I have been very busy in the last month, preparing for winter and making more space for the girls. The girl's barn was only 10'x14' and had only one kidding stall. The milking stand folds up and was in the main lounging area of the barn. This can make milking difficult with more than one doe in the room and no way to separate her. SO, I decided to take one side wall down and go out another 6 feet and make 2 kidding stalls and convert the old kidding pen into a separate milking parlor. Voila! Now it is 10'x20'. It took only 3 days to get it up and closed in, but then of course I had to tweak things to get it where I like it. Here are some pictures of the new barn as it is now:
Now I can lock up the 2 kids in a stall overnight and still have a stall open for kidding in the future (late January, yikes!) and milk my one doe who is still in milk without the other who is pregnant and dried off trying to bowl me over to get grain!
Leela is 2 months pregnant now and already you can tell she's pregnant! She had triplets this spring and I'm fairly sure she will again have multiples (praying for no quads!). Since she was a very mediocre mother for her first time, I will be prepared to "assist" her feeding the kids if she has more than 2. For her first freshening she picked one doeling to be her favorite and barely tolerated the other two! They managed to get enough to eat because they would watch carefully when her "favorite" was going in for some milk and one of the other of them would dash onto the other side to get some too. Consequently, the one favorite grew fat and the other two grew more slowly. I ended up keeping miss fatty (Khaki) who is old enough (and definitely BIG enough) to breed this month.
Snow is expected this weekend so I will be getting lots of deep straw in there today for them to snuggle into and stay warm. They do not have their full winter coats yet!
My six-month-fresh doe Leela was the first to come into heat. She and young buck Guchi were kissing through the fence and Leela would close her eyes. I was fascinated. Our senior buck, Toro, was standing off to the side and showing little interest while Leela and Guchi had a through-the-fence courtship. The boys share a fence with the girls here but have a two-strand hot wire down at their level to keep them from attempting to breed through the fence. They manage to get around that to kiss though because the girls are able to get their heads through the stock fence and reach down to kiss the boys. On a whim I decided to let Guchi in to breed Leela. I'm not sure why I felt so compelled but they were just so cute with their courtship going on and it seemed like she had chosen him. So I locked up the other girls in the barn and let Guchi in. The little guy performed perfectly but it was so funny to see Leela swing her head around each time he mounted and tried, as if to say "Well? Are you going to do it or what?" After 3 tries he got the full thrust and she tucked under. He didn't seem to have the energy to go again so I put him back with the bucks. Now Toro was MAD. He chased poor Guchi all over letting him know he was not happy. Ah well. It's been almost 4 weeks now and Leela did not come back into heat so I'm sure we're having Guchi babies in late January.
I love to tell the story of how I came to have these wonderful goats. I have dreamed for many years of growing my own food and being self-sufficient so when I bought my property I set out right away putting in gardens and an aquaponics system. Fast forward 2 years, my neighbor went on a special diet and couldn't have any dairy so she offered me her fresh raw goats milk she had purchased at the farmer's market. Well, I just fell in love with it! I quickly realized I couldn't afford to buy this wonderful milk but then I had a thought... I could get my OWN goats and have milk and cheese right here! Little did I know I would fall so in love with the goats!