Lively Run’s Circle of Life (Part 2 : Raising Kids)
In the first part of my blog about the Circle of Life I talked about the seasonal changes that happen on our farm due to the fact that goats are seasonally bred.
We introduced our stud buck, Austin, to our herd of does on November 5, 2014, planning for an April kidding month. That was the plan. However, Austin had his own agenda. In October he escaped from his pen and apparently made it into the doe’s pen. The evidence of this escapade is little “Fern” who was born one month ahead of our planned schedule. Fern is the daughter of Charlotte and was named aptly by our Facebook follower, Melissa Rose DiMauro. And so began kidding season!
Today on May 5, 2015, all but one of our does have kidded and lots of little baby goats are running and climbing around in the barn. For them this building is a great adventure playground.
This year we had 2 sets of triplets. Siss, one of our biggest does had triplets first and everything went well. Things did not turn out that easy in Spot’s case. Her first kid was born backwards with her back legs folded, not stretched. That was very hard. The second kid also had difficulty, so we decided we had to reach into the doe’s birth canal and untangle the next two kids who were both trying to come out at once. This ordeal was very strenuous for me and Anna, our herd manager, not to mention for the mother! Finally Anna successfully pulled the baby. Anna gave the doe, Spot, a special strengthening drink after the birthing full of sugar and electrolytes. Kid number 2, a little buck, was especially weak after being stuck for so long. This little fellow got special treatment from our house mate Sasha. Sasha kept him on her body under her vest to warm him up. After a few hours of cuddling, the little guy became vigorous enough to drink from a bottle. He was named “Kilian”, which is Gaelic for “warrior”. You can meet him this Saturday and Sunday at our “Just Kidding” event. He loves to cuddle!
Our goats are all very friendly and love people’s attention. This is not by accident. The kids that we are raising to become future milkers are bottle fed by us. We take the place of the mother and thereby the kids bond to us. We feed them goat’s milk at a measured amount, enough to grow well and strong. The rest of the milk we use to make cheese!
Our kids are fed 4 times a day until they understand how to drink from a bucket with nipples on it. The bucket is always in the pen and the kids can drink whenever they want. Even now, we spend a lot of time in their pen, which is of course a pleasure! In the future these goats will be easy to handle for veterinary care, vaccinations and milking!
The kids will drink milk until they are 3months old at which point they will be weaned. They start eating hay in the first week of their life and grain shortly after.
We invite you to come and meet and cuddle the kids this Saturday and Sunday. “Just Kidding” celebrates them, their Moms, new life and spring. Milk a goat, take a tour of our milking parlor and the cheese making facility, eat some delicious food.
Vendors with honey, jam, jewelry and clothing will provide you with a tasty and beautiful shopping experience. All you need for Mother’s Day!
Blog written by Susanne Messmer, co-owner of Lively Run Dairy.