During the holidays, I had the good fortune to meet a lovely lady Kristina, who also had goats. We shared a room at the Löfstad Slott Christmas Market. Kristina, from Hejtorp dairy farm was selling her goat cheese and I my goat milk soap.
We had a lovely time together and quickly became friends and business associates. We decided that we must each make a trip to the others goat farm in the spring. I was the one to make the first visit for a couple of reasons. Kristina was and still is much to busy with her new baby goats being born and I just had to see them. We both have our goats for our businesses and milk is very important. There is a slight difference; Kristina uses her milk immediately to make her cheese and I freeze mine to make my soap. There needs to be a constant flow of milk at a cheese maker’s dairy but not so at a soap making farm. With two freezers filled with goat milk, I and my does are taking a break from breeding, giving birth and being milked.
We spent a wonderful afternoon amid many new mothers and more baby goats than I have ever seen. With 70 does giving birth to 1, 2 or maybe 3 babies, the count was up to 86 babies! There were many does who had not given birth yet, so that number will rise shortly. I understand that last year the count was up to 123 new baby goats born.
As a goat owner and breeder, it’s always a joy to visit other goat owners. You see how they house their goats, what they feed them, and how they have outdoor time.
There are several differences between our goat farms:
At Hejtorp the does all live communally in an open barn.
At Gullringstorp all our goats live in boxes in our stable.
At Hejtorp, the does can go out and come in as they wish. they can walk right out of their barn home into their pastures.
At Gullringstorp, our goats are led out to their enclosures because of proximity of our stable to the enclosures.
At Hejtorp, there are 4 boys or bucks who live outdoors all year long with an outdoor shelter.
At Gullringstorp, there are 6 boys or bucks who come inside every evening.
At Hejtorp. the goats are an indigenous breed, Swedish Lantras.
At Gullringstorp, our goats are West African miniature dairy goats, Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy.
I have learned so much from watching how Kristina manages her goats and its always good to find out new ways to do things.
After enjoying the beautiful goats, I visited the farm boutique.
It was great to see between 20-30 varieties of goat cheese available .
Looking around I spotted Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap on display!
Thank you Kristina from Hejtorp Dairy Farm in Doverstorp, Östergotland for a lovely afternoon.
Quite some time ago, we went to our neighbors to ask if we could buy a little playhouse that was sitting unused. We thought, ok, I thought it would make a really cute chicken house. We were thinking of getting chickens for Gullringstorp and had yet decided on how to house them. This little playhouse seemed perfect.
It’s tradition to build a replica of the main house when houses are being built in Sweden. They are so cute. The children have a tiny replica of the house they live in. It’s also tradition to allow children to make decisions. The young lady who had clearly outgrown her play house, refused to sell it to us. I was disappointed of course , but she had that right to say no.
We decided to renovate the outdoor stable bathroom/shower house. So now our chickens have a real apartment. They have 3 rooms, a front door with steps , a hatch door on the side, a heater, windows and lights.
We have watched the cute little playhouse fall into disrepair from non use over the past year. Poor little house. While in London, my husband was asked if we wanted this little playhouse, at no charge. My husband accepted and said we would find good use for it. The sad little playhouse made its way into our goat enclosure. With much TLC this house is now a cute addition to our enclosure and a place to have hay and shelter for our girls.
Our girls are all happy with the new playhouse and we are happy to have it.
After yesterday’s dismal rainy day, we have a bright, dry, crisp windy, cold and beautiful day here at Gullringstorp!
Our goats are really happy to be out.
With the cold wind blowing through the enclosure, it is a “goats in coats ” day!
This is why our babies and Hilda are wearing their coats today!
Thank you for the beautiful day!
I know I promised to post about the mommies and babies yesterday , but yesterday was huckleberry’s surgery. He was castrated yesterday because he will remain at Gullringstorp and with his mother Poppy. I made a promise to my first goat Frida, that I would allow her to keep all her babies born here at Gullringstorp. Frida passed away July last year, but that promise still holds. Her daughters, Keriana, Poppy and Pansy will always have their babies with them. Little Huckleberry will not be one of our breeding bucks but remain with Poppy and the other does.
He is doing quite well after his procedure after a slow day yesterday. By the time the goats were brought back into the stable, last evening, he was up and playing as usual. I will not be his friend for the next 7 days. He’s not going to like me at all. I have to give him Penicillin injections every day for the next 7 days. This is to insure there is no infection after the procedure.
Today is a rainy day so no one is out in the enclosure. All are in and the babies are fussy because they really enjoy playing out in the enclosure. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.
Here are the mommies and babies having a great time in the enclosure:
Please come back to see what happened when the other adult goats joined the mommies and babies.
Our babies are growing bigger everyday and are just too cute for words. they are still allocated to the baby play yards, but will soon be ready to go into the large enclosure with all the other goats. In the meantime, its our job to make their play yard experience as fun as possible. Because our mothers are unable to browse or graze, I need to forage for them and bring them all back buckets of yummy greens. They get their greens either outside of their boxes or in, all depending where they are when I decide to go foraging.
We have had a major change and I am so very happy with the success of it. I have moved Rose out from her box and into Nanna’s. This way Pumpkin and her two long-legged baby girls can enjoy the entire box. The fence is down! What’s even better is that this is the only goat that Nanna has accepted into her little private suite. Nanna always gives the impression that she is happy alone in her box but I also have gotten the feeling from time to time that she needed company. We have tried several different combinations and in the end Nanna was never happy with any of my choices. Nanna and Rose are doing so well together and it’s been a week now. I am so happy! Pumpkin and her daughters Violet and Willow are really enjoying the extra room in their box.
Our babies have even been introduced to each other, under supervision. I have no issues with the babies, but the mothers are not ready to be nice to the other babies or mothers yet. It will come. Anyway, the babies were happy to see and meet other babies.
I am so pleased with the development of out wee ones. They are growing and inquisitive just as they should be. All are happy and energetic.
Welcome back for m,ore updates from Gullringstorp!
All the drama at Gullringstorp, revolve around the goats. Everyone else seems to settle issues without too much drama. But with my ladies in the stable, there can be some dram and I do mean drama!
Ok here we go: Iris has two tiny new babies that are growing like little weeds. Iris’ box is now separated by a fence to give her the comfort and safety she seems to need with her new family. As her babies get bigger and stronger, it occurred to me that this box was a sub-herd within my larger herd. I remembered when I was in London and our little Ivy had a tiny baby girl. There was no fence put up during that period and there was no drama. So I thought that these two new little ones needed to become integrated into the sub-herd ASAP. First step, take down the fence.
All was fine for just about 5 minutes then the bully in iris came out after she cleaned up the grain bowls on the other side of the box. She became the bully that I though would have calmed down once she became a mother. No such luck.. She was a holy terror. She unleashed such anger and singled out one to attack; little Surprise. She had it in her mind that Surprise was going to hurt her babies.So untrue.
Well this wasn’t working and I seemed to have unleashed a real bully on my little girls. Iris decided to add barking to her bully repertoire . That was a new one. She actually threw her head back and growled like a dog, a big dog. So I needed a Plan B. Iris wasn’t being very nice even with the fence up. She would head butt it and scare all the girls on the other side.
I put the fences back up into place and took the evening to come up with a Plan B. Ok so Iris was not so happy behind her fence, because she was no longer in control of the entire box. then the idea hit me; Nanna has a box to herself and she likes the 3 little ladies in Iris’ box. So the next morning when all the other goats were out, I moved Iris and her two babies into Nanna’s box.
All seemed alright , but that was just because iris was enjoying the grain left in Nanna’s food tray. Once she finished her breakfast, the fun of the new home wore off. She yelled and yelled and yelled some more. She’s a yeller. Her babies Florian and Blossom were really having fun and enjoyed the ledge to hop of and on to. It didn’t take long and Florian was up on the ledge with Iris.
When it was time to bring in the goats, I skillfully ushered Nanna in with the other little girls in the first box. She seemed so happy. What made this little piggy happy was all the grain bowls in that box. She ran from one to the next. once that fun wore off and she realized the door was closed, she became a bully.
Well I had seen enough. My Plan B wasn’t working. You are supposed to give any changes some time to settle down, but it was me who could not take the few days needed to see “what would happen”. Iris was not happy in Nanna’s box, but what worried me most was that she seemed not to come down from her perch and her babies needed her down to nurse. I could have handled her yelling but I was worried about her babies’ meals.
Nana was just another bully who I had introduced into the box. My little ladies were once again being attacked. this was not working. I did the only thing I could think of: the fence went back up, Iris and her babies were back in their own home, the three girls were happy on the “other “side of the fence from Iris and Nanna was happily back in her home.
Bottom line, I just worried too much and realized that when the babies are big enough, they will be integrated into that little sub-herd and the balance would be just fine.
I hate to admit it , but my boys are really not as much trouble as my girls. I am not sure if it’s hormonal or what but my girls can really be a challenge and you need to stay alert to all the nuances and be prepared to act, if needed.
Our new babies are growing and developing so quickly:
Iris and her babies Blossom and Florian. Today it feels like rain, cold and windy so those little ones needed coats:
Florian makes a squeak when he is ready to run real fast. So cute!
Poppy and Pansy With Lilly and Huckleberry; since they share a box separated by a fence, it’s best they can come out and socialize together. they are sisters and love each other. Now they need to learn to love each other’s baby:
How are our new babies and new mommies? Everyone is happy and healthy:
Poppy and her son:
I apologize for the lighting in these videos, not very much natural light available in this box.
Pansy is a very fine mother and her little baby girl Lilly is doing wonderful! :
Iris and her new daughter and son
While her roommates, Petunia, ivy and Surprise are out in the enclosure, I have opened the barrier so they can play in the entire box:
As you can see, all our new babies are doing so well. So far, only one baby has been named; that baby is Pansy’s little girl. For some reason, she looked like a Lilly from the very first day. Names will come for the others.
We are still waiting for Peanut to deliver. She was bred once but went into heat again so she was bred a second time. We have hot seen another heat but she has not delivered.
Was she successfully bred or not? that is the question. Hummmmm
Welcome back for updates from our Maternity Ward with only one doe left, Peanut.
Hej from London !
Today was a day of sun, not so cold temperatures and barely any wind .
Today was a day with a bit of challenge. This would be the first day that Iris’ roommates Petunia, Ivy and Surprise went outside to the enclosure, without Iris. I was so worried that they would not go without her, but they did. Then I was afraid they would get outside and realize that Iris had not followed. I was prepared for yelling for Iris from the enclosure as well as yells from Iris to her pals outside.
To my surprise and my husband’s, there was no problem at all ! Iris was even able to enjoy her new mommy meal of chopped carrots. apples and raisins. Iris was so happy to have the box to herself with her new babies.
We have new photos of our new mommy and her beautiful new babies.
Leif says that Iris is an ex excellent new mother.
Thank you so much for the beautiful photos Leif !
Hej from London :
I am getting updates on Iris and her babies throughout the day from Leif.
Iris is a fine mother, very attentive to her two new babies. She is constantly licking and cleaning them as their bond grows stronger. Unlike our Nigerian Dwarf new mothers, who are always heard quite loudly chatting with their babies. Our normally very talkative Iris, who is one of our Pygmy goats, has a very different verbal communication with her babies. Apparently her chatter is low and intimate and for her babies tiny ears only. It is becoming more apparent some differences between the two breeds. As goat owners, with close observation, you are bound to pick up on the tiniest of differences between the breeds and become better prepared for what to expect in any situation.
Leif is enjoying a very important and fun task of handling the babies. They need gentle handling to start their socialization with humans from as early an age as possible. This is not a practice of all goat owners but we believe very strongly in this here at Gullringstorp. We raise our babies to be as comfortable with us as with their mommy.
Our two new babies are a girl and a boy . The little brown and grey one who is the spitting image of mommy Iris is our new little boy. As promised, because we have already exceeded our number of bucks, this little fellow will be available for sale. I must stick to my promise made to my husband when I was allowed to keep Phillip and Winston. This little fella will receive all our love and care while with us and will be a gentle loving buckling when sold to a new family. I will not lie and say that when the time comes for him to leave that I will not be a wreck because I will. It will be a sad day for us at Gullringstorp while at the same time we will be happy with the new family we have chosen for him.
Our new little girl will remain with Iris and her extended family within the box in our stable where she was born . She will be welcomed onto the herd as time continues and she is introduced to each goat, one by one.
This is a very happy time for all of us at Gullringstorp!! Here are some photos sent to me yesterday :
Thank you Leif for the beautiful updated photos of our new family at Gullringstorp. I am so happy and worry free while here in London. Please give Iris a kiss from me and give our new babies a kiss and a hug each from me.
More updates as I receive them.
Hej from London!!!!
It’s has become increasingly more difficult to make any trips away from Gullringstorp. It is important to keep your marriage strong to weather the separations and you must be able to leave knowing all will be taken care of in your absence. With my miscalculation on the approximate date for Iris to deliver, I had planned my travel to be after her delivery. When I realized my error, tickets were booked . I have been in London since the 16th and have received daily reports on our does .
Yesterday was a very cold windy and rainy day so the goats were not out. I received a call from Leif that Iris had her babies as close as he can figure around 6:30 last evening April 18, 2013 !!!! Leif went to check everyone and saw that our Iris was laying in the straw each time he went to check so he remembered me saying , we must be observant to see where our mothers, nest and that is where must place new straw. He did that. He came to check her around 6;45 and there they were, two lively little babies, only minutes old, wet, on their feet and hungry!!!
Here is the e-mail I received:
Honey, we have two beautiful babies and they seem just fine. Cleaned up by Iris and they had their first milk. I gave Iris water with plenty of syrup and she drank it very fast, so I made some more for her. I tried to send a picture from my phone, but I think I was not successful.
I was just going into a movie when I spoke to Leif and could not contain my overwhelming joy! Amidst my euphoria I remember Leif saying the babies were up on their feet while iris was still laying down. Them it hit me…. Iris should be on her feet also! I began to worry…. Was she ok? Why wasn’t she up? Was she just exhausted ? Every possibility of what can go wrong flooded into my head.
I found out later that she did get up and cleaned her new babies and fed them. My husband also remembered to give her what every new mother at Gullringstorp gets right after delivery, warm water and molasses. Iris loved it!
I look forward to updates on our little Iris and her new babies. I will do my best to keep you posted from London.
Thank you Leif for taking such good care of everyone, Iris especially, in my absence and thank you so much for the beautiful photos !!
On a more somber note, my heart goes out to you, Boston…
After being sick for so long, many of my daily chores here at Gullringstorp have been passed on to my husband. I have been taking care of all the animals in the house and small tasks. I am happy to know that the goats have been so well taken care of by my husband, in my absence.
Last night I struggled with the fact that my pregnant ladies should have already started their Milk Stand training. I could not decide if I should start this morning or wait till Monday . Well I decided that this would be the morning I would start.
We bred 5 does but I have a big question mark over one young lady, Peanut. shortly after she was bred, I did witness what I thought was a heat. We just need to keep an eye on her. I think I may start her on the stand as well.
My first doe was Pumpkin. She was not so happy , but I expected that. She is a strong goat and it took both of us to get her up on the stand.
My next twi does are Pansy and Poppy. These are Frieda’s last babies born here at Gullringstorp. Their mother Frida passed away just about a year ago. I still miss her terribly but thankfully, I have 4 of her children and one granddaughter. I see her in all of them.
Here is the last doe of the morning, Iris. She gave us the most trouble. She was not having it! She refused to walk up the ramp and when she did move up, it was inch by inch. Iris is a Pygmy goat and is quite a bit smaller than my Nigerians Dwarf goats.
Overall, the first experience for my does was pretty good. They will soon come to learn that the Milk Stand will be the only place to get their breakfast and dinner. The process works. I have several does who have been through the Milk Stand training and are very comfortable on the stand. It takes time and patience and lots of love. You can never just yank and pull a doe up on a stand. You must take as long as she needs to walk that ramp and then to actually place her head in to be locked in. It takes time. This is nothing to be rushed.
My does will not be milked for some time, but when the time is right, they will be ready. As with my other does, these new mothers-to-be will have their babies with them when they are on the Milk Stand. This way they will help with any possible separation issues that may come up. It’s always fun for the babies to run and play and get used to the ramp and stand.
Oh I love being back with my goats. I have missed them terribly. It’s like being away from your young children. So much happens and you miss so much. I know they are my goats and not my children, but in a sense they are and I am the goat mommy. This has to be the relationship when you own goats. they need all that you can give them, not just hay, straw, grain and water. They need and require your love and attention, individually.
It turned into such a lovely day for our goat’s day out.
Here are our new mothers and their babies having fun in the enclosure for the first time :
They had a wonderful day