Saturday, March 8, 2008

Kidding season


We just welcomed our fifth set of kids tonight. I was putting the finishing touches on a potato au gratin before putting it into the oven when I heard Katherine screaming over the baby monitor. I couldn't understand much beyond, "Oh, my God!" Since I had just checked on Lizzie 45 minutes earlier and knew her tail ligaments were gone, I knew the screaming could only mean one thing, so I ran towards the coat closet and yelled to Jonathan to finish the potatoes and get them in the oven for me. As I pulled on my boots, I explained what "finish" meant.

When I ran into the barn I heard Katherine continuing to utter lots of exclamations, including, "He's huge!" I saw a little red buck dripping wet on the straw next to Lizzie who was doing her best to get him cleaned up as Katherine helped with a towel. I knelt next to her, and in less than two minutes, there were more hooves presenting. The kid almost flew out, and as I was drying it, Katherine asked if it was a boy or a girl, and as I glanced at Lizzie, I said, "I don't know. Don't have time. Here!" I practically tossed the kid at her as I grabbed a dry towel to catch the third kid that was almost flying out into the world. Final count was two bucks and one doe. The second and third kids were white. The little girl is quite the screamer. Lizzie Borden's kids are supposed to be named after early-20th-century outlaws, so I'm thinking Ma Barker and her boys. The little doe certainly has the spunk to be named after someone that tough.

On Wednesday, Odette had buck-doe twins, both tan, and I don't think that I mentioned that Shirley kidded 10 days ago on February 27. She had triplets, but one of the does was stillborn. Her kids are pictured above. The little buck is white and has blue eyes and is the most dairy buck kid I've ever seen. I'm thinking that I'd like to keep him, since his mother earned her milk star on her first freshening -- and he is gorgeous.

Next Wednesday, March 12, we have two does due to kid, then we should be done for the month of March. Caboose and Beauty are both due, but Beauty has almost no udder, so I am wondering if we are not somehow mistaken on her due date. She is clearly pregnant, but the lack of an udder has me wondering what's up -- is the date wrong, or is her production not going to increase much from her first freshening? The latter would certainly be a huge disappointment.

3 comments:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

They sure are cute. What qualities make a buckling look "dairy"?

Deborah said...

That's a tough one! We've been doing this for six years, and I can remember how much of the goat jargon made no sense to me at all until someone explained it to me with a goat that I could see and feel!

I don't think you can really explain "dairy" without saying what it is not too. A dairy goat is more triangular, whereas a meat goat is more square and blocky. A dairy goat has long, thin bones (without being frail), whereas a meat goat has thicker, shorter bones. A buck is still supposed to look more masculine than a doe, however, so that sometimes means that the best herd sires don't do well in the show ring because they may be too "girly." This little buck is very long bodied, high in the withers, and has the flattest rump I've ever seen in a kid. A lot of Nigerian kids (sorry to say) tend to look more pygmy-like, which is a meat-goat type. They do change as they grow, however, which is why Katherine is thinking that if he's this dairy when he's young, maybe he'll grow up to be less dairy? Only time will tell -- and of course, the true test of a buck is in the daughters he throws, and no one will know that for several years.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I get it! And while I'm no goat expert, I don't think you'll be disappointed if his frame looks "right" now. In horse breeding, experts say to look at a two-day-old foal to determine correct conformation, before too much muscle mass or fat muddy the picture.

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