Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lester Flatt

Sorry no posts  but I have a sick baby goat. One of Nannie's boys caught a chill and now has a cold. I tried keeping him in the stall under a heat lamp while doctoring him but Nannie kept going and nudging him out in the pen. I know she wanted him in the sunshine but it was so windy he really got chilled so in the house he came. I am getting up every 2 hours during the night to give him a bottle and taking him to his mom every 2 hours during the day to nurse. I named them Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (if you are as old as me you know who they are named after)  With doing checks on the pregnant goats during the night and feedings I am not even sure what day it is anymore. Hopefully Lester (the white with a little black on him kid) will soon be well, back with his mom and brother so they can go back to their own farm. Time to go wipe his butt... had forgotten how hard it is to clean off that yellow sticky poo from a tiny goat butt. LOL

Lester has a rolled up hand towel to keep his head propped to help with breathing. Rusty was kind and let him use one of his doggie beds. I think Lester is getting a little bit spoiled.
Don't forget to count those blessings!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's Not Spring Yet!

Winter can't be over. It's still February for gosh sakes. Too early for flowers and robins and warm weather. Old Man Winter don't give up and go away yet.... Please give us a little more winter weather before the heat and humidity take over.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Twin Boys


I could tell Nannie was in the early stages of labor when I fed this morning. She wouldn't eat. Stayed off by herself and would stare off into space during contractions. I kept an eye on her throughout the day and had my birthing kit sitting on the table outside the goat pen ready and waiting. This afternoon she would do some crying and stretching. Some laying down and getting up episodes so I knew it would be soon. I was giving the goats some wheat bread as a treat when she really cried out. After checking and seeing this:

  I grabbed the birthing kit and camera. I had tried putting Nannie in a stall earlier but she did not like that at all so let her out and she picked underneath the spools the goats climb on to give birth. I put down bedding so everything would at least be clean for her. The kid was coming head first still in the sack. I popped the sack and cleaned out the kids mouth so it could breathe.
 After a few more pushes and a little bit of pulling from me Nannie had a baby boy.
 I finished cleaning its mouth and was drying it off when Nannie gave another cry and out popped baby boy number two! I grabbed him up and cleaned out his mouth and started drying him off. Nannie finished cleaning baby number one and then took over cleaning baby number two. No one can clean a baby better than mommy.
  After a nice bowl of warm molasses water and a bowl of feed for Nannie and a little milk from mommy for the babies everyone is resting in a goat stall. She finally let me move her and the babies so they could have some alone time. The other goats all wanted to meet the babies so Nannie was happy to take the babies to a nice warm stall away from prying eyes.
Nannie and boys will be going back to their home soon. I promise not to get attached and try to keep them here. Afterall the owner of these goats might not let me take care of his goats if I am going to try to keep them all. LOL    Now if Hayley and Buttons would get busy we could have Hidden Haven babies!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Sunny Day On The Homestead

I have to admit I have been making good use of these beautiful, warm, sunny days. I am spending most of the time outdoors either catching up on chores or just sitting in the sun with whatever animals wander over to enjoy it with me. Baby Lexie is growing like a weed! Her mommy Sissy will be staying here for a bit before going back to her owner. I have done a little trading and Lexie will be calling Hidden Haven home! Traded a pig for her and believe me I got the better end of the trade. Her mommy Sissy will stay here until Lexie is weaned.

Sissy is a loving and watchful mommy to Lexie and actually growls like a dog at me when I pick Lexie up. She makes sure to stay right next to me while I have her baby.
I also have 2 other pregnant goats from the same owner. He will be taking them home when they kid and I have promised myself not to get attached to their babies. This is Brownie and will be her first kidding.

And this is little Andy smiling. He thinks he is a big buck and loves to head butt the other goats.

And these are my helpers. I was putting fresh bedding in the stalls and goat houses and everyone decided to "help"

The little white goat in the back with the beard is Nannie. She is the other goat I am taking care of till she kids. She is a old pro at kidding so she won't need any help from me.  I have spent way too much time in the goat pens today and didn't get other things done. Tomorrow I will have to spend some time in the chicken pens cleaning the laying boxes and putting in fresh straw. The rabbits are due to start having babies so will be spending time with them making sure things are going smoothly. It is suppose to be nice all the way through next week with Friday's temp being 78F! With these temps in February I can only imagine how hot and humid it will be this summer.
Don't forget to count your blessings! Even those that are hidden and hard to see.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I just love Sunday's. Even though its still the same feeding, watering ,etc as every other day everyone and everything seems to want to go at a slower, more enjoyable pace. While doing morning chores I decided to let Bella off her runner. I walked her around the outter edge of the goat pen and she stayed right by my side She would walk and stop on command. I was so proud of her. After morning chores I got out the leash and expected  she would be nervous and not obey any commands since she had never been leashed trained. She did wonderfully. I took her on a walk around our property and even stopped by the other dogs so they could sniff and get use to each other. Bella acted like a lady. Tinker is out of the goat pen for now. She thinks baby goats are toys so has been banned until we get her house moved to the pen with the Jolly and Andy. But Bella met Tinker and when Tinker tried to paw at her or jump Bella would step back and lay her paw gently on Tinker as if to be telling her no in a nice way. She never growled or barked. Just sat or stood quietly while Tinker jumped around like the pup she is (though she weighs 85lbs). I took Bella back to the goat pen and removed the leash.Right away she walked around checking on each goat and sniffing the air to make sure everything was safe. She went to Lexie (Sissy's kid) and gently sniffed and licked her to make sure she was okay then went and sat down where she could keep an eye on the herd. I left her off the runner all day but put her back on for the night. She still goes to the part of the fence she use to get out of when we first got her and just sits and stares off into the woods. I know she misses that freedom to roam that she got for the first time in her life but am hoping she will soon lose that desire and want to stay with her herd.  I am very proud of how far she has come from the dog I couldn't get my hands on to one that greets me at the gate, wagging her tail and wanting her belly rubbed. She knows and obeys the commands: come, stay, sit, and is learning bring to which means bring the goat to me when I point and voice the command. She is very gentle with the all the goats but makes them behave. Buttons and Nannie were butting heads and Bella walked over and stood between them. They stopped and walked away. Jolly was pushing Andy around and Bella went over and nudged Jolly and then stood over Andy. Jolly just walked off. I am so blessed to have her watch over the goats. Now if she can just teach Tinker some of her behavior!  Don't forget to count those blessings... no matter how hidden they may be.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Answering A Question

I got a email asking if I could explain what happened with the baby goat and how we knew before she was all the way out that she was dead. We saw one hoof and waited a minute or two to see if the other was going to come out. When it didn't William went to help. Baby goats normally come out front two feet first then the head. When he checked Blackie he felt the other foot bent behind the head with the cord pinched in the bend of the leg. This cut off oxygen to the baby goat causing it to have the reaction to start breathing. By trying to breathe it inhaled the fluids and drown. It took several minutes for William to get the head through the cervix after he had gotten the other leg straightened out. This was several minutes that the baby goat wasn't getting any oxygen. We knew she was gone but we couldn't give up without giving the baby goat every chance possible. We worked on her for over 15 minutes without getting any response. It happens and you feel like you failed even though you know you did every single thing possible. It was a normal pregnancy and normal labor. The problem occurred because the baby goat was so big and because going down the birth canal its leg bent back catching the cord and pinching it. A lot of goat owners say goats have been having babies for hundreds of years and don't need them around to help. Well my answer to that is yes, they did but the fatality rate was much higher. If you are going to have goats I think you should take the responsibility and make sure you keep them healthy and happy as possible. I make sure they get all their vaccines and worming on schedule. Until this years mishap I make sure I know the breeding and due dates on all our animals. We make sure to have everything we need to medicate, treat, help deliver, etc for all our animals. My goal now is to save up for a portable ultrasound machine for goats. That will help us know for sure they are pregnant after a breeding and how many. It will also let us see the positons, etc when labor begins and maybe keep cord problems from happening but it won't prevent things like last night from happening at all. Things happen in animal births that we just can't forsee or prevent. If you have done everything you could possibly do, then understand you are going to have that guilt. You are going to second guess everything you did. You are going to feel terrible but like I said before. You are going to find that strength, that courage, that faith, and that love for your animals to go forward. You will find when you have that wonderful birth of your next baby goat or goats a wonderful sense of contentment. A feeling of pride. A sense of love of having chosen farmlife. You will know that it was worth it. Every little thing that had gone wrong before was worth the experience and the learning to be able to be right where you are, helping a miracle happen. Helping your goat deliver its baby and holding your breath as it takes its first one. Don't give up or don't be afraid to have more goats. Bad things happen but the good ones far out weigh those. I hope I answered your questions and explained what happened. If you have more just let me know

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sometimes It Happens

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you pray, you lose a animal. Today Blackie, one of our Nigerian Dwarf goats showed signs of early labor. She wanted to be away from the herd. She was stretching,pawing, staring off into space for several seconds at a time. We put down fresh bedding and straw in the stall next to Sissy and Lexie (momma and baby from yesterday). Since it was still early labor I gave her a bucket of warm molasses water, a little grain, and a slice of bread. She nibbled on her bread, ate all her grain and drank a few sips of water. Then the labor really started.

Blackie started out in the corner on her side pushing her head against the wall. Then the contractions became stronger and as this was her first she was scared and started moving around. Wondering what was going on in her body she would look at us as if she wanted us to make it go away.

Her labor went on for about 15 minutes when we saw that the kid wasn't going to go be able to be born on its own. William went in to help and Blackie sensing that we were there to help didn't mind at all.

The baby goats head was too big and one leg was bent back. William worked for almost 5 minutes getting it out though we knew she was already dead. There was no movement when he went in to help the baby goat. When he finally got her out with Blackie doing wonderfully in pushing or laying still at just the right times, we cleaned her nose and mouth, suctioned, turned her upside down, shook her, rubbed her, even did CPR but couldn't get the little doeling to draw the first breath. Sometimes your best just isn't good enough and you aren't able to save a baby goat. This darling baby goat was big. Blackie is a Nigerian Dwarf and the only bucks we have are Nigerian Dwarf. Nigerian Dwarf have very tiny babies compared to regular size goats. This baby goat was the size of a regular baby goat.  We understood why Blackie couldn't deliver her on her own. The only thing we can figure is in the genetics somewhere in Blackie or Little Man made this baby goat be bigger than a normal dwarf goat baby. It was heartbreaking for us. As soon as she was born Blackie knew. She didn't try to see her or help clean her. She just turned her head away.After we stopped working on the baby goat and cleaned everything up Blackie got up and drank some warm molasses water and ate a little grain before laying down again to rest. I have been out several times and she is doing well. I worried about Sissy being in the next stall with her baby but Blackie isn't paying them any attention. Below  are a couple of photos of  Blackies baby girl if you choose to scroll down. I am writing this post because several of my blog neighbors are starting their kidding season. Some for the first time. I want them to know that no matter how many years you have been doing this, no matter how experienced you are there are going to be times like this. You cry, your heart is aching, you even feel like you should have done more or tried something different. Understand that  sometimes it just happens. Sometimes its just not meant to be. You don't forget this little one. You mourn because it was part of your animal family. You comfort and give a little extra love to the momma goat and you find you have the strength , courage, and faith for the next kidding due anytime. It's a part of life that none of us want but have to accept and know we did our best.  Blackie did her best and next year I know she will have that baby she tried hard to have this year.

Little Frosty may not have taken her first breath but she is loved and will be missed very much. And will always be a part of Hidden Haven.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Lexie

We finally had the first baby goat born for this year, only it isn't a Hidden Haven goat. Sissy is one of the goats I am taking care of for a friend while they try to get moved and work fulltime. Sissy is one of 3 staying here and letting me play midwife. She needed no help in the labor and delivery from me. I did get to clean up the little girl, dry her off and put a nice warm sweater on her. I also got to teach her how to find where the milk comes from and how to latch on and drink. Sissy usually won't let me near her unless I have food but today she trusted me with her baby. She even licked the back of my neck while I was bent over teaching Lexie how to nurse. She wouldn't let me cut the cord though. Each time I tried to get near Lexie with the dental floss to tie the cord and the scissors Sissy would scold me and step inbetween me and Lexie. Had to wait for William to come home to help. So the picture of Lexie still has her cord hanging down. I only took one picture because I was so busy trying to get the little one to drink and get some nourishment before the cold snowy weather hits tonight. Momma and baby are doing fine. Me I am happy because I get some hot, fresh Krispie Kreme donuts! I won a bet. The owner of  Sissy and William didn't believe me when I told we would have goat babies today. We had checked all the goats and none were in labor. Told them it didn't matter what they saw we were going to have goat babies today. I bet them a dollar to a donut and if I won I got Krispie Kreme.... I won! And I will still be going out all during the night to check on the other goats. Its suppose to snow tonight and we all know goats pick bad weather to go into to labor. Maybe I will get a whole dozen donuts!!!!

Yes, I Am Rude

Show up at the homestead before 9AM or after 4PM wanting to purchase eggs, a animal, ask questions, or for a tour of the place to meet the animals and you will probably encounter my rudeness. Most of you already know animals come first around here. When my feet hit the floor I am letting dogs out, turning on the spiget so the cat can have his drink, uncovering and feeding the birds, feeding 3 baby bunnies a bottle, cleaning their cage and giving the food and water. Letting the dogs back in and feeding them then getting dressed and out the door to feed goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, geese,  turkey,ducks, and dogs. All of this before I have even had a glass of juice or cup of tea. After feeding is watering and any medications that need to be given. Most times I end up cleaning a few cages or water bowls before I finally make my way inside to feed myself. Breakfast is usually brunch as its around 10 or 10:30 before I get a chance to eat. At 4PM I am back doing the same things again for evening feeding and making sure everyone has dry warm bedding for the night and plenty of water. When someone shows up during these times it takes me away from the animals feeding schedule. They are use to their routine and when I have to stop you can hear them all around the neighborhood voicing their opinion on the matter. Yes, they are spoiled and could wait but then that also means I have to wait even longer to feed myself and that means all the other chores waiting on me will be even later getting done or put off till another day. I love having visitors!  I also tell them when they call what is a good time to come. Most honor those time frames. A few don't and even a few of those thought I was rude because I wouldn't stop in the middle of feeding my animals to talk with them and show their children the animals so they could pet them. Saying it will only take a minute??? Yeah, only a minute to let a child into the goat pen where the goats are wanting to see a feed bucket and not little hands wanting to pet. Only a minute to walk to each of the rabbit cages, tell the kids the rabbits names and let them hold and pet them. Then to walk around to the pens so they can visit Baby the turkey that thinks she is human. None of this can be done in a minute. And in that time I have animals getting upset over not getting their food. I want to take time to show you around. I want to take time to answer your questions. I want to take time to sell you fresh farm eggs or a laying hen or baby bunny. I want to take time to enjoy your visit and for you to enjoy your visit too. But don't show up before 9 or after 4 when have been asked not to and then think I am rude for not stopping in the middle of feeding. I will gladly stop mucking stalls, cleaning cages, etc throughout the day to talk, visit, feel free to stop by. Any day of the week, I don't mind at all. Just don't show up at feeding times and expect me to stop everything just for you. Yes, I am rude and will never change.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Around The Homestead

Bella is smiling! She is still on a runner in the goat pen but is very happy with the goats and has a bed buddy in Andy. He snuggles right up to Bella at night and they seem to sleep well together. We have moved Tinker back into the goat pen. She is on a runner at the upper end of the pen and Bella is in the middle part. Buttons loves Tinker and they are bed buddies so it works out with each dog having a friend and watching over the whole herd together.

Tinker and Bella can get close to each other but not touch. This will help them get use to each other before being allowed off the runners.

I am hoping Hayley decides to move down to a stall to deliver. If not I hope for a easy healthy delivery as I don't see myself fitting into a igloo doghouse helping a goat in labor. She has Precious and Blackie giving her moral support.
I think with all the rain we had the past few days that all the goats want to stay up and away from all the mud. And we are getting more rain tonight and tomorrow. I may just join them up there!  The baby monitor is in place so I am able to hear how things are going in the goat pen. And since the dogs are both in the pen I am using another monitor. This one I reversed so I can talk to them and they can hear me. That way if they bark or I hear anything that I shouldn't I can speak to them without walking all the way out to the pen. There is no hitting a snooze button around here. With the monitor on I can hear all the goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, and dogs, letting me know they are hungry and its time for me to get outside. The minute they see the kitchen light go on their volume goes way up.
Andy is doing really well though he needs to learn to eat the hay and leave the straw bedding alone. Buttons is still waddling along. I think she still has a couple weeks but what do I know since I let the dang buck stay in the pen with them!

Things around the homestead are keeping me busy. Garden planning has started and seeds are being ordered. Herb garden is going to be bigger and better than ever this year so I am really excited. We have a chance of snow Thursday so am looking forward to that though I doubt it will be much if any. I ask if you would please keep my daughter Megan in your thoughts and prayers. She is having unexpected surgery today and is very upset. I know she is a strong young lady but sometimes we all feel like we have reached the end of our rope. Praying she comes through this well and her life is overflowing with blessings.   Wishing each of you a blessed day. Don't forget to count your blessings.... even those that are hidden and hard to find.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzards, Heatwave, and Bella

Catching up on my blog neighbors I read about the snowstorms, blizzards, ice storms, and very frigid temps. I am very happy each of you were prepared and are warm, snug, with plenty of food and water to carry you through. Here alas its warm weather. Tomorrow is going to be 71F. Most of you are wanting to throw snowballs at me for that weather but I would gladly trade. I am a winter person and would love being hunkered down for a blizzard. Fighting the wind and snow to go check on the animals all snug in their stalls, houses, etc then coming in to enjoy the warm fire in the stove and a big mug of hot chocolate. Catching up on my reading while listening to the wind howl. Waking up to a blanket of white on everything and the peaceful comforting feeling you get after the storm  has passed. So stay safe and snug my winter storm blog friends and neighbors. Will keep you in my prayers and try not to let the green eyed jealous monster overtake me.

On a different note I have been busy working with Bella. She is a Great Pyrenees that was given to us. She is 2 and a half years old and never been collar or leash trained. She spent her life in a goat pen with minimal human contact. When her owner sold the goats Bella got depressed and starting getting out of the pen and they were afraid she would get hit by a car so was offered to us. We have Tinker (Great Pyrenees/Antonin Shepard ) 9 month old, 85lb puppy that William is training to guard our goats so we had to do a little rearranging. Tinker is good about protecting the goats but is too rough with them wanting to play. She is now out of the goat pen except when we take her in and stay with her. Bella is in full time and knows her job. The only problem we had was when we brought Bella home (huge dog rode in my lap home) she slipped out of her collar and ran off. She had never been free before so for 2 days I had to win her trust back to let me touch her when she would come to the goat pen. We fixed a spot in the fence for her to get in and she would spend the night with the goats but the minute I went out to feed she would leave and run the woods during the day. When I finally got her use to my handling her and hand feeding her I slipped a stronger collar on. After a few hours I tempted her with food back to the goat pen where I put her on a runner. She is in the middle of the goat pen where she can run or patrol up and down the whole pen. She just can't get to the sides so she can't get out. I hope after a week or so to take her off the runner and let her be free in the whole goat pen and pasture. She was mad at first and tried to get off the runner but I held, rubbed, and talked to her where she calmed down. She wags her tail and comes to meet me when I go out now which makes me feel better. Its raining so she is in a stall with Andy all snuggled down. 2 of the other goats are sleeping in the big doghouse. Go figure huh! So its been a stressful few days but Bella my sweet wonderful dog is settling in and doing a wonderful job with the goats. Once things settle for good Bella  will have charge of the mom and babies and Tinker can have charge of the bucks, and none momma goats. Bella is calm and wants to make friends with Tinker but Tinker wants to jump, and run over Bella. William has a bit more training to do with his big puppy before the two share guard duty. But I am very thankful to Amy in Dunn, NC for choosing Hidden Haven as the new home for her Bella. And I am very blessed Bella liked me enough to let me bond with her and that she is such a tender, caring, guard dog for my goats. So that's what is going on in my part of the world. Hopefully soon there will be baby goats pictures to post. That is if the girls ever decide to start kidding. Have a blessed night. Don't forget to count those blessings ...even the hidden ones!

This was Bella sneaking out of the goat pen when I went out to feed. I will post better pictures soon now that she is staying in the pen.