Thursday, March 24, 2011

New babies! It really is spring.

Yesterday we were lucky and did not get the snow as other areas in N. Mi.  It went South of us. Today we woke to clear skies and lots of sun.  That was a good thing because while doing chores this morning, I noticed that one of our dairy goats, Eva was off to herself, and quietly making some naying sounds. Not her usual self, which she is usually gorging herself on the morning breakfast of grain. I figured she must be in labor.  So we did some shifting of the goats so we could put her in a pen by herself.  This is the first time that we will have any "kids" born on the ranch. Dairy goats are a new addition this year to the ranch. So even though we have expereince with the births of crias (baby alpacas), we have none with goats.  Alpacas almost always have single births.  It is very rare that they have twins. From the knowledge of other goat keepers that I know, reading books and research on the internet, this is not the same for goats. They usually have 2 to 3 and sometimes more. So this was going to be exciting.  I gathered my Alpaca first aid kit and the birthing kit which can also be used for the goats.  I had my digital camera, clean rags, towels, blankets and a bucket for warm water if needed. My latex gloves, the iodine dip for the umbilical cord and of course my cell phone for any emergency calls if needed to the vet.  Well then it became the hurry up and wait game.
So I decided to come into the house as I could watch her from the deck and a window in the house. To burn off my nervous energy, I vacumned the house, stopping every few minutes and looking out the window to check on Eva.  She was pacing, but no "bubble" yet to be seen.  I finally finished the vacuming and sat down to read more of my goat books about kidding. I got up a few minutes later looked out the window and sure enough I seen the "bubble". It was almost time. I quickly put my winter coat on and winter boots. I ran out the door and checked on her. She was doing fine, but the bubble was gone???  The bubble is the sac containing the kid, with the nose and two feet usually to be seen. But it was not there. Hmmm, does she have a problem? While observing her, I realized even though the sun is out, we had a north wind and it was very cold on my legs as I just had my jeans on. So I decided to run back in the house, put my long underwear and my chore jeans on that are flannel lined. Now I would be nice and toasty while outside. When I went back outside I could hear Eva just a blaying. Oh no, is she having problems? When I ran over to the pen she was in the box that the goats use for shelter from the weather.When I looked at her, I could tell she was pushing, but I couldn't see her "bottom" as she was laying in the box with it facing the furthest corner from me. Now how was I suppose to tell if the kid was postioned right?  She finally quit pushing and with me coaxing her and pulling on her collar, I was able to get her to come out of the box.  Sure enough there was a nose and two feet!  Everything was looking good, so I just stepped back and let mother nature take her course.   A few minutes later, here was kid number 1
Eva drying off Kid 1
Eva and I worked on getting her little one dried off.  Then all of a sudden Eva let out a cry and there was another bubble. Wow! yes another nose and two feet. Again I just let mother nature take her course while keeping Kid 1 wrapped in a blanket and rubbing it.  Now there was ..
2 Kids
Eva and I again worked on drying off kid number 2.  I'm not sure how long of a time it was, but I figured Eva was done. We had both of the kids pretty well dried and they were already trying to stand and suckle, when all of a sudden Eva layed down and pushed.

And then there were 3
What a surprise, no little bubble just the whole kid popped out that quick! She now had 3 kids. Was there going to be more??? In the meantime my husband had hurried home as I had text messaged him that it was time for the babies. I had him come in and hold the kids so I could dip the umbilical cords and check to see what sex they were. Well Eva is the proud mommy of 2 doelings and 1 buck. All three kids are doing great and so is mom.  It is supposed to be very cold tonight (down to 0) so we have moved Eva and the kids to a pen in our walk in basement for the night. We don't have a barn for them yet. (That is a later spring project).  So the basement is our temporary barn. We have had chicks, puppies, and now goats in the basement. The other wonderful thing was that Chloe, the new rescue dog was laying outside of the pen and was able to observe everything.  She was very calm throughout the births and I think that was good for her to expereince for the bonding. We are hoping to have her be our goat guard dog.
I'll be taking more pics of the kids and will keep you updated on them. Our other goat is not due until May.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Water Chores

Another reason we cannot wait for warmer weather is during the winter we have to shut down the watering system to the barnyard due to the pipes freezing.  My husband & I haul water from our house to the barnyard.  We use the tractor and water containers. We do this twice a week for the alpacas and the chickens get their water twice daily which we hand carry down while doing the daily chores.  We also heat all of the water tanks (yes our animals are spoiled). Here are a few pics today of Gary hauling water before the storm that is supposed to be here tonight and tomorrow. Yes the weatherman is predicting more snow for us, just as the snow piles were starting to disappear. Sigh... Lets hope this will be the last snowstorm of the season.

Gary & his tractor

Bucket full of water containers

Headed down to the barnyard

I seen a robin today, so it is now officially spring here in N. MI.  We also have our two pair of kill deer birds return to our pastures. They always nest in 2 different pastures and we are careful of not running them over with the tractor. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Winter Blahs

I'm sure ready for spring. We have had some song birds return from their winter homes and the finches are starting to turn yellow again. These are sure signs that spring is on it's way, but not soon enough for me.We keep getting a few inches of wet snow here almost daily this last week.  I think the animals are ready for spring also. Here are a couple of pics of the dogs and the alpacas.

We are tired of the snow.

Where's the grass?
I have been passing the time with a little spinning of yarn and some knitting. I haven't done as much as I thought I would get done this winter with spinning, knitting and weaving. I just haven't felt very "creative". I don't care to share my personel life on the internet for everyone to read, but this has been a difficult winter for my husband and I. My father was diagnosed last spring with dementia. He lived in North Carolina. To far of a distance from us here in MI to be able to help him.  So we have him living here with us. It has been an adjustment and a drain for my creativity. We are managing okay with him, but some nice warm weather sure would be nice for all of us to spend sometime outside, instead of in the house  24/7.  Lets all hope for an early spring, as the groundhog promised us.