|Chocolate and Orio snuggle up to Mum Molly|
Having learnt from Polly's experience that life in the big paddock can be harsh, we again had this lesson presented to us with the birth of Sugar's kids. Like many animals, she chose the worst of days to drop vulnerable babies into the world and like Polly didn't really seem to have a clue. One kid was gone to meet her siblings in the goat heaven for kids with no life experience but the other was struggling valiantly to hang in there to see whether the world was all that it was cracked up to be. I tried everything to bond mother and child but in the general bustle of goat society, one little kid wasn't getting a look in. Determined to be a better foster carer than the last time I decided to intervene, taking the now shivering kid indoors to dry and warm on the heated kitchen floor.
Now, when you've taken some one in, got them dry and warmed them up and introduced them to the concept of cuddles, you can hardly toss them out again into the sleet and cold to a mother who is in denial. It seemed that the best solution would be to bring mother and kid together in a dry place where there would be no distraction and the two could get to know one another. An impromptu corral of gates and the back of the trailer, a scattering of straw, a few treats and a bowl of water and all was ready. By this time the girls had gone to bed and it felt a bit cruel to call them up to the gate but a few treats and they were happy. A quick grab had Sugar by the horn and out the gate where she was lured across the yard by the rattle of the pellet jar.
Once Sugar was installed in the pen I brought her kid to join her. He was now warm and dry and ready to be introduced to the delights of suckling. Nature was left to take its course. This confinement (isn't that what the Victorians called the birthing experience?) did the trick and by morning Sugar and Rodney (for that was now his name) had become a team. Subsequent births went much more smoothly and before too long our little flock was complete with 4 bleating kids and 3 udderly mystified mothers.
|Toffee welcomes Cocoa and proves the perfect parent|
|All the kids come out to play|
|Rodney meets his new sibling|
|A new friendship|
|Rodney heads to his new home|
Finally, the sun started to shine, the grass to grow and the goat girls seem to get a grasp on what was going on. We were farming!!!
Just like having real kids, goatses and sheepses come with responsibilities and liabilities. Worming, docking, castrating and feeding need to be carried out in due time and season. With extra appetites and mouths to feed we found that our paddocks that the season before had been over grown, were starting to look a bit spartan and so the plans began to fence off new areas and divide paddocks, rotating stock in an effort to please the needs and tastes of all and maintain some pasture for the coming winter.
|Orio gets out to explore|