June 13, 2013

Kids From A To Z: Our 2013 Kids in Review

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

Zoey was Ziggy's firstborn and the only surviving doeling.

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 was born last and is the littlest. Zed is my bottle baby.

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.


Nina said...

They look like a happy bunch of kids! I could waste a lot of time just watching them play and explore. Your observations of herd dynamics is awesome. Much better to be aware of possible problems before they start. It's great that your goat herd goals are coming together.

Farmer Barb said...

Thank you! I feel much better. Where has Elvis gone? Was he sold?

matty said...

Beautiful babies! They crack me up with their dances and playing, don't they??

The dynamics in my herd change nearly all the time except for who is Queen. She is always the bully; however, the other gals seems to shift social levels as they kid....

Amy Dingmann said...

Love to see pictures of goat babies, especially since we didn't get ANY this year. :( Love those spunky babes - that Buster Brown is a cutie. :) Interesting information about bottle feeding and following the Mama's way of weaning. Makes sense!

Leigh said...

Nina, one of the things I have to remind myself is to take time to enjoy them. I get so caught up in tasks and feeling time pressured, especially with the garden, that I know I could miss out on the very reason we chose this lifestyle in the first place.

Barb, a post on Elvis is in the works, probably for Sunday. Stay tuned!

Matty, yes, the Queen reigns supreme! It's interesting to watch the kids develop personalities. Rosie is definitely inquisitive and bold. Likely a queen in the making.

Amy, last year we were kidless, so I know what you mean. I seem to have made up for it this year! It's funny, but I never would have researched weaning if it hadn't been for Zed. It's interesting what we learn as we try to address new problems, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

All the sweet babies are doing well which is just lovely to see. Love to see them kicking up their heels and playing.

Mama Pea said...

Really enjoyed this "overview" and all the pictures! Your narrative brings back strong memories of when we had our small dairy herd. (Most we ever had was 13 including adults and kids.) It must be the same with a group of horses, sheep, etc., but goats do have such definite personalities, don't they? Do remember to take time to just relax and watch them all. It's not fluffing off, it's studying your goat herd so you can make wise decisions!

Leigh said...

Matty, I should add that we once did actually have a benevolent queen goat, Jasmine. She and Surprise were best of friends. She always let Surprise have her way, until it came to food. If there was something good to eat, Surprise didn't stand a chance. She would get so mad! She would tear off in a huff, only to stop and pause as if realizing she was running the wrong way. Then she'd head back to Jasmine and the food source, and run bucking circles around them. Jasmine still got it all however, which was how we knew that, ultimately, she was top goat. :)

Martha, this is one of the greatest joys of having goats. :)

Mama Pea, very good point. I do find myself decision making, even as they are little like this. Adults too.

Anonymous said...

They are absolutely gorgeous! I love the combination the was created between the two breeds.

Renee Nefe said...

Thanks for the update on the kids. The names seem to fit well.

Now that everyone is doing well I'll be interested to see who is staying and who is going after this season.

I'm thinking that Gruffy's days are numbered as he has gone through two unsuccessful seasons. I'm wondering if perhaps he doesn't have the "right stuff" for the job?

And I guess the rest of the herd will also depend on if they have the right stuff.

The babies are sure cute.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

I love seeing baby goat pictures!

Unknown said...

Oh my Leigh they are all adorable! Zero to hero from last year to now. What a herd! I'm not sure I would get anything done if i could just sit and watch them... I would all day long. :)

Sue said...

Dealing with bottle babies is a learning experience, isn't it. Most dairies don't do individual bottles and are set up for the babies to self-feed from buckets, and the kids or lambs have consistent access to milk all day and night. I think it is just when we are bottle feeding that we need to limit the amount of milk, since it's "feast or famine" for their little tummies, which can get over loaded with too much food at once.

My routine is to feed several times a day when they are really little, slowly decreasing the number of feedings and increasing the amount. By the time I'm ready to wean, they are down to one bottle a day, & I start diluting the milk.

The moms walk away as the babies get a bit older, but you'd be amazed at how much milk the little ones can suck down in that small amount of time. Plus, the babies are nursing several times during the day, much more than we can manage with bottle feeding.

DFW said...

Wow Leigh,

They all look so sweet, especially Zed & Zoey.

Benita said...

Oh my goodness, they are adorable!!

daisy g said...

How sweet is that?! Poor Ziggy, no wonder she was the last to deliver. Sorry that you lost a kid.
They all look like they are having a good time!

DebbieB said...

I'm so pleased to see your great success with your herd, Leigh! Everyone's growing so well, and aren't they just adorable?

Leigh said...

Stephanie, I'll be interested in how they are full grown, especially how well the girls milk.

Renee, tell Darly thanks for the idea for Z names! Of course, one didn't fit the Z-mold and his name just had to be Buster Brown (it fits.)

Every time I mention to Dan about selling Gruffy, he gives me an incredulous look. I reckon what we do will be up to him. I'd still like for him to mate with Ziggy!

Candace, way too cute, don't you think. :)

Jen, isn't it amazing? I'm definitely making sure I get a good dose of cute every day!

Sue, isn't that whats known as a lambar? I've wondered what I'd have done if Ziggy's 4th kid had survived; a bottle in each hand, LOL. Hopefully this will be the only time I'll have to do this.

DFW, Zed and Zoey look like they could be twins. Funny that Buster Brown is different, not only in color, but head and face as well as size.

Benita, I'm in heaven!

Daisy, Ziggy was a real trooper. Yes, it was sad to lose one, a doeling at that. But at least there are no problems with the rest.

Debbie, thank you!

Unknown said...

Ziggy's babies are the CUTEST! :) I'm also curious to hear about Elvis's fate so will tune in after the weekend.

Julie said...

They are so cute, but I must say that little Zoey is my favorite!

Unknown said...

They are just too cute! Sweet little faces. Fascinating the way the mom's naturally walk away from nursing...

luckybunny said...

Love each and every kid and the updates! Some beautiful kids you've got there!

Leigh said...

Tanya, they melt my heart every time I see them!

Julie, Zoey is a sweetheart, and she loves her mom! I think she'll be a good companion for Ziggy.

Nancy, it is so interesting to be able to observe them. I'm learning a lot from that.

Donna, we goat lovers all think the same way. :)