One hundred forty five days is full term gestation for Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Like any mammal, there is a window of time either side of that number when they will actually kid. We hit 145 today on our first goat due to kid. We bred our girls a bit late in the season this year, so I have patiently watched the parade of others' bouncing babies. I am so excited for the arrival of our first Bowerbird babies! Boys or girls?? What color? what color eyes? (Ginger has blue eyes, but we don't know if she will pass those on or not. How do they look? Then there is the worry wort in me. Will they get stuck? Will they be healthy and strong? Will she take to them? Will I know how to help if it is needed?? This is all new to me and I have studied, but I am winging it when it comes to experience. I know everyone must begin at the beginning, but tell that to the butterflies in my belly!! Ha! Deep breath, piles of supplies at the ready, lots of late night reading, and a trust in nature this will all work out. If needed, I have a good vet on the speed dial. Come on Ginger!! We're waiting!
It feels like it has rained for a solid month. Rain is the new spring. Luckily, we won't melt, but the goats weren't so sure. Goats can deal with plenty, but rain, not so much. For more days than I can count they mostly took shelter, and ate hay harvested last summer ,while looking out longingly at the green stuff growing all around. To say we are pleased to see the sun is an understatement!! But, the sun is out, the breeze is warm, there are baby goats expected within the week, and life marches forward!
This little man is our newest herdsire....Well, he will be our new herdsire when he's a bit older. Right now he is our month old bottle baby. A bottle baby is just what it sounds like, a baby younger than weaning age that you feed by bottle several times a day. I suppose it could be daunting with more, but with one funny little fellow it is entertaining. The refreshed interest in actually caring for (and not just hanging out with) the goats in my children is encouraging. One doesn't mind waking early, if you get to pull on your boots and bottle feed Wyeth in your pajamas! What fun!!
I am in the nesting phase before the babies are born. I am cleaning out barn pens, rearranging the "furniture", checking batteries in the lantern, gathering birthing supplies. I was quite the nester when pregnant with my sons. I moved our bedroom into a completely different room a week before I gave birth to my first! Ha! This time though, I am the midwife. I read up on all the horrors that can go wrong last spring when we were expecting our first kidding here on the farm. I was ready to "go in" if needed. Poppy, luckily had a quick, clean kidding of one sturdy male. She was a fantastic Mama. I breathed a sigh of relief. No "going in" required. We have a capable vet to call on if things get too tricky. Goat vets are hard to find, so I am thankful to know they are there. I know I got lucky last year, but I also know this time around that worry won't help my does. SO, we nest. I cross the days off the calendar, I check the girls often, I feed them a few treats and scratch the itchy spots they can't reach. I sympathize with their swollen size. I get giddy thinking of the bouncing babies about to take over our days. Two weeks out, I could probably knit something up if I get going now. New Life is so exciting!!
This homestead has been in my head and heart since I was fourteen years old. It has finally come to fruition alongside my husband and sons. Though my hands are more likely to be deep in the soil, milking the goats, or slipped into the hand of one of my children while exploring our woods, I hope to bring my hands back to the keyboard to share our adventures here. Welcome!