It’s been the craziest week ever, and nothing seems to be slowing down in the least. Nearly every evening finds me exhausted and covered in some sort of birth juices, dirt, milk or all three.
It all started about 3 weeks ago, when I had just finished creating an email to send out, offering acorn-fed pork shares. The very next day (thank goodness I ran out of time and the email was not sent!), I was feeding the pigs and happened to notice some strange things about them. Their nipples were very prominent (it was hard to miss, i promise i don’t stare at the pigs nipples every day) , and their bellies hung very low.
“I think all the pigs are pregnant!” I told Ethan in horror. He hoped they were just in heat, but last week when the acorn-finished pork exploded in piglets, this was proved to be mere folly.
What does one do with 30 unexpected piglets running about? Well, for now we are marveling at how freaking cute they are. I have no idea what we’ll do with them later, except have regretful thoughts about the February Imbolc celebration wishes for abundance and fertility.
The next adventure was slightly more planned, except I had done the math wrong and had all the mama goats down for late March due dates. It was such a surprise to get home Friday afternoon, after an adventure of finding the bad dog that had run off and was picked up and kenneled by a neighbor, to see two beautiful twin doelings curled up next to Moose.
“The best thing about the farm is enjoying someone else’s babies without having to do all the hard work,” I remarked ironically to Ethan as we jumped the electric fence and went to see the babies.
It quickly became terribly apparent that while Moose is a lovely goat with a nice udder, she lacks any mothering instincts at all whatsoever. She seemed repulsed by the very idea of nursing them. She kicked them away and ignored their small, hungry bleating to go feed her face at the hay bale. So i am bottle feeding baby goats every 4 hours. Between that, waking up at night to crying twins, and cleaning off their little bottoms, I might as well have my own baby.
The next excitement was the following day when we had a bunch of friends out, and Matilda gave birth right there while we were making a tour of the farm. At least she is a competent mother, but that means I’m milking 3 cows every morning, which is a lot of hand milking, especially when 2 of those cows really are best suited for leading a war charge rather than dairy.
She turned out to be a beautiful baby, with a small white star on her forehead. Unfortunately she had settled herself down for a nap with her head pillowed on a dried up cow pie when i went to take pictures of her. Still, i snapped quite a few pretty ones before she decided i was a nuisance.
Sunday i was feeding Moose’s abandoned twins for the 4th time that day when we noticed baby goat noises coming from the goat pen. I set aside the bottle and ran up the with two hungry babies at my heels just in time to see Mab finish birthing another set of twin girls. Like Moose, she left them laying where they were born and went off, leaving them wet and calling to her. Nothing would persuade her to have anything to do with them, so now I had another set of twins to dry off and feed.
This afternoon as I was in the middle of struggling with milking our crazy cow Geranium (she was extra bad because she is supposed to be milked first, but Flora had disgracefully wormed herself in front instead, and Geranium had worked herself into a milk pail- abusing, cow kibble-inhaling rage over the whole thing), and Rose’s friend had just arrived for a visit, Cricket suddenly gave birth to another set of twin girls.
Wishing you a good week from the midst of all the birthing and sets of twins!
4 Comments Add yours
Oh yuck! Birth juices! When we were in Oklahoma, we had to deal with two pygmy fainting goats that had kittens . . . or puppies, or whatever they were – right in the middle of winter! What were they thinking?! There were only two, and they knew how to take care of their . . . babies, but we took them into the home when the nights were cold anyway. They were surprisingly cooperative, and did not give us any trouble. I should write about Timmy, the baby deer later. It is complicated, but has a happy ending.
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Yes, please! Poor babies born in middle of winter! We have little goats running through the kitchen, too!
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Sounds exhausting and amazing!
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That about sums it up!