Our "Sweet Baby"
This is Sweet Baby. She's a tiny little thing. A pygmy goat, most likely, although she might have Nigerian Dwarf background. We got her for $20 off of craigslist last October. The goats I had been looking at buying were in the $400-$700 range....and since I'd never owned goats before....I thought we should "experiment" with something a little less expensive.
She's always been a total doll. The nicest, gentlest goat you could ever meet. It's adorable how she and Kiska get along. She's a goat that is JUST Kissy's size. Her back barely comes up to my knee.:o)
When we bought her we were told she was around 4 months pregnant and that she should have her kids sometime in December. She never did, and I figured I'd been "swindled" which wasn't that big a deal since she'd only cost $20.
We all went our merry ways, playing and loving, and planning on the Nubians coming next month. Then, two days ago, the children walked out to pet the sheep and goat and found 3 dead baby goats on the ground.
I was devastated. Not that I could show that I was to the 5 children who were looking to me for how to handle this tragedy.
I did my best to be matter of fact about it. Sometimes life is harsh. Sometimes it's 25 degrees when babies are born and they can't survive those temperatures. As we cleaned up the pen and took care of the sweet little babies I explained my theories on breeding times and kidding pen requirements. I don't think there is a better moment to learn such things than when the consequences of bad choices is so obvious.
They left the experience with knowledge and complete confidence that the next time would be better.
A good attitude for farm children to have. I was proud of them.
Then we have to get back to me. I was so sick. I kept going over and over the things I should have noticed, the things that I should have done differently. I was also worried about Sweet Baby. I had no idea what to do. With all of the animals I've had and bred over the years....I've never had a goat, and I've never had a goat who lost her babies. Since I wasn't there I didn't know what exactly HAD happened and I was unsure of what....if anything....I needed to do for her.
So I called Paula, the nice lady who we are getting the nubians from, and asked her.
She said, "Have you milked her yet?"
"Huh? Can I? Are you supposed to..."
"Yes, Wendi. I always remove the kids from my milkers and bottle feed them. The mama thinks that you are her kids and accepts you better."
Oh. I didn't think about that.
(I would like to point out here, that it doesn't seem to matter how much you read about a subject. Until you're in the thick of it, learning just doesn't occur. I must have read a zillion books and websites about goats and milking and breeding and on and on.....and I couldn't remember any of it. I don't know if that's just me, or if it's just me and my sorrow of the moment, or what. But I couldn't remember a thing I had read.)
So our Raw Milk from just outside our door journey has begun. A sad beginning, to be sure. But a beginning.
So far things are going good.
We have a milking shed going up, and Scott is working on building us a milk stand.
Right now it's kinda tricky.
A lot more possible than I had thought.
And that is something else that I'm happy to be teaching my children.