Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clare's big surprise

 A few days old
Mike and I went to Chicago the weekend of the 21st to celebrate his birthday with dinner and a play Saturday night and to attend a book signing for Homegrown and Handmade on Sunday. Clare the la mancha was due, and although there were plenty of humans here to take care of her, she was sweet enough to wait for us to get home. In fact, she kidded on Monday, which was Mike's birthday.

Before I continue with the story, you need to know a thing or two about my dearly beloved. Although Mike is extremely supportive of everything we do out here, his involvement with the livestock has been minimal over the years. He's the carpenter and fence builder and will do whatever we ask of him, but he doesn't really know much about actually caring for animals. He's an engineer and his interest is really in renewable energy. He is also a great cheesemaker, but I digress. Last year, because our children are growing up and leaving home, I told him he needed to learn how to take of goats giving birth because there would come a time in the not-so-distant future when he may be the only one home as a goat is kidding. And last year during our goat birthing marathon in February, as I was collapsing with a migraine, he delivered a set of triplets with me sitting in the corner of the stall trying to convince myself that my head would not really explode.

The bucklings at a week of age
So, on January 23, I heard Clare over the baby monitor and asked Mike to check on her because I was working on finishing up the Ecofrugal manuscript. Mike comes into the house and informs me that Clare will definitely be giving birth today, but she's not doing much now. And I believed him. (cue ominous organ music) A few minutes later Jonathan went outside for something totally unrelated, and a minute or two after he left, I heard him yell over the baby monitor, "Clare's giving birth! There's already a baby out!"

Mike started shaking his head and gasped. "I swear she wasn't doing anything when I was out there!" He was putting on his boots as quickly as he could.

"You know," I said, "you really weren't out there long enough. You should have watched her for at least five or ten minutes." Brilliant of me to realize that now, but it's true. You do need to watch a doe for at least one contraction, preferably two or three, to know if she is really serious about giving birth. The really surprising thing about this birth, however, is that we heard nothing over the baby monitor as Clare pushed out the first kid.

Shortly after we arrived in the barn, a second kid was born. Both were bucks, and both obviously had horns. What rotten luck! I had bred Draco, a polled buck, to both Viola and Clare, hoping to get polled mini manchas, and I wound up with five horned kids! The odds of polled kids from a horned-polled breeding is 50/50, and I had been running a little higher with polled in past years, so I suppose it was time to even up the odds. I looked at Clare and said, "I don't suppose you'd still have a polled kid in there, would you? A doe maybe?"

Mike laughed. "She's done," he said. It's true that la manchas almost always have twins.

"She's not that deflated. She could have another one in there," I said.

"Or she could be fat."

And as I was double-checking testicles and horn buds on the kids, Clare plopped down on her side and gave a little push. It was too early for the placenta. I looked under her tail and saw a hoof! "It's another kid!" I shrieked like a fifth grader, "She's got another one!"

And it was a beautiful chocolate sundgau doeling -- polled! Yes!

This lovely little girl will be staying here, so if any of you have any suggestions for naming her, that would be great. Clare's kids are named after country songs, which is kind of odd because I'm not a music fan at all. Her kids from last year are Brand New Girlfriend and Casanova Cowboy. Got any ideas for this little sweetie?


Anonymous said...

Just curious - What do you do with the bucks you don't need besides sell them? Have you tried goat meat?

Carolyn Renee said...

Can't help you with the naming (I can barely come up with names for my own goats!), but congrats on the polled doeling!

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

I'm not much into country music...the only one I can think of is Margaritavill. :)

Although...I did a quick google, and there is a country song called "Chocolate". It's by Rachel Holder...

And it's nice to hear that you had a nice fairly straight-forward goat birth, after all the other recent angst. :P

LindaG said...

Congratulations! :)

Deborah Niemann said...

The best bucks from the best mamas are sold as herd sires. Most bucks are castrated and sold as pets, which is usually pretty easy to do because these goats are about the size of a golden retriever. Last year, however, we were blessed with 29 bucks, which was a lot more than most years, so we did wind up using some for meat.

WorkingGoats4 said...

Let's see....I just happen to LOVE country music. Here are a few:

- Camouflage
- All American Girl
- Crazy Dreams
- Ooh La La
- White Horse
- Fiddle in the Band
- Bait a Hook
- Fancy

Hehe. :)

- WG4

Tammy G said...

I read your site often as I use to raise goats before I swtiched to Icelandic Sheep. I gotta say that there is still nothing cutier than a kid!

I like John Denver and he had a song called Aspen Glow; it's a very pretty winter time ballad. Aspen might be a good name.

Michelle said...

The first name that popped into my head is a country girl BAND, not SONG, but I like it: Dixie Chick. But for song names there is "Amanda," "Lucille," "I'm Not Lisa," "Ode to Billie Joe," "Sweet Caroline," "Carolina in the Pines," "Wake Up Little Susie"....

Do I get to try Mike's cheese if one of my names is picked? ;-)

Velva said...

I love reading posts like this-Life on the farm, I love it. Cheers to getting a doe...Awesome.


Charlotte said...

Did you get the feeling that she heard you and was simply granting your wish. Good job Clare.

Taralyn Rose said...

I'm enjoying your blog. I tried emailing you but my computer wont let me. I wanted to ask if you have any does for sale? I'm starting my own herd!!!
thank you,

P.S. Sorry, your blog has me signed up as my sister. I don't know how to change that.

Deborah Niemann said...

Hi Natasha,
Yes we have lots of Nigerian dwarf does for sale, but no mini manchas. You can email me -- deborah at nigerian dwarf dairy goats dot com.

Taralyn Rose said...

What about 'Tay Tay' for Taylor Swift?

Patty said...

So, I think we'd all love to know, what's the name? :) She's such a cutie!

Deborah Niemann said...

In case anyone is wondering, I finally decided to name her AOF Draco's Livin' on Love, which was a suggestion posted on Facebook. I'm calling her Livi (pronounced like Libby with a V) for short! Thanks for helping name her!


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