Friday, October 11, 2013

The New Kids On Our Block

We have some new family members. After we brought Elsie home, we had no idea how pregnant she was or when she would kid, and it seemed like she was pining the company of other goats. She was very timid with us, too, so clearly we were inadequate company! I stumbled upon a young Saanen x British Alpine doe kid who had been hand reared and bottle fed. She was only five weeks old when we bought her and it really was the best thing we could have done. Elsie perked up immediately and relished being the 'herd queen', and it wasn't long before she was much more comfortable with us handling her, even coming up to demand cuddles and scratches first as is her right as the herd leader! The young doe kid, Bella, will be an excellent milker when she is older, as well.

This is Bella. She is awfully hard to photograph, as she keeps trying to eat the camera!

Then, on Tuesday night, after Miya's 6th birthday party, I noticed that Elsie was showing some early signs of labour. I kept an eye on her during the dinner/bath/bed routine and as soon as the (human) kids were in bed it was evident that this baby goat was arriving - and soon! I called a couple of friends of mine who have goats and have had experience with goats birthing and we settled in with a torch and waited. This was Elsie's first birth and she wasn't sure what was going on, and it was obvious that the kid was a large one. We let her push for half an hour or so then once the front hooves and nose were out, my friend held then and on the next contraction gave a gentle pull and helped the kid out. Elsie's instincts took over completely and she set about cleaning the kid's face, then her body, and it wasn't long before the kid was trying to stand and looking for her first drink. We woke the girls up to come and meet the baby and moved mama and baby into the shed, stopping to check the kid's gender (a girl!) and watched to make sure the kid would suckle. We had nothing to worry about, Elsie is a wonderful first time mother, doing everything completely right. Miya named the kid Rosie.

Rosie is a three quarter Boer goat, and already shows signs of being a lovely stocky goat. Nath is salivating already, as it is likely that Rosie will end up in our pot! We can't keep three goats, and as Elsie is a proven mother, we will use her to breed, hopefully with a milking breed buck. Bella will also be a milker. The (human) kids aren't too happy about eating Rosie, but we are breeding goats for our own dairy and meat requirements, to avoid the awful meat and dairy industry and guarantee that the animals we eat have led a healthy and humane life. It's a hard lesson, but a necessary one, I feel.

For now, Rosie will remain suckling on Elsie for a few weeks, then we will separate them at night so that we can milk Elsie in the morning. We have been needing to milk Elsie in the afternoons a bit anyway, as she is producing ore milk than Rosie can drink and was looking like she may have been developing mastitis. Her milk is incredibly creamy, and raw, cold, fresh goats milk is beautiful!

We are all absolutely loving being goat owners! It has long been a dream of mine and I can't begin to explain how lovely it is to watch my three children playing with the goats, learning about animal husbandry and developing an understanding of what it means to be a mindful consumer of meat in this age where animals are merely commodities, bred for the greed of humans without much concern for their welfare.


  1. Oh how wonderful that your introduction to goats has been such a wonderful and positive experience. :) I am going to live completely vicariously through your posts now so LOTS of goat posts please. :)
    We too have Anna for the same reasons - milk and meat. Touch lessons indeed as has the introduction to culling our own roosters but I agree, raising our own ethical meat makes me feel proud not to support (as much) the horrid industry breeding what we call food in our society.

  2. I think of you often, Jess, when I'm out there chatting with our girls :) I really hope Anna is enamoured with the next handsome buck who comes her way! I am definitely going to cry when it comes to dispatching one of our goat kids for eating... but truly believe that it is the right thing to do if we are to continue being meat eaters.

  3. All the years we raised our own meat on the farm my husband only had one rule - never name an animal that's going to be meat! The kids tended to get attached much more and make 'pets' out of named stock - even a 900 lb steer - named zucchini.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Yes it's a bit of a risk but I love what Rohan from Whole Larder Love says - something about not distancing ourselves from our food and having a full appreciation of what is lost so that we can nourish ourselves. But having said that, dispatching named goats is a big step from dispatching named chickens! We'll see how we go.

  4. Hi from your newest follower, oh my I just adore your goats x


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