The baby goats are two months old now – time to be weaned! On Saturday we spent hours rounding them up. We are putting them in the orchard, as it hasn’t been grazed in ages, and could use a trim. Besides, they can all slip through the weaning paddock gate this year. When we repaired the gate post last fall, I think it got moved over just an inch, and they are easily slipping through.
Luckily, three of them were already over by the orchard, and were easily shooed in. That left six to catch – Titania, Mustardseed (who is now called Moose because she’s so big and fat), Oberon, George, Cobweb, and Mab, who looks part antelope. All the difficult ones.
Mirin, Rose and I managed to corner and catch Oberon fairly quickly. Cobweb, who is painfully shy and flighty, took some time to round up. They were upset to be carried down to the orchard, but once they were in they started devouring the partridge pea, and were very happy.
Next I caught George. George, Tamlin’s twin, is about twice as big as Tam. He’s a brick. I thought my arms would give out carrying him down. He weighs more than Clothilde, and wiggles.
Ethan pitched in to help catch Titania. While Ethan was struggling to get a good grip on her, she flipped around and kicked him in the face, knocking his hat off. She weighs as much as George, and her nickname is now Titanic.
Moose was easy to catch – not so easy to carry down. She has always been a large kid.
Mab was last. I knew Mab would be a real pain. Ethan, Mirin, Rose and I all had to help catch her. We cornered her several times, but she kept slipping past and pronking away after April. It was like catching a baby gazelle with your bare hands, but finally, after a lot of chasing, cornering, and sweating, she was weaned.
The next day we went out early, anticipating lots of milking and bottle-feeding kids (less for their nutrition, more to make them friendly). The mama goats were hanging out in the milking paddock that had been left open, with a bunch of smug-looking kids at their sides.
We had to round up Titania, Moose, Mab and George again. George was right by the orchard gate, and showed us how all the kids had gotten out – just at the point of being captured, he leaped and slipped through the third rung of the gate (there is chicken wire all over the bottom of the gate). So Ethan wired a cattle panel to the top. We rounded up and carried down Titanic and Moose. We had Mab cornered in the old weaning paddock, and with all four of us it didn’t take (quite) so long the second time. When we put Titania in the orchard, she gave the most pitiful hoarse little bleat. It would have been heart-wrenching had my arms not been about to fall off from carrying her (again).
After the chores, we all went in the cold plunge (what we call a large metal water trough we fill with water – it is large enough to be like a small swimming pool). We were all cooled off and clean, and just getting dressed for the trip home again, when we saw a bunch of little goats out at the top of the garden, smugly following their mothers. They had gotten out of the other gate (blocked off with electric netting – but not well enough).
So we will be chasing them again this afternoon. Ethan wants to put George and Titania in the dog kennel and move them with a dolly this time.