Last year, when Prissy had her first set of triplets, she immediately rejected them. I had to hand milk her twice a day to feed them. Priss was never good to milk. I spent hours, days, weeks with bloody knuckles, milk dripping from my hair, my chin, my arms, trying everything from crooning to her, begging, cajoling, to belting her until she finally pushed me over the edge and I actually BIT her! It has pretty much been a unanimous consensus here on the ranch, that Priss is a pretty horrible goat and better off replaced...BUT she gives 1 1/2 gallons of milk a day, with a cream line! You just don’t see that in a goat that often, so I put up with her, milking her for 8 months, with a semi successful system of putting TWO sets of hobbles on her, and chaining her hindfeet down to the stanchion.
I had to try hard not to take it personally, when she allowed Moose the calf, to nurse with nothing on her. I wondered just how bad she was going to behave this year.
Once again, she had triplets, only this time, she didn’t totally reject them. They have, however, had a difficult time nursing because she has one teat that is ‘blown’ from over engorging last year. I have to milk that side each day until the kids are big enough to figure out how to use it. The first night I got a half gallon...out of the one teat. It wasn’t completely empty yet, but I wanted to try teaching the babies to nurse that side, hoping that if they could keep after it, it wouldn’t get so full and be so difficult for them. I set the bucket down and went to grab a kid to help it learn how to grab ahold of that side. Once I captured one of the slippery little runts, I turned around to see that Priss had drank all the milk already in the bucket! I guess we are now into recycling.
Bruno and Cletus went in and thoroughly checked over their new charges.
Right now I am actually getting a break, because EmmaLouMoo is dry, until she calves again in July. That means I don’t have to milk her, make cheese, butter, and all that goes with that, for awhile now.
I do have to milk Priss until the babies can do that for me. Then I will only have to separate them over night and milk her when I need some milk for soap or for us. There are bottle calves to feed and thankfully Randyman helps me with that, as the 9 of them tend to get tangled up and steal bottles from one another and such. I do occasionally have to feed one by stomach tube and give some shots or pills.
Our weather has been running the gamut from sunny 70's to freezing 40's with hail and high winds. I have 3 leppie calves that have come down with pnuemonia. One little feller we thought was dead this morning. We went out to feed and he was laying proned out by the fence, not moving, while the rest stampeded over us for their bottles. I went to check him and could see he was still breathing, but too weak to move. The inside of his mouth was cold and so were his lower legs, which usually means they are shocky and on their way out. I went ahead and lifted him onto his brisket and fed him by stomach tube and gave him a shot of anti biotics. I honestly expected to find him dead by noon, but when I went to check him, he was on his feet again so I was able to move him into the sick pen with the others. It started hailing again this morning, so we ran all the other little fellers down the alleyway to Em's old corral so they could stay in her tent.
There are 50 little chicks in the brooder in the milk barn that I have to keep an eye on, but that doesn’t take very much time. I check in the morning to see they have food and water, and turn their light off, as it gets pretty warm in there. I also make sure no one has “pasty butt’ which is when their vent gets blocked. A little chicky sized sitz bath and vaseline helps a lot in that case. I check them again in the evening. I lost a couple of chicks the first few days, but it was from the stress of shipping. Everyone seems to be thriving now, and I hope they will be outside in a couple more weeks, once they have feathered out enough...where to put them, and how, is a question I haven’t yet answered. I definitely need a Maremma to bond with them tho. I’m thinking perhaps a portable shelter and they can live in one of the pastures then.
I try to take my daily de-stress trip out to visit the critters during their siesta. They all have a little party under the octopus tree. The sheep, goats, cows and Maremmas. All of them. It is like a 'block party'.
I strolled down and noticed Annie was missing. I walked all the way around the tree, looking in the tall brush, but no Annie. The dogs didn’t seem to be unduly concerned so I figured she was ok and they knew where she was. I took a seat and suddenly felt chips of bark falling on my shoulder from up above. Annie was up in the tree. I have no idea why I didn’t look there. Glad I didn’t have to call the fire department.
Emma looks as though she is very tired of being pregnant. She has always had a flair for the dramatic. I don't know who was more distressed...me, when I saw her laying like this, or her, when I woke her by screaming her name...okay, maybe I am a little dramatic myself. Not much, just a little. A teensy bit. Hardly noticeable.
Scarlett doesn’t seem to mind pregnancy. She just waddles around looking for handouts and neck rubs.
Mr T needs to be passing out cigars. Mrs B, the Buff Orpington has baby chicks! She was sitting on several eggs, but after the first two hatched, she jumped out of her box and they followed her. As they were not able to follow her back up again, she had to abandon the other eggs.
Oprah, my Black Australorpe hen is sitting on 14 eggs. (Not one of which is hers.) I snagged her and locked her up in a dog crate with food and water so she doesn’t have the same problems.
It was warm the other day, so Wimpy and I went for a little spin. There were wildflowers blooming and trees leafing out, the grass is growing taller and the calves are getting fat.
It was good to see something besides the pasture behind the house and it felt good to be back in the saddle again. Maybe this will be my summer.