Spring Fever

Hello all, sorry for the lapse in writing. It’s been a busy few weeks on the farm with kids and lambs appearing. The first was born Easter Sunday, a little boy kid, which seemed sort of fitting for the occasion.

It was a cheering sight in the middle of these strange times and a humbling reminder that life continues on, even when we humans can’t be as important as we think we usually are.

Since that day they came thick and fast. So I’m just going to treat you all to an array of photos and not bore you too much with explanation, because a picture is worth a thousand words:

These babies had matching bottoms with their mum, which I found fun
Very photogenic sheep who appear to be smiling
Our lovely guard dog, Duke, keeping an eye on one of the smiling lambs

One afternoon during this very productive couple of weeks, Scott was standing outside after coming home from work, chatting with some neighbors who use our pasture for their cattle. Scott likes to go out of an evening and look over his land, I find it charming to see him standing on the hill on the far side of the lake/pond, gazing around….

Anyway, as they were standing and discussing all things farm-ish, he noticed a goat in the woods who had clearly given birth to a baby or two. Two, he decided. She was head down, cleaning them off. As the chatter continued, one of the neighbors declared she thought maybe she saw triplets, so they finished their discussion and he headed over to the Mama.

5, my friends. Quintuplets.

Now, goats can have 1-5 babies so this is not outside the bounds of reason, but it’s certainly never happened here before.

He called Addie from his phone, because of course I’m always away from my phone or it’s dead at virtually all exciting and important moments and I caught gist of the conversation, yelling “Five????!!!” very usefully in the background. All offspring that move slightly quickly in our house (as opposed to others that perhaps don’t) rushed outside to see him running across the yard with three teeny tiny shivering little souls in his arms.

Now if that sight doesn’t melt a wife’s heart I don’t know what does…

He gave us instructions to get the mama and the other two larger babies into a pen in the barn and make sure everyone was fine, which we did.

The girls stayed outside and I returned to the house to find the three little kids in my laundry sink, having a very early-in-life spa day under a heat lamp.

Anyway, it all worked out splendidly. Scott went back out to the barn and taught Frankie how to milk the Mama Goat so that we could give the laundry-sink babies the essential colostrum.

This is actually a different goat, but here’s Frankie in a sort of plumbers pose…

So, of course, one simply cannot leave kid goats in a laundry sink. Although quite honestly, that would certainly help with clean-up. We moved them into an old play pen that used to have actual human children in it. Ours, in fact.

They were pretty sleepy for the first 24 hours, but that’s normal. Addie, Frankie and I took shifts, feeding them every 2 hours. We use a regular baby bottle and eventually a goat “formula” although of course the first 24 hours we relied on the milked colostrum. I can’t emphasize enough how important colostrum is. It contains all the antibodies the goats need. Without it their survival rate drops precipitously.

Just a general cute shot I know you all want to see…

We were able to return the largest and most vigorous of the three babies to its Mama the next day. The following video gave me such a big breath of relief to see. Often Mamas who have been separated from their babies have a hard time accepting them again, and babies that have been bottle fed have a hard time figuring out Mama! But we got him back to her quickly, and he smelled like her as we’d given him her milk, so it all went swimmingly.

Everyone did just fine.

Skipping babies

Eventually the babies drank from a very clever bucket. This video shows two of the quintuplets with two of their friends that were also bottle babies (very young Mama) and they all learned very quickly.

And no, my friends. I did none of this before the Rabbit Hole. 😬

Fortunately, I had Scott to teach me….😆

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