April 1, 2011

Baby Gate

Surprise in the birthing stall
Well, we're in the final countdown sequence until our first BG-Day (Baby Goat Day.) Surprise's earliest possible due date is April 6, so the time of her confinement has come. When I was a young girl and read historical novels, I used to think this concept so odd, that a pregnant woman would pretty much stay in her quarters as her due date drew near. Of course, transportation wasn't what it is today, so who would want to get far from home? For the goats though, it makes good sense.

The "baby" gate is a wood gate Dan made from odds and ends of lumber lying around. It enables me to keep the near stall closed, but the other open.

Baby and Jasmine wonder, "What's up?"

Since goats can be early (or late), I've started putting Surprise in here at night. This allows for a secure, dry birthing stall in the event she kids in the middle of the night. It will give her some privacy when she kids, and time with her kid(s) without the other two nosing in or the chickens coming in to investigate.

Chickens wonder "What's up" too

Surprise is let out in the morning and no goats are allowed in during the day. That way it's easy for me to keep the stall clean and dry.

Surprise's baby belly

Crybaby's due date is close behind Surprise's, so I'm not sure how all this will work out, since I only have one private stall. I reckon our set-up is not ideal, but for now, all we can do is work with what we've got. I am making mental notes about what I want in a better goat facility someday.

CryBaby's baby belly

Surprise's and CryBaby's bellies are knobby with baby goat legs, heads, and such, and are making their bags. Jasmine however, if she is pregnant, wouldn't be due until until the end of April or even May. Sometimes I think she seems to be getting bigger, but compared to the last set of photos I showed you here, she looks pretty much the same.

Jasmine's belly. Still wondering if it's a baby belly or not

Jasmine has kidded before, so her udder doesn't give me a clue yet either, whereas both Surprise and CryBaby went from flat tummies with nubbins, to budding udders. I'm kind of thinking Jas isn't expecting, but I'm prepared just in case.

The new gate has upset things in the goat world here. Besides having a goat or two accidently "lock" themselves in, Jasmine isn't happy about not allowed in "her" spot. I separate the goats to feed them their daily grain ration, and this stall used to be where Jasmine would go to be fed. When it was time for grain, she would automatically go in to this stall and wait. This was not only the routine, but she's queen goat, and so doesn't understand why she's been ousted!

The feeding routine will change once the kids are here and we start milking. Mamas will be fed on the milking stand and the baby pen will then be where the kids will start spending the night when they're a couple of weeks old. That way I can get the morning milk.

The stall has been cleaned out, hosed down, and filled with plenty of fresh straw. I've got my birthing supplies ready, including a rechargeable LED lantern, in case the blessed event happens at night (there's no electricity in the shed.) Now it's just a matter of waiting.


Sherri B. said...

Thank you for telling us all about this..it is very interesting and all of the animals are adorable!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think she has much privacy with the chooks and other goats trying to get a look in - they probably think they are missing out on something. Its a very nice gate - hope it all goes well!

Lynda said...

Oh the anticipation! You're so organized! I love how your photos tell the *story*. I finally have a goat area in the barn...now to find the perfect Niggies!

Renee Nefe said...

now watch Baby kid first. LOL!

I'm so excited by this.

Hazel said...

babies are gorgeous, whatever the species. You make me want to find a daddy for my Bubba next year. How exciting! I am looking forward to the posts about the births and photos of the littlies.

Leigh said...

Sherri, thank you! Our animals are the best part of our homestead. :)

ElsieMay, that's very true, LOL. Of course privacy to a goat isn't quite the same. If they can't see one another they get desperate! I didn't this, but I also covered the cattle panel divider with some chicken wire to keep the chickens out!

Lynda, that's exciting progress! Nigerians are a good choice, so cute. My ultimate goal is to breed my Nubians to a registered Pygmy buck, and establish a small flock of Kinders. Couldn't find one this breeding season, so maybe next year.

Renee, I've been thinking the same thing!

Hazel, somehow babies really establish that sense of seasonal rhythm. This is a first for us, so we're really excited about it.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

How funny. Isnt that the way it is, you set up one area you don't want everyone in, and everyone wants in! I am wishing you all the luck with the upcoming due dates :)

Nina said...

waiting for babies is lots of fun! You'll probably be okay with only the one birthing stall. Once the babies are a couple of days old, you'll be able to move them back to the whole group if necessary. I can't wait for piccies of the kids!

DebbieB said...

This is very exciting! It's not fair, really - we get all the fun of watching this unfold, without having to do any of the work! :)

I'm praying for safe, healthy kids and mothers, and easy trouble-free deliveries at reasonable hours of the day. :)

Mama Pea said...

You've got a mighty nice set-up all ready and waiting for your to-be moms. If only all animals were as well taken care of. I well remember how exciting having your goats kid for the first time is. Unfortunately, we had a bad start . . . our very first kidding resulted in a dead little buck. I was home alone and felt responsible even though there was nothing I could have done differently. Oh criminy, I shouldn't have told you that little story right now, should I? Forget I blabbered on. I'm sure your gals will be gentle with you and pop their kids out without any hassle. Remember this all is more "natural" to animals than to us humans!

Anonymous said...

This is exciting! Thank you for sharing. I love all your pictures, my son enjoys looking at the goats too! We had to keep scrolling through them over and over :)

Sharon said...

All so exciting! Goat babies on the way and your first grandbaby due soon. Life is good :)

P.S. And Murphy's Law says "It will happen at night!"

luckybunny said...

Ohhh how exciting! I'm so thrilled my dates are closed to yours, I have Bucket (one of my does) down for the 7th of April. I hope everything goes very well and I look forward to pictures of healthy happy kids! The anticipation is horrible isn't it? My husband is going crazy dealing with me!

Michelle said...

It sounds like you are doing almost the same things I did, but I used our back porch because our goat pen (actually a lean to on a barn) isn't really set up to divide into stalls. I can't wait to see the kid pics!

Jen said...

We didn't do confinement or private stalls. Just not set up for it at the moment. They've all done well together, even Barney.

The Sumerlin Dorper Farm said...

How exciting! Great pics! I can't wait to see the new little packages when they arrive :)

Toni aka irishlas said...

Can't wait to see the first kid! How exciting!

bspinner said...

Nice pictures. Sounds like you've thought of everything. Good luck!

Seeking Serenity said...

Can't wait! :D

Laura said...

Here's a tip - get a head lamp. It's better than a lantern, and doesn't fall over. Also, if both girls go close together, you can prepare by getting a hog panel and cutting it up to make a temporary, reusable goat jug (that's what the "confinement" stalls are called). They don't have to be big - 4 x 5 is plenty. That keeps the babies with mom, and mom with babies, until they all learn to hang together.

Seriously, though - get a headlamp. They're cheap. I wouldn't be without mine...

Leon said...

Our firs goat had her twin doelings at around 11am. She was fine at 10am when I visited and the next thing I know, there are two babas hopping about!

The second had her single doeling at around 7:30am. Again, it happened within minutes with no fuss at all. Minutes after each birth, the kids were following mama around like they had been around for weeks!

Leigh said...

Jane, isn't that the truth. LOL. They're all like a bunch of little kids. :)

Nina, that's what I'm hoping. A lot of kids are born without a birthing stall at all! Just makes me feel better to think we're prepared. :)

Debbie, thank you! Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Mama Pea, oh gosh, I keep those kinds of things in the back of my mind and pray for the best. How horrible to have that happen with your first kidding. It would be hard not to feel responsible. Hopefully I'll have only good experiences to share!

Renee, thanks! I like the pic with the chickens best. They are soooo nosy.

Sharon, Murphy's Law. That's what I figure! It is an exciting time around here for babies, that's for sure.

Donna, how neat! We'll have baby pictures to compare. I agree, the anticipation is the worst part!

Michelle, good idea to use the back porch. Sounds like your situation isn't ideal either. Still, we're making do and learning as we go!

Limette, it does take a certain set up doesn't it? As it is, I can't open both the baby gate and the Dutch door at the same time because they hit one another. Maybe someday we'll both get it worked out.

Christine, Toni, and Barb, thanks!

Peaceful, me too. :)

Laura, thanks! Excellent tips. My lantern, I can hang, but overhead lights aren't the best. I'll have to look around for a head lamp. And good idea about the goat jug. Glad to know the "real" term.

Leon, I've read it's quick. So glad you had good experiences. Thanks for sharing that! Very encouraging.

Theresa said...

Oh yikes, goats out of synch with their daily schedule. I can hear the complaining now! Here's to wonderful healthy kids!

Razzberry Corner said...

How very exciting! I'm sure everyone else on the farm will be watching through the gate as the kids are born! Good luck with the babies!

Leigh said...

Theresa, aren't they the funniest when their routine is upset? Goats!

Lynn, thanks!

Country Jane said...

How cool! We're doing the same thing, our "Amelia" is due April 13 but we're puting her in every night now as she could have been bread earlier. Our stall is in the garage as it's below freezing at night still and the baby monitor is hooked up so we can hear her. It's nerve wracking (esp for my husband) as he thinks every moment she's going into labor. First time "parents" for us...lol.

Leigh said...

Jane, it is a little nerve wracking the first time isn't it! A baby monitor is actually a good idea.