Here Come the Lambs

The calendar has said “spring” for over a week, but it’s only barely felt like it outside here in Michigan.

This new happy arrival got the lambing season started right:

He’s big, beautiful, and doing extremely well. As is his mother (Conundrum). It’s definitely starting to feel more like spring here on our farm.

It’s Hard Work Learning to Be A Goat

You’d be exhausted, too, when they let you back into the Yeoman Farmer’s office building after spending a long day in the barn, figuring out where you fit in the caprine hierarchy.

Shhhhhh. Don’t tell Puddles that when it warms up next week, she’s going to have to start spending her nights in the barn, too.

Our Gallivanting Goat

As promised in the previous post, I’ve been looking for a chance to get video of the goat kid’s new dexterity.

Turns out, I didn’t have to wait for morning. When I took her in for the night, she started gallivanting across the living room. The lighting was very poor, and she was hard to capture on camera, but I did manage to get some footage. This won’t win any awards for video quality, but it gives a sense for the remarkable progress she’s made:

While in the house, I went upstairs to see if the Yeoman Farm Children were in bed. Wouldn’t you know it…the goat kid began climbing the stairs after me! I couldn’t get it on video, but it was amazing to watch. She got about halfway up, and then climbed back down. And ran across the living room again at full tilt.

It’s definitely time to move her to the barn, before she dismantles everything in the house.

Demoted Back to Goat

Puddles the Goat Kid has begun her transition back to barn life in earnest. As much as I’ve enjoyed having an office pet, the arrangement just isn’t sustainable over the long run. She’s already starting to hop onto the couch every time I sit there, and then she proceeds to climb all over me and the arm of the couch. Needless to say, it’s getting annoying.

She wasn’t happy about it, but we left her in the barn pretty much all day today — from 8:30am to about 7:30pm. It wasn’t terribly warm outside today, but the barn was in the low thirties. Which was warm enough. We put her in the kidding pen with her own mother and the mother of the kid that died early Saturday; we didn’t expect her to bond with or begin nursing from either one of them, but the idea was to get her accustomed to being around other goats — and out of the way of the mature bucks in the main goat area. She seems to have curled up in the corner for most of the day, but it’s a start.

The best news of the day was this morning. She’d spent the night in her box by the fire, in the house. When I let her out, she trotted all around the living room as usual. And then, for the first time, she did something we never expected her to be able to do: the “Goat Kid Gallivant.” Anyone who’s raised goats knows what I’m talking about: it’s when a kid puts his/her head down and makes an energetic, half-hop / half-run trip across an open area, springing into the air with every step. It’s like they have so much energy (and dexterity), simply running isn’t enough. We never thought her legs would work well enough to gallivant like the other kids all do.

In the meantime, we’ll probably let her sleep inside one more time tonight; the temps are expected to plunge again, and I don’t want to stress her little body too much. I’ll have my camera ready tomorrow when I let her out of the box. If I can catch her gallivanting again, I’ll post the video to YouTube.

One Up, One Down

Sadly, the goat born late last night didn’t survive his first full day. Despite making it through the night, and being up on his feet and nursing this morning, it seems the barn proved too cold for him. We left all the doors closed today, and the lights on, but I guess that wasn’t enough. When Homeschooled Farm Girl came out to the barn this evening to milk, she found that the kid had expired in that fresh dry straw bed I’d made for him.

Here he was, this morning:

Lesson learned: We definitely need to invest in a blow dryer. I’ve been trying to avoid spending the money on a new one, but it’s looking like we should bite the bullet and pick up a cheap dryer the next time we’re at Wal Mart. Getting the kid totally warmed up and completely dry might have given him a better shot at survival.

But we also have good news to report in the goat department: Puddles continues to thrive beyond all expectation. She’s hanging out in my office pretty much all day, and this afternoon achieved a major milestone: she managed to climb/jump onto my couch. She’d been trying for some time now, but had never been able (especially with the slick floor). Today, she put all the pieces together and jumped up to join me as I read a book. And now that she has it all figured out, she makes the jump perfectly nearly every time. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before she figures out how to work the remote for the TV.

She enjoys sleeping on the couch, too:

Fear not, we will begin transitioning her to the barn tomorrow. We’d been hoping that the newborn goat kid could be her companion, and that his presence would make her transition to “goat life” easier. There are five other kids in the barn, but they’re all significantly bigger and more agile than she. So, we’ll keep a close eye on her tomorrow.

Goats Keep Coming

Just a quick post, because it’s late.

The temperature plunged here over the last couple of days, and is expected to stay cold through the weekend at least. Thermometer says 23F right now. Which means, of course, that we found yet another cold, wet, newborn kid in the barn when we went to close it up for the night!

The two oldest Yeoman Farm Children helped me towel the thing off, and move him (yes, it’s a “him”) and the mother goat into the kidding pen. The YFCs made sure the doe’s teats were clear, and got him to nurse a bit. He’s still not perfectly dry (note to self: we really need to get a blow dryer), but I brought down a huge armload of fresh straw and made a nice dry bed in the corner. It’s the least drafty part of the building, and I think he’s comfortable in it. Also, we left the lights on for the night; that should make it warmer, and easier for the two of them to find each other if need be.

We’ll see what we find out there in the morning.

In the meantime, “Puddles” (I love that name, but it won’t stand long term; all goats here get flower names), the formerly Mostly Dead Kid, continues to thrive. Against all odds, she’s putting on weight and really getting around nicely. We were going to transition her to the barn this week, but then the cold snap hit. For now, she’s sleeping in the house at night and hanging out in my office most of the day. Even the dogs seem to be accepting her as another member of the pack. Go figure.

The warning that one commenter gave about not treating goats as house pets is a good one, and I am concerned about how this goat will ultimately turn out temperament-wise. We’ve had “too friendly” goats before, and they are indeed a hassle. The one consolation is that she’s a female, so will never have the nasty male goat smell. And she may end up easier to handle and get into a stanchion for milking.

But who knows. At this point, I’m just glad she’s survived.

UPDATE: We awakened this morning to temps in the low teens outside and ~36F in the barn. And the new goat kid was up on his feet, walking around, seemingly fine! I’ll try to get some photos posted later today.

Our Pet Goat

The goat kid we revived from “mostly dead” continues to thrive…but, unfortunately, only in the house.

We did our best to reintroduce her to Thistle, the mother goat. The Yeoman Farm Children put Thistle in the stanchion, got some milk flowing from her teats, and tried to get the kid to suckle. She just stood there and let the nipple fall from her mouth. They tried again. And again. And again. No luck.

The YFCs milked Thistle out, and then returned her to the kidding pen. We tried leaving the kid out in the pen with her, hoping something might click, but she just sat there all afternoon. And Thistle didn’t express the slightest interest in this “thing” sharing the pen with her.

So…the kid (who remains nameless, BTW) came back into the house. Where she sleeps in a box in front of the fire, and gladly takes milk when given to her from a dropper. She’s put on noticeable weight. Her tendons are doing a lot better, and she’s walking steadily all over the living room and kitchen when we let her out of the box. She doesn’t gallop around like a typical kid, but she’s making remarkable progress and I think her prognosis is excellent.

Except for the whole “bonding with other goats instead of humans” thing. I’m honestly not sure how we’re going to work this, or how long she’s going to be a “house goat.” It’s okay for now, but goats are notorious climbers. It’s only a matter of time before she’ll be climbing out of her box, messing all over the floor, climbing the stairs, and climbing onto the dining room table.

We took her out to my office last night, while we watched college basketball. The office has a vinyl floor, so it didn’t matter if she piddled (and she did). Her footing was a bit unsteady, because vinyl is slick, but she got the hang of it soon enough. Before long, she was wandering all over my office like any other house pet. It was kind of fun, actually.

Wilbur was all over her, trying to figure out what this new little creature was. For her safety, we thought it best to move Wilbur outside (which was fine with him).

What happens next? We’re not really sure. This is uncharted territory. She’s a very nice goat kid. I’m just not sure how long we can continue keeping her as a house pet.

Stay tuned. There’s never a dull moment on a farm.