I didn't even know Hyacinth was Expecting, when she unexpectedly gave birth to the largest baby boy! He is such a giant, I named him Samson. She is three years old, but very small in stature because she was a bottle baby. But she took to being a mother like a duck to water. She cleaned and fed and cared for that little boy like she had done it all her life. After Mom discovered her with her brand new baby and brought her into the barn, Hyacinth yawned all casually, like she was thinking, "I don't know what all the fuss is about--those other does bellering and hollering. This is easy!"
Sweet Pea was Honey Dear's first baby. I am so lucky that HD has always been such a great mother, because Angora goats have a reputation for neglecting their babies outrageously. Up until this year, Sweet Pea has always been a horrible mother and rejected all of her baby girls. You have never seen such a pitiful sight as a newborn baby covered with slime and with their umbilical cord stringing along, wobbling around on their baby legs, trying to get some milk, and the mama kicks and bites at them and won't let them have any of her milk. So her three baby girls from past years, Isabelle, Hyacinth, and Angel, have all been bottle babies that I had to raise for her. So I called her Pea since she wasn't so sweet.
Ol' Pea had two sweet baby girls this year that I named Faith and Hope, but she was actually kind of licking them and calling to them like a good goat mother does. She still wouldn't let them drink, so either Mom or I held her down and brought the babies up to let them get their natural food instead of bottled milk. Pea would fight and kick, but I sat on her and held her legs and let the babies drink no matter how hard she fought. She kicked my glasses off my face, but I still held on. She bit my hair and tore it out, but I held her harder. Her udder was unusually large and full of milk this year, so it must have felt better to have her babies empty it out.
Anyway, miracle of miracles, after about five days of sitting on Pea to let her babies eat, she finally started taking good care of them! I don't know what made the difference this year, maybe she got tired of me sitting on her several times a day, maybe the four other does being good mothers made her feel competitive, maybe she mellowed out now that she is nine years old. Whatever it was--it has been the hugest blessing that she took care of her own babies this year!
The oldest doe Honey Dear has always been such a good mother. She has shown Cherish how to get right in the grain bucket so nobody else can get their share. These were taken when Cherish was 6 weeks old and she is already so big! It's hard to believe she is still drinking Mama's milk. I always think it's so cute when the baby goats start getting grubby knees. That means they are getting big and sitting like the big goats do!
Charlotte is one of Honey Dear's babies from 2009. I felt she was way too young to be bred, but the buck got out and bred all of the does in September. I sheared the baby Mamas in February so they would be nice and clean for giving birth, but it was way too cold for the does, so I put them in sweaters. Most of the youngest ones had a lot of trouble with their pregnancies, but Charlotte did so great! She had two, beautiful, tiny babies, a boy and a girl. The boy kept kneeling down his first two days of life, so I named him Daniel, since Daniel in the Bible was such a great praying man. The little girl is so beautiful, with a forehead full of curly hair and the darkest eyes I have ever seen in a goat. I named her Delilah.The Mama Charlotte is still so small, that she has to bow her legs clear out to make room for both babies to nurse. The bigger they get, the more they push her off her hind legs with their vigorous dining habits.
I have eight lovely, healthy kids out there in the pasture (Angora goat kids) and all of the mamas are doing everything they should and taking good care of the babies. Honey Dear's baby girl Cherish is hardly a baby anymore--she is 7 weeks old today, and she really thinks she is all grown up. Honey Dear is my oldest, most experienced doe, and she is teaching Cherish all about shouldering in and getting her fair share of the grain. Angora goats are so terribly competitive, I can put their hay or grain into seven different piles, and five does with their babies will still run around butting each other to make sure they get the most. I just laugh at the goat care advice that so reasonably and easily recommends 1 cup of grain per animal per day. They never go into how they manage to administer that amount each and every day. Well, I have to let the smaller ones out and give them a couple of dishes with grain, then put a dish on one side of the barn for the ones inside and they all shoulder each other out of the way, then I put another dish on the other side of the barn and they all rush opver there, etc, . ad infinitum. Anyway, my sweeties don't get grain every day because there are not enough hours in the day for me to keep up this dance to make sure each one got at least some.
I have never seen a feeder design that couldn't be hogged up by one or two big ones. If anybody has seen something that works for goats, be sure to let me know!