Looks like my office building is back to being Goat Central Station.
Francesco, the kid who arrived just before Thanksgiving, is thriving. Shortly after putting up the blog post about him, Francesco began going all “mountain goat” on my furniture. I can tolerate a lot of goat piddle on the vinyl floor, but not on the couch. Given how big and strong he was getting, and how easily he was jumping onto everything at will, it was clear that he was ready to get demoted from Pet Goat back to Plain Old Goat. He’s been living in the barn, with the rest of the herd, for well over a month now. Still getting bottle-fed, but he’s also been trying out some hay and grain. He remains huge, and beautiful, and we have high hopes for him as a future breeder.
Just as I was settling in and enjoying having the office to myself (and the truly domesticated pets), we had a most untimely arrival. About a week ago, a bitter cold front plowed through, dropping the temps into single digits and below. Naturally, that’s exactly when one of our other does decided to deliver her goat kid.
Fortunately, our twelve year old was making regular trips to the barn to feed Francesco — so he found the poor little thing before it froze to death. She was laying in a heap, soaking wet, coated in afterbirth, and unable to stand. She was also very small; much smaller than Francesco, and even smaller than most newborn kids. Clearly, her mother goat had written her off as hopeless; she hadn’t even bothered licking the little one dry.
Our first thought was to use towels and a blow dryer to get her cleaned up. It quickly became obvious that this wouldn’t be enough, however. The barn was simply way too cold, and the kid couldn’t stand on her own feet when we tried to set her upright. Plus, it was doubtful she’d ever nurse from her mother goat. Bottom line was that even completely dry, she wouldn’t last the night out there in the barn.
That left only one option: spirit her into my office building and get her comfortable in a cardboard box next to the heater. Within a couple of hours, she was almost completely dry. Problem was, though, she was still too small and weak to stand. Every time I tried setting her on her feet, her gangly legs buckled and collapsed.
We knew she needed to eat, so Homeschooled Farm Girl and I returned to the barn to try getting some colostrum from Mother Goat. Unfortunately, this was a fairly young doe and her udder was barely enlarged. Plus, her teats were very small. HFG couldn’t express more than a few drops.
Plan B. I warmed up a large bottle of plain goat milk for Francesco, and tried giving some to the new goat kid before going out to feed him. Given how weak she was, I wasn’t sure she’d have the strength to suck much down. Fortunately, she proved me wrong. Once the first bit of warm milk hit her tongue, she was off to the races. Started sucking like crazy, and took the better part of that large bottle — several ounces worth. Happily, I refilled the bottle for Francesco.
The next morning, the Yeoman Farm Children managed to get about a cup of colostrum out of the new mother goat. And another cup that evening. I began feeding that liquid gold to the kid, and she impressed me with her sucking ability.
Not, however, with her standing ability. Try as I might, I couldn’t get her to support her own weight. And I tried several times that day and into the next. Finally (I can’t remember how long it took), she began balancing unsteadily before collapsing. Then she began taking a few tentative steps. Because my office floor is so slick, she mostly just scooted around. She especially liked scooting into small, confined spaces, like around HFG’s bicycle that’d been set up on an indoor trainer. I think she liked the sense of security, and having what felt like a “safe place”. Just had to make sure HFG always looks carefully before using the bike!
Finally, very slowly, the new kid’s number of tentative steps increased. Then increased more. Now, about at about a week old, she’s getting around my office completely at will. This is a much slower pace than Francesco’s, but I couldn’t care less. She’s healthy, getting strong, growing larger, and looks like she’s going to make it. (Plus, the mother goat’s milk has kicked in and we’re getting a pretty good supply.) I don’t even mind cleaning up the goat kid’s piddle puddles, because those puddles tell me her whole little system is working.
Once she was out of the woods, Mrs Yeoman Farmer and I told the children that they could name the new kid. After trying out several that wouldn’t work, they settled on a placeholder: T-3.
Where did THAT come from? She’s the third kid to be born in the most recent crop or wave of goats. (Francesco was #2, and shortly before him was Goat Burger … guess which one we were planning to keep, and which we planned to send to the freezer?) In the spirit of the Cat in the Hat, these kids could be thought of as Thing One, Thing Two, and now…Thing Three. Or T-3 for short. Eventually she’ll have to get a better name than that; when you have this many animals to name, sometimes it takes a while to settle on something that hasn’t already been used.
She’s quickly becoming “one of the gang” here in my office.
I’m looking forward to enjoying her company for the next couple of weeks. At least until she decides to go all mountain goat on my furniture…at which point she will get demoted back to the barn.
Just in time, no doubt, for a T-4 to come join the party here in Goat Central Station.