Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Naming

Thank you to all who submitted names. Picking the doe's name was easy but the buck's name was a little harder. I wrote the all the name's on a piece of paper without the entrants name and I fully expected to be sending out 2 prizes, one for each name, but it turns out that both names picked came from the same person.

Introducing (from left to right above) Feta, John and Lefty (who happens to be on John's left).
Congratulations to Xenia Kathryn!
Please contact me susansophia.f [at] gmail[dot]com with your snail mail address so I can send you your St. Brigid Farm gift pack.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The "Name the Goat" contest has ended. We have many great submissions and so now we'll gather around and pick our favorites. Thank you all for your entries.

Yesterday I finished up a small outdoor pen for the kids to romp around in. My dad and I put up the majority of this last summer and it was meant for Mina but it never worked out. So I extended the fence to reach underneath the lean-to shelter next to the barn and then cut a doorway into the side of the barn which goes into the kid stall. So now the kids have access to the outside all day long. We'll still take them over to hangout with the adults several times a day and when we become certain they aren't nudging at momma any longer they'll get to stay there a lot more.
Firefly is doing great with her milk production. She gives me over a gallon a day right now which is a little more than enough for her kids to drink. They drink almost all of it. Starting next week though they'll go down to 3 feedings a day and we'll have leftovers for ourselves.
Sometime next week I'll have to take the kids to get disbudded. That'll be fun. I will take them somewhere to have it done. I do not want to do this myself.
Now that the kid pen is done my main goal is to get the garden in before Butter kids. Today is a nice day and I should get a majority of it done while James takes the children to a surprise movie.
Today is also butchering day. Rooster number two must go. He has discovered he top dog now and the crowing is most annoying at 3:45AM. Maybe someday we'll have a coop that isn't within earshot of the bedroom window. I would like to incubate my own eggs someday but right now it isn't top priority and I just want eggs.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Name the Goats ---CONTEST

I told you to hold your suggestions for just this time. :)
Here is the first ever St. Brigid Farm blog contest. I hear they are all the rage. We are having a dickens of a time naming these 2 goats. Please help us.
Contest closes, Friday, May 23rd at 11:00PM. Our family will vote on the names and the winner will be announced no later than Sunday afternoon (could be sooner if it's easy).
The winner will receive a St. Brigid Farm gift pack. This could include, but is not limited to, such things as a bumper sticker, magnet, stationary and if you live close enough, a dozen eggs. :)

Submit one name for each goat and be sure to leave a valid email address.
(ADDENDUM: the gift pack will be items chosen from our shop at Cafepress.)

This is our little doeling. She may be kept to become a future milker. She was born first and is the smallest of the three.

This is our second born and is a buck. He may likely become a meat goat. Yes, I know, he is adorable. But bucks really aren't worth much in the way of money.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kids (as in goats not humans) update

The kids are doing fabulous. They are getting 4 bottles a day with 12 ounces each time. We feed them at 6AM, 11AM, 5PM and 9PM. They sleep from 9PM until 6AM! YEAH! In another 2 weeks I'll have to be waking in the night again to watch for Butter's kidding, so I'm thankful for the sleep now.
Speaking of Butter, she is a pain! She is really going to be a very difficult goat to milk. She has been going in the milk stanchion everyday to eat her grain ration, to get used to being in the milk stanchion, BUT she will not let us touch her udder. UGH! How are we to milk her? I was told to put hobbles on her so she couldn't kick and that I could use a scarf as a hobble. So I tried this today. It didn't work. She wouldn't even let me get the scarf around even one of her legs....she kicked me in the jaw!! OH MY did that hurt! I'm feeling pretty blessed and protected because it could have been MUCH worse. So...not sure what we'll do. Maybe store bought hobbles are easier to get on, no tying involved. We'll take it one day at a time. MAYBE she'll nurse her kids and it will calm her down, get her used to having someone touching her udder...but then again with as wild as she is maybe she won't even let her kids near her.
Here are some new pictures of the goats.
Firefly is so pretty.

I know it is a little blurry but it is so cute anyway with the 3 kids all checking Joseph out.

I just love this picture. They are holding the little doe.

Here is the little doe. Names so far to choose from are Fawn, Brown Sugar, and Brie (as in cheese).
(Save your suggestions....I MIGHT have a "name the goat contest")

Kelsey is feeding one of the bucks. He is kind of chocolate malt color so names so far are Malt and Milkshake.
I don't like either.

And this is John. He is named. It's a long story..but he is John.
He has a stripe around his tail like a raccoon so he almost was 'Coon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Firefly's Kidding Story

Thursday afternoon I noticed that Firefly appeared to possibly be having mild contractions. I say appeared because I have never done this before and it was all new. I read lots of books but let me tell you, Firefly was not textbook case! I made dinner all the while checking on her every 30-60 minutes. From what I could tell she seemed to be having "mild" contractions. Here she is having a contraction. At this point in the game I really felt as if I was guessing about everything. So I kept saying, "I think that is a contraction." Why I thought it was a contraction? Tail straight and stretched up. The tailbone is stretching towards to sky making the opening between tail and bottom of vaginal opening very long. It is usually quite a small area. Look at the size of that udder!! My first hint that kidding was fast approaching was how quickly the udder filled up. It is ENORMOUS.

Once I decided to lock her in her kidding stall she would often pace and paw the ground to make a nest. When she seemed to have a contraction, Kelsey loved to say, "Look, she is praying towards the icons." This picture was taken about 5 minutes before the first kid was born. If you had asked me at this point how long it would be I would have told you at least an hour. She had no signs whatsoever of being near actual birth. No mucous hanging in long strands. No little feet sticking out. No amniotic bubble or gush of water. Nothing. Just what appeared to be a mild contraction. She was VERY stoic. Right after this picture was taken she lay down in her "nest" she built and was not comfortable. About 30-60 seconds later we thought she was trying to stand up as she stood on just the front legs. But instead of stand she grunted very loudly three times, contracted and on the 2nd grunt we saw feet appear and the third grunt a baby kid came flying out very quickly with a big burst of liquid. It was UNREAL. Everything moved so quickly and so unexpectedly.

Below she is licking her little darling doe that literally flew out. She had another bubble hanging out of her rear end so we knew there was at least one more on its way. About 10 minutes later she got really agitated and began her pacing and pawing. We had to move the little doe out of her pawing path even.

Five more minutes and she pushed 4 times and out popped little buck. He has very similar colors to Firefly.

Here they are dried off and waiting for mom. We tried to get them to nurse a couple times but then about 15+ minutes later we noticed the pawing and pacing again and she seemed to be contracting. We thought she was just going pass the afterbirth but no....

...out popped little buck #2, backwards. He looks just like his sister, except a little lighter on the head and some funny but faint stripes on his tail and back.

Here is Kelsey holding the little doe. Charissa has made her mind up to call her Brown Sugar but it is not a definite thing. I told my kids we should name the bucks "Spit"-fire and Dressing. Get it?

Here they are practicing how to use their legs.

They are sound asleep on Hannah's lap. Oh, so cute.

This was just the beginning of the amazingly long night. For some reason Firefly has not wanted to be much of a mother despite the fact that this is her 4th or 5th kidding and she has always been a good mother. Her previous owner said she thinks the triplets are just overwhelming, she's never had them before and last year she only had a single birth. I asked her what I should do and she said I could bottle-feed, which I knew, or just make her. Tie her to the fence, hobble her legs and make her nurse. She'd probably settle into within a day or so. But I just have kept trying to get her to nurse and if she doesn't I bottle feed them. I was up till 3AM trying to get her to nurse them and finally gave up and milked her to bottle feed. I woke at 530AM and she allowed them on her for a very short time and then went "mean". Pushing them away and getting all upset, nearly trampling them. Tonight she let them eat for a bit but then went really crazy, she scared us a little. So I think we've resorted to the bottle.
They are slowly getting used to bottle, it's difficult.


Three beautiful baby goats were born between 9:30PM and 10:15PM, Thursday, May 15th.
Two bucks(one chocolate in color and the other different lighter shades of brown) and one doe(chocolate color)!
We think everyone is doing well.
I can't wait to show you pictures.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Any Minute

Really! I'm quite certain it will be today. Of course I cannot guarantee it but my gut says...Today!
Her ligaments are gone. Her milk is in, at least on one side. Her udder is enormous but lopsided since it looks like the milk has come in on just one side so far. So now I'm checking her almost every hour today.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy New Year?

Apparently my widget countdown thinks that I was counting down to the new year. I don't remember setting it to do that but I guess I did.
Well, we've hit the end of the countdown. Today is Firefly's official due date. Besides the "symptoms" she had last time I posted, she is no further along to kidding than she was 5 days ago. I gave up guessing when she would kid. I gave up the excited "I think it'll be any minute" mentality, which makes it very hard to get up and check on her at 2AM. But I do know she has kids in her, I can feel them and even see them from time to time, and they must come out at some point. So one of these times when I go check on her she will be in the process of pushing the kid(s) out and the excitement will abound once again.

On another note:
I transplanted tomatoes yesterday into bigger pots. Some went from the paper pots I made into 3 gallon buckets and others went from 1 inch pots into 3 inch pots. I even planted 6 into the ground. I created a greenhouse/tent cover to put a bunch of them under ( and the ones in the ground under). The 3 inch pots are still in the house. I had many that really didn't look well and I had kind of given up on but Charissa convinced me to give them a 2nd chance in the bigger pots. As we transplanted them it became apparent that they really had run out of room in the little pots, roots were coming out all over. So MAYBE with their new bigger homes they will flourish. This is our hope and prayer. We have 20 plants under the "tent" outside and 10 more in the house. I also have 8 sweet red pepper plants in 3 inch pots in the house. If I can get even half of them to grow healthy and strong, I'll be thrilled.
This week we will finish digging up all the beds and get things planted in the ground. We are to be in the 70's and 80's for several days starting Thursday. I hope this warms the soil enough to plant beans and corn.

Happy New Year. ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pics Update

Finally, I have pictures. Here is a Black Austrolorp close up. I really love their coloring. Some of them have the deepest red around their eyes, almost purple looking. The egg count is not up to par and this is concerning to me. I wondered if it had to do with the move and/or the disappearance of the rooster. I called my Aunt, my mentor, and she is baffled. She said sometimes in the spring they'll go through a process of acclimating to warmer weather, a broody mood thing. So we'll see. I hope production picks up soon.

The goats are well. Firefly (above) is often found in this position moaning and groaning. She is HUGE and I'm sure not sleeping well. Her tail bone has moved into an upper position in preparation for delivery. Because of this I have taken to check on her every 3hours, even in the night. James says, "They've been having kids without assistance for centuries." But that isn't the point....I don't want to miss it!! Plus with assistance they have a higher rate of their mouth and face off faster than mom can, helping to get them latched on fast, and dipping the cord (which can wick up bacteria and whatnot). Not to mention assisting in the actual delivery if there is a problem with position. The one birth I got to witness a year ago had both kids trying to come out at the same time and one had to be pushed back in. If the owner had not been there they may have died.
Needless to say, there is great excitement in our home in anticipation of kid arrivals. I hear many many times a day, "Do you think they'll come today?"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Preparing for kidding

The countdown is on and Firefly is due in 11 days. They say to be ready a week before, so really I only have 4 days or so to be completely ready. And as big as she is I won't be surprised if she does come early.
I am a little nervous since this is our first time with a kidding experience and there are things that can go wrong. My biggest fear is that a kid will come out weak and need assistance in beginning life and my second fear is that the mama will need assistance getting the kids out.
My to-do list in getting ready for kidding day is:
1. shave the backside of Firefly to make cleanup of birthing easier. I did this today, just 15 minutes ago. It wasn't too difficult except the back of the udder which would not let me touch. I'm not sure how to get that accomplished. It isn't too hairy but they say it is helpful to have it shaved. I did get the tail shaved, which looks funny, and the rump and back of legs. She looks spiffy. Of course no pictures, I couldn't get them on here anyway right now because of pc trouble. My mentors at Fias Co Farm has some pictures of a finished shaved goat. That's there "preparing for kidding page" so you can see all kinds of neat stuff.
2. Clean up the 2nd stall for kidding. It is clean but need to get feeders set up and also bucket of fresh water.
3. Have all necessary needs in the barn ready to go. I still need to buy some betadine for disinfecting if necessary, but I think I have everything else I need.
I guess that's about it. I'll definitely have the camera on hand for this big event.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day update

What a rush of a week has gone by since I've posted. Thanks for being patient with me, we've been so busy.
I cannot believe it is May!!!
Now that things have settled down we'll concentrate on getting the garden in. I wonder though if it is safe! Yesterday we had frost on the window of the truck, 40 days later than the average last frost date. But despite that I did plant 5 pumpkin starts that needed to go in the ground. Charissa started her cucumber garden with a row of lemon cucumbers (they are delicious) and a row of slicing cucumbers. Joseph and I planted a row of spinach and a row of red leaf lettuce. I cannot wait till the salad garden begins to produce for me!!! James and I discussed making a cold frame before fall so that we can have salad all winter long. We have one started in the wooden raised beds that were here when we moved in, we just need to add to them to put the glass windows on top.

We still have one rooster to butcher but he is not nearly as noisy as the other and he is not mean in the least. He actually turns and runs the other way when you walk in the coop. :)

Firefly has under 2 weeks till kidding and they say to be ready a week early. So we are finishing up the kidding stall for her. It's just a matter of cleaning it out and putting a warming box in the corner. The baby kids love to climb under things to sleep so you put in a wooden box on it's side for them to climb into to sleep. I've finally decided on my plan of action for milking. There are so many ways people do things, choices were:
1. Separate mom and kid right away and bottle feed from the get go.
2. Let mom take care of everything for the first 2-3 months and then separate (which is hard if it is a single birth).
3. Let mom have kids for 2 weeks then separate at night and milk just once a day. (again is hard if single birth)
I've decided to follow choice #3 unless she has just a single birth, which is rare and her last kidding was single so it's unlikely. With 2 kidding and coming into milk I decided once a day milking will give me plenty and I'll only do that for 2 months and then wean them by separating them from mom completely.
I'm very much looking forward to having milk again.
I'm a little nervous about this being my first kidding and pray that all goes well so I don't have to assist in any major way. :)

I hope to post more regularly from now on.
Have a great day!