Tag Archives: raising goats

Counting Sheep

These days I have no idea what my husband wants to raise, sheep or goats because we certainly do not have the space to raise both species. Nor the patience. When the herd/flock are taken out to graze, they segregate themselves and the work to keep them safe from roving wild dogs, snakes, and poisonous plants is doubled.

So one Sunday my husband comes back from the grazing and says he’s sold the sheep to the neighbor. Zombie, Fuzzy and the others are gone in a few minutes, leaving us with just the Borrega boys and Zombeta.

With the cash in his hot sweaty hands, we head to Cerano that very afternoon to find a macho for our goat herd. We have lots of boys, but nothing close enough in maturity to fulfill any husbandly duties when the next heat cycle comes around later this month.

We happen across two herds of about 200 goats grazing in a recently harvested corn field. My husband does some tough negotiation and buys this young buck, quite a looker, for our fair ladies back home.

Having some extra cash, he haggles for yet another pregnant goat. He wanted a third, but just didn’t have the cash to complete the deal, so home again, home again jiggidy, jig we went with Macho and Prego.img_20190123_142958 (2)The three little sheep, Borega Boys and Zombeta, were allowed free run of the patio area, even had their own little feed box, so that they could grow up healthy and fat. Of course, this meant that the patio was full of sheep pellets as a result of their ample diet. Fun right?

I thought we were done with sheep acquisition, but NO! Since my motorcycle has been on the fritz and there hasn’t been any gas anyway to fill to the tank,  my husband found a buyer willing to trade sheep for it. So in addition to the three little sheep, we now have one pregnant ewe, and one who had recently given birth to twins, so 4 sheep with one on the way, making our grand total 7 sheep (and a half).img_20190115_120457 (2) The poop pellets on the patio were getting out of hand, so my husband went to work at revamping Miss Piggy’s bungalow in the back. The first attempt failed utterly. These are Mexican sheep after all and no little wall was going to keep them from the promised land (in this case, my backyard full of tasty plants). So he had to install barbed wire around the perimeter and that seems to have done the trick.

To keep them shaded, he rigged a wire/branch roof which in a few weeks will be covered in chayote leaves, making a nice little palapa for everyone in the sheep compound. Of course, I’m hoping in a few weeks, we won’t have any more sheep, but you can see how this sheep thing keeps going and going.img_20190118_110133 The mama sheep with the twins has been sickly since we’ve gotten her. Malnourishment and a rough delivery are the probable causes. My husband, Papa Chivo, has been bottle feeding the twins goat milk to supplement their diet and they are more lively. The mama gave us quite a scare when she stopped eating for a few days, but some tempting greens and some olive oil brought back her appetite and she seems to be getting stronger as well.img_20190123_142837So here we are being overwhelmed with goats and sheep. I actually had to go out and count again how many we have. 2 eves, 3 baby lambs, 8 baby kids, one goat macho, 5 nanny goats and 2 (one sheep/one goat) still on the way. Good grief!

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Oh Boy! More Boys!

I haven’t been able to share many animal antics lately because not much has been going on the Flores Ranchito. That all changed towards the end of November with the arrival of Zombie’s first offsprings, the Borrego Boys, white, fuzzy twins, who are healthy and fit with the exception of some sort of weird second set of eyes (but what can you expect from a zombie/sheep hybrid).

With their birth, my husband went a little crazy and started buying up pregnant goats hither and yon. Before we knew it, we had another set of white twins, the Chivo boys.

Then La Gritona (Miss Shouter so named because of all her carrying on) gave birth very vocally one Sunday in the middle of one of my online classes. (Noise? What noise? Now, back to the difference between in, at and on.)  Her little chivito is called Payaso (clown), since he’s often up to no good, knocking off the lamp, climbing the woodpile and so on.

The next set of twins were born before my husband could seal the deal of the borrega/chiva exchange with the owner. So mama and twin boys, Salt and Pepper came to live with us in December.

Fuzzy the sheep gave birth the next day to Zombeta, the first female offspring of the bunch. Fuzzy, a first-time mom, is quite the nervous Nellie. She doesn’t want to leave the corral without Zombeta, who really is too small to keep up with the herd/flock just yet, leading my husband on fun-filled romps around La Yacata in her efforts to get back to her little one. She also hollers throughout the day when Zombeta is out of sight, curled up with one of the other kids or lambs or just jumping about on the other side of the food trough.

Zombeta’s birth brought our baby population up to 8 running, frisky little fellas in under 2 weeks. But the population explosion wasn’t done yet!

The following week another little kid was born, Chiveta. Of course, this was the only goat that my husband wanted a boy birth since the mama was a Boer goat, but alas, a girl.

One sheep is still preggers but it will be a few months until she’s ready to give birth. I’d say we have our hands full as it is though, don’t you think?

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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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Love is in the air

In the Spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love--Alfred Tennyson

No, it’s not our son that I’m referring too. Although being a foot taller than his classmates and sporting an impressive upper lip fuzz mustache has turned quite a few girls’ heads, he still is only 13 and not ready for dating yet. It is, however, definitely springtime in our barnyard critter neighborhood.

Our little chivitos (kids) have been jumping and leaping and growing devilish horns these past 2 months, which means that the moms have begun their first estrus cycle since giving birth. This hormonal change has turned Jason Boer into quite the Romeo.

Unfortunately, Romeo doesn’t sing very well. In fact, it’s an awful racket. And although his serenading is just as important for wooing the ladies as peeing on his face (yep), the noise is horrendous. As he likes to make his moves by moonlight, he has woken us up on several occasions. Groggy, it takes us several minutes to realize that no, an animal is not being tortured outside.

Much to our surprise, Junior, at the tender age of 2 months, has become a chorus boy in the love songs. The first time each of us heard his singing, we ran out to the corral in a panic, thinking one of the chivitos (kids) had become stuck and was dying. Nope. He’s just a Romeo in training.

None of the other little goats have the least interest in the fully grown mama goats, so we are astounded at Junior’s advanced development. Occasionally, father and son have been heard to sing duets. AHHHH!

My father-in-law’s macho goat sings in a lovely baritone. In fact, he sings so well, that on several occasions I went outside to see who was singing only to watch the herd pass by on their way up the hill. We should be so lucky.

Well, the good thing is that since all the kids were born within a 2 week period, the love fest concerts should also be finished within a 2 week period. Meanwhile, we’ll just cover our ears and endure.

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