Years ago Ben’s parents had this metal sign made for us. At the time we were living in a small San Antonio neighborhood and I couldn’t fathom any reason why I would or should have a sign with our name and a chicken in my house.
Little did any of us know what foreboding the chicken sign would have on my life now.
For years I lugged that thing around. Hiding it in closets, underbeds, the back of the utility room. I was all for the country, distressed look but a chicken?! Really?!
Then we moved to the woods. And not just any woods. Two acres of overgrown, barely cleared for the house, snaky woods.
Soon came the goats.
“But why?!” I asked
To clear the pens and chicken coup.
So we can have chickens.
And there I was. Finally in a situation where the chicken sign could come home to roost. And I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Well I would add more land for more goats and chickens and a barn and more gardens and OH a tractor and for me to be able to stay home and take care of all this stuff. But all of that is yet to come.
I had a sign.
|She’s wondering why she can’t have a #nipplebucket like the baby goats at the Beekman Farm.|
I’ve started to tell this story so many times only to have what I thought was an ending change and change and change.
Our livestock charges have been on the calm side as of late. We have secured most of the old fencing so as long as the gate is closed we have very little escape goat acts anymore. And our prison fence high chicken run has helped to do away with the untimely ends of our feathered friends.
But baby goat season is never with out it’s share of farm drama. This year was more of a rollercoaster than any of the daytime soaps of my youth, or my daughter’s ABCFamily favorites or even the last two seasons of Downton Abbey.
Late Thursday afternoon Pickles went into labor.As the sun set and the chill set in Ben and I stood vigil with head lamps strapped to our foreheads waiting.
Baby boy #1 was born just fine. He was all white just like his mom except for little black and brown spot on his forehead and ears. Momma started to lick him clean as baby #2 was making its way.
This is where I start to look back and kick myself for my ignorance. Where I wonder what are we doing even thinking we can raise livestock. We really suck at this whole farming gig.
Baby girl #2 was breach. And try as we could we couldn’t get the fluid out of her little lungs. Her heart pumped and pumped until it didn’t anymore. I tried to comfort Luke as he looked on in tears. They love to see the babies being born. But sometimes the harsh reality of it all is too much for him. For all the kids. For all of us.
We once again worried about a repeat of last year. Was there still another? We checked more thoroughly this time but still couldn’t tell. And Pickles seemed to be done with birthing babies. We staggered in to wash ourselves of the mud, blood & poop. But somehow couldn’t wash away the sadness. I started to bed with notion that these things happen sometimes only to let the guilt of our ignorance overwhelm me as Ben read about “throwing a goat” or something when their lungs were full of fluid. I really wished he hadn’t shared it. Keep it for next year.
But then the impossible happened. Ben came home during the day on Friday to get something and 18 hours after the first baby was born Pickles had given birth to another goat! There were 3 after all! A little girl, finally. Unfortunately Pickle didn’t want her. It was so heart breaking to see her push the baby away. I’ve had so many people express their surprise and disbelief that a mother would do that. This is where I have to remind them we are dealing with animals and try as we want to give them names and act like their instincts are ours at the end of the day they are still animals.
Pickles was still having a lot of after birth problems. So much so that by the time I am writing this she is baby-less. We have decided not to breed her again. Its just not good for her or the babies.
By Saturday it was clear that we would need to start bottle feeding her if she were to stand a chance. So in the middle of history day presentations and family reunion 50th wedding anniversaries I was trying to figure out how to to get the poor little orphaned goat to take a bottle.
Like goat milk formula (yes, they do have such a thing) through the baby bottle, so are the Days of Our Farm Lives.
Happy Daylight Saving Time, which means……. It’s baby goat time again. Not just at The Darley Farm but all over the goat loving world.
Patches had a little boy Sunday morning. We had Luke’s birthday party on Saturday and felt sure that all of the kids were going to get a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget in child birthing.
Pickles is still very pregnant and looks very miserable just like a human momma in the last stages. We are sure she will at least have twins. I am nervous and hope to be around when she does go into labor just because she had so much trouble last year. We still have her baby Snowball with us from last year. He was wethered last season and still keeps pretty close to mom. It will be interesting to see if that all changes once the new babies arrive.
Try as I have I’m just not a fan of the taste of goat meat. And I’m not saying this because they are too cute and I couldn’t bare the thought of eating them. I’m just not a fan of the flavor. So what are we to do with all of these goats that we keep acquiring? I’m dreaming of Angoras and Ben is looking into a milking machine. I must say that I do LOVE goat cheese and have found that goat milk soap is the best around for a facial cleanser. And it does pretty good on the hair as well. Maybe that is in the horizon. We will have our own little Beekman 1802. Not sure when Ben will find the time to do all the milking.
Speaking of the Beekmans. I am every so lucky to have signed up to beta test their baby goat cam. Can I just say it’s the cutest this around. I just got to see Farmer John come in and tie up a light higher that the babies kept swinging like a pinata. When they are all awake it’s like watching a baby goat pinball machine or a baby goat version of the West Side Story as they dance down the street. Baby goat parkour! The Beekman baby goat cam will be live to the public hopefully sometime this week. So stay tuned. I promise there is nothing that will brighten your Monday morning like a stall full of baby goats.