most comfortable dropping kids. You don’t really have control of that, but I do recommend that you have a kidding pen.

Staking out their spots. Blackberry made the funniest noises defending her place!

If you’re planning on bottle-raising, it’s not as important, but if you’re dam raising, it’s pretty important to have a place that mom and babies can be tucked safely away for the first few days. I’ve also noticed that kidding does generally appreciate being secluded from the herd where they don’t have to deal with their herd-mates.

If I catch the doe in time before kidding, I’ll put her in the pen if she’s close. I worry about her having anxiety being separated from the herd before she’s ready, so I don’t usually do this until she starts obviously separating herself. If the kids are already on the ground, I’ll move them to the pen itself. I usually leave them in there for about a week before carefully reintroducing the herd. The pen I have is close to the herd and can see each other, but there’s no risk of babies being stepped on or yearlings getting rambunctious and thinking they need to prove dominance.

If bottle raising, you should also have a warm box for the kid(s), as well as heat-treated colostrum of some sort on the ready!

There’s also a few items I recommend to have on hand. Making a kidding supplies bucket is a good idea.

  • Clean towels (for cleaning babies and faces)
  • Scissors (for cutting umbilical cords that don’t detach)
  • Iodine (especially important for dipping cords, to disinfect them and made sure no bacteria gets in there)
  • Bottle and nipple (Even if you’re not bottle raising I recommend having them on hand. The nipples are cheap and can be screw on or rubber; both can be put on a plastic coke bottle or whatever is your fancy. Moms can reject kids, or they can have so many that it’s ridiculous for her to feed them all (and there’s a risk she’ll reject kids). I thought Sari would have triplets this year and I’d need to bottle raise one, but she ended up having just two REALLY BIG kids, so it worked out fine.

There are other recommendations (like kid pullers, etc), but the above are the bare minimums in my opinion.

Okay! And now, the key to goat kidding is watching their ligaments.

There are two ligaments that run out at an angle out from their spine on their rump that connect to either side of their tail like a peace sign. When they kid, those ligaments dissolve to allow the spine to push up for birth. So, dissolved ligaments = goat is ready to kid any time now. You should probably feel the ligaments before getting close to kidding so you know what to compare it all to.

They come out from the spine like my fingers show

Of course, estimating when they’re going to kid BEFORE the ligaments dissolve is tricky and aggravating… they can dissolve very quickly, or very slow. It’s one of those things you have to really watch. Blackberry, for example, starts loosening up days beforehand. Sari doesn’t until the seemingly last minute.

But besides ligaments, these are the things to watch for:

  • Restless moving around
  • Standing off by herself and digging at the ground — that’s seeking the best place to drop those kids.
  • Staring off into space and grinding teeth is usually a symptom of light contractions
  • Back arching (usually with tails going up, or flipping back and forth) is when they start getting stronger.
  • Mucus — usually thick and yellow or pale yellow. This one is kind of tricky though; Sari has had mucus days before sometimes. But usually it’s a sign of getting close.
  • Getting up and lying down over and over is also a big one, as mom tries to readjust babies into the best position.
  • Making little noises (that’s not for all goats — mine are just especially vocal)
  • Searching around on the ground after contractions

Some goats will want you there during and some won’t. Usually it’s best practice to be nearby but not on top of them; that can make them uncomfortable.

Usually they’ll lay down and it’ll be pretty obvious they’re pushing when the time comes. Some will be vocal, some won’t. There will probably be a fair amount of grunting, getting up and down, searching the group, lying back down and pushing…

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There’s a 30 minute rule with goat kidding. If the goat is pushing pretty obviously and there is no kid on the ground within 30 minutes, there’s a problem. Even if there’s a nose or feet, but no progress is being made, there’s something wrong in there.

If you’ve never pulled a kid, you should have a vet or trusted goat herder ready to call. I used to help 40-60 does a year kid, for about five years, so I don’t hesitate to get in there and fix things if a doe is in distress even before the 30 minute rule (I hate to see them in distress, and getting tired especially won’t help anything). But if you’ve never pulled a kid, I hesitate to tell you to try to correct a kid’s positioning. I will be writing a post about common problems and such, which I will link to at the end of this post when it’s done.

But anyway. Kids arriving!

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Look, little white toes!

With the picture above, I saw toes only a minutes before the kid was on the ground. In fact, I’d only just cleaned the kid’s face and placed him next to mom, when I turned around the second one was already out!

If you’re bottle raising, I recommend removing kids as soon as possible. It’s pretty sad when mom sees the kids (or gets to lick them) and then the kids are gone.

After the birth, mom should be all about those babies. Licking them is TOP priority; she’ll start even before the other kids are out (if there are more). You’ll probably get a bath as well if mom trusts you. She’ll often talk to them as well (the noises are freaking adorable). Besides cleaning faces to make sure the kids having a clear airway, I usually just leave it all up to mom.

If the kid happens to come out with the umbilical cord still attached, snip that quickly. An attached kid, especially if the mom stands, can tug too hard on the placenta and rip her uterus, or give the kid a hernia.

If the doe stands up, you can check to see if there’s more kids by lifting up firmly and quickly right in front of her udder. If you feel anything hard that moves around, there’s another kid. If it’s just gush you feel, and can lift up quite a ways, then she’s done.

The doe will eventually get up (if she’s not already) and kids will start rooting around for milk. Technically, kids don’t need milk for several hours after birth; they’ve been fed by the umbilical cord up until they came out. Either way, kids are born with the instinct to find the milk now, and it’s equally adorable and funny to watch, because they can be pretty uncoordinated and dumb about it.

Spray or dip those cords in iodine, after the kids are out. This will kill any bacteria and prevent an infection.

Especially good moms will lift their feet up very high and set them down very carefully to avoid stepping on babies, but some moms are dumb and will step on babies. Kids are surprisingly resilient, but injuries can occur. Watch out for those tiny little legs getting stepped on!

Some moms won’t get the idea of nursing immediately. They’ll jump or kick, which really won’t help the kids be able to nurse. If that happens, it’s usually fixed by holding her still to assisting the kids to nurse a few times. I usually will pin the doe against the wall and hold up a back leg (so she can’t kick or move without unbalancing — they trust me, so that usually works). Does will usually get the idea afterwards.

Sometimes you’ll have to do it for a few days to let the kids nurse before the dam gets it. Or, if the moms seem like they’re completely rejecting kids (won’t let them nurse, not interested in cleaning them or talking to them, or in bad cases, butting them away), you’ll need to bottle feed. That’s pretty uncommon, and usually those cases are because of a hard labor where the mom’s instincts get confused.

After all kids are out, the placenta will emerge. I’m not sure if there’s a ‘rule’ about when it should, but if it’s been over 12 hours I would worry about a retained placenta. Call your vet for that. Usually it starts emerging within a couple hours, and will look a little like this:

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She laid down and got some straw on it, obviously

DO NOT try to pull it out. The body detaches it all on it’s own and slowly; if you tug you could tear her uterus. If it’s been hanging there for hours without change, you can gently tug and see if it’s just detached but stuck there. But don’t overdo it.

Does might try to eat it. It’s an instinct, to clean up all their mess so predators are less attracted. It’s not a terrible idea to let her eat it (there are quite a few vitamins in there that can help the doe) but they can get sick from eating the whole thing. If the moms are interested in it, I usually let them eat some and bury the rest.

After birth, I personally prefer to get hot water with molasses for the doe. It helps replenish some iron and energy, and the does love it. I’ve had moms down half a bucket in one go. It’s a nice treat for the doe after working so hard!

After that… it’s rest and bonding time! The dam usually takes a power nap after, especially if it was a hard labor. Kid personalities vary; some will be all over everything and some will nap too. I usually hang out for a while afterwards (because how can you not!?) to make sure everyone is acting healthy and get attention.

If dam raised, it’s especially important to spend a lot of time with kids in the first hours of their life, and the following weeks. They need to associate you with herd. I usually grab a book to read, or get some paperwork done with a kid or two snoozing on my lap. Adding a half an hour during morning and night chores to sit down and play with them usually will suffice. They’re such time wasters; kid’s absolute joy of discovering how to do things like jump and play is heartbreakingly cute. I usually end up playing with them for longer than that. It’s almost impossible not to!

After that… well, that’s pretty much it! Just pay attention, make sure nobody is acting too weird or lethargic (though lots of sleeping is normal in the first couple days), and enjoy those new baby kids.

I’ll write another post on after-kidding care (for mom and kids) here shortly. Until then, any questions?

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Naptime, after a hard labor. Sari (dam), 2017

Further Reading:

Kidding Stories: Sari 2016

On Baby Goats Born with Weak Pasterns 

Nursing Kids and Lopsided Udders

First Year Of a Goat’s Life

Raising Kids: The First Year of a Goat’s Life

I thought summarizing information on raising kids, instead of forcing you to jump between several posts to put it all together, would be a good idea.

There are several things to pay attention to before a goat turns a year old. Particular attention needs to be paid to feeding. It’s also when some diseases will make themselves apparent. Their bodies grow fast. They grow teeth and personalities. They hit puberty.

Heck, think of a 16-year-old, and shove all the previous 16 years into one year, and then put it inside a goat body.

First off, you’ll want to decide if you’re going to dam-raise or bottle-raise. My post here highlights the considerations to take into account. The different ways will add certain factors into their care.

Secondly, you’ll want to decide if you are de-horning or not. If you want to show, you’ll need to dehorn. If you have already de-horned goats, it’s GREATLY advised you de-horn going forward. Mixing horned and non-horned animals is generally a bad idea and results in moderate to severe injuries. The On Disbudding Kids post can help.

We’ll start with feeding. If you’ve read through my feeding posts you’ll know some of this already, but I’ll put it all together here.

Newborn babies should get as much colostrum as they want. Colostrum, or the mother’s first milk, is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antibodies, and immune system helpers that kick-start a babies growth and health. If you’re bottle raising, the best idea is to try to find (or have) colostrum directly from the source. If you’re bottle raising to prevent CAE infection, make sure you heat-treat the colostrum to kill any virus in the milk. Otherwise, there are colostrum replacements available that you can order. Try to find one specifically for goats.

After about a week dams will no longer produce colostrum but straight milk, and babies will have had enough to kick start their health. At this point, if you’re bottle raising and are using milk replacer, I highly recommend you mix the replacer with cows milk. There have been instances of baby goats getting bloat from being on straight milk replacer.

By a week or two babies will already be interested in eating solids. You can offer a little bit of alfalfa and they may start trying to eat. Dam-raised babies will naturally be interested in whatever mom is eating and they’ll nibble on things by even just a few days old!

By a month, they should be eating alfalfa. If they’re interested and eating some beforehand, great! Alfalfa has all the good things that kids need to grow up big and strong.

Feeding a little bit of grain by 1 1/2 – 2 months is all right, but too much can cause problems, and many breeders don’t like to “growthy” kids that come out of that. Minimize grain intake until about 4-6 months old, when they should be getting a handful or two. You can slowly increase this amount, but do not exceed 1 1/2 lbs a day.

Offer minerals, too, starting at a few months of age. Either a block or loose. They’ll like that.

Technically doelings can be bred at 7 months of age. I don’t know anyone who recommends this. It is best if you wait until they are at least a year old, and have gotten all their growth and maturity, before you expose them to bucks.

This also means that bucks can breed at 7 months. Make sure they’re separated from their female companions by that time!

By the time they’ve hit a year old, they don’t need alfalfa or grain. You can switch over their feeding regime (remember, slowly!) to a quality grass hay, and pasture if that’s available. If you’re breeding your doelings around this time, it’s best to just continue feeding alfalfa, but you may want to decrease how much grain you’re feeding until the last couple weeks of their pregnancy. This will help prevent pregnancy ketosis and hypocalcemia, a topic that I will explain in an upcoming post.

Bucks can stop receiving grain after a year and rut is over with, and you probably won’t need to feed them grain after that (though, if they’re struggling to keep up weight, you can feed them some). Alfalfa can be important during winter months and rut, as well as a quality grass hay to make sure they’re getting enough roughage and staying warm (since goats gain heat from the movement of their stomachs).

Any questions? Comments? Anything to add?

Fun Facts about Herd Dynamics

Goats are social creatures, just like people, and they have somewhat complex hierarchy structures that accompany this. The hierarchy part is pretty straight forward, with each goat having a place in the herd that’s above someone else and below another (unless you’re herd boss or at the bottom of the herd, of course).

Firstly, there is the herd boss, who runs the operations in the herd.

How exactly this plays out depends on her personality. A herd boss has the basic role of watching out for the herd and leading them to where she’d like the herd to be.Some boss’ will be more jealous about the food, only allowing her favorites and her daughters the tasty bits. Some boss’ will be more generous, leading the whole herd to the best spots and showing everyone how to go about it.

The temperament of the herd boss really affects how the rest of the herd behaves, since they’re all supposed to follow her lead. For example, Cocoa was pretty anxious and nervous about everything. It took a bit of encouragement for the herd to want to venture outside.

It seems like Sari is the herd boss at this particular time. She seems to be calling the shots. She’s a lot more stubborn and in your face about going places, and in this sense, the herd moves in and out of the barn all the time now. She’s also much more of the jealous type, and likes to hoard the food for her favorites. Blackberry complains about it all the time.

Then there’s the herd uh, well, my name isn’t exactly appropriate for polite company, so let’s call it the herd second

Her job, besides helping the herd boss out with leading and watching duties, is to keep everybody in line and to keep any challengers from pestering the herd boss too much. She’s the badass of the group.

Phe seems to have that place in the herd at the moment. And she’s definitely a butthead about it.

Daughters fit into the hierarchy directly below the dam, as opposed to starting off at the bottom. I’m not exactly sure how that works out for the herd boss — with Sari’s babies, I wonder if Phe will need prove to Beltane and Inanna that she’s above them (and herd second).

And just because daughters are automatically placed in the hierarchy doesn’t mean that this doesn’t change. If goats are butting heads, they’re often working out who’s on top. I’m pretty sure that Duchess is going to give Maggie a run for her money, as soon as she’s old enough to defend (or lose) her place in the herd.

For fun I’ve created a picture hierarchy of what my herd looks like at the moment. You can see I’m not sure how Beltane and Inanna are fitting in there yet! I’m selling Aztec hopefully soon, so he won’t be there long term, and is still technically in with the girls at the moment. He’s very interested in trying to fight the bucks through the fence; though, Duchess took him on the other day and they had a giant battle throughout the barn. That might have been her teaching him a lesson on how rude it is to try to hump everyone, however (even if he’s not old enough to be viable yet).

Bucks, actually, have a hierarchy that is a little removed from the females. I don’t have my bucks in with my girls (for obvious reasons), but in a ‘wild’ situation where they might be, bucks have the primary job of protecting the herd and listening to the herd boss. They don’t necessarily fit into the same structure at the females, but have their own straightforward hierarchy.

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What do you think? Anything to add in your observations of herd interactions?

Genetics of Personality

As new babies are born and become little bundles of (increasingly bratty) joy, their personalities emerge full force. It’s amusing to me to see the differences between Maggie and Aztec, and now Beltane and Inanna.

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When I worked with 120+ kids a year it was harder to see how their individual personalities presented themselves, except for the few who really let their personalities shine. With a smaller herd and making sure I spend a lot of time with my dam-raised babies to make them tame, I can’t help but notice all the differences between them.

For Maggie and Aztec, I didn’t raise their parents (Blackberry and Rhett), so I don’t know what their personalities were like when they were toddling around. But the similarities to their adult parents’ personalities is striking.

They were a little doomed for being attention-needy, as both Blackberry and Rhett are both obvious and loud about their desire for attention. And I can understand the kids being whiny and hiding behind me when they’re threatened — Blackberry does that, and they will follow her example.

But weird quirks that Rhett has keep popping up — and I can’t blame that on learn by example because they’ve never spent time with him!

For example, Aztec does the exactly same wave his head in a circle while looking up at you that Rhett does when he wants attention. Maggie does the same back arched, head down, eyes half-closed thing as her father does too. And it started by the time they were a week or two old!

Beltane and Inanna are no less striking. Sari is a fearless tank who does exactly what she wants when she wants to — and little Beltane really got that personality aspect. Within two minutes of being born she was getting to her feet and searching insistently for the milk. She’s also the one that just trots out wherever she wants and explores to her heart’s content. The other day she was trying to fight a chicken.

Inanna, on the other hand, laid there quietly upon being born, looking around, collecting herself. She even took a nap before deciding to get up and look around for sustenance. Maybe it’s just that she inherited her father’s sweet face, too, but she is strikingly like her quiet, collected father.

Now that they’re older, both of them definitely have the cantankerous, in your face aspects of Sari, with really sweet moments of Sauvie. And, of course, there’s just something that’s all their own, too. Beltane does this little head flip that’s the cutest thing ever. And Inanna is into everything.

It all just fascinates me.

On Disbudding Kids

Most of us recognize the image of a horned goat. But disbudding goats (or, preventing the horns from growing) is a common practice for those on all sides of the goat-raising business. In the wild, they’re necessary for defense. The argument is that they are not necessary, and even dangerous, in captivity.

This is for a variety of reasons: they can be injure themselves, other goats, and their caretakers, too, ranging from getting caught in fences and breaking a neck in panic (since goats like to stick their heads in EVERYTHING) to accidentally gouging out your eye if you’re too close and they pull their head back too fast. It is also a very bad idea to house horned and de-horned goats together, as the de-horned goats will often get injured with the unequal playing field.

Also, it’s a requirement to have a goat de-horned in any sort of showing capacity. I don’t know if a kid will be barred from being registered if they have horns, but they won’t be allowed in the show ring.

(^Beltane and Inanna napping both Before and After disbudding, in a box in my car^)

On the other side of this argument is how inhumane the de-horning process is. There are several ways to disbud, but the most common way to do it (and the easiest, most humane and fast method) is by using a disbudding iron. A hot disbudding iron is taken and pressed on newly-starting horn buds, cauterizing the nerves and veins that supply blood for horn growth. It doesn’t harm the kid beyond stopping the horns from growing and pain, and if you do it correctly, it shouldn’t be longer than 10 seconds. But they do yell. It’s painful. No one enjoys the process.

There is also the consideration that a goat’s horns is their natural protection. If you take these away, you need to supply something to protect them in return.

You should decide if you will be de-horning fairly quickly after a kid is born, because the most humane time to de-horn is within the first few weeks of age. This is when the horns are just starting to appear as little nubs on top of their heads, before the horns have created roots that attach to the skull. Each breed of goat has a slightly different horn grow rate, so you should pay attention. Once you can clearly feel (and see, if you part the hair) the horn buds, it’s time. Earlier is better.

If the horns get bigger, the process to disbud becomes longer, more painful, and tedious. And if the horns develop fully (and attach to the skull) de-horning becomes a major surgery with a likelihood of complications.

I recommend finding an experienced goat owner in your community to teach you how to do it (or, if you’re squeamish, to pay them to do it). There are also many YouTube videos on it, if you don’t have someone to teach you.

This video is a great PG-rated one for getting your feet wet on the subject (I also appreciate how considerate they are for the little kid):

Notice how little time it takes.

Here is a more involved video showing the whole process and going into the details of the reasons and considerations: 

I don’t give shots against tetanus beforehand like the video above (because I avoid shots as much as possible, and because I’ve never had a kid contract tetanus from disbudding before), though the antiseptic doesn’t sound like a half-bad idea.

The key components about disbudding you should keep in mind:

  1. Buck kid horns will grow faster than doelings; pay attention to your kids and try to get them disbudded as soon as a bud can be clearly felt.
  2. Trimming the hair around the buds not only helps with seeing what you’re doing, but makes the contact time needed with the iron time much shorter, and prevents the terrible burning hair smell.
  3. Always make sure the iron is HOT. It makes the process accurate and MUCH faster, which the kid will really appreciate.
  4. Restrain the kid so s/he won’t thrash around. Some people just “sit” on the kid like the first video, and others use the box. Whatever you decide, you don’t want to accidentally burn anything besides the horn bud.
  5. Copper is the color you’re looking for, all around the base of where the bud is growing.

My method is to pay a lady in my community to do it, not only because I hate doing it (though no one likes it), but because I’m helping her out while I’m at it. (Also, I used to help disbud 120+ kids a year and it’s a relief just to let someone else do it).

Any questions? Comments? Advice or crazy story to add? What’s your method?

Nursing Kids and Lopsided Udders

There are a couple reasons that a doe’s udder may be lopsided. Mastitis is also another reason; if you see your doe severely lopsided, you should probably get a test just to make sure there isn’t anything fishy going on there.

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Lopsided Udder: Picture shamelessly borrowed from the Wild Roots Homestead blog

However, with dam-raised kids that are nursing, it’s often because the kids are nursing unequally. This is especially prevalent with only one kid, but it happens with two kids, too.

For example, about two and a half weeks after Blackberry kidded with Magnolia and Aztec, I noticed that one side of her udder was smaller than the other. Not by a lot, just noticeable. I’d been putting her up on the milk stand and milking a little in the evenings so a) she’d become used to the milk stand, and b) her production would keep up no matter what the kids were doing. The next time I had her on the stand, I inspected and discovered that the smaller side had less mammary tissue, especially up in the back.

Uh oh.

After some research, there looked to be two possibilities about what was happening. Either the kids were drinking mostly on the smaller side, making the “milk memory” smaller as it was constantly being depleted (the other side more prone to filling up and expanding the milk memory). Or, the kids were drinking off the bigger side more, and the smaller side was drying up due to less use.

My research also cautioned that lopsidedness can become permanent really fast, so you needed to jump on it as soon as you noticed it.

That evening I taped up the smaller side to a) see exactly how much she produced without kid interference, and b) convince the kids to drink off the other side. The next morning she’d gotten the tape off, but her udder looked even.

Which meant it was the first reason. So I spent probably a week taping the smaller side in the evenings to give it time to expand and fill out the “milk-memory.”

By this time Blackberry was getting annoyed with the kids nursing, too, so she was only letting them nurse for a few moments when she felt like it (which meant they had no time for pickiness on deciding which side they liked better).

Overall, her udder is almost exactly even now. When you milk her out you can still tell there’s a little difference in the development of udder tissue, but she looks good:

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Now cue Sari kidding. I was being more watchful of the issue this time around, but I barely had time to prepare for this one. The kids ONLY drank off the one side, and within two days, that side was about a third of the size of the other side (which they were not drinking off of). I’m not sure what that’s about.

But, the same protocol as before. In the evenings I started taping up the smaller side to give it time to expand and create “milk memory” while encouraging the kids to drink off of the other side.

There was definite improvement, but she was still pretty lopsided. Worried about how much I had to try to fix this problem, I ramped up my efforts, and taped her up during the daytime, too.

This is where you have to be careful: make sure you fully milk out the side that you’re working with if you decide to tape up 24/7 (even if you tape only for 12 hours, milk the side out). You don’t want to create the opposite problem and have the smaller side dry up because she’s full too often!

The morning after I did that (several days into the night-time taping up) her udder was pretty even, milk wise. The smaller side was still tighter than the other side and obviously had less “milk memory,” even though they both had about the same amount of milk. The next morning, after only a 12 hour tape up, she’s looking much better. There’s only a little difference between the halves.

I wonder if being only a week from kidding helped with allowing her udder to be flexible. She also has such a strange udder that completely disappears when she’s not milking, the super-malleable quality probably helped. I also wonder if it’s hindering as well though, and that’s why the lop-sidedness was severe so fast.

My strategy for now is to rotate which days I’ll tape up that side for 24 hours (with every 12 hours milkings) vs. 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Hopefully as her production naturally increases and the kids become better at nursing (and she gets more impatient with them like Blackberry and only allows them to nurse at certain times and not be picky!) it will be all even.

I think the key thing to keep in mind is to pay attention. If you catch it quickly enough, it seems to be decently fixable!

 

Do you have any lopsided udder stories? What about tricks to keep the babies nursing off of both sides? Anything to add?

Teeny-Tiny Adventures

There’s a great patch of blackberries behind the yard where the goats are, and I’ve been trying to get all my ladies out there for a while now. Blackberries are a GREAT food source for them, and I don’t have to pay anything for it; win-win. It’s a great walk and snack in one.

It’s a little more difficult with Sari having kidded. The babies are tiny are not going to follow mom for that long trek, so my partner and I decided we’d just carry them.

Mom was a little frantic at where the babies were going, which was interesting, because usually she’s a calm cucumber and unfazed by anything. But we kept showing her the babies, and she calmed down.

The other goats were immediately overjoyed at the blackberry confections, though Sari was more nervous than anything. There was quite a lot of evil-eyeballing the dog.

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The babies, on the other hand, were very interested in EVERYTHING.

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Much blackberries were discovered!

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There was, of course, the obligatory jumping on everyone.

 

 

 

 

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And the nibbling.

 

 

 

 

And after a long day discovering the world, there was much napping.

We’ve decided on names: Beltane (for the black girl) and Inanna (for the blonde girl). They were born on Easter, so I figured I had to do something unique with the holiday. Thus, Beltane, the name of the ancient version of Easter, and Inanna, a character in an old story surrounding Easter that has remarkable similarity to the Christ rebirth story.

Plus, the names are just cool.