Shades of Ireland

Friday, March 11, 2011

Motherly Instincts

I think that it is rather intersting how history repeats itself..... sometimes.

Several years ago, I had a doe that was my absolute favorite of the herd. She was a huge Saanen type doe that I had raised. Her mother was 1/2 Lamancha and that was always in trouble. She had a lovely set of twin does kids and promptly got hung up in a fence one day when I was not at home. By the time I found her --- she was not in her pasture--- she had broken two legs trying to escape and worked herself in to nervous exhaustion and eventually died. I hand raised both doelings and they turned out beautifully. I sold one and kept my beloved Sonya. Sonya was big, bold, bossy and a general pain in the neck. I loved her anyway. She won many ribbons and went on to be a Top 10 milker on DHI for the grade Saanen division. Unfortunately, Sonya just flatly refused to raise her kids. When she gave birth, she would look at me as if to say,"This was YOUR idea, YOU handle it!" I kept three of her daughters from two different sires.

One is really a total flop as a quality dairy goat. She is small and her udder is really pretty terrible. But she has a great deal of her mother's arrogance and attitude-- so of course, I keep her. She is an excellent mother. Her registered name is Frieda but because she is rather comical to look at, we call her "Frito". I have kept her yearling doe, Abby. She will kid sometime in April.

Frito's half sisters were named Paloma and Olga. Both looked very much like their mother and also had the same disposition. This dynamic duo also absolutely refused to allow their kids to nurse. To add insult to injury, they also refused to allow any one but me to milk them. During the times when the kids had to milk for me, it always turned in to a major battle. After a while, it was just too much chaos and battle in the barnyard for both of them to remain. They had to fight for dominance nearly everyday-- with other does and with each other! Paloma had a doe kid so I decided that she was the one to go and I sold her. Olga is due to kid in about 10 days.

Meanwhile, Paloma's doe kid, Inga, kidded earlier this week. I had to help her out because they were just huge and she was a feeble pusher....... that should have been my first clue...... She did allow them to nurse for the first day and I began to celebrate -- a bit too early. Yesterday, I finally gave up and just took the kids to hand raise.

Three generations of poor mothering instinct. They are big beautiful heavy milkers. The "runt" and oddball of the bunch is the best mother. Another lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

I have a barn full of baby goats and I have had to exile Holly to her own little paddock because they are always under foot. She accidentally stepped on one but the mud cushioned the blow and he has recovered nicely.
I am determined to find the camera-- and the cord to download pictures this weekend. Holly has blossomed and I can not express how beautiful she is now. She was in heat yesterday and I let her out  into the big pasture ( about 100 acres) to have a romantic rendezvous with our Red Poll bull. After the romance was over, she came back to the gate and bellowed for me to let her back out of there. She is a barn cow and does not care to associate with all those "pasture cows". Hopefully, she will have her calf just before Christmas. 

It is still cool in the mornings but warming up nicely in the afternoons. I have salvaged some of the seeds that I started earlier and have cabbage, broccoli and ,of course, tomatos under a grow light int he dining room. Seth and I have been slowly working on moving the blocks to get some of the raised beds set up. Neil will be of work this weekend and I expect to get to work on the chicken house and clean the lamb pens to get ready for another bunch.

There are fruit trees in at Walmart!! I am sooooooo tempted. I just can't seem to help myself. I am fairly certain that I lost one apple and one peach in the new orchard thanks to the horde of rabbits that live in the nearby woods. I have learned the hard way to not even wait a day after planting to put protection around the tender tree trunks......  I have come home at night and seen dozens of bunnies cavorting in the headlights as I pass the the orchard..... Iam already making plans for the fence around the garden before I plant a single seed!

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