By definition a farm is land used for cultivating crops or raising animals for food. I believe a farm is also a special setting where a family can grow together and learn simple life lessons. Some lessons are happy such as, how do chicks hatch? While some lessons are sad, why did our baby goat die?
Why did our baby goat die? This is the question that has been troubling our little farm over the week. One of our does, Fauna, kidded the week before Easter. She had one buck and one doe. The doe was smaller and Fauna ignored it for a while so we brought it inside to warm up and feed it a little milk until she was strong enough to go back outside with her mother. A week or so passed and both were healthy so we burned their little horn buds off. By the next morning they were jumping around as if nothing had happened.
A few days later we decided it was time to let them outside for the whole day. They had been outside before but only for a few short hours at a time. Long enough for Fauna to get some fresh air and the babies to play around outside. We put them outside in our winter pasture with our other doe, Nora. Nora and Fauna butted heads a bit but they usually do especially when they are separated for a while. Nora didn’t seem bothered by the kids, she sniffed them then ignored them. When we brought them in that night they were still happily jumping around but when it was chore time the next morning the little buck was dead.
Not once since we started raising goats have we had a kid die at three weeks old. We have had a few die a day or two after being born but never have any died in the night halfway to weaning age. It is a sad mystery as to what happened.
My son Lucian helped my husband bury the little goat and he was sad also. He said, “It died before it had a name.” Granted we don’t always name the goats we intend to sell but it is a little sad that the little fella didn’t have a name before he passed.
As the farmer I have to look at the cold reality of monetary loss. The sale of the kids usually pays for all or most of the hay the goats will eat over winter. I’m going to have to make up for the loss of the kid with milk sales, hopefully.
The kids (my human ones) learned a little lesson about life on a farm. A farm is a place where animals are born and where they die.
Lucian figured out where we could get a new buck for the fall completely on his own. Out of the blue one day he said, “We should get a new billy goat from Papa Kenny’s and bring him home to live with us.”
Papa Kenny is Trenton’s uncle and he lives about 5 hours west of where we are.
Trenton’s uncle told Lucian that he could have one of his baby goats as long as he thought of a good name for it that wasn’t “Billy.”
So when we went to visit Lucian told his Papa Kenny that he wanted to name his new goat Frank. He looked over the three or four males in the pen and picked out a great looking Toggenburg buck. Kenny threw in a two horse trailer he didn’t need any more so Frank had a comfortable ride back to Wisconsin (which was awesome) and so we have our new addition to the farm. A great big Thank You to Ken and Lori for the goat and the trailer.
On a farm animals tend to come and go. Sometimes it can be hard for Lucian when an animal goes to a new home but he is still young so he has a tendency to forget after a while. Or so I think, but he has the memory of an elephant and will ask why an animal had to go to a new home months later. For example, we sold our Billy goat last fall after breeding season for a few different reasons.
- We kept one of his daughters so we would need a new breeding buck anyway.
- He was getting aggressive as he matured and had become hard to handle safetly. We kept him for three years which is the longest we have kept a buck.
His question last week was, “Why did Billy have to go to a new home? I really liked him. Was he getting too mean with his horns?”
He understands why he needed to go to a new home but he has to mull over changes for a while. I hope we are able to keep Frank for a good long time and when he is ready for a new home Lucian will be old enough to fully grasp the reasons why without getting too upset.
We had been watching the goats very closely for the last week and finally the kids are here!
We have two mama goats on our little farm: Nora and Fauna. Nora always has her kids first and that has not changed this year. I went to the bank and when I came back she had one baby on the ground. I sat on a little wagon a ways away and waited to see if anymore would appear. Before too long she pushed out another one and much to my surprise a short bit later one more popped out feet first. Triplets! This is the second time Nora has delivered triplets but last year one of them died soon after birth. All three are healthy bouncy kids.
Two days later I had to work for a few hours in the morning. Trenton and the kids came into town and we had lunch together before heading home. After settling Lucian and Fiona down for a nap we went outside to get a few boards to start building the duck coop. I could hear the goat kids making noises like they were lost so I went to see who was stuck. Goat kids do not stay in fences until they are at least a month old and don’t fit through tiny spaces you think only a cat can fit through anymore. I looked into their shelter and behold Fauna had triplets also! All I have to do is leave for a few hours and that’s when the goats will kid.
We have never had so many healthy kids before!
The kids, my kids, love to play with the babies and the babies love to play with them. It is always fun to have spring babies. This picture is of Lucian, Fiona and Natalie (Nora’s kid from last spring.)
. Chicks, kids, and soon ducklings. Spring has finally sprung.