Visions of Sugarplums

Heidi’s Doeling ~ 2010

Posted by on Oct 31, 2010 in Autumn, Dairy Cross Does, Dairy Goat, Goat Kid, Visions of Sugarplums | 1 comment

Halloween Day dawned bright and sunny for Heidi’s due date.  She was right on target last year, and looked to be headed that way this year too.  She had been patiently waiting these last few days, and looked much like a beached (but content) white whale chewing her cud in the shade of the hackberry tree.  She spent much of this morning the same way, gradually ending up standing in the shade of the barn.  Heidi is a big tough girl, but not tough enough to get out of the labor of having a kid.  She pressed her head against the wall with each contraction, and called out to me as JW and I worked in the yard.  Soon enough the waiting was over, and she had to get down to business.  Heidi was a big kid when she was born, and her first kid, Orion, was of good size as well.  I could see that this one would follow the pattern.  The shoulders as they pass through the birth canal require the hardest push, and poor Heidi hollered as her body bore down.  When the shoulders cleared, there was a final heave, and a gleaming white doe kid landed in a pile of long legs.  She wasted no time in scrambling strongly to her feet and finding her own personal source of all that is good.  Goat’s milk! The day was progressing slowly toward evening, so I removed Heidi and her treasure to the inside of the barn where the sun still warmed the inside of the back wall.  Not a moment too soon!  She gained surprisingly quick control of her legs and at less than an hour old was trotting back and forth with Heidi following – still licking and cleaning and worrying her from nose to tail.  Eventually, she settled into a warm spot in the corner with a full belly and was content to let her devoted mama nuzzle and love her until she slept. The sire of this stout little girl is the Boer buck, AP.  It is my hope that this type of crossing will produce does that will raise meatier kids with the added possibility of being milked themselves.   Those plans, however, are a long way away for now.  In the meantime, I cannot help but laugh that this new arrival reminds me of Heidi herself; a long-legged independent beauty who seemed to know from the start that she’s got this Granny Goat wrapped around her...

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Moon’s Doeling ~ 2010

Posted by on Oct 22, 2010 in Autumn, Dairy Goat, Goat Kid, Visions of Sugarplums | 1 comment

Woo hoo!  We did it!  Our first official full-blooded dairy goat doe kid.  With seven out of seven being born as bucklings this past Winter and Spring, I wondered when our first doeling would arrive.  In fact, I have actually heard from a goat-friend this year that some bucks can be known for throwing high percentages of either buck or doe kids.  Holy milk buckets!  We have had a good ratio from Jack with the Spanish and Boer nannies though, so I wasn’t too worried. I knew on Thursday afternoon that Moon could not be far off from delivery, as her udder had filled considerably since morning and she just could not stop talking.  <grin>  JW laughed at me as we ran errands in town and I kept saying, “I just have a feeling,” even though she wasn’t really due until Monday.  Leave it to a full moon in the sky and a slight drop in pressure for the pattering of raindrops sending me out the door long before dawn Friday morning to make sure that both near-mommas were under a roof.  Sure enough, there was Moon stretching and talking and walking in circles in the dairy goat barn. Before long, Moon’s contractions were only a couple of minutes apart and she began to lie against me to push in earnest.  Moon is not one to stay down long though, and much of her labor is spent walking and muttering.  When two tiny white hooves and a pink nose with one small spot became visible in the faint light of day, I knew we’d be in for a treat.  Moon kept walking around and around in the barn, muttering louder as the contractions and walking motion pushed her kid farther and farther out, finally sliding softly to the ground.  With amazing speed, just like Moon’s last kid, this little one was up on her feet within about two minutes and got straight to the business of eating. Well, Moon’s little Snubian is an October surprise indeed, dressed in colors that can’t help but make you think of Autumn.  Apart from noticing the wildly placed spots, the first thing I saw was… ORANGE?  Really? Do goats come in orange?  There are a handful of Snubian goats here and there that I’ve seen, but generally they are born in some variation of white.  Even Heidi, with her soft lemon tones, falls into this sort of standard expectation.  Moon fooled us last Winter with her odd silver buckskin, Oiva, but this little girl really takes the cake. What in the world should I call this combination?  Calico?  Cornucopia?  She looks to have a white base with orange, tan, and buckskin spots.  There is really no telling what she might look like in a few weeks as well, since our goats-of-many-colors tend to change as they grow.  Some spots change color, some spots appear where you thought there were none, and black spots on noses can outgrow and cover the baby pink.  Thankfully, color is just for fun, and our goal is happy and healthy goats.  I’m sure that this little doeling will be happy indeed to have a playmate or two once Heidi delivers her own blessed treasure, due at the end of October. What fun!  I guess we’ll take our Snubians...

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Video ~ Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

Posted by on Apr 29, 2010 in Goat Video, Spring, Visions of Sugarplums | Comments Off on Video ~ Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

When the kids are about one week old, we start letting them go out with their dams into the field for a couple of hours each evening. Napping kids can sometimes get left behind when the herd comes in at sunset. Annie and Star have come in from the field and realize that they do not have their kids. Luckily, I have already gone out and fetched them in. Once I started recording the reunion, I was curious to see just how long they let the kids nurse. You’ve got to love those wagging little...

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Leah’s Twins ~ 2009

Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in Dairy Goat, Goat Kid, Visions of Sugarplums, Winter | Comments Off on Leah’s Twins ~ 2009

Beautiful Leah had grown to her usual large proportions when her due date arrived on Monday.  As a cold front came in, I thought that we would have a repeat of last year’s chilly arrival.  I’ve heard that “a smart doe will wait for nice weather” so maybe that’s what Leah decided to do.  Then again, she could only hold on for so long, right?  Cold morning after cold morning this week I expected her to go at any time.    Finally, on day four she delivered a beautiful set of twins just before dawn with a forecast of sunshine and 60 degrees.  Nice weather, indeed!  Two beautiful bucklings, one bay roan and one blue roan – both wildly spotted and with white paint markings.  As a testament to Leah’s Purebred lineage, they also have the classic extra-long Nubian ears. Moon and Heidi are both showing a wonderful aptitude for mothering as they keep track of and feed their newly leaping and bounding kids.  That being said, I think that Leah has the most pure love for hers.  She is so attentive and talkative, and she simply beams with joy when they nuzzle up to her, or when I complement her on her job well-done.  It has been since August that I dried her off to allow her body to focus on growing kids, and I have missed milking her in the mornings.  Can it be only a year ago that I learned how for the first time?  I’m counting the days until I can start again in a couple of weeks.  I will always be the first to tell you that Annie is the #1 goat, but I’ll follow quickly by letting you know that Leah is #1 Milk Goat! While these little bundles grow through the winter, we’ll look forward as well to Spring when the main herd, as well as Annie and Star, will be expecting their kids.  I can hardly believe that out of our first batch of dairy kids, we’ve got four little billy goats.  It just goes to show that with goats, you might never know what to...

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Walking with Annie Oakleaf

Posted by on Dec 13, 2009 in Visions of Sugarplums, Winter | 1 comment

Lest you think that only expecting mothers are the goats to get attention, I’d like to tell you about walking with Annie Oakleaf.  We had a very exciting visit on the same day that Moon and Heidi were due to have their kids.  My longtime friend, Mindy, brought her two young girls over to see what the Shifletts are up to out here in Floresville.  It being such a beautiful day, we headed out the gate to go for a walk in the sunshine.  Well, naturally the dairy goats all wanted to go with us.  Unfortunately, with two more girls after Moon due to kid any day, they were under a bit of a lockdown as far as outings.  Annie, on the other hand, is sometimes allowed a strategic slip past the gate and out she came with us into the field. Annie had already proved  to be the only goat who would really stand still for the girls’ attention.  Her personality seems to say, “Wouldn’t you love to pet a beautiful girl like me?”  They were delighted that Annie was being given this special treatment, and the delight seemed to be on both sides as Annie headed out for a bite of this and that.  As Annie wandered, Lanie quickly found that she could walk alongside quite nicely and that Annie would not run away.  Before long, the pair was parading back and forth with as big a smile as a little girl and a goat could have.  They picked up little sister, Lex, and Annie didn’t miss a beat with these curly-headed girls on either side. And so, sweet Annie has made two more fast friends.  You cannot help but smile at her as she throws herself right in the middle of the attention.  I suppose it is really no surprise that, as the girls headed home after a busy afternoon, they called out, “You’ll have to send Annie for a...

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Autumn Portraits ~ 2009

Posted by on Nov 17, 2009 in Autumn, Boer Goat, Dairy Goat, Visions of Sugarplums | 2 comments

As the days grow shorter and we head into another Winter, it is like looking at a new herd of goats with the little ones grown into healthy weanlings, and youngsters maturing into adults. The wonderful crop of nutritious mesquite beans put a nice finish on all of the stock in time for late summer rains to remind us what green grass looks like. Foster-sisters Star and Mango Pango are nearing their one-year birthdays.  Star will be one year just a week before Christmas, and Mango has now turned nine months. Annie has grown quite a bit in her third year, although goatasaurus daughter Heidi, is now beyond her in height and depth. Approaching two years old in April, Heidi’s horns are shaped like long scimitars, definitely reminiscent of her Saanen side. Moon is maturing into a beautiful girl with her angular dairy build and her traditional Saanen beard. We can hardly wait to see her Saanubian kids by Jack! Beautiful Kismet joined our Sugarplums most recently in September. Her beautiful face and large frame are a welcome addition to our Dairy girls, and she has become an old pro very quickly in grazing the woods and fields with the main herd. Donna and the rest of the Boer and Spanish does keep their hooves well-trimmed through constant traveling, and they have done an excellent job at trimming the undergrowth in the thickest woods on the property. The difference they have made is amazing. It is nice to have so much natural browse for them, rather than all grass pasture which would not well-suit their digestion and habits. Jack Flash has also matured considerably as he approaches his second birthday in April. His winter coat comes in quite thick and long, and the hair on his neck actually stands up. Between the shaggy mane and his single-sided horn regrowth, I cannot help but continue to refer to him as our...

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