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 !