Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kidding time is here again...

We all have one…that goat we just can’t seem to sell even though we know we should. Of course they always kids at night and when it is below freezing. This year we were determined it wouldn’t be so cold so we bred her for Nov. …this year November has been the coldest for several years. Ours problem doe is aptly named Alley. Her udder is around her ankles by the time she kids and so full she literally has to run bowlegged. She looks like Forest Gump in that scene where the braces come off except she’s working around the udder instead of braces. You just want to yell, “run, Forrest, run!”
The deal is even though we’ve had a couple of bottle babies that just COULDN’T find the teat no matter how much she tried to point them in the right direction, not even with our dedicated attempts to help she always raises some of the best kids on the place and so far none of them have inherited her udder.
This time we were determined she would feed both kids, I mean when a doe has a gallon jug of milk hanging down on both sides it is just a shame to be bottle feeding the baby. So we put Alley in a kidding pen the minute those babies were born so we could ensure that both kids had plenty of time to find those elusive teats. Of course it was the coldest day we had experienced since last winter but we were excited and motivated to help her and her two beautiful 10 pounders, one paint, and one traditional. Both boys were born ready to eat and within 30 minutes were up and hunting vigilantly for that milk…of course they were everywhere from her chest in front of her legs to all the way past the back legs but that long low udder just wasn’t a place they had hit anywhere close to yet.
Richard and I decided we were going to make sure they tasted that sweet ambrosia in hopes it would motivate them to keep searching so he held her (Have you ever noticed that problem does are never tame!) and I made sure the colostrum was flowing and then tried to hold each of the kids on the teat. The traditional boy got a squirt of milk in his mouth and even though he lost the teat when I let it go and it dropped six inches he was dedicated to finding it again and immediately resumed the search. The Paint refused to open his mouth when I put him on the teat and each time I would reach up to help by squirting the milk in his mouth the little corker would turn his head he had milk everywhere on his face EXCEPT his mouth. I finally gave up and called for the bowl to milk a little colostrum out and fed both babies a bit with a syringe and then smeared a bit on her teats in hopes they would stumble on it and make the connection…and sure enough within a few minutes the traditional buck had. Not that paint though. I asked Richard if she was standing up when he was born. I thought maybe landing on his head could explain his apparent slowness.
The next day after several attempts at syringe feeding and trying to hold that mama and put him on the teat I decided I might as well fix a bottle and resign myself to another bottle baby. It took both of us to force that bottle in his little mouth and we basically were force feeding him. He was fighting and turning his head from side to side. We got a couple of ounces down him and decided maybe we were wrong and his mama was feeding him when we weren’t looking; either way we figured that would be enough to keep him from starving and maybe he would be more interested in a couple of hours. That little boy jumped right down and rushed to his mother’s front leg, yep still confused, Mom took one sniff and pushed him away and said the equivalent in goat talk of “go to bed boy, you aren’t gonna come over here and try to suck”.
I decided I didn’t care how cold it got I was going to sit there and watch them until I saw him eat or until 4 hours had passed and feed him again.
Two hours later Ally woke up the other kid and fed him then tucked him back down with the paint but didn’t wake him up to feed him.
Sometime after that when I was so cold I couldn’t feel feet or hands stinky the skunk came slinking within two feet of me --all I could do was hold in a scream and hope she kept walking because my feet were way too numb to allow me to run away. Lucky for me Stinky just gave me a dirty look, lifted her head and tail and marched on by, a woman on a mission.
Richard came in when it was time for the next feeding and I told him of my adventures and what a sorry mother Ally was for not feeding that baby when she fed his brother. We got the bottle out and tried to feed him again but he was getting stronger and we couldn’t feed him unless we were willing to tube him so we gave up and decided to wait in hopes he would be hungrier later. I was almost in tears that the silly boy wouldn’t eat and would probably starve to death when I gave up and with a last pat and kiss, set him on the ground back in the pen with Mom….He made a beeline for her and this time it wasn’t to the front leg! That boy ran straight to that teat and fell on his knees, and with the ease of someone who had been there before…latched on to that teat and proceeded to suck, all the while telling his mother about all the indignities we forced him to endure. Mom just gave a snort of disgust and I took my chastised self back to the house to thaw out. Obviously Mom had it under control and didn’t need my inept help.
Oh yeah, …that must be why we keep her in spite of that bag.


  1. Your stories are fun to read and I can relate to the one about the kids not latching on.I have an "old goat" Bertha who had teats the size of large bananas and nearly drag the ground at the time of birth.....same as you this year I was determined not to raise her kids. It took me a week of going out and laying on the ground so I could tip up her teats so the boys could latch on without having to dig a bunker so they could get under those mammoth things.....and I am proud to say my week of laying on the ground aiding these guys paid off all are doing well....thanks for your stories

  2. I'm thinking it is almost time for me to go through this again because of course I kept her!!!! One more time. sigh!