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.
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.
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.
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!