As promised, here is a look at 2013's crop of goat kids. From 3 does we had a total of 7 kids: a single, twins, and quads. All survived except one, and our total goat population doubled to 12.
Alphie was first, born March 13th
|Surprise and Alphie, who is just learning to stand. |
His was a difficult birth and required help
Here he is now....
|Alphie, 3 months old, a Nubian/Kiko cross|
|Alphie and Hooper|
At three months of age, Alphie now lives with the bucks. Weaning was tough, but he's a big boy now and is buddies with Hooper.
On May 8th, Lily gave birth to twins.
|Lily and her two brand new baby girls|
Happily, it was an easy birth. Here they are now ....
|Rosie Whitefoot, 5 weeks old|
|Daisy May, 5 weeks old.|
It's interesting how their colors change as they get older. If you look closely, you can see that Daisy isn't actually the solid white she has appeared to be in her photos so far. She is white with light gold or cream markings. This is a fairly common Kiko coloring.
|The twins are half Nubian, half Kiko|
You can see Rosie's one white foot in this photo.
On May 27, Ziggy, at long last, gave birth to quads. The births were easy, but sadly, one was stillborn.
|Ziggy and her brand new babies, a girl and 2 boys. I'm not 100% about|
their paternity, but likely they are all half Kiko, half Nigerian Dwarf.
Here are those babies two weeks later.....
|Zoey, 2 weeks old|
|Buster Brown, 2 weeks old|
Buster Brown was second. He's the biggest and most boisterous of the three.
|Zed (as in the last letter of the aphapbet), 2 weeks old|
|Zed always comes to see me.|
At first, Ziggy's two little bucklings had trouble finding her teats. I was concerned about this and started them both on bottle fed colostrum. The colostrum was extra from Surprise, which I had frozen in muffin tins for emergencies. I offered the bottle every three hours during the day, but not at night, so that they would learn to go to Ziggy. This worked for Buster Brown, but Zed was always getting pushed out of the way by his brother and sister.
|Zed in the foreground, Buster Brown behind the bucket.|
Like Daisy May, Zed has faint cream spots too.
Soon, Buster Brown was nursing exclusively along with Zoey, but there never seemed to be enough leftover for Zed. Even when I would put him on Ziggy she would walk away. She would look at me as if to say, "I'll babysit him but you have to feed him." It's as though she knows she can't make enough milk for all three.
|Zed, Buster Brown, & Zoey bringing up the rear.|
As they get older, I'm still not certain Ziggy makes enough milk, even for two. When I was milking her last year for all those dairy goodies, at best I would get 2 & 1/2 to 3 cups, twice a day. It seems that now, Buster Brown gets frustrated sometimes. I've taken to offering him the bottle after Zed. Sometimes he's interested, sometimes not.
|Zoey and Buster Brown|
Having never bottle fed kids before, I did some reading up on it. Pat Coleby, in her Natural Goat Care, seems to think that too much milk is not good for kids. This puzzled me. My own maternal instincts kicked in with, "but shouldn't they get as much as they want?" I'm guessing, however, that if they are full of milk, they won't start eating as much solid food as they need to develop a good rumen.
|Buster Brown and Rosie|
In observing dams with their kids, however, I note that all of them begin to walk away from their nursing kids after about a week or so. The kids nurse when they want, but the amount because increasingly limited by their mothers. In turn, the kids begin eating more solid food. Eventually, the mother weans them by this method, until she finally doesn't let them nurse at all.
|Zoey, Buster Brown, and Rosie.|
Rather than increase the time between bottle feedings, I decided to follow the goat moms example and start to limit the amount Zed can have, and Buster Brown too. They nibble grass, leaves, and hay now, which is as it should be.
|Zoey, with Buster Brown and Rosie who are still going at it. |
Their game is great fun until Ziggy chases Rosie away.
In regards to herd dynamics, Surprise is the queen, but not a benevolent one. She is a bully, but seems to be accepting the twins better, now that the triplets are on the scene. She still won't let them in the stall, especially Daisy, but she tolerates them. She and Lily are buds, and the twins hang out with themselves, unless Rosie is investigating the little guys. Ziggy is still very businesslike in keeping the others away, especially the twins. I am still cautious, and don't leave them all together if I have to leave the property. Some things, they'll have to sort out for themselves.
In spite of the mean queen, the kids are happy and growing well. And that's a lot to be thankful for.
Kids From A To Z: Our 2013 Kids in Review © June 2013