Well, here it is, February 28th. It’s been a long, cold winter. I’ve always thought February is twice as long as any other month, calendar evidence to the contrary. After the excitement leading up to Christmas, the “new slate” euphoria of New Year’s, I manage to get through January. But then, February arrives. The holidays are in the past. Spring is weeks and weeks away. The goats are all bred, and the new kids are far in the future. Life is in a holding pattern.
But wait! The days are now decidely longer. The chickens are starting to lay again, after a six-week hiatus (store-bought eggs are absolutely nothing compared to farm-fresh by the way). The geese have paired up and have even laid a couple of big goose eggs. Last week, we sighted a Great Blue Heron (boy, did he take a wrong turn at Albuquerque). And best of all, the first goat kid was born last Saturday night!
I bought two bred goats in November, a Saanen and her 1/2 LaMancha daughter. The seller didn’t have an exact date, just “end of February” so for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching closely. On Thursday, I got the feeling that just maybe, I should put them into a separate pen with lots of clean straw. On Friday, I did my last “butt check” at around 11 pm, and was out at 4am to check again. Nothing. Back again at 8am, after milking the neighbour’s cows, still nothing. In and out of the barn every couple of hours all day Saturday, and then, when I was putting away the first of my two milking does, I noticed her lay down and give a couple of serious pushes. I brought out the second doe, and started milking her, and I could hear some pretty serious grunting going on.
I watched her for a little while, and wasn’t seeing a lot of progress, so I went in and scrubbed up, came back and had a feel to see if there was a problem. Nope, there’s a nose and what I thought was two hooves. More grunting and pushing, followed up by a lot of panting, and a worried look, so I went in again. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t two hooves, it was one rather large hoof! I pushed the baby back to give me more room, felt around and found the second front leg and brought it forward, thinking that would do the trick. Nope.
To make a long story short, after about 20 minutes of pulling in time with her contractions, we managed to produce a large buck kid. He’s 1/2 LaMancha, all white, with silly little ears, and he’s a BIG boy. After a couple of days, he’s doing very well – getting lots to eat with no siblings to compete with.
So, to answer my original question, “is it spring yet?” – No, but we’re getting there!