A Tragedy, and a Hopeful Alternate Ending

Just this past Saturday we were shearing our goats. Got ready to take a break for lunch when we discovered our last doe to kid, was in fact having her kid – but with difficulty. Baby needed a hand being delivered, he was a big baby!

He did well though, his airway cleared out and he found his feet and nursed.

We had lunch and continued to shear. Penelope got to skip out on shearing that day.

On Monday after taking the big kids to school I took the smallest of the short ones to a nearby park, the sun was shining, we played with buckets in the water and had lots of fun.

Once we arrived home I went immediately to see the goats. I was not prepared for the horror that I found.

Poor Penelope’s baby in the water bucket, he was dead.

How horribly ironic. Devastating.

I immediately removed him and seen if there was any possible chance to save him.

It’s days like this I make a really sucky farmer. Penelope bleated and bawled, frantically searching for her kid and I cried along with her most of the day.

My heart crushed with hers. I turned to other angora loving group members and shared my grief. Turns out babies in buckets are too often a tragedy. I learned pans are the way to go in kidding season. Shallow water, things that tip. In hindsight it seems such a foolish error. But that’s the thing about hindsight, the 20/20.

I share this story also in hopes of making others aware. We had no idea. Now we do. Maybe this can help someone else.

Today, we’ve taken a chance, and acquired two orphan lambs. Well what really happened is we’d briefly discussed finding an orphan lamb to have live with Penelope. Then today when Adam returned home, I was playing in the living room with our children when I heard the door close and a short little baaaaah! Surprise!

Suddenly two little lambs. One who had just been born today and one who is one week old. The children were ecstatic – myself, a bit of a shock, but like with most creatures, my heart was theirs just moments later.

Penelope has no kid, the lambs no mother. It’s a leap but a hopeful one. It can work. It has in the past. Our cow was an orphan. At that time we found a sannan goat to mother her. They were a wonderful pair. She was our first goat, her name was Penelope. She was amazing!

Penelope in this story is named after her, she is actually Penelope II.

Hopefully with some time she will accept the lambs. If not, it was an attempt and we will raise them ourselves. Penelope has provided them though, especially the brand new baby, with colostrum. A solid start. We tied her to a gate with some grain for a treat while letting the lambs eat. She doesn’t love them, yet. I have my fingers crossed though. Orphans don’t always make it either. So this story could end in a double dose of hurt. It’s worth a shot though. Their bellies are currently full and they are enjoying time in their Hawaii hut, warm and happy.

Things don’t always turn out as you figured they might. But things do sort. Rainbows after the storm.

Lessons learned, never forgotten.

Rest In Peace our handsome Norbert.

Our Growing Family of Angora Goats

Well it’s been a few weeks now and our first two kids are growing like weeds! It was a surprise to be snuggling Gyda about a week and a half after she was born and feel tiny horns already sprouting. Astrid had her horns poking out just days later and weeds they have become! Growing so fast, jumping up and climbing on everything – baby goats are simply just so much fun!

We had two of our other does have their babies on the same day. Ranger, we woke up to find had twin bucks – coloured too!

Later that day after a trip to Wellington Fibres, a wonderful mill in beautiful Elora, we arrived home to find Marmalade had a gorgeous little buck, who is a beautiful colour as well.

Ranger we found the next day to not be doing so well. Sometimes being a mother is hard and she was quite unwell. We spent the entire evening helping her out, giving her molasses and warm water, and her mineral block, also getting her up to get her system going. During this time she was feeling quite terrible she had a hard time wanting to stand and feed her babies. We fed the baby who would accept it a bottle and all was good.

Thankfully the next morning was a brand new day and things have been perfect since. She has made a complete recovery and is also a wonderful mother.

Marmalade is our most shy angora goat and also the smallest in stature.She is enjoying a private pen with her buck still and doing great.

Our daily numerous visits with the goats is something we all enjoy. Goat hugs are amazing and their antics are truly hilarious.

Baby Angora Goats, Twin Girls!

A few days ago, on a very busy Monday evening , I arrived home to find Lagertha in labour. The telltale mucus plug having been dispelled, Lagertha standing or sitting and seemingly staring off into space were sure signs that her baby was soon on the way. After about an hour it was clear to see the contractions she was having. She settled herself down on the floor, cried out a few bleats and suddenly, a tiny white, nothing but legs baby was lying there! Being the cold night it was, we were prepared with some towels to dry baby off with. No sooner had I done so and set her baby down close to mother, that another baby arrived! It was still in the sac so I immediately broke it open and cleared the baby’s airway. Dried her off and set her down as well. Lagertha immediately began licking the babies and caring for them, this first time mommy is a pro!

We spent some more time drying them off, then put on their little coats and then we trailed off to bed. These types of events most often occur when you haven’t slept the night before, right?

I woke often, wondering if they were warm and fed and ok. Suddenly when morning was here I went to see, and all was wonderful. All three resting peacefully.

So a few days have now gone by, mommy and kids are doing great! It’s still cold, raining or snowing continuously it seems, but despite that the twins are staying warm and well. They have a small warming hut they can go into when they wish.

The first of the two born is completely white. We have named her Gyda. Her sister, who has a few brown hairs on her neck and back, we have named Astrid. They are so completely adorable and so much fun already. Gyda bleats and bleats if you handle her which sends our children into hysterics. Astrid on the other hand is a serious snuggle bug!

I have personally never seen an animal give birth, so being there for this was just amazing! Especially with my Lagertha – I love her so much!

We have some more kids expected soon, I can’t wait and hope I am lucky enough to be there for their birth too!

Easter and Waiting and Living Full Colour

Who knew that we would still be waiting on these kids to be born! I really thought they would have been here by now, especially when we had to be away for a night last week. I was so worried we would miss things – but I guess that is indeed the upside to we are still waiting! I will say too, lesson learned – no matter how busy life is, it is very important to write down the dates the billy goat visited with his friends so you can plan for births.

I have kept busy during the wait though. With four kids it’s always busy and go go go, but I did manage to have a half a day of dyeing squeezed in and oh it was wonderful! I kissed hubby good bye as he went off to work and instead of tackling the usual house chores I grabbed the dye pot and was off! I am so happy I did so. It was peaceful bliss dyeing before the kids woke up, then some more after the school drop offs. I ended up with eight colours and am obsessing over all the combinations I can make. With Easter weekend here, batt making has taken a back seat to precious time with family – which is fine with me, one day our home will be quiet and full of making time. As for now, time together just can’t be beat! But with that said, if I happen to find any free time, I know what I will be doing as the wool is finally dry now.

Happy Easter! May you all be blessed with lots of love and good food and memories to keep!

Our needle felted bunny and Easter eggs.

Anxiously Awaiting our First Kids

We are enjoying a sunshiny spring day here! Finally the sun has brought some warmth, but it is still dipping down to negative temperatures in the night.

Two of our angora goats are almost ready to birth their first ever kids. We have out our goat birthing kit ready to go, just in case the mothers need any help. It’s to the point now that we are checking on them every few hours, confident it will be soon. 
The anticipation of holding the cute little kids is strong amongst us all here!

I think the mothers to be are wishing so too as they have changed quite a bit in size.