The boys were once again led into the enclosure and straight on through the gate to the new enclosure . Once there, every little buck got down to the serious business of eating yummy grass:
The girls really enjoy morning and the morning sunshine:
Everyone enjoys a beautiful day . today is a really beautiful day at Gullringstorp!
When we started out with our goats, we decided not to have bucks of our own. This was because of all that I have read and all that I had heard. Bucks were dangerous, bucks were stinky and bucks were unpredictable.
We went for a long time hiring a Rent-A-Buck to come by Gullringstorp for our ladies. We were lucky to get a beautiful buck named Emil who fathered some of our most beautiful babies. You can read about Emil on another post “Our Rent-A-Buck” .
Then it happened, Hilda, our most gentle of all our goats gave birth to a doeling and a little buckling. Knowing how the temperament of the mother is passed on to her babies, we knew that this would be a wonderful and gentle buck when he grew up. We were right. Then we realized that since we also had tiny Pygmy does, we needed some tiny Pygmy bucklings for them. We purchased 3 tiny bucklings from the same farm we bought the doelings. With these little boys , we gave them all the love and attention we could so that they would be manageable.
Two years later, Nanna one of our Pygmy does, gave birth to Toby and I just couldn’t bring myself to sell him. Alika and Hilda two of our Nigerian Dwarf goats gave birth to 3 beautiful little bucklings, Pip, Winston and Phillip. Needless to say, they all have remained here with us and near their mothers, at Gullringstorp.
We have 7 bucks now in the boy’s quarter. With all the love and hands on, hand feeding every day, we have 7 beautiful, tamed bucklings. They are all collar and leash trained, should we need them to be led on a leash.
Although they are all tamed and kind, they are not without challenges: One challenge has been the way they have their hay in the box. We had one hay rack That was already in place from when horses used to live here. That hay rack was modified for our goats. Then we saw that we needed more hay holders of some kind. We tried horse hay bags. Well let me tell you, I know horses weigh a lot more than our little boys, but our little boys can really do some damage. they used their horns to systematically destroy the bags. That wasn’t working with the bucks , but did work with the does and doelings. We found an ad for hay racks at a great price, when purchased in volume. so we bought 5 of the.
Our bucks got 2 of the new racks. We thought our hay storage was solved. well it really wasn’t. We had two little bucks who thought it was fun to leap from the cable drum and lad right in the middle of the hay rack. Not a good idea; no place for accidental poopies or pee pee. We tried to move the cable drum so they couldn’t reach the hay racks. We did that, then , one day saw something that I had never imagined. Our little buck Winston, no bigger than a Cocker Spaniel actually leaped up into the hay rack from the ground!!
Then I got an idea. Not just out of the blue, mind you. Lids!! Lids are not unusual here at Gullringstorp. I our tiny Pygmy girl’s box, we had the same problem. We had a tiny doe who kept leaping into the hay rack. Solution, a lid. Pygmy goats love to climb so all the girls have had a chance up on the lid, now a fun shelf.
So lids it was:
Our bucks were shocked at first to see the lids and were a bit confused. Then they found the perfect use for the lids; sharpen their horns , of course!
As our little bucks have enjoyed their enclosure, it became obvious that they were now in need of more grazing. It was time to extend their space.
The boys like to relax on warm days:
Well with new covered hay racks and extended enclosure, our boys are more than happy!
After a couple of days of wind, snow and rain, the goats were let out this morning. the conditions were not ideal but our goats were getting cabin fever. You can always tell on morning rounds just what the mood is when you enter the stable.We have most of the girls in the first section of the stable so when you enter there, quite often the ladies are all still “in bed”. They look so cute all snuggled up together. There are two to a box except our 4 tiniest ladies share a very large box.
Entering the next section of the stable is another story completely. We have had the occasion to enter and fine everyone still “in bed”. But usually as I stop and say good morning Pumpkin and Rose who are in the last box in the first section, I can hear the commotion in the next section of the stable. Nanna, if not in heat is usually relaxing on her “perch”. The boys have been “in bed” on some mornings but that is not always the case. Like this morning, they were up and spunky! Alika is head butting her door making quite a noise.
After all my mothers to-be , have been on the Milk Stand, Max our dog and I go out and walk the enclosure to access the condition after the last two days. It is still wet in some sections, but overall it would not be a day that the goats were forced to remain indoors. I grab my wheel barrel and Max and start to fill the boys hay rack and then take the boys out first. Boy are they ever happy to be out. I just hope it doesn’t rain. But if it does, we have two wonderful deep outdoor shelters for all the goats to get in and stay out of the rain. Most of my goats do not like the rain. Fingers crossed. There was a time in our goat raising that we would run out of the house at the first drop of rain and run the goats in. I soon realized that our goats cold withstand the elements to a degree and they did have more than adequate shelter from the elements.
The girls were also eager to be outside. They ran for the enclosure while kicking up their cute little heels! It’s always a sight that gives me immense pleasure.
Remember when it was time to place my two little boys in with the big boys and I was so upset?
Here they were as bucklings just before they made the transition:
Now by little babies are no longer bucklings,, they are bucks ready to spar at any given moment for dominance :
The boys settled in and enjoyed being outside. The girls soon followed:
We are continually making improvements around Gullringstorp and many of them are goat related. One of the biggest issues facing goat owners is wasted hay supplies. So often it falls through large hay racks that have large openings between the bars. You see, they don’t make hay racks for these small livestock. All of us have to improvise or try at building our own. We have a two-sided wooden rack that Leif built that fits one in Pumpkin and Rose’s box and the other side fits the sister’s Pansy and Poppy’s box. They have been working well except some waste in the sister’s box. The boys have the conventional horse hay rack which works fine ever since Leif had some bars welded on to help keep the hay in. That was a good idea. The problem in this box is 7 bucks. They can’t all eat at one hay rack and I don’t like to make situations that could prove volatile. So we tried horse hay bags. They worked fine for a while until the boys decided to sharpen their horns on them and rip them causing the hay to fall out. Alika, Keriana and Fiona have bags; they are not without their issues. Alika’s is always turned around. You see there is a nice round opening for the goat to stick their nose in to eat. This means she has to stand up and stick her head in from the top and eat. Keriana and her daughter Fiona have ripped he side of their bag loosing hay .
We bought 5 new hay racks and my husband has welded the bars on all of them. We won’t be placing them in the boxes until the weather gets better and our road gets better to be able to drive the tractor with the hay from the boxes. They still have the winter full level of hay and straw that keeps the goats warm during the winter. With the level up so high we can’t place them in till the level is where it should be, much lower.
These hay racks are not complete yet. There will be a fencing material with smaller openings fit inside each rack. These are just the beginning of repairs and improvements that will need to be done here at Gullringstorp after the long cold winter.
Last evening as we entered the stable, all seemed peaceful and calm. All until we entered the other end of the stable. There they were, two of our bucks locked together in a head lock. They commenced charging and ramming each other, head on. I know for a fact that larger animals like elk, rams and water buffalo, have very hard plates in their heads to withstand the hard blows that are exchanged when they are in “must”. I am not sure what my little fellows have those plates. If anyone knows if West African goats have protective head plates, I would love to know. Thank you.
The sounds at impact are tremendous, considering the size of my boys. They are in no way the size of an elk or ram. They don’t even come up to my knee when stand near me. I console myself in the knowledge that this is natural and in nature they would be doing the same thing. The issue is, they are not in nature, they are in our care and I feel most responsible for their safety and wellbeing. I would not want either to get hurt. I don’t want a scenario with a victor and a looser limping away to lick wounds.
We went about our evening chores in the stable amidst the crashing sounds of horns and heads. We tried to distract the boys at one point by offering a treat of bread, which they love. Well, that was just a pause for them and as soon as they licked their lips and had their last piece of bread, they were right back at it.
I was not comfortable going to bed not knowing if all was well with them, so on our nightly trip out with little Max, we walked down to check on them. To my relief, they were all quiet and safe, “in bed”.
This morning, we did have two ladies in heat, and it’s quite possible that our boys knew way before we did. Oddly enough, we did not have the activity with the bucks that we had last evening, this morning.
Here are my boys in action last evening. The stars of my little videos are, Little Man (brown) and Baby Boy (black) who I now refer to as Bear because of his size and his constant grunting. Little Phillip and Winston stay close to watch and learn how to be big bucks.
Our goats are West African miniature dairy goats. Both Nigerian Dwarf goats and our Pygmy goats can be bred year round. This means that our doelings and does come into heat once every month. Most of the world’s goats are seasonal breeders,which means they come into heat once a year. Since ours come into heat every month, we have the wonderful advantage to be able to breed our does when it suits us.
They give us clues when “heats” are on the way. They become very affectionate, much more than usual. Their tails flick and wag like a dog which is known as “flagging”. And last but not least, our does have a lot to say when they are in heat. With 17 females, we have a lot of “heat” sounds in our stable. A doe in heat make a very loud cry in addition to other vocalizations when in heat. When we have a quiet day in the stable, it actually sounds strange to us.
Here Pansy lets us know that she is in heat:
In this next video, Pansy is in what we refer to as a “standing heat”. This means she is now ready to be bred.
Poppy, Pansy’s sister was also bred with Balder
Little Man and Baby Boy exchange some “words”.
We are about to start Maternity Watch again at Gullringstorp. We did breeding the last days in November and first of December 2012. As we move into Maternity Watch, we have stopped milking Nanna, Keriana and now we milk Alika only evenings. They will all dry off soon. To dry off means to slow down the milking so that the doe will not continue to produce milk. They will not be bred for at least another year.
This is Iris’s story. Our round little Pygmy doe was the first to be bred, twice Nov. 252 & 26, 2012. She will give birth for the first time in April.
Welcome back for Iris’ Maternity Watch, coming soon.
It’s cold outside but it’s nice and warm and cozy in the stable. This is what I was met with when we went in this morning:
We are expecting more snow here at Gullringstorp. Burrrr……..
Things alway seem to be in transition here at Gullringstorp and with those transitions, I have to make some changes. Some are fun and some are a bit heart wrenching. Well this was one of the later ones to deal with.
My two little babies, Phillip and Winston were ready for their move out of their mother’s box , into the buck’s box.
I knew this time was coming, this is a transition that I have had to do several times. this does not make it any easier, however. Around the first of December, I started to introduce my little fellas to the other buck. They were placed in their box, under my close supervision for just a few minutes at first. The time was increased, but always under supervision. They were afraid at first, as expected, but #2 mommy was always there by their side. Mommy #1 Hilda was never happy during the boy’s brief moments away. That was not fun to hear her cries. But, it had to be done.
I have kept a close eye on my little fellas for the signs of maturity. Little bucklings mature quickly and you must really enjoy the “baby” stage because like all babies, theirs is also fleeting. I have enjoyed these two boys tremendously. Hilda has had other babies here at Gullringstorp and they are both still here at Gullringstorp. Peanut is as gentle a doe as her mother and Little Man retains her gentle ways also, even after 1 1/2 years.
These two little ones are my last bucklings to keep here from our breeding. I made a promise that any future bucklings will be up for sale. It pains me to think of this, but it would have pained me even more if I was forced to sell Phillip and Winston.
January 2nd, I looked at my boys and said this is the day. They were moved in with the other bucks. Having had many years of employment in hospital Clinical Laboratories, Emergency Rooms and as a trained Paramedic, I am able to tackle painful or uncomfortable situations with the strength required to get the job done.
The task at hand was completed, and I did cry as I walked away. I cried at my little one’s cries for their mommy and for the cries I heard from Hilda’s box. It was heart wrenching to say the least. I knew it was time for these little “babies” to now become little bucks. My little fellas were born August 11, 2012.
We are so very fortunate here at Gullringstorp, each of our mothers, so far have been able to have an entire box to themselves for labor, delivery and the first 4 months with their babies. It’s wonderful and I am so happy to be able to provide this for them. I have to say, it’s a bit of a luxurious life for my ladies. We have not sold any of our new babies to date, but I will be selling boys, if the come. My mothers are able to feed their babies, have their private nursery and play yards. I don’t take any of this for granted, believe me. My mothers are happy and content playing and feeding and looking after their little ones and I just love watching it all.
Phillip and Winston made the big move January 2nd to the boy’s box:
Well as you can imagine, I didn’t really sleep very well with my “babies” having their first full night with the big boys. When I arrived in the stable the next morning, they were yelling so loudly and so was Hilda. I mistook the screaming for the boys missing mommy and mommy missing her boys. To my wonderful surprise, it was to let me know they were ready for their morning grain.
As with all my baby boys, they are allowed to have grain for at least a month after they have been transferred to the boy’s box. Since they are still babies, they can still have some in the morning only. As bucks become older, they can no longer have the beloved grain because it can cause urinary stones.
January 3rd, I mistook Hilda’s cries once again and brought her boys down for a short visit. to my utter surprise, I was actually in rhythm with Hilda’s cycle. She did not want her boys anywhere near her now. My instincts on the morning of Jan. 2nd were correct. She was ready for her babies to become bucks and she knew that couldn’t happen in her box.
Well today, Jan. 4th, I got the idea that poor Hilda might be lonely with her boys gone now. What to do??? Ok , Nanna lives alone, and they seem to get along well, so I tried to bring Nanna to Hilda’s box. things seemed to go well for a bit but then on careful inspection, although there were no real clashes, Hilda was afraid of Nanna and Nanna was afraid of all the sounds coming from the two boxes on either side. I sat with them for a while and decided it was not going to work. Hilda will be fine actually until her box is once again filled with the patter of tiny hooves and Nanna loves her home.
Overall, the boys are just fine, Hilda will be fine and Nanna as always is happy.
Just a few of the changes and challenges with a small goat herd at Gullringstorp in 2013.