"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Goat Named Christmas

On Christmas Eve morning, when Homero went out to feed the animals, he found a baby goat curled up, asleep in the hay. He wasn't sure which of the three does was the mama, so he picked up the baby and put her in the mama barn, chose the mama goat that most resembled the baby (Polly), and came back in to get me. 

When I entered the mama barn a few minutes later, the baby was nursing on Polly, so clearly Homero chose correctly. Polly must have given birth the evening before. The baby was dry and fluffy, nursing like a pro, and Polly looked great. 

I HAVE been checking the mama goat's udders when I go out, because I know that they were probably bred quite early, since we just let the buck run with them year round. Last year (or was it the year before?) we lost two babies because they were born in the middle of a deep freeze in the middle of the night. 

This time we (and the goats of course ) were luckier - it's been very wet but not cold. The barn has plenty of dry straw, and now that we put them in the mama barn, they ought to do just fine. Until I let them out, a few days from now, anyway. I can't imagine how that tiny baby can traverse the lake of deep mud between the door of the barn and the grass of the pasture. I need to get some chips down, pronto. 

A search for another baby - dead or alive - and any sign of placenta turned up negative. It seems this baby was a singleton. And it's a she. She's a doeling.  We named her Christmas. We're going to keep her. It's about time I added a new doe to the herd. It seems that Iris most likely did not get pregnant again this year. That makes two years in a row and I think it is unlikely she will produce again. Flopsy is also getting on, and she only has one teat. Polly is my best goat, and I think a doeling from her would make a good replacement for Iris or Flopsy. 

If, that is, we can raise her to maturity without being killed by Haku. I'm terrified about him killing baby goats. He doesn't bother the adult goats - only the sheep - but the adult goats don't prance and gambol and run around enticingly, which the baby goats most certainly will. Also the babies are perfectly prey sized for Haku. 

In an attempt to avoid that horrible fate, I brought the baby inside and let Haku lick her all over. I even brought Haku out to the mama barn and let him lick the baby all over right in front of her mama. Polly did not like that at all. She was very protective, keeping herself between Haku and the baby, and lowering her horns menacingly. But Haku behaved himself and was very gentle with the baby. 

I'd be perfectly happy if Christmas were the only baby we get this year. I don't need more goats and I don't need more milk than Polly can provide. It's always nice to have a couple of babies to sell, or to eat, so it wouldn't be awful if there were more babies, but they'd be surplus. The only thing I will need to do next year is find a different buck. Hopefully I can find someone in the same position as me who wants to trade bucks straight across.