There has been a few changes with more expected here at Alba Ranch. The first set of Angora Goat Kids were born. I never have goats bred to kid in February before, but this year it was necessary as I sold the buck. He bred Phoebe before he left which was earlier than my usual breeding time.
I worried endlessly about the cold but when they were born both Charlie and I were present. We had towels, blow dryer and little wool sweaters all ready. She had twins and they are growing like weeds as she is a very milky doe. They are always full and after day one, rarely ever make a peep.
Mom is a great mom that has adopted the popular “helicopter” kid rearing style. I always know when the twins are up to no good because Phoebe will holler the barn down with not a squeak out of those two mischief makers. Everything went well but I really do not want early kiddings again.
Over last couple of weeks with our warm spell, the Stone Circle and Lavender Terraces have reemerged from the snow.
Charlie and I got busy and finished four terrace walls to 120 feet long each before we ran out of rock, erosion netting, time and energy. We switched to taking up the last of those horrible black weed supression carpets that got covered in sand with the wash out. In the place of those carpets, we installed paver stepping stones and a thick mulch of limestone gravel.
Eight full tractor buckets later, both Charlie and I could barely plant one foot in front of another. Me much more so than him. Carrying full shovel fulls of limestone gravel up and down a steep hill over uneven ground and moving rock in the dry creek bed was a lot for this gal. Even super tired, the satisfaction and excitement of building with my husband something like this is immense.
It does look fabulous though and if it does the trick, it should suppress weeds and be a permanent installation. Because there is no way I want to dig that all back out again.
All the lavenders planted last fall out in the moon garden area have been uncovered. All appear to have made it through the winter and I didn’t see any real die back. I also uncovered all the lavenders that we had to dig up 2-4 weeks after planting and put into pots.
Those have done better than expected. I believe all the Loddon Blue and Royal Velvet survived. I had 30 Munstead that were smaller with a much weaker root system so really did not hold out any hope of survival. I have one confirmed casualty with about 8 others that had suffered die back but still have some life left.
Time will tell when they start to green up if anymore will be declared casualties. But I do fully expect to have enough for a row that did make it. I honestly thought they would all die. At least 60 to 67 have proven me wrong. That was a wonderful surprise. Given proper drainage, lavender plants do seem to be resilent.
Fast forward to this week, just as I was starting to get over some extreme exhaustion. All that was knocked to kingdom come. Very unexpectedly, my second in command dairy goat decided to give birth 6 days early. I had only put her into the Love Shack perhaps 36 hours tops before that. I had not checked her tendons to see if they were loosening off or anything as I fully expected her to not even be close for several more days.
I was abruptly woke early one morning, after only having perhaps a couple hours sleep, to her screaming bloody murder in the baby monitor. I was in the bedroom behind a closed door and in a dead sleep and the baby monitor was out in the livingroom….well let’s say she wasn’t being quiet! I had to get dressed when I barely knew where I was, get the birthing box, and get out to the barn.
I arrived to one baby girl on the ground and largely cleaned up. I went to work, getting goop off and blow drying her as Kit Kat laid down and popped out another. Trying to get goop off the second one’s head while holding the first one really made me appreciate when Charlie and I are together for kidding. I needed more hands so I dried off the beautiful black baby boy while keeping one eye on the girl who I wrapped in a towel and popped into the manger.
Kit Kat was not done. Out popped number three, another good sized boy. In fact, I think the smallest might have been the girl who came first. Several hours later, I had all three cleaned up, blowed dry, and decided I needed to feed some colostrum.
This was only Kit Kat’s second time. On her first time, she had a single buck kid that I sold as a bottle baby by a week old. She never nursed him so didn’t know how to do the mom thing. I milked her for 23 months on that FF before her second time.
Triplets were a bit much for me in my exhausted state and she seemed willing to learn so I let her. She has large teats and udder so the kids were struggeling a bit. I grabbed a bottle and nipple, milked some colostrum out, and managed to get the girl and black boy to nurse several ounces from the bottle two different times.
The third boy however was another story. Two hours later, I still could not get him to take any from the bottle. Even dribbling small bits in his mouth, he would let it build up without swallowing before nearly choking. He wasn’t cold but to be sure I blew him with blow dryer a second time. He would suckle on my finger but refused the bottle. If I put him down, he would just stand hunched and refuse to move or try to nurse. After two hours of trying, we were both mad and wearing the colostrum. I gave up and decided to go to house. I knew he would either choose to figure it out or choose to die.
Sometimes there will be something wrong that I can’t see and no matter what I do it makes no difference. I had the baby monitor on and knew he would start to cry if he started to go down hill. I have also had some refuse to eat for nearly 24 hours. The dribbles I get down them is all they take for ages and than they decide to live. Goats are stubborn. If they don’t want to live, they won’t. This boy however was not small or weak. He had plenty of strength to fight me wholeheartedly while refusing the bottle or teat. He had to decide.
They were secure in the dry and closed in Love Shack so the wind and rain wouldn’t touch them. I felt safe to go catch a bit of rest and get some food while listening in on the monitor.
When I went back out to check on them, all three were up and moving about. I saw a little “sprong” and hopping going on and no one was crying or unhappy. They all did well through first night and one side of mom was drained the next day. Kit Kat has more than enough milk since she is one of my best milkers, so I have no worries of running out of milk.
Now I plan on catching up on some sleep before the next round of outdoor work starts and the rest of the goat kids arrive.