It’s surprising I can get anything done at all with almost 20 week-old kids running around everywhere.
Let’s just say it’s a bit of a surprise, an error, a kid apocalypse.
It’s all good. We can handle it, but last weekend if Maggie hadn’t stayed home instead of going to Minneapolis, I would be a basket case.
Goats were kidding every two hours, and the first few hours are crucial in the life of the kids, especially in cold weather.
There was a procession of goats and their kids coming in the house for a few hours to clean, bond, learn to nurse, and stay warm.
That procession was going on around the clock. At one point, I believe, we had three mothers inside at the same time — some cleaning up from the process, some resting up, just so they could take the next step. And the young ones, who were new to it all, were just getting over their bewilderment at recent events.
It did at one point look like some kind of gruesome hillbilly crime scene that included hay and blood and more.
As usual, the events took place during some of the coldest days of the year. Fortunately we had a warm up.
We made it through fairly well. Still we have three spare baby goats living in a big box in the house (and at the moment jumping around the living room after taking their bottle).
One’s mother didn’t drop milk. That’s a new one.
One’s mother was too inexperienced to figure out nursing. That has changed now, and at milking time she lets her baby nurse. That took a lot of patience and kindness and time.
The other was just one too many for his mama, I think. Things get blurred.
A very nice event is that my good nanny Bunny Goat, daughter of Peaches who died while kidding on a past Christmas Eve, not only delivered well, but delivered triplets.
Plus, she is nursing all three of them successfully. She is an excellent milk producer. It will be a while before we begin milking her.
It was not an easy time. There was very little sleep. We had some losses to stillbirth. And, one night at about 3 a.m., I said to myself, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I do know, believe it or not, things will soon get back to a more normal order. The mothers will care for the babies. There will be summer grazing up top. The steady flow of the seasons will resume.
This is a reassurance to my conservative and worried nature.
Chaos, disaster, conflict, or the sheer flood of nature’s powers may bring out the best in some, but for most, we slog through and hope to get to the other side. Slogging through is a pretty good response, anyway. Perhaps in the end it is the best response.
Our house and floor are clean again. Out in the goat house, every evening there is a pile of baby goats, all cuddled together for the night.
In the morning the mothers are nursing them out in their yard, and all is well.
We are vigilant to keep things that way for the animals as well as ourselves. Although in end we know how little we really are.
Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley, N.Y. Leave a message at email@example.com.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!