We were all packed for our weekend in Brooklyn and were getting ready to take the kids into town for a quick bite to eat. It was Thursday night and we were going to be heading down to the city midday Friday. In my heart of hearts, I just knew Cindy would kid while we were all away. Everyone always told us that sheep and goats love to pick the worst weather/timing/location for birthing, like they’ve got some sinister internal clock specifically set to “mess with farmer.” Before we headed into town, Dave went down to quickly check on Cindy. Within a minute, my phone was ringing. The kids were coming!
Typically, goats have a 150 day gestation, give or take a few days. We were told that Cindy would kid sometime during the first week of June, but when that came and went and then three more days passed, we figured we’d been misinformed. We also had had a visit from our experienced goat-birthing-farmer friends who took one look at Cindy, laughed and shook their heads, and said that Cindy had at least two more weeks to go, maybe three.
So, just as we’d let our guard down, those babies decided they were ready to be born. They were one week “late” and they were perfect.
By the time the girls and I ran down to the shed, the first baby was already born. She was tiny and beautiful. Her brother came along just minutes later. Both kids were born easily and without the need for any assistance.
Cindy was clearly a great mom from the get-go. She was attentive–immediately licking her babies equally and keeping them close by for warmth.
It was hard not to pick the kids up right away, but we knew it was important to let them bond with their mama. After we waited as long as we could stand it, we started holding them, helping them learn to nurse, and gently reveling in the wonder of newly-born goats.
Over the past few days, we’ve watched them learn to nurse with remarkable efficiency, let them scramble all over their shed, the ground, their mama, our bodies, and basically any surface they encounter, and taken them on a little outing to the “big” field on the other side of the yard. They are friendly and playful and we can’t quite believe they have come to live at our little farm.
As a delicious bonus, Cindy has proven to be a bounty of milk. We worried at first that the girl kid wasn’t getting enough milk because she would only nurse for a few seconds at a time. When we tried milking Cindy that first evening, however, we realized that we were able to get almost two ounces of milk in just a few pulls! This morning, Dave got her to settle down in the milking stand and walked away with a full quart of milk!
Check back with us soon to see how we are progressing with our plans for making our own goat’s milk cheese. We hope to make vegetarian rennet with stinging nettles, and create a small cave as well!
Those babies are precious!
I’m totally in for some of that goat cheese! Great pix!
What fun! I love them!
“…create a small cave…” Is the cave for the cheese perhaps?
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