Riverside’s little goat herd has grown. Birthing photos! (Graphic)

On Tues evening, Marigold went gently and quietly into labour and produced a beautiful little female kid. We have named her Anemone.

Here are a few photos showing the birthing process and the rather fabulous end result!

(The pics are best avoided if you are a bit squeamish)

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At the beginning of labour the ‘bubble’ appears. It may burst or remain intact. You may be able to see two tiny white hooves inside it. Normal deliveries are head first with the head between the feet. The tongue is often hanging out. This is normal.

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Here you can see the tiny white hooves and a pink tongue and nose appearing. The ‘bubble’ has burst.

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And a few minutes later the kid is born and mum licks and licks to clean her.(Softly bleating all the while) I do intervene a bit and clear the kid’s nose and mouth of mucus and give the kid a brisk rub with a rough towel.. and then let mum take over.

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Warm water with molasses is appreciated after the birth .

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Welcome to the world Anemone xxxx

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What a gorgeous girl! Anemone xxx

Mum and baby x

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Both doing great!!

……….and here is a link to my favourite website about goat keeping and kidding . Enjoy!

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Milk maid

Milk maid

My daughter milking Tansy. March 2013

Another self sufficiency landmark reached …

Today was day 1 of milking one of my very own goats.

You may have read a previous post about how my mother kept a small dairy herd many years ago. I have yearned to own my own herd since I was about 20.

Now aged 45, divorced, bringing up and educating my youngest child on my own, in a teeny tiny rented cottage in East Lincs UK, with some rented land and a lot of enthusiasm, I have finally fulfilled a dream.

My two female goats, Marigold and Tansy, were put to a billy in Autumn/Winter 2012.

One was covered back in Oct and one in January and low and behold one has kidded already and is therefore producing milk!

The other female, Marigold, isn’t due to kid until June.

I allow kids to have the first 7 days of their mum’s milk 24/7 and now that they are over a week old I am simply separating them overnight (within sight and smell of one an other) to enable me to milk Tansy early each morning before the kids feed and then I simply put them all back together again.

Tansy doesn’t seem the least bit upset by being in a separate space to the babies overnight.  She settles down to chew the cud and rest.

The babies seem quite happy and content too. They have a molasses lick, fresh water and hay to nibble at, if they need it. But to be honest they tend to sleep, snuggled up in the deep straw til morning.

Tansy is far more interested in getting her morning concentrate ration/hay and chopped veggies when I arrive at 6.30 am than she is about getting to her kids.

Whilst she is eating her breakfast I wipe her udders with disposable udder wipes and add a little udder cream to my hands and rub them together to try to warm them up a bit. It is jolly cold at 6:30am and we are experiencing record low temperatures for March here in Lincs UK atm with thick ice/ constant sprinkles of snow and Siberian winds! So my warm hands make the whole process far less of a shock to her warm, full udders.

I talk to her soothingly, pop my little wooden milking stool between my legs and rest my head on her flank and gently start milking. Talking to her all the while” Steady Tansy, good girl, stand still, There’s a clever girl” and so on….

The first few squirts are sent into a special cup called a strip cup, it has a black shelf part way down, with holes to allow milk to pass through and it allows you to check for any problems like flakes, blood, lumps in the milk etc.

As it all looks OK I swap to my stainless steel milking pail.

When milking you must try to keep a regular gentle rhythm going. No pulling on the teats. Just  gently close off the milk supply with the gap between thumb and forefinger at the very top of the teat, then gradually close the other fingers as they go down against the teat, one after the other, all in order, pressing the milk lower and lower into the teat until it squirts out into the bucket with a whoosh.

It is a gentle motion, it doesn’t need to be hard work at all but it does use muscles in your hands that you don’t usually use, so can make your hand ache at first until you get used to it.

Tansy has never ever had her udders milked by human hands before, so obviously it takes some getting used to for her too, but gentle but firm handling and a confident attitude worked wonders (plus food of course) and she soon settled down.

I quietly sang a song as I milked her to help her relax and to help me keep a rhythm going 🙂

Today I only milked one udder at a time but once she is more settled and used to the routine I will start milking both udders together in alternate squirts, to save time.

Once I had two soft empty udders in front of me and a half full bucket of frothing fresh milk, I wiped her over again and let the kids in.

They stripped her right out and with the extra demand for milk that my morning milking causes Tansy will very soon make more to meet demand.

The kids then set about bouncing from one log to another in the bench play area at the back of the goat shed. They really love to climb and prance and play.

Tansy is being fed a dairy goat ration twice a day ( morning and evening) and a midday meal of chopped fresh vegetables and fruit, plus ad lib good quality hay 24/7.

She has fresh water twice a day ( served warm with a tiny dot of molasses in) and she has access to a mineral lick and solid paddock vitamin and mineral block for goats too. Once the weather warms up she and the kids can go out into the little exercise paddock that has been rested since Oct, to graze down the grass and wild herbs that grow there.

At our very first milking session my daughter also had a go at playing milk maid for the first time and she managed quite successfully to milk a fair bit into the bucket. She was thrilled! Tansy was a very good girl for her and stood very still.

We came indoors as soon as we were done, in order to quickly filter and cool the milk. Once that was completed it was time to put the kettle on.

We celebrated our landmark event with a nice cup of tea …………….

………………..and of course we used our very own goat’s milk!  🙂

Sorry for the lack of photos but with my hands busy milking I didn’t actually take any pics.

Maybe I will take some of my daughter milking her tomorrow. So watch this space.

Thanks for popping by x

We have goat kids!!..at last!

Tansy gave birth to two healthy kids this morning. One of each. We have named the female Heather, after the pink heather that is in full flower just yards from the goat shed right now. Here are some photos.

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Mum has a much needed drink after the event. Warm water with a little molasses. So proud of her .

Simple pleasures.

Today has been a proper spring day. A day of sunshine and birdsong.  It has been wonderful to be able to work outside all day.

In the last few days I have planted willow for arches, sown seeds, spread compost, weeded veg beds, got out of bed and checked on the goats each night at 1 am and 4:30 am, fed and watered and cleaned out hens, quail, duck and geese.  Fed and hayed and watered ponies and cleaned their paddock. Walked dogs,  met up with neighbours and enjoyed the dry sunny days!

There are buds appearing on plants everywhere.  It is time to sow seeds. My greenhouse is filling up. Baby animals are due to be born. Life feels good.

The simple pleasures of spending time out in nature are the best.

Here is to new beginnings.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Please don’t copy my photos or use any them without permission . Thank you.

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Goats in the sunshine. A day before Tansy’s official due date.

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Marigold

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Marigold.. such a sweety.

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Very fat Tansy

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Tag and Peaches snuggle on the sofa

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Through the honeysuckle arch

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Teasel heads by the river

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Looking over the garden boundary

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One of my living willow arches. Can’t wait for it to green up!

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Tiny woven nest-box..tucked away in some ivy..We had wrens in it last year.

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Spring sunshine in the garden. The heather is in bloom!

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Garlic ..planted in Autumn last year

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Time for a rest

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Willow arch by the gate

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Shadows across the garden

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Holly-Hot- Pants after a dunk in the water

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Marigold rests and chews the cud

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Marigold deals with an itch

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Pregnant Tansy

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The river and our tiny jetty

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View out of one of the side gates

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Robin nest box in the honeysuckle

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Nest-boxes of all shapes and sizes ..everywhere!

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One of our three bat boxes

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Hens in their winter shed whilst the land is rested

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Over wintered leeks

The heart of a home. Love and a log fire.

Well my daughter and I are finally over the nasty virus that laid us up for almost a fortnight. Thank you for all the lovely get well wishes. I have caught up with all my jobs…..at last. Hurrah! Happy me.

Hannah is back on track and is starting a new entomology project, so please feel free to link to any useful resources that may be of use to an insect mad ten-year old 🙂

My heavily pregnant goat, Tansy, is now settled in her newly washed out and disinfected kidding pen. Her sister, Marigold, is settled in the pen next door, so they can still see each other. I have the kidding kit ready by the back door. It includes a bright torch, lamb reviver (they don’t seem to do one specifically for goat kids), emergency colostrum/ milk replacer, bottle, syringe and tube, lambing ropes, lubricant, iodine, towels etc……and a hip flask with a small drop of whisky in…….but that’s for me! 😉

Fingers crossed when the time comes it all goes smoothly. This is her first kidding . I am currently doing a late night check on her and her sister, who is not due to kid until June, every evening, before I go to bed. I remove Tansy’s water bucket overnight,  just in case she manages to drop a kid in it, even though it is raised in a bucket holder. Better safe than sorry. Then I check her again at 1:00 am, again at 4:30 am, then again first thing in the morning. I drag myself out of bed on hearing my alarm go off, put on a thick towelling robe over  the top of my jim-jams and push on my old faithful welly boots and  sleepily plod across the garden to the girl’s sheds, torch in hand, to quietly peek in and see if anything is happening.  Then I head straight back to bed (removing the wellies first!) and set the alarm for 3 hrs time. I must say that I love my sleep and getting up in the middle of the night is not my idea of fun…….but somehow when you have animals due to give birth it doesn’t bother you at all.

Her ‘official’ due date is March 6th but they can kid a week either side of that date. Hence me being prepared 🙂

You can click on any photo on my blog to enlarge it.

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The girls, Marigold and Tansy.

On a less bright note:

I have had a bit of upset with a ‘neighbour’ that lives in the next lane in the village.  She arrived at my door in a foul mood and promptly went about telling me in a very abrupt manner, how my geese were on HER land and she wasn’t putting up with them or their poop on her property.

I must add that my tiny property here is bordered by a river along one boundary and my three geese are indeed loose on this river all day as I cannot afford to fence the entire river off  and they had managed to get across to the other side of the river, climb up the steep riverbank and onto the farmland that this lady owns and had then travelled through her farmyard onto the lane where this lady lives.  She was VERY angry with me. I apologised profusely.
What she hadn’t waited to hear, before getting cross  with me, was that I had been out looking for them all day. Even though they live semi wild here on the river, I do in fact feed them every single day in my garden. I missed them  instantly that morning as they never arrived for their breakfast and after hours looking for them I had come to the conclusion that they had been either stolen or being caught by a fox.  I had no idea they had travelled so far!
I would never intentionally allow my geese on another person’s property. I felt awful. I do not cope at all well with confrontation and it really upset me.
This lady then insisted that they had to be put in her neighbours paddock with her geese as that was PROPERLY fenced in 😦   So it appeared that I had inadvertently lost my beloved geese.  I cried my eyes out when she left.

However my son then arrived to collect his dog Chester (I look after Chester a few days each week ) and my son insisted that we go find the geese and get them back and that he would help me construct an escape proof run for them to prevent further problems.  So off he went and back we  all came some time later carrying three full-grown Embden and Pilgrim geese in a huge crate!  They were VERY heavy!

My son is my hero!

But I am incredibly sad that this means they are no longer allowed to swim on the river. It seems such a shame. They loved it  so much. If they seem unhappy I will have to consider re-homing them 😦

The geese on the river..click to enlarge photos

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The week has since got a bit better.

Our new rescue dog, Peaches, has finally mastered walking on the lead. She used to just collapse and lay on her back when we put a lead on her. She didn’t seem to have a clue what she was supposed to do. But she  has learnt very quickly! The other dogs helped loads and she eventually followed them and got to grips with the whole going for a walk thing.  She also had some fun ‘off lead’ time with the other dogs in a nearby field and she had great recall! I am thrilled with her progress. She is gaining more and more confidence each day. She fits in here perfectly.  She is so willing to learn and so well-behaved. We love her to bits already. The other dogs seem to love her too x

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On another high note:

My chimney has FINALLY been rebuilt, after many difficulties fitting the chimney liner. My wood stove has been reconnected to the chimney, a new chimney stack has been built up on the roof and a new cowling fitted on the pot at the top. I have heat and hot water once again! It feels like home again. Hurrah! A real fire really is the heart of my home.

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It really has been a lovely week ( despite the earlier upset) My daughter received a surprise parcel in the post from a lovely friend of mine this week  and one of the items was a beautiful apron. I love it so much.  My daughter  plans to wear it when she bakes shortbread this week. I want one in my size 😉

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I am so grateful for all the wonderful things in my life and for the ability to ride the waves when things get tough (which they inevitably seem to do) and I am so thankful for all my amazing friends and my fabulous family, who love and support me  and accept my eccentricities 😉

Thank you all xxxx

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…..and right on cue to top the evening off with yet more loveliness the sky painted a beautiful picture for me tonight. I took a photo. Enjoy! xx

Red sky at night……..Goatkeeper’s delight 😉

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Goodnight x