Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kidding Season Has Come To An End

Well, Daisy FINALLY had her kid.  She surprised us all by only having one.  Last year she had triplets.  We have one of her girls from the triplets, who we bred when she was only 8 months old, and even she had two.  In her defense she did have a very large kid, 11 pounds (the largest baby) and a girl so we are pleased that she and her girl are doing well.  That makes a total of 12 kids born to 6 dams, one kid lost :( and we are blessed with 11 very healthy kids, 7 boys and 4 girls.  The most interesting is the order of their births.  All the boys were born and then all the girls!  The ending is bittersweet.  No more miracles to witness untill next year but also no more running to barn around the clock every hour.  They, like my 2 legged children, are growing way too fast.  The first set of triplet boys have pretty much doubled their weight in just the 2 short weeks since they were born.  They are getting quite muscular and are getting the massive muscular necks that are the trademark of a Boer buck.  We have three that we are convinced would make great herd sires some day.  We are torn as to which one to keep.  The real trick will be to find herds for them to join before they reach butchering weight.  Shirley, Rosie and Lilly have rejoined Snowy with all their kids in the main stall area.  We like to give them a week in their private stall to bond with their kids before they have to join the rest of the herd.  Blossom will join the herd tomorrow and I will probably let Buttercup stay in her stall next to her mom for a few more days just to keep Daisy company.  Shirley who had a difficult delivery (she is the one who lost one of her boys) is now doing really well.  She had a 5 day course of antibiotics for her uterine infection and she seems back to her sassy self.  I really have to say that I love the Saanen's the most.  Nothing can beat their unique personalities.  They are super silly and the most cuddly!  These are the many faces of Shirley.  I was trying to take pictures of the new babies in the stall next to her and she just wouldn't have it.  Always the center of attention!

Now that is a big personality!

Don't forget, this Saturday is the first Ruedy Ranch Open Barn from noon-4pm.  Hope to see you there.  Check out for more info.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pictures of the goat kids born this week at Ruedy Ranch

This little girl was looking a little chilled.  For some reason Grandma would only let mom nurse the one girl so this one kept getting pushed away.  We finally had to put mom and her new babies in a private stall without Grandma and then mom was more than happy to nurse both!

We keep little dog coats on hand just in case anyone needs to warm up a bit.  This little girl was very thankful for her little coat!

Grandma was very helpful. Here she is giving her daughter Buttercup a little nuzzle of encouragement.

Grandma Daisy helps to clean off the girls.

They stop to pose for a family portrait, 3 generations.

Finally some more girls.  Until these two were born we had only one other girl and 8 boys!

Here is the little one who was a little chilly after being born.  Now she is dry and more comfortable.

Such a good grandma.

Pretty girl.

Here they are with mom after being moved to a more private stall.

Mom and babies are doing wonderful.  They are close enough that Grandma can still see them but she can't interfere.  Anytime one of them makes the slightest little peep Daisy runs up to the fence to check on her granddaughters.  I can't wait til Daisy finally has her kids and then they can all be together.  I wouldn't be surprised if Daisy willingly nurses her kids and her grandbabies!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And Finally A Girl is Born!

I will try and get some pics up tomorrow but just wanted to give a quick update.  We finally have some girls.  Last night at about 8pm we all watched as Blossom gave birth to twins.  The first one tried to come out with only one hoof forward so I had to go in and pull the second hoof out so she could deliver her little girl.  It wasn't pleasant.  I had to put my arm in almost to my elbow before I finally was able to grab the other leg and pull it forward.  The second was a boy which she delivered with no problems.  Both kids weighed in at 7.5 lbs.  A little on the smaller side compaired to the other girls but Blossom was only 8 months old when we bred her so this is to be expected.  Her next kids will be bigger.  Then tonight Buttercup had twin girls, alos 7.5 lbs.  She was also 8 months old when she was bred.  We didn't see her have them but came home after running some errands and there they were.  Daisy and Buttercup were both licking them off  and doting on them.  Daisy is Buttercup's mother and the grandmother to the twin girls.  It is not unusual for a Doe Mom to help her doeling as she gives birth.  Daisy was a little too involved so we ended up moving Buttercup to one of the stalls so that she could bond with her babies and not have mom butting in!  Daisy is the last one left to kid.  She is really close so maybe tomorrow.  Rosie and her 1 week old triplett boys have been moved back into the main group pen.  Those boys needed room to run and run they did.  Wow are they fast and wild and adorable.  Keep an eye out for picture in the next day or two.  Check out our Ranch Facebook page for info on our upcoming open house.  This event is open to the public and feel free to invite your friends.  Hope you can make it and that the weather will cooperate! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Two More Bucklings....SERIOUSLY??

Lilly having a well deserved treat.

Sweet girl!
Don't get me wrong.  I'm just thrilled that we are lucky enough to have two more healthy kids but the reality is that these are meat goats and we don't keep the boys.  If we don't get a girl soon my kids are going to be devastated.  I've already convinced myself that we are keeping Shirley's little boy.  Anyways, congrats to Lilly!  She is the proud new mama of two little gigantic boys!  One tipping the scales at 10 1/2 lbs!  The other a mere 9 1/2 lbs.  I missed the whole thing because I was at work but got a call from Madeline at about 7:30pm telling me they had just gone out to check on the girls and they found Lilly with her two boys all cleaned up and she was already nursing them.  I should note for all my co-workers who I told she had a boy and a girl that clearly Gary was mistaken.  I'm not quite sure how those huge testicles could be mistaken for anything else but in his defense...... Um mm, I got nothin'!

Those are some chubby babies.

The latest count: Three does delivered and three to go.  Seven kids....all boys.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shirley Had Twin Bucklings

I have been out to the barn every two hours around the clock every day this week.  Three of the fours does left to kid are first time mommies and chances are they will be so distracted by their pain they won't have any clue what's going on.  I worry that if someone isn't there they will leave their babies lying there not knowing what to do.  Rosie and her triplet bucklings who were born on Tuesday are doing great.  By noon on Wednesday Shirley had gone into labor and had delivered one of her kids and was still laboring when I walked into the barn.  If I had been out there 15 minutes earlier I may have been able to save her first little buckling.  He was big.  Just shy of 10 lbs.  She hadn't even turned around to look at him.  He was laying there completely lifeless and soaking wet.  I tried to revive him but no luck.  I quickly moved her into a kidding stall and she delivered her second boy with no problems.  I put him in front of her after I knew he was breathing and she started licking him and taking care of him.  I wouldn't say she is the most attentive mother but she is doing a good job considering all the problems she is having.  I had to go to work that afternoon and when I got home I noticed she still had not passed all of the placenta.  There was a definite odor as well.  Not good.  Signs of infection.  I called the vet and scheduled a time for her to come out the next day.  I had also scheduled an office appointment for our puppy Sophie because she had an ear infection.  I got a call from Dr. Mary asking me if I could bring them both into the office because Dr. Barb was gone for the day and it would save her a lot of running around.  I thought this was going to be really interesting.  Goats really don't like dogs.  I suppose they are too similar to coyotes and foxes to really trust and it is not unheard of to hear than a domestic dog kills a baby goat just like they would kill a rabbit or bird.  Anyways, when the time came I put Sophie on a leash on the front seat and tied the leash to the little handle above the door.  Then I tried to get Shirley out of her stall and into the van.  She wasn't going anywhere without her boy so I picked him up and she reluctantly followed me.  She was less than thrilled when she saw the dog.  I put her on a blanket right behind the front seats and she stool there the entire 20 miles to the vet between the seats giving Sophie the evil eye.  Sophie, by the way, is the worlds most obnoxious and excitable dog but she was so terrified of Shirley she laid down on the seat facing and refused to even look in Shirley direction.  Shirley has a strip of fur right over her spine which is about four inches long and longer than the rest of her coat.  It stood straight on end the entire ride!  Finally we got to the vet, everyone got their antibiotics and we were heading back home.  Another uneventful ride with the exception of the lady we surprised in the Taco Bell drive through who said she had never seen a live goat before and told me I had made her entire day when I pulled the two day old buckling up from behind the seat.  We pulled into the farm and unloaded the dog and settled mom and baby back into their stall.  You could tell Shirley was already feeling better.  She is on a regimen of two medications twice a day for the next 5 days and we pray she will completely recover and be able to look after her boy.  I have not started to milk her yet.  I really feel it's important to let her get her strength back before I start milking.  It takes a lot of energy for her to make all that milk and right now she just doesn't have it.  Her little kid is the cutest stinkin thing I have ever seen.  I don't know how I will ever be able to sell him as a market animal.  I would really like to have him go somewhere as a pet.  If any of you know anyone who would be interested in a Saanen/Boer cross wether please let me know.  I would sell him for $125.00 and would disbud and wether him before going to a new home.  He is all white like a Saanen but has the roman profile and the pendulous ears of a boer.  At two days old he is already bouncing around like a crazy little kid and loves to be pet and held.  He coos and will fall asleep right in your arms.  I am completely smitten.  I just might have to keep him.  Oddly enough I don't feel the same way about the full Boer boys.  They are so masculine and bucky looking I don't really find them as cute.  Of course my heart is with the Saanen breed anyways.  So here are some pictures of Shirley and her beautiful boy.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Triplet Goat Kids born tonight!

FINALLY!  Tonight when I was at work I called home and asked Gary to put Rosie and Shirley in kidding stalls.  I suspected Rosie was really close.  As soon as I got home tonight I went into the barn to check on all the girls.  I was thrilled to see Rosie pushing out a kid.  I ran to the house for my supply box and told Gary what was happening.  I tried to wake up the Madeline but once those kids are out...they're out!  I headed back to the barn.  Rosie was there cleaning up boy number 1.

He's quite a fine little lad so Rosie got a warm bucket bucket of water with molasses for her hard work.  I gave her belly a little thump and sure enough I could feel another one in there.  So I waited, and waited, and waited......finally!  Something!  Um, that looks like a placenta....

So I waited for a little while but then started getting concerned when it seemed no matter how hard she pushed she wasn't making any progress.  So I had to give the placenta a little pull.  Now, normally you never want to pull on the placenta but it seemed to be plugging the way for the next kid.  Sure enough I only had to pull it very gently and I could see the bag attached with a little hoof.  Actually the hoof looked gigantic so I let her try and push a couple more time then I broke her bag and grabbed the giganto hoof.  I pulled a couple of inches until the next hoof appeared.  Poor Rosie, who had been completely silent to this point, let out a bleeeeeting BBBLLLLLAAAAAHHHHH.  Clearly she was not comfortable!

Anyways, I pulled the second hoof and then finally a little tongue appeared and a little black nose.  Once we got those legs pulled straight he slid right out.  Success, another boy!

It was only a few minuted after that when I noticed she was still pushing.   This time she managed to get the little guy mostly delivered before she lost every ounce of energy she had.  The amniotic fluid looked really dark and he looked smaller than the other two.  I broke the bag and pulled out a pooh covered kid.  Immediately he started to gurgle and I started cleaning him off with a towel.  Rosie had no more energy to clean off another kid.  Boy number three makes a rocky entrance into the world.  His amniotic sac was filled with meconium.  Meconium is a baby's first poop (human or otherwise).  Normally, this is expelled after the delivery but during a difficult delivery it is sometime expelled prior to the birth.

We'll have to keep a close eye on number three for a few days but hopefully he'll gain strength and be running around with his brothers in no time!  Now one more check out to the barn and then a little sleep....I'm exhausted!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Kidding Stalls are Done

Well, there's nothing like waiting til the last minute but finally the kidding stalls are complete and in use!  Every farm uses them differently I suppose.  We are putting the girls in the stalls at night.  We have three stalls and we know that Daisy, Rosie and Blossom were bred first so they are the first ones to go into the stalls.  We do put Buttercup in with Daisy, since they are mother and daughter.  Gives her someone to cuddle with.  We have also moved Rumble into the barn.  We built him a very nice run right across from the kidding stalls.  He is much more content now that he has another goat within sight and doesn't feel all alone.  Now he just lays in his stall, chewing his cud and enjoying watching the activity in the barn.  The idea behind the kidding stall is to give the doe a private and clean place to have their little ones.  In the event that they kid in the middle of the night they will have their own stall where they won't be bothered and they will have time to bond with their babies undisturbed by the  their herd-mates.
Here Snowy is checking out the new stalls.
Daisy and Buttercup, her daughter, check out the new stall.  The pink spot on her rear is livestock paint.  We use this to mark them after we vaccinate to ensure we didn't miss anyone.

Daisy gives Joshua a show of gratitude.
Daisy smiling.  I think she likes it!

 There seems to be a lot of opinions in the goat world about how goats should deliver their young and how involved their owners should be.  I have been reading a book called The Meat Goats of Caston Creek by Sylvia Tomlinson.  Their farms philosophy is to make their goats habitat as close to as if they were in the wild as possible.  They have several hundred acres and let their goats kid in the woods with their guard dogs to protect them.  Minimal human input is probably ideal when you are managing a large herd.  I should also add that she lives on a large ranch in Oklahoma.  What I have found disheartening is that there are a few producers here locally, in Minnesota, who also seem to have adapted that philosophy.  I wish I could shake a couple of these people into reality.  That kind of management system just doesn't work here in the arctic Midwest when you're kidding in January.  These poor animals are left to kid in frigid temperatures in overcrowded lean-to structures with little to protect them from the elements.  Fed a diet of only grass hay to sustain them through their pregnancy they are already at a disadvantage.  How do they not understand that that the big ranches in Texas they are emulating have browse year round for the goats to forage and their climate supports a January kidding schedule.  If you're in Minnesota and plan to raise goats do yourself and your goats a favor and don't pretend you're some big rancher.  If you want to run that kind of operation GREAT...move to Texas.  If you want to be successful in producing a high quality, disease free product then you are going to have to put in a little more effort.  Have an enclosed structure for your goats to have a chance at protecting their newborns from the freezing cold.  Ignore the advice from large producers who say to never give grain to your goats.  Chances are they are somewhere farther south than here or they care more about preserving their pocket book up front than the losses they'll encounter in the end.  A goat may be able to sustain a pregnancy on only hay but at what cost.  Be diligent in making frequent trips to the barn during kidding season.  Even if I didn't care so much about encountering a loss a two, the financial risk really isn't worth it.  If I take the average market price of a weanling at 80-90 lbs and figure that times two (goats normally have at least twins)  then factor in the market price of the dam and the food it took to raise her and feed her through the pregnancy my investment would be substantial.  If I lost the doe and her kids for poor management practices or any other unfortunate reason I am out a minimum of $800.   Here is my very simple math; Doe investment ($200) Market value of weaning ($190 x 2 for twins=$380) Feed, vaccines and misc supplies to raise the dam from kid to having kids of her own ($250).  My initial investment may only have been a couple of hundred dollars but the loss would be great.  And take care of your buck.  He is half your herd.  Don't let him get so thin during breeding season without fattening him up again before winter.  Ok, I'm done with my rant.!

Rumble settling in to his new digs.

We have also been doing some remodeling in the house.  I recently bought a claw foot tub and am having it restored.  Now to start the demolition of the bathroom in preparation of installing my new tub.  I look forward to sharing the pictures with you.  And I look forward to sharing the pictures of our newborns as soon as they arrive!