It's been interesting to watch our goats over the years. One would think that the mothering instinct is a consistently predictable quality. Not so.
|Daphne's twins first outing|
The very first doe to kid here was CryBaby. Does anybody remember her? She was a first freshener and a good little mom. She took her little buckling with her everywhere from day one. Trouble is, he'd fall asleep somewhere out in the pasture and she wouldn't remember where he was. She'd run around in a panic trying to find him. I'd have to go find him and show her where he was.
Our second doe to kid was Surprise. She was the opposite of CryBaby in that she would hide her kids in a corner in the goat shed. One time I got them out to show to friends. Surprise immediately came over, rounded them up, and took them back.
|Mother goats recognize their kids by tail end smell.|
|This little gal has the happiest face!|
Lily seemed to have the least mothering instinct of all my goats. Her first freshening was touch-and-go for awhile because she didn't know where those little goats came from, what they were for, and what they wanted from her. She accepted them after a little coaxing, but she would let anybody and their brother butt her kids all over the place.
|What is this stuff?|
The one doing the butting was usually Ziggy, who would flatten anybody and everybody who came anywhere near her kids. But it wasn't just to set boundaries, it was ongoing even after everyone got the message. I later saw Lily and one of her nearly grown girls gang up on Ziggy almost a year later, as though in pay-back.
Surprise was herd queen and so bossed everybody around, but she had a mean streak. She would sneak up on Ziggy's or Lily's kids just to give them a swift, unnecessary butt. If anyone came near her without permission, look out. I saw her butt one of her own kids away, only to sniff afterward to figure out who it was.
|The twins with Helen's girl in the middle. The quads are almost 4|
weeks older but not that much bigger. It's all a matter of womb room!
|Even so, the twins aren't very big. Chicken included for size comparison.|
This was Helen's first freshening and she has been a good and natural mom. However, we were initially alarmed right after kidding because she kept pawing at her babies. Was she trying to kill them? Turned out she was trying to turn them over to give their bellies a good cleaning. When I held each squalling kid tummy up for her, she washed it thoroughly until she was satisfied and that was that.
|Heading out for today's new adventures|
|Daphne's twins (foreground) are 3 days old here. The quads are 4 weeks.|
It took a couple of days before I could get photos of both Helen's and Daphne's kids together because Daphne is a pretty strict mom. For example, her kids are not allowed to nurse while she's eating her morning and evening ration from her feeder. She is also very firm about keeping the others away from her girls.
|Dan moved the steps from our torn down coal barn for the kids to play on.|
She is gentle, however, even in butting the others away. If her younguns get too far ahead of her, she calls them back.
|Helen's girl leaping onto the stump under Daphne's watchful eye.|
Then there's Bunny. She's not quite a year old and never been pregnant. Yet.
|Bunny and 3 of Helen's quads|
She still has quite a bit of kid-play in her. She was on the bottom of the pecking order for so long that I think she's enjoying having underlings around. Thankfully she isn't rough with the little ones, but she always wins the goat games.
|All kid play is under Daphne's supervision.|
I'd be interested in your observations about goat mothering as well. Those of you who keep goats, what have you experienced? Do your goats have good mothering instincts? Any fun stories to share?