Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Farm Blog

I will no longer be blogging about the farm here. Instead I will be blogging about our farm at Come see the animals there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Bella had her baby on Sunday evening. And, it's a girl!

Meet Finley! 

It was quite exciting. Sunday morning I got up and checked Bella and found that she had "lost" her ligaments. There are two ligaments that run diagonally from just above the tail. When those loosen enough that you can no longer feel them then delivery will be within 24 hours. So I got my kit and pulled up a chair. And waited, and waited, and waited. She was showing signs of early labor off and on all day until about 5pm when her stage 2 labor started and she was ready to deliver.

My concern was that Bella would only have one kid thus making for a larger baby for her first delivery. Unfortunately I was right. When a doe kids you want to see little hooves first followed quickly by a nose (or two back feet). We only saw a little nose. The baby's feet were tucked back. I gave her a few minutes to see if she was going to be able to deliver, but it appeared that the baby was stuck. I was able to go in and find one foot and gently pull that one forward, but I couldn't find the other front foot. The foot was straight back. A doe can deliver that way and Bella probably could have delivered if it had been twins (because chances are they would have been smaller), but with the baby being bigger her shoulder was caught on Bella's pelvic bone. I ended up sliding my hand along the top of Finley and down over her shoulder during a contraction and dislodging the shoulder and allowing her to slide on out.

There were a few tense moments, but it was wonderful to see a healthy baby doeling slide out and see Bella get right to work cleaning her up. Bella was a little bit of an overzealous mom. All she did was lick Finley and Finley couldn't get close enough to eat. We had to hold Bella to let Finley eat the first couple of times. They have now both settled in and are doing well now.

Here are some pictures of the delivery (*warning, they are a bit graphic)...

Here I am trying to find the feet

Here I've found one foot and the head is out. We couldn't get past this point until I dislodged the shoulder.

Here is Bella cleaning up Finley. I dried off the major goo and cleaned up around the nose and mouth, but let Bella do the rest. It was a nice warm sunny day, so I wasn't worried about Finley getting too cold in the process. 

First time up on her feet! It was hard to stand with that much licking from mom.

Holding Bella while Finley got her first drink.

My mom and her husband were over for the big event. The original plan was to let the kids watch, but when the birth didn't go as planned my Mom took the kids inside and kept them busy (Thanks, Mom!) until we were sure that everything was going to turn out ok. Here is my son meeting Finley for the first time.

Finley at 2 hours old.

The plan is to keep Finley and breed her when she gets close to 1 year old. After all that work I don't think I could sell her anyway. She is exactly what we wanted (and she has ears!)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Goats

Meet our two goats, Penelope and Bellatrix.

Penelope (Penny) is full Nigerian Dwarf and Bellatrix (Bella) is a mix. She is 1/2 Nigerian Dwarf, 1/4 Nubian, and 1/4 Lamancha (from which she gets her lack of ears).

Side story on how Bella got her name. We tried a ton of different names for her but couldn't settle on one so she remained unnamed. My son and I are currently reading through the Harry Potter series. Those of you who have read it or seen the movies might recognize the name. Bella came to be known as she-who-has-not-been-named. Since we couldn't bring ourselves to name her Voldemort we decided on the next best one, Bellatrix.

The original plan was to get two Nigerian Dwarf does. Well, actually, the original plan was to get one doe, but it seems that goats do not like to be only children. I have been wanting a goat for awhile. Why? Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe it goes along with my personality trait that likes to say shocking things just to get a reaction from people. Goats are different and unique. And strange. Especially in the fact that we live in a neighborhood. We are the only farm on the block.

For my husband it was much more like boiling a frog in a pot. I had voiced my desire to get a goat but never thought it would happen. And, he was PERFECTLY FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH that it would never happen. Until, one day at work, someone mentioned the fact that there were goats about to give birth and the kids would be needing homes. He made the mistake of showing a little interest and getting me the contact info. Those goats didn't work out for us, but they certainly broke the ice.

So, off to Craigslist I went. I found this super-cute 2 year old Nigerian Dwarf doe (Penny) for sale, and after purchasing her I left her at the farm to be bred. Penny hung around there for a couple of weeks, but no action was happening between her and the buck. I was going to leave her longer. Unfortunately the timing of bringing the two goats home didn't quite coincide.

With my inability to stay well and clear of all things goat on Craigslist, I found a bred 1 year old that caught my eye. So I drug my sister-in-law with me to take a look (thanks, Kim!). Bella is due to kid any day (more specifically, she was due yesterday). On a side note, it just might kill me. All this waiting and checking and waiting and checking and waiting.

Here is a pick of the very pregnant Bella taken on her due date (yesterday. Hear that Bella? Yesterday. Get with it girl!).

Bella came home Friday and by Sunday we decided that we NEEDED to have another goat with her. She was only quiet when someone was with her. For our sanity, and the need to have happy neighbors, we went to pick up a non-bred Penny.

The plan is to milk them. We will start a few weeks after Bella gives birth and hopefully she will milk for a solid 9 months. This is her first freshening (fancy goat term for giving birth), so we don't know how great a milker she will be yet. Nigerian Dwarf is a dwarf breed (duh), but Nubian and Lamancha are both full size goat breed that give more milk than a dwarf (because they are bigger. Rocket science isn't it). We are hoping to get 1/2 - 3/4 gallon of milk a day from Bella. Penny should give around  1/4 - 1/2 gallon a day. We will probably breed her for a baby early next year so that our milk supply is constant.

Bella has been bred to a Nigerian Dwarf buck. So the baby(s) will be 3/4 Nigerian Dwarf, 1/8 each Nubian and Lamancha. I admit, I'm hoping for ears on the kids. ;-) Here is a pic of the buck.

He's kinda cute, as far as bucks go.

Since we are doing this on a normal neighborhood lot we have had to get somewhat creative for housing. We picked the side yard directly out my kitchen window for the goat run. Here it is before any work. You can see my trash can compost bin. This is also the area where the bunny hutch is and the first of my raised garden beds and my potato bed (?) bin (?). Whatever. The thing I'm growing my potatoes in this year.

Here it is the day we brought Bella home. I found a huge dog house (again, thanks to Craigslist) that I painted up to match all the rest of our buildings. It works great for the two goats.

My wonderful husband has recently taught me how to use all our power tools, so between us we put in quite a usable gate.

Here is the front of the dog-house-turned-goat-house. I opened up the opening for the door (power tools - whoo hoo!) and added an extra hay area above for some rainy day munching.

There you have it. Our goat adventure begins. 

Soon to come, baby goat pictures (if she ever gets on the stick and delivers!)