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goats | Ruth Tshin

Fiasco Farm

BABY GOATS 034.jpg

OK, information pills I couldn’t wait to put this picture up. Here they are at 20 minutes old.

Mariposa (means “butterfly” in Spanish – because her ears flop around like wings – reddish brown, female); Ndombe (means “black” in Congolese dialect, male); and Isabella (aka Busy Izzy – blonde, female).
A shout out to Fiasco Farm for their terrific website on goat husbandry (aka how to raise goats, cost
to mate them and to help them give birth). Informative pictures and explanations of goat stuff…like Goats For Dummies to me.

Babes

BABY GOATS 034.jpg

OK, information pills I couldn’t wait to put this picture up. Here they are at 20 minutes old.

Mariposa (means “butterfly” in Spanish – because her ears flop around like wings – reddish brown, female); Ndombe (means “black” in Congolese dialect, male); and Isabella (aka Busy Izzy – blonde, female).

Triplets!

I’m happy to announce that I’m finally a goat-mama! Lily, ailment our doe, emergency gave birth to three kids today and they’re doing just fine (pictures to come later!).

Behind every birth, there’s a story. Lily’s story is this: for the past month, A. and I have been on pregnancy patrol – based on when she was last with Curry (the buck), she was supposed to have given birth mid- to late-March. So we had been over-cautious with Lily: isolating her, feeding her choice greens and going out to the barn at the dead of night to check up on her. I had even slept outside on the mountain with two other interns in order to keep watch on Lily. To no avail…all the signs of pregancy were present but she had not yet given birth. I started thinking this was a false pregnancy (something that can happen with goats). Even this morning, A. had mentioned that the previous goat interns had been caught off guard the last time Lily had given birth and maybe that would be the case this time too.

So, this afternoon, we interns were deep in a lecture about composting and its benefits as fertilizer and inoculum. During our 10 minute break, a scratchy message came across my radio: “Ruth, your goat just gave birth!” It took me a minute to absorb that and to make sure A. had heard the message. Then we booted it across the farm to the barn in a mad rush (A. being a marathoner, had the lead!). Lo and behold, there were three slimy kids who had just been born, trying to stand on their legs. All the other interns oohed and aahhed while we tried to determine what to do. Fortunately, ECHO has plenty of experienced animal people who gave us plenty of advice – we supported the kids’ legs so they could suckle Lily’s udder, dipped their umbilical cords in iodine, gave Lily fresh water and food (moringa leaves and hay) and made her a bed of bamboo leaves to sleep on.

Now, the kids are sleeping soundly in a corner of the barn. I think I’m coming out of shock now and am excited to watch them grow. Stay tuned!

The reality of goats

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Photo from http://www.natural-history-pictures.co.uk/goat.jpg

Animals require a lot of work (especially for a reformed suburbanite like me). Morning and night. Weekends too. Insatiable appetites for food. Deworming. Trimming hooves. Cleaning out manure. Fortunately A is a great partner with whom to share the work. The animals: A buck (Curry), search two does (Lily and Girlfriend) and two kids (Shaka and Khatuk). And a zebu (miniature cow) called Princess. I’ve fallen in love with Shaka – he’s cuddly and nuzzley. But I may have to eat him later on this year. That’s the reality of agriculture.