Monday, April 25, 2011


It finally happened!  Last night Wendy started to be a bit more vocal and it continued through to this morning.  I left the house for the first time in two days to go to a dentist appointment.  When I was done having my teeth polished, my phone rang.  It was Brian, "Come home, Jen.  She's definitely in labor!"

After only an hour of pushing, Wendy gave birth to a sweet little girl!  She was calm through her heavy labor until the last few pushes when a big healthy kid fell out of the birth canal (she really did fall onto the floor - Wendy pushed her out standing up!)


The whole experience was pretty exciting!  I had studied numerous books, websites and journals and was standing by, ready to intervene if necessary.  I have to admit I am now a bit in love with the kidding process and know I will look forward to it every year!

Brian was a bit more traumatized by the whole affair and was incredibly relieved when it was over.  We are both happy that the waiting is over and that sweet little Daffodil is big and healthy.

She is just about the same size as Arthur but skinnier.  We haven't weighed her yet but think she is probably 8 - 10lbs.  Wendy licked her clean for the longest time, close to two  hours!

In all the commotion of the day, we nearly forgot that it is Arthur's 7th birthday!  He got a special birthday treat and spent the afternoon running around with it in his mouth.
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Amazing how quickly baby goats learn how to walk. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And We Wait.

According to the breeder that was Wendy's former owner, she was due to give birth between April 14th and April 23rd.  Today is April 24th and we still have not seen any kids!

There are many indications of pending partuition in goats but the signs vary widely between does.  Common behaviors include becoming vocal and "talking" to their bellies, pawing at the ground to make a nest for birth, stretching, yawning, becoming more or less affectionate toward the goatkeeper and frequently lying down and getting up in an attempt to get comfortable.

Wendy couldn't keep up with all the
weeds in the backyard. Brian helped
her out with the lawnmower today.

Last night I couldn't help but suddenly think that Wendy was exibiting a multitude of behaviors that suggested she was beginning to go into labor.  Suddenly she was yawning and stretching and scratching at her sides like she was uncomfortable.  I was convinced I was seeing a change in behavior.

Brian, who had been keeping watch while I was at work during the week, just shook his head in disagreement.  "Jen" he said, "she looks exactly like she has every single day this week."  Refusing to believe him, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning hoping for the miracle to arrive.  It never did.

I have to admit my feelings of frustration were intense when I woke up early this morning and she remained unchanged.  The only difference we have noticed is a slight softening of her pelvic ligaments which is supposed to occur within 24 hours of delivery. The problem is that we noticed the change 36 hours ago!  So we  wait.

Despite my frustrations with the waiting process, I am thankful that she seems to be doing well otherwise.  She eats lots of alfalfa and grain everyday.  She also drinks plenty of water and enjoys browsing in the backyard.

I am also thankful that the rest of our animals are doing very well.  We still have lots of rain showers but now usually with internittent sunshine. The dogs and little goats are happy to spend some dry time outside.  Yesterday we did hoof trimming and grooming with the little goats and brushing and nail clipping with the dogs.  All of the animals are shedding so much.  Bea's hair is literally coming out in handfulls!   Brian has been busy picking the hairballs off the ground.  If he doesn't get to them first the little goats will eat the hair.  Maia has recently discovered my  hair as a yummy treat and gives it a good pull at every opportunity. 



Although the temperature is still dropping to the 30Fs at night, it is slowly starting to feel more and more like spring.  I had almost forgotten how beautiful the sunsets are from our backyard.

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Kids Yet!

The days roll on and the rain continues.  The more rain we get, the deeper the mud gets and the dirtier the animals become.  Even Betty White is a muddy brown mess.  It is really hard not to get discouraged with the bad weather, especially when the ten day forecast is for rain, rain and more rain!  The only sign of the changing seasons are the blossoms that appeared almost overnight on the pear trees.

For some reason, our neighbors' cows have decided that the very best place to graze in the morning is in our back pasture.  We have a very large hole in our fence (which they no doubt created years ago) that they wander through so they can eat our grass and leave large and soggy cow patties everywhere.  In attempt to preserve the grass and cleanliness of our property, Brian spends his mornings chasing the cows back through the fence.  Yesterday he snapped some photos as he ran them out. 

One of the neighbors cows recently had a calf that had been rejected by its mother.  So every morning, our neighbor has been driving out on his ATV and bottle feeding the calf.  The other morning, the calf got stuck on the opposite side of the fence from the rest of the herd.  Brian went to help it get reconnected with the others and the calf immediately ran up to him.  It was pretty cute.  It is amazing to see the difference in friendliness between bottle fed verses dam reared animals.
Wendy is doing well and has not started to show any signs of impending labor.  She has been eating lots of grain and alfalfa and enjoys browsing in the backyard.  She is still curious about the other animals and tried to make friends with both cats the other day.  It was a little more than shy Rambo could handle.
Her favorite spot in our makeshift barn is on top of a hay bale where she can look out at the dogs and little goats.  She now sleeps in the stall that Brian made in anticipation of the kids.

Hopefully my next blog entry will be to announce the arrival of a couple of healthy kids!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wendy Settles In

Wendy has now been living with us for six days.  For the first few days, we kept her primarily in our carport barn.  Brian bought lots of hay to provide a warm, draft free space during this weeks' rain, hail and snow.

It is great to have Wendy so close to the house, especially because there is a window that opens from the basement to the carport.  We can pass grain and water through the window and can check on her without going outside.  She also likes to look into the window for Brian and Betty White.

For the last few days, we have let Wendy out in the backyard, first on a lead and then free range, to browse on the grass.  The dogs and little goats watched Wendy as she emerged from the carport barn.  At first everyone was excited.  The little goats were so excited that they started headbutting each other.

As the week has progressed, the goats and dogs have become more accustomed to each other.  Yesterday, Brian and I decided it was time to introduce the little goats to Wendy.  We let them in the backyard together to browse. 

The goats mostly ignored each other, although the little ones ran away from Wendy when she sniffed and inspected them.  No signs of hostility yet and we are hopeful that after the kids arrive all the goats will continue to peacefully co-exist!

Wendy also had a visit from Arthur.  For some reason, he was not threatened by her and was especially happy to eat her droppings.  Yucky little Arfie loves to eat goat poop!

We have nearly finished compiling our goat birthing supply kit (which includes handy things like iodine, shoulder length gloves, and scissors to cut the umbilical cord) and have been reading all of our books on kidding.  Only four days until her due date!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meet Wendy

Yesterday marked a turning point in our quest to start a goat dairy.  Brian and I made the drive out to Cave Junction, Oregon to pick up Wendy, our first dairy goat!  Wendy is a Sanaan who lived in a herd of six other goats.  Their owner had been raising dairy goats for twenty-five years and decided it was time to thin out her herd.  When Brian and I first saw the Sanaan herd we were impressed by the size and appearance of these large animals.  Quite a difference from our stout little Nigerian Dwarfs!

We loaded Wendy in the back of our Jeep and hoped that she would tolerate the hour and a half drive home.  We were especially concerned about her well being because she is very pregnant, due to deliver in about two weeks!

Thankfully, Wendy did very well on the drive, with only the occasional bleet.  When we got her home we immediately took her to the make-shift barn Brian created.  He turned the car-port into a safe structure where she will spend most of her time before and after delivery.  We decided not to put her with the dogs and other goats yet as introducing her to so many new faces at once may be too stressful for the pregnant doe. 

Gretel and Bea were extremely excited to see the new member of our animal family and excitedly cried for a few hours.

The move to a new home makes any animal nervous and Wendy is no exception.  She spent part of the night calling for the rest of her herd but was calmed when Brian and I sat with her and allowed us to pet and talk to her.  Today she seems more relaxed and we are confident that she will easily adapt to her new surroundings.  Our main goal is to ensure she is eating a large and healthy diet of alfalfa, grain and selenium minerals so she will have the strength to deliver her kids in a few weeks.

Wendy is three years old and weighs roughly 170lbs.  This will be her second kidding.