Sunday, January 31, 2010

It is a wonderful thing to have experience.

It can be a horrible thing, gaining that experience.

The cute picture of the cat is for those who come to me by the 'Blogger Follower' route - didn't want you to see the following pictures in your reader this morning.

WARNING - possibly disturbing pictures to follow.

Tamari, my favorite goat, lost her babies this morning. When we got out there, she'd just given birth and there they were, all lined up in a row, still warm from her body but with no warmth of their own. Stillborn, never even breathed. They're nearly full-size, but still two weeks away from being developed enough to survive.

Well, the biggest two were two weeks away. The smallest one died awhile ago. About 3 weeks ago, Tamari went from a healthy looking doe to ... not so much. There are no vets around here who know *anything* about goats, but I asked anyway. No, they didn't know what could be going wrong. A slightly elevated temperature, her stomach didn't look right, she was hanging away from the other goats, and her hair got dry and brittle. I did what I could with grain and oil and babied her. Yesterday she was hanging by herself even more, but was still two weeks away from her due date.

This morning, there they were. It appears that one of the babies died three weeks ago (my husband things it was a week longer than that) and her body held onto it, trying to get the other two to term. It couldn't do it, so it voided all of them. The littlest one was so small - and it had long ears.

One of the big ones also had long ears. My buck (who is Tiffany's grandson - so maybe 1/8 or 1/16 Nubian) is obviously carrying that gene.

So I gave her a bucket of warm water and molasses and milked her out. My husband says that it will help her contract her uterus faster, which makes sense. My husband also says that I couldn't have saved them even if I'd been there. He says that it takes a long time to learn that sometimes there's just nothing you can do. He says that even after having learned that, it still sucks when it happens.

He has experience, I'm gaining it. I'll be glad to have it, I hate getting it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First babies of the year!

And no, they aren't hordes of tiny mice babies. (Although I did get the funniest email with the suggestion that the recent mouse incidents may have been an Idahoan Desperaux-type stirring up the masses.)

One of my favorite goats, Tiffani, surprised me tonight by giving birth to triplets. It wasn't the triplets that were the suprise - she usually births triplets - it was the timing. She was due at the beginning of February and Tamari was due any day now. I think I mixed them up when I wrote down the breeding dates.

So here they are - (sorry about the picture quality - camera/daylight/always-moving-kids conspired against me)

The single male.
One of the females - she's a beauty.

And the other female - she's also a beauty.

Her buff coloring is striking. But look closely.

Do you see something ... different about her?

If you haven't caught it yet, don't feel bad. I actually had to point it out to my husband who let out an uncharacteristic exclamation when he realized. How about a clue? Here's her mom (this picture was taken at our old place right after we got her).*

Here's her mom with a bunch of other goats that we have.

All of our goats are LaMancha goats. It's a breed trademark that "LaManchas have tiny ears which come in two types: "gopher ears", which are little "sweet rolls"; and "elf ears", which are little hooked ears less than 2 inches long."

Now look at her again.


Isn't she darling??? That noise you hear is me squee-ing. I adore my LaManchas and their teeny tiny no-ears. To have this little girl on the place as the odd-girl-out is going to be fun! Though my daughter is already stressing that the other goats are going to make fun of her.

Now they've been moved to the strawed-down maternity suite. I have a tough decision to make now. Do I leave all three goats on her or 'bum' one. I'm already planning on 'bumming' any females my Tamari goat has (it will be the first time I've taken any babies away from a momma and raised them myself, though it's common dairy practice), and I expect Tamari to have at least one female. If I bummed one of these and Tamari only had one female, it wouldn't be lonely - to be alone is a cruel fate for a goat, especially a baby - and removing one of the three might affect Tiffani's milk yield for the better. Though it might affect it for the worse. (Is that even grammatically correct?) I wish I had more knowledge of these things (grammar and milk production).

So we've got babies on the farm! Even that couldn't tempt Ainsley outside, but that's a subject for another post on another blog.

*Full-disclosure: Her mother is not purebred LaMancha. She does have a smidgen of Nubian in her (notice her gorgeous Roman Nose that my other LaManchas don't have) and I'm assuming that that's where these airplane ears come from.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My cat needs a hobby.

It happened again. This time the number was much smaller, around thirty, and they were all in the same place, smack dab against the door, not spread all the way around the porch.

The only similarity we could find between the two occurrences was that it rained the night before.

I gathered about five in a small freezer bag and bagged that bag into a larger freezer bag - and didn't tell my husband it was in the freezer. It's not like he'll accidentally mistake it for meat if he does find it (unlike that time that he held up a frozen placenta from my daughter's birth and asked "Is this goat meat?"). I'm asking around to see if any veterinarians in the area will look at them for me. Hopefully before my husband finds them.

The whole time I was gathering, my 3-year-old was standing inside the door saying "Get dat one! Oh, get da baby one. Oh, he so cooooote! Can it be my pet?" Um, no, sweetie, they're going to live in the freezer.

As soon as I could manage it, I ran out to the chicken coop to see if there were any losses there. I only saw one dead mouse, too far back behind the old water tank for me to reach. I did find my Great Calico Huntress, though, curled up in the straw, sound asleep. She's never been one to run around with the chickens - they're beneath her - so that surprised me. It also probably accounts for why there was only one dead mouse.

So, hopefully we'll get an autopsy that will help us narrow down the likely causes, but my husband's pretty sure it's weather related.

A few extra items of note:

- I don't know what caused the confusion, but some people think that my cats and dogs won't eat these suicidal mice. Maybe it was me saying that my cats have never bothered the chickens and something was lost in translation? I don't know. The truth is, the cats and dogs eat them up like candy. Candy mice.

- Don't know if this is related, but it's creepy enough to report. A few nights ago, we were coming back from town after dark and in the last mile before we hit our house, we easily ran over more than a hundred mice. Thousands of them were running across the road, and they weren't just running in one direction, they were running in both directions. Really strange, really creepy, I had my feet up on my seat, and my husband was rolling his eyes. For the record, I'm not scared of mice, I don't squeal, but that was just wrong.


How it started. (the pictures that started it all)

The first update.