This weekend we did one of those crazy things we are getting known for–like farming. Yes at 8:00 in the morning we loaded all our children, 4 and counting in the suburban and drove to Little Canada to pick-up the 2 colonies of bees we had ordered. We were not sure the exact day they would come in so we had planned to also pick up 3 more goats that day. No big deal right?
So we loaded to 2 metal wire containers in the back and were serenaded by a pleasant buzzing for the next 2.5 hours as we continued driving to southern Minnesota’s Wren Hill Farm where we picked up Margaret, Pearl and Kojo (sorry I couldn’t link directly to their individual page but you can look at them under “Kid’s and Kidding.”
It was such a joy to visit this farm. The owner Allan Weinand really has a passion for goats and in a few years has gotten quite the herd going.
Then we drove home 3.5 hours and arrived just in time for bottles for the kids (goats) and bed. There are 2 ways that you can raise your goats–dam raising meaning they stay with their mother until they wean about 8 weeks and then you milk or bottle raising where they are removed from their mothers and raised by humans on bottles from the beginning. There are goods and bads for both. One good for bottle raising is disease prevention that can be passed from mother to kids.
So when you buy goats it depends on what the farm you are buying from does. Some will dam raise and wean at 8 weeks and then you can pick up your goats. Some will sell mother and kids together as in the case with our Ginger and some will sell bottle babies.
So now for a mom that has never mixed a bottle I am mixing 3 bottles 2 times a day for 3 baby goats.
Luckily I have lots of help. Two with Kojo (our new B* buck I am so excited about) and Mavis and grandma with Pearl.
And Avril with Margaret (my favorite little lady).
They are such a joy. At first I didn’t think I would bottle raise any but I am realizing I may not have any choice. Allan was telling me about a goat he had that had 6 babies in one litter a few years back. Even with help only 4 surrived but without the human help I am sure that number would have been lower. Ginger had triplets but could only handle twins so one was taken off and put on a bottle. So at least now I am learning the ins and outs of bottle feeding before we are in an emergency situation where we may loose a goat.
In May Raven, our adult female is set to kid, now I know how to bottle feed should the need arise. The hardest thing I think about bottle feeding is the goats get really attached to you which is good but when you leave them they cry something fierce. And I really believe nature made the cries of babies so that mother’s physically could not ignore it. Even though I am not the same species I am finding the crying really difficult to deal with. Hopefully in a couple days it will get better. At least we have 3 of them so they have each other and are kept together.
Plans for next year I will hopefully have 5 plus goats milking and maybe 10 plus babies running around. I really need to get my goat page up and running but honestly the goats are shedding winter coats right now and not very pretty. Soon I’ll get my own pictures to share.