My life in the country with my goats.com site

News from our Maternity Ward at Gullringstorp


I have several ladies who are due to deliver during the first week of April, by my calculations. Nature always has the upper hand in the situation, but I like to think I can pin point the tim frame of deliveries.  What I do is watch and keep a very close eye on my ladies. I know them all intimately; how they sound, how they eat, how they drink,  how they interact with others and even how they go down to rest. I look for any subtle changes to let me know that she may be getting close to labor.

The feelings came over me yesterday with our little Pygmy doe Iris. I knew she would be the first of my 4 does or maybe 5. She is quite wide and he baby bump is very pronounced.  I watched her and how she was out in the enclosure. She was licking at her teats, and looking at her rear end. I said to myself, hummm,  looks like she will be any day now. We checked her often out in the enclosure and during the night even when she and the others were back in the stable. She was resting easy. I  had placed a large amount of fresh clean straw in one corner for her just in case. Nothing happened during the night and she was quite eager to hop up on that Milk Stand for her grain this morning. I massaged her as she ate and kissed he baby bump and had a bit of a chat with her babies. I love my goats and am always so excited when they are due to deliver. it’s a special time in our stable.

Iris is out in the enclosure on this beautiful Spring day. I sat with them for some time, as always, but kept a particularly close eye on iris to see subtle changes in he behaviour.  There were some changes:

  • a bit of a discharge
  • I could see she was a bit uncomfortable when she went down to rest
  • Unable to decide where to lay down
  • Other goats came to sniff her
  • Her pals who share her large box came to stay by her side

With all these developments, my husband decided that today was the day to clean out her box and place all clean straw down for he delivery. We have been lucky and been able to change boxes for all our pregnant does. We have just come into Spring and our boxes have not been cleaned out for 6 months. Let me explain: we clean up poopies in every box everyday, but we do allow the hay and straw to build up during the winter months. This is very important in providing our goats with a really warm bed to sleep the night in. All the urine and poopies that fall through the straw will ferment and help keep them warm. Spring time is a busy time here at Gullringstorp with box cleaning.

Iris’s box is done and when she comes in she will have a clean house to deliver in, today or tomorrow.

After a bit of playing, Iris settles down for a rest

After a bit of playing, Iris settles down for a rest

Pals come to keep Iris company

Her sister Petunia come to keep Iris company

Even Peanut comes to check on Iris

Even Peanut comes to check on Iris

While I am out with the goats, Leif has started on Iris’ box. There is much to remove, but he has the procedure down. It is a big job and I always ask if I may help him. The answer is always a flat NO and he means NO. I have asthma and not only this, but when I got my first goats several years ago, I was having trouble breathing and felt quite winded as I would walk back to the house. I eventually went in to have a check up and I wasn’t just winded, I was having real trouble but didn’t realize it. I was sent in for allergy testing. I felt like a kid! I was tested for so many things and I was so afraid that I would be told that I had an allergy to my beloved goats. Well time for celebration !!! I had allergies, but NOT to my goats. Boy was I relieved ! I did get some difficult news. I have allergies to both hay and straw! Lord, what kind of farmer could I be. Well I soon learned from my doctor at the Lung Clinic that I was required to wear masks when I am in the stable and handling hay or straw. No problem!! Nothing stops this country gal!

I wear 3M filter masks when I am dealing with hay and straw both indoors and outdoors. I have done so for nearly 5 years now and no more problems. When we have visitors to Gullringstorp to visit our goats, I don’t wear my mask because I am not handling straw or hay, just talking. My masks get quite expensive because they only come in boxes of 10, and they are not included in the national prescription plan. It is a bit of a problem, but a necessity. So now you can understand why my husband says NO to the cleaning up of boxes. I can however, lay down the calcium on the box floor and fresh straw, with my filter mask on.

I can’t help clear the box, but I can prepare a nice lunch for my husband for when he is finished.

I don't really have any idea how many scoops are filled when cleaning out a box

I don’t really have any idea how many scoops are filled when cleaning out a box

My husband uses a large whelbarrel to help in removing the old straw

My husband uses a large wheel barrel to help in removing the old straw

Filling the wheel barrel

Filling the wheel barrel

,,

,,

We have a track on the property that was once used for trotters where my husband must travel on the tractor to dump the used straw near the forest. there it is set on fire.

Way in t he distance, we have a track on the property , about a mile long, that was once used for trotters before we bought the property. This is  where my husband drives the tractor to dump the used straw near the forest and  there it is set on fire.

It will be my pleasure to keep you updated on Iris and our other does who are in the Maternity Ward at Gullringstorp!

So don’t forget to check back for updates!

4 responses

  1. I’m glad they found a solution for you to continue on with your goats despite your allergies. It’s also pretty exciting to hear about the upcoming births of the new goats. The birth of new creatures really signifies the beginning of spring. Here’s hoping that all goes well with your ladies!

    April 2, 2013 at 19:29

    • Hej from Sweden!
      Long time since I heard from you. Welcome back! Spring is a time for new birth and re-birth. Our goats come into heat once every month so we can decide when to breed our ladies. We are happy that we will have babies in the Spring so they can be outside playing and growing as they should. I always worry with e every doe, first time fresher or not. I sit with each mother through the labor and delivery. Of these does, we have only one experienced mother,Pumpkin. That means 4 first time mothers and a bit more concern.
      I so look forward to our first of this season, Iris. She will be first.
      Thanks for your kind wishes and so nice to hear from you.

      April 4, 2013 at 11:37

  2. Hi we bed our goats the same way you do. There is nothing like mentioning to my neighbour or my family the goat pen needs cleaning to send them running for the hills. It is messy! I have asthma like you and we make anyone who helps us clean the pen wear a mask it so easy to breathe in all the dust and irritate your lungs. You have a tractor I so envy you we do everything by hand and a wheelbarrow. A near by farmer plows our lane ways and takes away our hay and manure. It’s a little labor intensive but it helps to work off the winter calories. When does a goat’s milk come in before or after the birth. When we bought our first girl and her babies they were already weaned.

    April 3, 2013 at 23:40

    • Hej from Sweden!
      Yes I think that’s the best way to get through the winter with warm and cozy goats. So you know about asthma, not fun unless you have it completely managed. I feel that I do now. But with me it wasn’t just the asthma but allergies to hay and straw, a farmer’s staples! Lord. Well I finally have it worked out and sounds like you do as well. The cleaning of boxes is labor intensive no matter what your method of disposal. Depends on the season that we clean boxes, sometimes it goes into my veggie garden and on to the field we allow a close farmer to plant potatoes or any other crop he will sow. I am so glad that the tractor was negotiable when we purchased the property. It has come in so handy for snow removal and box stuff removal.
      The does will have colostrum for up to 8 days then the milk will start. I will not actually start milking my ladies until a couple of weeks have passed. I have heard that some wean as early as 2 months. That will be the case if I get bucklings because I will need to sell them. Sadly! My doelings will stay with mommy so they will wean naturally, in their own time. That’s a real luxury , among others here at Gullringstorp.

      April 4, 2013 at 11:35

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