Saturday May 16, 2015
Tonight at 7:38pm just as the sun was setting Clover gave birth to two beautiful kids: a doeling and a buckling. They look just like Clover – mostly black with some white. It was a textbook delivery. Clover marched her way through all the typical goat birthing checkpoints. Unlike Honey and Cinnamon who show absolutely no signs that they are about to drop their babies so we have absolutely no idea that we should be hanging out waiting at the ready in the barn, Clover let us know! All afternoon on Saturday she was crying like crazy, driving us all crazy. Then she went totally silent and retreated to the trailer house. After a few house of trying to get comfortable but not finding the right position, her contractions began. Around dinner time she started pushing in earnest. And then the babies entered the world.
Conveniently clover elected to deliver her babies to us on a Saturday, most considerate of her. That allowed many of us at Katywil to be present for the event. I played the midwife role, assisted by Mikayla and Monique. Mikayla’s dad TJ and stood just outside the trailer house door and passed supplies back and forth as needed. Mason and Karen were also nearby, as well as Lynn and Haynes and Nancy. Poor Clover had plenty of moral support as she pushed, but there was no privacy for this little goat! Some of you reading this will know that I have been trying to breed Clover for three years, and I had all but given up. She is my herd queen, and she comes from excellent milking lines. Previous breeding attempts had all ended in early miscarriage or she simply did not settle. So, tonight I was simply overjoyed that she delivered two beautiful healthy kids. The kids are a good weight, feed well from Clover and Clover is also doing well. She is a great mama too, very attentive to her kids.
Monday May 18th, 2015
Today at around 11:30am Buttercup kidded with one beautiful doeling and one beautiful buckling! Unfortunately none of us were present to help her through her first birthing. Like Honey and Cinnamon, she kidded easily and did not give us the memo that the event was about to occur. I was at work, and am sad that I could not help her through it as I had been there for Clover. But Mama and kids are all thriving. Buttercup is an outstanding Mama, I think her mothering skills outshine everyone else’s. It is interesting to see the transition in Buttercup’s personality. She was born tiny and weak, 3 weeks premature three years ago. We nursed her through the first week of life and she eventually strengthened. But she has always been small and the bottom of the pecking order. She is not a very assertive goat, and any attempts to stand up for herself have always been weak at best. Everyone has always rammed her aside. She is the last to get food, the last to get minerals and has a hard time forcing her way in to the barn at night. Over the winter she went in to a depressive funk, spending hours hiding huddled up underneath the trailer where no one would bother here, starring aimlessly at who knows what. I was worried that she would not make it. But she did. Now today she is a mama, and her status in the herd has instantly changed! No one is shoving her aside. She stands her ground and holds her own. And of my four mamas, Buttercup has turned out to be the top mama as far as mothering skills. Who would have guessed it! It is a joy for me to see this change in Buttercup, with her two beautiful kids always close by. Interestingly neither of her kids looks like her. The doeling looks like she is one of Clover’s kids. The buckling looks like he is one of Honey’s kids.
Update on Honey’s tiny little doeling that was 1.5 pounds at birth: she has been named “Charlotte” and she is doing well. She is running around, bounding and playing like the rest of the kids although she remain small and the weakest in the pecking order. Honey has all but rejected her and will not stand to let her feed. So, Charlotte is a bottle baby. But I think she will grow up in to a fine doe. Monique took her to Colrain Central Elementary school for “Sharing Time”. She was s huge hit, the children loved her and wanted her to stay at school for the whole school day. Others teachers snuck away from their classrooms to take a peak at Charlotte and coo and smile. This little goat is therapy for all who lay eyes on her, big smiles abound. Even the hardest grumpiest heart is softened by little Charlotte. In the words of one teacher “You’d think that this would be no big deal here in rural Colrain with all our farm animals everywhere!” But no, it is still a big deal.
In other animal news, Katywil has a silver fox that seems to have moved in. Silver foxes are rare in these parts, old timers tell us that they have not seem one in years. This fox is stunning and elegant, but its has been seen lurking around the turkey tractor, the chicken house and hiding under the goat house. We are not worried about the mama goats, but we are worried about the kids. Last spring some red foxes had a litter on our lot in a den wedged between large rocks, they were little trouble and disappeared quietly. This silver fox however is bold and has been seen regularly during daylight house (so much for being nocturnal!). We have started to suspect that there is more than one fox though, since some fox sighting reports described the fox as “huge” and others reported a “small” fox. Apparently the silver fox can climb trees like a cat, so that up’ed it’s status as a predator. Until today though, it’s activities were limited to lurking. But today Mr Fox has made his presence known and felt with a splash. Mr Fox got 16 meat bird pullet chickens from the Korby’s (Katywil neighbors and owners of Stoneman brewery) last night & early this morning.
As the Korby’s were fortifying the chicken run he came back to watch. The Korby’s chased Mr Fox but he ran and doubled back & stole more pullets!!! Justin Korby is an advanced student & occasional instructor with Tom Brown’s (author of the paperback book, Tracker) Tracker School! He tracked it to the den…Our Sophie while on a walk with Nancy Turkle this afternoon also found the den…… on Crosier lane (our street)! on the Turkle’s side to the left of the red fire hydrant in the rock wall with 3 entrances. Nancy saw the mama & 3 kids. Then this evening, Peter Brooks was working in his garden and was surprised by the commotion of the fox chasing a big bird into the trees. They disappeared quickly, the bird escaped at least temporarily. It was not a turkey or clucking chicken.