Live Natural Birth Caught in the Field
When we bought our goats we knew three of them were pregnant. Happy to say we got a bonus kid!
Yes, a fourth goat was pregnant. Good, but the problem in all of it was we had no clue when any of these does were going to give birth. The first two does had their kids on day 10 and 11 after introduction to the farm. We were totally unprepared. With the next two we wanted to make sure we were more prepared. We noticed their udders were getting larger and their right sides bigger, but you can read everything there is to read on the internet about goats and birthing, and unless to you know the approximate date they were bred--it's all just a crapshoot.
The biggest thing we took away from everything we read, was to know your goats. This last doe we knew. She's a friendly goat, always right there at feeding time to get her ration and a snout scratch. Her demeanor is gentle. A regular sweetheart. On Sunday, February 8th, we noticed that this goat was not acting like herself. She seemed almost aloof and didn’t come around like she normally does. We knew she had to be close.
Tuesday, February 10th rolled around and as usual, I asked Mark to text me an udder picture. He obliged. Her back-end looked really puffy and her udder was huge. Almost uncomfortable looking. Kidding was imminent!
Mark went about his daily farm chores and decided to take some time and visit the neighbor up the road. I gave him a ring and he was back at the farm. We were chatting on the phone when he returned to the farm and he was passing the current goat pen setup. Whenever we arrive or pass the goats, they usually greet us looking for something to eat which gives us an opportunity for a quick head count. Well, one goat was missing. Yep, Mrs. Preggerz.
Mark made his way into the goat pen depths and heard the short, soft murmurs of labor. Mark relayed all this in our conversation and I immediately left the office on lunch break. Mark grabbed the camera to capture what he could of the birth.
Less than 10 minutes later, we had a bouncing baby buckling! I arrived in time to see him getting his first bath and learning how to walk on those wobbly legs. It was a textbook birth in the field - something we are strive for with our herd. Resilience and natural birthing at it’s finest.
Disclaimer: The video below is the actual birth and the little guy’s arrival onto Must Bee Kiddn’ Farm. Viewer Discretion Advised
It’s February, the month Cupid lets loose his love arrow for romantics and lovers. Well, in the bee yard its time for some lovin’ too. When it comes to the honey bee and queens it’s more unencumbered sex than romance. That’s right, this wouldn’t be a bona fide farm/agriculture blog if there weren’t some sex talk. Okay, call it mating if you want, but it's all comes down to sex in the end.
As queen-rearing beekeepers this is the month we start capitalizing on all the early season bee work we did back at the winter solstice. All those nights in the garage, under the cover of darkness, diluting spare honey or hefting twenty-five pound sugar bags for late night sugar syrup making sessions. Now, it’s all going to pay off. All the planning, hive arranging and manipulating in the bee yard; it’s all going to pay off. But, how?
Well, those glorious fat boy drones are popping up. This is the month when the brood comb starts to bulge with capped drone brood along the outside edges of the worker brood. The capped drone brood starts as a patch here and there at first. The capped drone brood looks like bullets when compared to the flatter and more expansive capped worker cells. As the month goes by those lovely little love bullets are now grouped into tight pattern. Valentine's Day week is the green light for queen-rearing. Brush the dust off that grafting kit--it's go time!
Every morning I nag Mark to send me pictures of the goats. Lately I have been asking him to send me udder pictures and descriptions because we have two does that are going to kid soon. Here are today's pictures. The first is a rear shot. Then the goat was doing some heavy foraging and standing on her hind legs, so he got a really good belly shot for the second picture. These were taken about 8:45 this morning.
Mark had to run some errands, and didn't make it back to the farm until around 2:00. All the goats came over to the side of the fence for food, and he said he looked up and saw this.
Meet the first kids of 2015! Two cute little does!!
In just a matter of a few hours, the doe went from foraging hard to taking care of her two new girls. We didn't have our kit with us today, so weights will be taken tomorrow. Both kids were up, walking, talking, and nursing. The doe is a good Maa; she talks to her girls and keeps a close watch on them and got them nice and clean for the camera.
The rest of the herd was very respectful. Our Herd Queen stood a little taller today and seemed proud of her growing herd. She head butted any goat that looked like she was going to cause trouble. Most of the older kids (now just over 90 days old) snuck over to have a sniff of the new kids on the farm.
Our herd stands at 11 goats today at Must Bee Kiddin' Farm. Must Bee Kiddin'? Yes we are!!
Here's a little video for you.
2015's first month is already history. So, what's happening down on Must Bee Kiddin' Farm? Happy to say that the momentum built in 2014 has carried through to 2015 without any hiccups. All the necessary scheduled tasks of 2014 were completed on time in 2014 so we started 2015 with a clean slate. So here's the list for January's activity.
1. West firebreak cut. The farm now has all main firebreak lines cut. The western line was the last area posing a major fire threat. Matter of fact, last summer a local resident ended up burning his own house down after starting an outside debris burn and leaving it unattended. That residence was less than two hundred yards from the farm's western line.
2. Middle Meadow brush piles reduced. While rotating the goats through the purple area on the above map many smaller, scrubby oaks and pines were thinned. These brush piles have been eliminated.
3. The goats started their foraging and 2015 brush clearing campaign in the southwest corner of the property. Braving weasels, er...bobcats and all, they performed well and are now to the midpoint of the south line, starting to head to the north. The plan is to move them through the middle of the property and let them aggressively clear the middle where the future farmstead site will be located. Six adult does and three kids can put a good dent on a half acre of thick Florida brush in a seven day period.
4. Timber blanks moved from the farm to the house for further milling. I know we haven't been too specific regarding our milling efforts to date, but have no fear details are coming. Long story short, lots of those trees being felled at Must Bee Kiddin' Farm are going to good use as lumber for future builds such as poultry coops and bee hives.
5. January also had us moving quite a bit of material from around our home out to the land. Over the past two years we've been building up an inventory of nursery stock that we've started from seed or grafts. The plan has always been to plant these trees and bushes into any property we purchased. By the end of January we moved 50 Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Diversifolia) starts, almost 100 Moringa tree (Moringa Oleifera) seedlings, over 70 longleaf pine seedlings, a dozen black locust trees, four yellow tabebuia trees and a couple citrus tree grafts (Meyer lemon and Persian lime) along with two eucalyptus trees (Tasmanian blue gum and Red River gum) out to the land. The reasons and purpose for these plantings will be discussed as the planting and land development/cultivation progresses.
Yep, 2015 is off to a busy start and we're enjoying the work. Things are really getting to the point where our efforts are starting to impact the lay of the land. If the rest of the year goes as January has, we're really going to be making some progress.
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.