Babies in the barn!

Winter is a miserable time of year to be caring for a large number of goat kids.  That’s why we removed the buck from contact with the doe herd at mid-summer (gestation is 5 1/2 months). However, the buck had other ideas and we came back from a short trip to find him back among the does with a smug look on his face.

We’re now about to find out just how much “damage” he was able to accomplish.

When we left for the Blogwell conference in Chicago last week, we knew that one doe was close to kidding.  With assurances of help from the Farm Daddy, we left the farm in the Admiral’s hands and spent a couple of days enjoying our view of the Magnificent Mile:

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On Friday morning, Jen had QUADRUPLETS (one was stillborn) and a second doe gave birth to a single (that did not survive).  Sunday morning, a third doe had twins.  The Admiral handled everything outside of school hours and maintained her equanimity — thanks in no small part to the guidance and encouragement of the Farm Daddy.  We got home Sunday afternoon and had a day’s breather —  then, during Tuesday’s morning chores, we discovered another set of twins.  These twins had been trapped behind a gate and were suffering hypothermia — one did not survive the night.  The surviving buck is not getting enough milk from his mother yet, so we’ve begun supplementing with a bottle.

So far, the census is nine kids since last Friday, of which we’ve lost a third.  Two of those losses were caused, or hastened, by temperatures well below freezing.  Fortunately, the ten day forecast is looking much improved and we should have gotten through the last of any further unplanned pregnancies by then.

Meanwhile, it is fun to play with the new babies.  The kids are pretty wobbly for a couple of days, but by day three they are usually much more active and curious.  They love to try out their newfound talent for jumping.

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Here’s one of the twins from Sunday.  This black and white buck came from a red buck and a white doe.  How did this happen?  I do not know — go ask Gregor Mendel.

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