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It’s Hard to Raise a Good Kid January 31, 2008

Posted by Laura in Farm.

We haven’t blogged about the goats of late, but they’re still around.  They aren’t big respecters of fences, especially barbed wire ones, so they’ve kept us on our toes.  We’ve fenced and re-fenced.  (Well, Joe has done the lion’s share of this- I like to help whenever I can, but Lydia is mobile now.  No more plunking her on a blanket and getting something done).  The perimeter of the property is slowly being redone in a combination of sturdy woven wire over barbed wire.  The cross fences are mostly electric.  You’d think that would be sufficient, especially since Joe got a 50 mile 10,000 volt charger.  As we explained to the kids- that’s strong enough to run a wire all the way to Grams’ and BePop’s house and back and still make you wet your pants if you touched it.   

But no.  The goats told me that they only stay in the fences as a courtesy… and they don’t feel very courteous anymore. 


(Why should they use their nice range shelter when they can just relax on the porch?  I mean, come on, the ground is wet out there!) 

Recently, we decided to get a hayring to make it easier to feed the animals (it takes A LOT of armloads of hay to feed 2 cows, 2 donkeys, and 4 goats).  Wouldn’t you know it- the goats aren’t content to just reach in and get what they need.  They get IN and climb ON TOP of the roll of hay.  It drives Joe crazy.

What’s more, we’re pretty certain that the does (the girl goats) are bred (pregnant) and that ‘Mator will be the proud papa.  (We tried hard to keep them apart while the girls were in heat, but I think I mentioned that fence problem…).  If our count is right, their 5 month gestation should be complete in another couple weeks, just in time for the coldest wettest weather of the year. 

I gave the girls a cursory exam and their udders are beginning to hang and feel sloshy.  They are walking like I do when I’m getting close to my due date, though they don’t seem nearly as irritable as I always feel.

It will be interesting to see what kind of mothers they are because each doe has a different personality.  I am hoping for kiddings (goat births) that don’t require intervention on my part and good bonding between mamas and babies.  We’ll keep you posted.



1. Marci - February 1, 2008

Oh, you do have a problem. Don’t read my Life on a Homestead Part 1… at least not until those goats have had their babies. I hope you figure out your problem. Are they jumping over?

2. chickenmama - February 1, 2008

You know- Joe pointed out that ‘Mator is the only one who comes out at all anymore. And then he realizes that all his girlfriends are still inside and he goes back through. I’m thinking the girls, with their extra girth, aren’t able to squeeze out or go over right now.

Back to your question about how they get out- I’ve seen ‘Mator go right through the fence, hot or not. He’ll take the shock if he thinks he can get some sweet feed for his effort.

I think there may be a bit of a dip on uneven ground where they can go under. We may have to put an extra strand there. We’re not certain, though, because we haven’t seen them get out, just found them at the back door again. It has been a few weeks now and they have lots of hay, so maybe the problem is behind us. We can hope.

I love the title of your posting. Can’t wait to read it. I am rarely getting to do any blog reading these days. Can barely even post to our own blog with all the busyness of the school and laundry and such. I really enjoy your blog when I can get there, though. Thanks for you faithful and kind comments here.

3. Dreamer - February 1, 2008

So you are going to have 10 goats instead of 4, if all goes well? That ought to be enough to really keep you all hopping! Good luck with the kidding.

4. chickenmama - February 2, 2008

Actually, since the GoatyGirls (as I’ve come to call them) will be first time mothers, they will likely only have single births. It may be better if they had twins because then each kid would be smaller and there would be less chance of having a baby too big to deliver- that is what I’m trying not to worry about.

Ideally, the does would not have gotten pregnant until they were several months older and many pounds heavier. We’re being careful to only give them a few mouthfuls of sweet feed when we move them (since lots of grain would just increase the likelihood of large babies), but they are gorging themselves on hay now. I’ll just pray that all goes well when the time comes. I don’t mind playing midwife, but I don’t have any experience. I hope I have happy stories and cute pictures to post.

5. Sheryl Anderson - February 7, 2008

I love this picture, even though I know it doesn’t represent your best case scenario. I wonder whose idea it was first. They could have walked anywhere.
But what a frustrating and elusive problem if you never catch them red-handed.

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