Did I psych you out? Come on, people. I live on a farm! There’s baby stuff happening all the time.
This weekend, however, things started kicking into full gear.
Saturday morning, we took off in the rain to drive a pregnant mare up to Franklin, KY in preparation for the birth of her next little one. Luckily we don’t have to go quite as far as Lexington for this part of the process, but it was still nice to hit the road for a little bit and see a new part of the countryside. It ALWAYS seems to be raining anytime I get to tag along on a Kentucky trip, so I’m still waiting for a day when I can actually explore and see some of this beautiful blue grass everyone’s always raving about.
In the meantime, we’d been aware for the last couple of months that our Lady Goat had most likely been bred to the Notoriously Stinky Pete. Because we have such a small herd, and because our other buck isn’t quite to the breeding age yet, we never scheduled a breeding between them – we just let Lady move at her own pace. But that being said, once we noticed she was pregnant, we didn’t really have a timeline to base anything on. We were just crossing our fingers and looking for signs of labor, locking her up with some food every night so we could be sure she had ample access to any comforts she might need.
To be honest, I think we’d all just gotten used to the ritual. Every once in a while, we’d check for signs, but I thought we might still have at least a month to go. (This is my first round of kids – I don’t know what I’m doing!) So this past Saturday, we put her up around 5 pm, went to feed the horses, met the parents for dinner, watched some Olympics, and made it home by 9.
That’s when we heard these little screams unlike any of the other goats’ typical calls we’re so accustomed to hearing. High-pitched and hungry. I looked at Webb, and he nodded. Then I started screaming, running into the house to change my coat and throw on my muddy boots. It was dark out and I could barely see where I was going, but I was pretty sure a flashlight was on its way, so I kept charging forward. I hopped our fence, sliding through the mud towards Lady’s pen whilst all the other goats (and dog) fought to enter with me.
The closer I got, the louder those little high-pitched baby sounds became. And once Webb got there with his flashlight and we coerced Lady from the doorway of the doghouse where she was residing,we saw not one, but TWO little kids confusedly staring back at us in the light.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I Present to You…Huck & Finn.
Seriously, goats get a pretty cliche rap for being cute. And BABY goats…well, of course. But you can’t even begin to understand the level of stupid cuteness that these kids possess until they’re staring you in the face.
The only trouble was, friendly and curious as they seemed to be, The Mama Formerly Known As Lady didn’t seem to be very interested in them at all. We were hurriedly supplying her with fresh grain, hay and water and all she wanted to do…was eat. The babies kept yelling, presumably for milk, but she only seemed to be concerned with herself (and the other goats staring at her through the chain link fencing). So of course we couldn’t avoid getting more involved.
NOTE: If you’re ever planning on having baby goats, most things will be taken care of by nature. As far as we know, those babies came out without a hitch! But if you can be around, make sure they’re latching on in the first hour so they can start getting accustomed to the ritual and taking in the proper nutrients. These babies weren’t, and that was a concern. We manuevered each one into a position where they were able to latch on for a short time, then left them to sleep, checking every few hours. Mama had curled up with the both of them in a pile of hay, and all seemed well.
Come morning, the babies were up and yelling again. We went out to see them and realized they still weren’t quite getting the attention they needed. To add to that, our “baby” male goat, Chip, was beginning to come into his own (i.e. he was horned up) as well as Stinky Pete (who is always horned). The two of them were fighting and making odd sounds at one another up against the fencing of the pen, which was obviously distracting to a mama we were trying to get to stand still long enough for her babies to latch onto. We made the decision to take all three down to a quieter stall at the horse barn and remove them from the situation. And sure enough, the problem was fixed! Mama is now incredibly involved with her babies, they’re drinking on their own, AND – skittish as she might be – we’re all getting along just swell!
All of this to say, I have a big announcement for any goat owners out there. I know I probably ruined any good vibes by calling him Stinky, but our dear Pete is going up for sale. He is registered, and he makes some darn cute babies. (Plus, aren’t all males stinky? They PEE on their BEARDS, y’all!) Also, these two precious little goat babies will be ready to wean in just a few months! Spoiler alert: they’re both boys. And we can’t have anymore boys around. So if you’re local and interested, let me know! I’ll be happy to help arrange a suitable new home for any of these fellas.