Tuesday, April 5, 2011

KS11 complete (probably)

Hello fellow travelers and welcome back to the dream train that could.

The last thing I posted was about Peach and Plum who had their kids a little early. On Friday many days ahead of time and in the wee hours of the morning Iris decided to have her kids. She had three beautiful little girls all by herself around 12:30am or so. Emiloo had picked up on some of Iris' signs that the birth spasm was about to begin. That was at around 10pm, so we came back in to nap before going back out in an hour or so. We didn't exactly get up in an hour and ended up going back out at around 1:30am, and by that time she had already had them up and was cleaning them up like a pro.

We are calling this one "Aspen"

This is "Ginger"

And finally "Willow"

You know, I think goats are a competitive lot. First with Peach being early, and the Plum being earlier and having triplets, and now Iris being even earlier and having triplet girls. Following this suit is Fern who had triplets the following afternoon, not in the nice goat barn, but out in the brush in true pain-in-the-butt Fern style. I spent the rest of the afternoon hacking a trail through the underbrush in order to get to Fern and retrieve the kids back to the pen area. She had two boys and one girl. One of the boys has a black, caramel, and white color pattern, and the other boy and girl are twin blonds that look like their mom at that age. The only way to tell them apart is by looking for the waddles under the neck, the boy has them, the girl does not.

This is the boy I have taken to calling Knuckles because as you can see his tendons are tight on his back legs keeping his feet tucked back. It happens in the womb, kind of like you getting stiff on a long ride except he was in that position for a few weeks. It will take a few days to straighten itself out but he will be fine. It has not slowed him down a bit and he has a full tummy most of the time. Here on his day 4 he was already starting to walk on his hooves.

The second picture is one of the twins from Fern. This is the boy identified by his waddles. His sister is exactly like him, but with no waddles which is a good thing. They do look very much like their mom and we are watching to see how the ears are going to grow out, we'll see. Look at this cutie:

Here's something that might stop you from becoming a goat rancher, it's called disbudding and, in our opinion, needs to be done. It is the least enjoyable thing we have to do to prepare the kids for life in our dairy herd. You might have noticed, and I may have talked about it in the past, but our goats have no horns for the most part. The only two that do are Iris and Fern who came along before we decided to disbud all goats in our herd.

The horns serve no good purpose in a dairy herd. They do not protect the goat from predators. They are like a Saturday Night Special, ain't good fer nothin' but put a goat six feet in a hole. They can thrust with them like twin sabers (Fern's preferred fighting tactic) or can be used to catch a leg and flip a goat (Iris' preferred method) both due to the shape of their horns. So, we remove them like many dairy goat ranchers do.

Removing them involves cauderizing the horn 'buds' which involves burning the blood vessels around the base of the would-be horns. The tool for this looks like a big soldering iron that is hollow instead of pointed at the tip forming a ring. This heats up for a bit while the head is shaved around the buds otherwise it smokes so much more. Yes smokes because what you have to do next is take the hot iron thing and place it over the horn buds burning through the skin and blood vessels until they make a nice copper colored or white colored ring on the top of the skull. This is done a couple of times to make sure the bud is completely burnt because 'skurs' which can grow out later can be a bad thing for the goat if you don't do a good job disbudding. For example the buck we just bought (Reggie) has a skur that grows downward and would go into the back of his head if allowed, so I have to keep it trimmed. Some can stick out and get caught on things which is also not good because if it were to snap off the goat could bleed out through it.

Seems simple enough, it's one of those must do things, so just do it right? It would be like that but for the fact that they scream. You would too if someone was shoving a hot burning iron onto your head. That's really what makes it tough, it sounds like you're killing them and they just scream bloody murder the whole time. It really used to affect me deeply but it is getting better every year that I have to do it. Here is Peaches' boy who is complete with his disbudding:

I burn the X on top hoping the cap will fall off quicker and not be tempted to grow. It's hard to do well and there are many goats with skurs out there. We can only hope these will be good to go.

There you go, the final score of 6 girls and 4 boys, not a bad haul. Come by, pet a baby goat, take some milk home, see you soon!

Thanks for stopping by,

PS In the title I said probably over, one of Moms still hasn't had hers and we have thought she is not pregnant at all. Otherwise we are all done on both sides. Whew!


  1. Goats do have the worst "human-like" screams. We had the angora's sheared, absolutely no pain involved, and you would have thought we were amputating a leg. Horrible sounding.

    But our angoras also have horns. Big ones. And after being tripped, poked and rammed with those horns, I would burn a goat head in a second. No guilt whatsoever.