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”.
It has been 4 days since Frida gave birth to twins. They are doing very well and seem happy, healthy and certainly bouncy! Frida gets breakfast and dinner in “bed”. I bring her a special container of chopped carrots, apples, greens and bananas for her to enjoy, and she does. She is still getting he molasses water which she finds delightful. First her tongue laps up the brown goodness then she put her mouth to the water and seems to syphon it up like an elephant and in an instant the bowl is empty.
The way her box is made, she has an “upper berth” for sleeping and now for a little peace and quiet from her babies. The babies are way to tiny to jump up and Frida is aware of this. She is also aware that this peaceful retreat will not last for long, soon these tiny, bouncing wonders will bounce their way up to Frida’s spot of solitude. In the meanwhile, Frida seems to really enjoy her short but sweet, time away from motherhood. But as soon as one of those little cuties makes a peep, she is down to make sure all is well and offer TLC and like all good mother, a good snack!
Here are developments from August 2 – 4
Sorry I have to interrupt this post. We have been invited to a “gran fest” neighbor party with nearby farmers. I have showered and did my makeup and was just trying to finish this post when it started to rain. It was light at first, but then the sky opened up on Gullringstorp and the goats. So only here would one be late for a party due to bringing goats in out of the rain. On top of that when I opened the boy’s enclosure, Baby Boy, only 4 months old decided to mount Keriana who was in heat a few days ago. Mind you he is tiny and a Pygmy so I had doubts that he could even reach; looked like he could. Once they were in and in their right boxes, it was time for the chickens. Oh yes I haven’t gotten to them yet. They are Brahma chickens and they like to be outside, day and night and refuse to go into their chicken house. So there they were a gaggle or whatever of chickens huddled together in the corner, wet! They have 2 doors to their house , a regular chicken sized door and a people sized door with steps and all. I opened the people sized door to get them in, one was in and the other came out. And it continued to pour! Finally all were inside with fresh hay and grains and chicken feed.
Only in the countryside could goats and chickens make one late to a party!
Well everyone is in , now to take off my farm togs and slip into something nice for the party. I will be back to finish this post, promise!
Well I have to tell you, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be to locate goats here. Imagine my disappointment when there were no goats available for miles. Ok I have to clarify , there were goats just not the goats I was looking for. it took up to a year to locate my very first goats to start off my herd. I searched online sites, local animal parks and on-line ads. Finally we ran across an ad that was actually as we later found out was a distress ad. With great excitement and anticipation the days drew closer to our meeting date. I could hardly wait! Finally I would have my much wanted goats!
When we arrived, the first thing I thought was, “oh no we don’t have this type of terrain for them”! They had huge boulders to climb, even a structure to climb and trees everywhere! Needless to say I panicked and felt like this was not the time nor were these the goats for me. Here take a look at where these goats were living:
There see! What fun they must have had playing in this setting. Oh yes he was also looking for a home for these two magnificent big horned sheep that are from the Swedish island of Gotland. My husband thought I was crazy because they were so beautiful and we had the land, I couldn’t see why we couldn’t take them also. We didn’t in the end. there in the photo you can see two of the goats that were available. The black one was actually the breed of goat I was looking for. She is a West African dairy breed , Nigerian Dwarf. She was with two others whom I learned later were part of the package and if we wanted her we had to take them also. They were beautiful even though they were not what I set out to have . They are a rare Swedish breed of dairy goat called Swedish Lantras and just a bit larger than the Nigerian Dwarf. They were also bucks. But it was easy to see that they needed to be together and were indeed a package.
Aren’t the white ones beautiful?? I fell in love instantly! I just had to have them, no matter that they were not my breed of choice. I was about to become a goat owner! That was a fantastic feeling.
As we were negotiating price, we learned that this owner was needing to find them a home together due to his personal stress and it was really sad to know that he was unable to cope with whatever life was throwing his way and he had neither the time nor the energy to give these goats what they needed. In the end there was no exchange of money (kronor) , just hugs and reassuring words that these three would be well taken care of and loved.
Then there was a bonus to our verbal transaction. The Nigerian Dwarf goat named Frida was PREGNANT!!! Oh my goodness!!! And one of the white goats was her “husband”. They were very much attached to each other. that is evident in this next photo:
As we walked around the property and learned what was to be learned about all three, these two “lovers” were never apart. They walked together and when one stopped the other stopped. It was clear to see the connection between them and the bond was strong.
So started the Gullringstorp Goats! We were now proud owners of a tiny herd of goats. Wow, a dream come true. We brought the three home to Gullringstorp in October and we were about to experience the worst winter in our area in over 100 years. So my concerns and fears of having inferior grounds, were quickly put on hold. Winter hit and it hit hard. My new goats which up until they came to Gullringstorp, were outside since he got them, would now be confined to the indoor stable boxes. I have since seen goats that were outdoors through the winter, wind and rain and I was not happy with what I saw. Even a three-sided shelter was not enough for our tough Swedish winters and this was a doozy! Not to worry, my new goats were cozy and as warm as could be, inside. See for your self:
Well here is a photo of Frida and her “husband” Jalle. They remained close even at our home. Goats require fresh branches,grains, hay ,straw, fresh water and minerals to stay healthy. Since my new little herd was “stable bound” for the duration of the winter, it was my husband who cut fresh branches from our property to bring in for our little herd. They could not go out and brows as goats do in nature, we brought nature in to them. in the beginning, we were unaware that the branches really needed to be strung up so the goats could reach up and stretch to get to the leaves and goodies. We learned. We learned a lot with this little herd. It’s similar to being a parent. You can read all the child rearing books in preparation, but nothing teaches like the real thing. you just have to jump in with both feet and your heart and you will learn, together. And that was how we started.
Here are some photos of life in our stable which was once so empty! We had box activities and corridor activities to get through that long winter:
Here are two of my new goats enjoying some yummy branches.
I am so glad we have so many evergreen trees and bushes on the property, so we had plenty of green to offer our goats.
As you can see, the goats do not suffer for being inside through our long cold winter. They were kept quite happy with goodies in the boxes and fun activities in the corridor. They even met a new friend!
Please check back to learn more about Jalle and Julius and the surprise package Frida was carrying!
Thank you for reading and I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to leave your comments på svenska!
Bye for now, (Hej då)