Tag Archives: goat kids

Assassin goat

2016 was a low birth year for us on the Flores mini-ranch overall. We had no horses, puppies, kittens or chicks born. Our goat duplication was also minimal. Instead of everyone having twins, there were only singletons or none at all in the summer. Well, except for Queenie. She’s been a consistent twinner all along.

So in 2017, we weren’t surprised when Whitey was yet another singleton. He wasn’t too happy about being the only kid. There was no one to play with when the mommies went out to graze. He was very vocal in his displeasure. He also didn’t have anyone to huddle with under the trough. He took to waiting until everyone was settled down and then climbing on top of one of the goats, usually his mom, to sleep.

About a month later, the big white nanny goat, a recent acquisition and thus still nameless, decided it was high time to have her baby. She waited until the middle of the night to ensure privacy. I heard the wailing of an unhappy baby goat sometime around 2 am. As my husband was not home, I went out to check it out.

Sure enough, there was a little white kid expressing its dislike of its new condition. But where was the mother? Oh, there on the other side of the corral. It looked as if she wasn’t finished kidding yet as she was still pawing the ground. Whitey wasn’t pleased with this new addition and added his own bleats to that of the new baby.

triplets

I waited outside for about 15 minutes, sure that any second she would give birth. As the minutes ticked by, I could see that she was having difficulty. She lay down yet again and stretched her legs into the air. I had never seen a goat in such distress. I decided that emergency measures needed to be taken.

I woke my son from a sound sleep and sent him up the road to my father-in-law. I was concerned that the nanny goat wasn’t going to make it. In the 10 minutes or so that it took for my son to return with my father-in-law (much more skilled in goat husbandry than myself) she popped out another baby goat. However, she was still carrying on.

It turned out that there was yet another baby goat. At this point, she was exhausted and the kid was presenting feet first, which was delaying things a bit. My father-in-law helped out a little, and voila, baby 3. Triplets! There were 2 boys and a girl which we tentatively christened Curly, Moe and Larry.

The next day, mama goat was still exhausted, as were we. The triplets weren’t too fussed if she was out of sight, but move one of their siblings and they became hysterical. Mama goat needed a little extra time to recuperate, but soon enough was back on her feet.

As mama goat had only two teats, feeding time became quite a hassle. One of the triplets decided that he and Whitey would be brothers and hunkered down with his new family. This worked out until Whitey’s mom was sold. The first night she was gone, something happened to the adopted triplet. We found him dead in the morning.

The deaths didn’t stop there. Later that afternoon, Pinta birthed a stillborn kid. We ended up on the plus side by the end of the day, though. Bunnie gave birth to itty bitty Brownie. Just a few hours later, Venada had twins–a boy and a girl, twice the size of Brownie.

Venada's boy/girl twins are a day younger than little Brownie, but look at the size difference.

Venada’s boy/girl twins are a day younger than little Brownie but look at the size difference.

Brownie gave us quite a scare about 2 weeks later. We had left the goats unattended for about 30 minutes while we went in for lunch. When my husband came out to check on the goats, he gave a holler. Brownie was in the water bucket up to his neck in water and unmoving, although still alive.

My husband wrapped him in a towel and sat with him in the sun. As he still didn’t show any inclination to move about, he brought one of the triplets that had befriended Brownie to nudge him a bit. About 45 minutes later, Brownie tried to get up. Whew!

It was about 2 hours before he could wobble around any. Now that the danger had passed, we puzzled about how this could have happened.

brownie

We think we have an assassin mama goat. The triplet that died, might have been killed. The stillbirth might have been caused by repeated stomach butting. Another triplet has a torn ear. And it just wasn’t possible that Brownie fell into the bucket. He would have fallen head first and that would have been the end of him. We think he was tossed through the air and landed in the bucket. And our probable suspect was Venada.

I’m all for ousting the murderer, but she does give healthy twins even though she goes overboard in her need for world domination. My husband agreed to keep an eye on her and since the bucket incident, there’ve been no new attempts on anyone’s life.

vaquita and skunk

Finally, a month after we thought all the kids for the season had been born, Vaquita presented us with Skunk. He’s long legged, long-eared and oh so cute. She too waited till dark to give birth and had a bit of difficulty. The kid was big and this was her first baby. She’s also pretty skittish compared to our other goats, so didn’t like anyone close enough to give assistance and once delivered, didn’t want anyone near her baby. Of course, the dark coloring make Skunk hard to see and has been causing no end of grief for his nervous nellie mom. My husband separated Vaquita and Skunk in hopes that the assassin goat doesn’t have an opportunity to strike again.

skunk

 

When we did some additional paring down of the goats, Venada and her babies went up on the auction block.  We just couldn’t have murdering goats around, even if there was a good probability of twins every season.  Instead, my husband purchased Jirafa (Giraffe) and much to our delight, she presented us with twins.

Jirafa and one of the twin daughters. She takes after her dad I guess.

The other daughter–just like mom!

 

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Death and all its trappings, Homesteading

Our Family Hobby

Welcome to the April 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about family pastimes.

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A family hobby? Us? We are so busy in our day to day lives that we don’t often have time for leisure activities like travel or bungee jumping or arts and crafts. But we spend time together as a family and we enjoy the time we spend together as a family. So what do we do together as a family? Our daily discussions, activities, and lives are centered around our animals. Animal husbandry is our hobby.

We play around with animal husbandry, not in the Wikipedia definition of Animal husbandry as “the management and care of farm animals by humans for profit,” since we certainly do not realize a profit, but more as the now obsolete meaning of the word husbandry as a “steward” of a household. We are definitely stewards.

Since moving to Mexico, we have been involved in purchasing, raising, caring, breeding, healing, feeding, selling, butchering and sometimes burying all sorts of animals.

Afternoons will often find us settled on the back steps watching some aviary antics.

Mrs. Macho setting on the eggs.

Mrs. Macho setting on the eggs.

We have been host to domesticated pigeons escaped from the tiro de pichon (shooting range) and watched them raise generations of babies in the eves of our animal area. Eventually, Mrs. Macho moved on when we had to change the roof slant, but it was fascinating to watch the love and care both Mr. and Mrs. Macho took by sitting on the eggs and feeding the ugliest little broods. We enjoyed watching the babies growth and their first practice flaps and then rejoiced as they left the nest one by one.

quails

Codornices are small, native quail.

We have also had codornicess, which are a small native quail. We noticed most how the little guys would come to greet us at feeding time, even pecking at our shoelaces when we were slow to acknowledge them, hopping up and hooting just like in the cartoons.

chickens

Chicken hierarchy

Of course, our mini-homestead has chickens and chicken culture is amazing. Their socialization and hierarchy are as intense as any telenovela (soap opera). We have watched young roosters make their first macho challenges to the current head mucky-muck. We watched as Henny Penny gave up the will to live when the love of her life was no longer there. We chuckled at Jovencita’s attempts to adopt every single chick hatched and shook our heads at the poor mothering done by Hilda. We were horrified in the pecking death of Gringa, for the crime of being different from the others. And we are on hand to cluck over the newest batch of hatchlings. (See Why did the chicken cross the road?)

bump head goats

These goats are less than a week old and already playing bump heads!

One of our daily activities is taking the goats out to forage. Some days this is a run for your money if Duchess or Twiddledee get it into their heads to head for the hills. Most days, it’s a relaxing afternoon under the mesquite watching the antics of the goat kinder (kindergarten) as they play king of the rock or a rousing game of bump heads. We have even had kids that wanted nothing more than to sit in your lap, although this tends to be a bit cumbersome as they grow. (See Separating the sheep and the goats)

beauty

Beauty getting saddled up.

Sunday afternoons will often find us spending time with our hoofed animals, which currently includes Fiona, the donkey, Beauty, the yegua (mare) and Shadow her colt. It is not unheard of for us to take a family ride up and past La Yacata and back, sometimes further. We have even been known to have donkey races just for fun. (See Donkey Races, A horse is a horse or not, Beauty’s Babies)

gato

Smile for the camera now kitty!

I must not forget to include our long list of puppies and kitties that have come into our lives, sometimes for an extended period, sometimes for just a few days. Their personalities, travasuras (naughtiness) or amiableness, have made them such a pleasure to come home to. Currently, we are hosting 2 dogs, Hershey and Chokis and one cat, Little Miss Licorice Stick, otherwise known as Licky. (See 101 perritos)

Whether we have been strictly observers or had a hand in their daily lives, we have enjoyed our foray into animal husbandry. We have come to know that animals are sentient beings and that our actions and attitudes towards them affect their lives, sometimes drastically. Ahh, a hobby with moral value. What more could anyone ask for?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • 8 Reasons to Go Camping with Your Kids — The weather is warmer, and it is time to think about taking a break. As you plan your family vacation, Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains why you should consider hitting the trails with your kids.
  • Crafty Cohorts — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys crafting with her kids, and the skills they are learning.
  • Helping Himawari — Sophelia’s family at Sophelia’s Adventures in Japan share a passion for helping when a dog is abandoned at the nearby elementary school.
  • The ‘Art’ of Having FunMarija Smits shares some thoughts on family art and fun.
  • How we made our own Family Day — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how her family celebrates the best day of the week, a chance for connection and adventure and endless possibilities: Family Day!
  • Our Family Hobby — Survivor talks about how animal husbandry has become her family’s favorite hobby at Surviving Mexico Adventures and Disasters.
  • Sowing the Seeds of Passions — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs wonders if her interests, and her husband’s, will shape her children’s passions as they mature.
  • Harry Potter Potions Party — One of the best activities Dionna at Code Name: Mama has ever done with her family has been a Harry Potter Potions Party. She is sharing the resources she used to create their potion recipes, the ingredients and tools they experimented with, and the recipes themselves. Feel free to use and adapt for your own budding wizards and witches!
  • Pastimes Have Passed Me By — Kati at The Best Things takes a new perspective on projects that never get done.
  • Food as a cultural experience for preschoolers — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings finds that food is a good way to engage her preschoolers on a journey of cultural discovery.
  • Pastime with Family vs Family Pastime — You can share lots of pastimes with your family, but Jorje of Momma Jorje discovered a family pastime was much more pleasant for sharing.

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Carnival posts