Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out of the nursery...

Throughout April kids continued to be born, and each time we took them to the pen in the basement to join their older cousins, we were amazed at how fast the older ones were growing.

A brand-new kid is the size of a small cat, if you don't count the long legs. Or the size of a man's shoe, plus legs. They stand within an hour of birth, and start to bounce and kick an hour after that, if they're still awake.

But a week later, they are noticeably bigger, and their skills are equally more impressive.

The baby goats were all 'on the ground' and well. We moved them from the pen in the basement as soon as they were big enough to step over the fencing. We were amazed at how fast they'd grown. They went out to the 'kid yard', where they continued to 'popcorn', as we called it.

They still needed to be fed by a bottle, but that was no problem now that the weather was nice. We'd fill up the pop bottles to the top, cap them, and send them out two by two in the arms of the human kids. They'd prop the bottles under their elbows and the babies sucked them dry in about 2 minutes.

We let them have as much as they wanted. There was plenty.

But the milking routine now took longer: gather equipment, put the goats on the stand, milk out the half gallon or so they gave per milking, run it into the kitchen for filtering and pouring into bottles through a funnel, run back out with the bottles and feed the babies, who knew the routine and were crying lustily.

You could tell when a baby was full because his sides stood out and he'd begin to stagger. Soon he'd crawl into the pile of already sleeping babies and doze off.

By the end of April only the tiniest babies remained in the basement, but we decided not to keep them there. We moved them out with the other babies and they learned the routine quickly.

It remained only to dismantle the nursery and haul the used bedding to the garden. The plastic tarp that we had put down under the bedding, before the first baby was born, made the clean-up fairly easy. We dragged the sheet up the stairs and out the bulk head and around to the garden, where it helped nourish the roots of our future meals.

Our first kidding season was over. Our older bucklings were leaving for their new homes, mostly in suburbia. We were working from dawn till sunset and beyond. And we had a new habit called 'goat TV', which was the pastime of standing and watching the babies cavort to express their joy of being alive.

1 comment:

Tessie258 said...

Yeah! babies! they are too cute!!
I love the last video the most he was super cute.