Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Xoe is on my mind. She is a darling goat. I feel for her right now, because in the not all too distant past I was expecting myself. Unlike Xoe, I am not a goat - thankfully, and so I was not picked on, pushed around and butted by my peers. The gestation period for goats is about 150 days, but it is wise to start checking for labor signs a good week before. Often they'll give birth five or so days early or late. Last year we were expecting Maggie to kid first, but Rose; the third doe we'd bred kidded first. Maggie kidded late, everyone else was more or less right on time. Xoe kidded to twins last year on April thirteenth- (Noah's birthday). As you can tell from the following pictures, Xoe is very pregnant and starting to have a hard time getting around. The other does are starting to pick on her and take advantage of her weakness. They aren't mean really, this is just what goats do, no matter how sweet of a goat they are it is in their nature to establish their rank in the herd and try to move up if they can.
We bred Xoe for the first time in December 07 and at the time she was our youngest goat bred, just seven months old. She was a big healthy kid who was at least ninety pounds by the time we bred her. When breeding goats their first time, I believe they are suppose to be at least eighty pounds. Well, I know now from experience that I probably bred Xoe too early. When she was about a month from kidding her front right leg started giving out at the ankle when she put pressure on it. I had to wrap her front two legs to give her extra support so that she could walk. She did kid to twins, but if she had been a few months older I don't think it would have been an issue.
When Xoe kidded for the first time, she was totally out of it and was completely disinterested in her kids. We tried to put her in a small pen with them thinking she would come around, but that made it worse. So we ended up keeping her kids in a kennel together and every couple hours we would go up and hold Xoe so that her kids could nurse without her butting them into the ground. She was really rough and mean to them. Thankfully after about a week of this we starting letting them hang out for supervised visits and within a few more days she was taking to them just fine. I was glad that we hadn't given in and just started bottle feeding. Today Xoe's daughter Yin enjoys the position of adolescent dilinquent within the herd. She and her mother are very close. I am not sure when Xoe finally cut Yin off, as far as nursing goes, but I am certain that she is no longer nursing. Xoe's udder has been empty for a month or so and has started bagging up over the last few days. It will be interesting to see how Yin treats her new siblings. Jealousy issues? Sibling rivalry?
Xoe is due to kid on April ninth. I predict that she will take to her kids just fine her second time around. And I feel certain in saying that there has got to be at least two in there. Xoe is sweet and eager to please. Before she kidded the first time she had been second in the herd. Now she is close to last. I would like to make sure she is dried off by September and then give her a few months to grow before we breed her again in late winter next year. Goats do not reach their full size until they are about three years old. So I'd like to give her some baby free time by late summer / early fall.
We would like to keep everyone's first daughter. We would also like to restrict ourselves to two doelings a year. This is going to be a challenging decision this year, as it would be so interesting to keep Xoe's daughter (if she has one), because we bred her to Xavier instead of Lew this year. So it would be a while but possibly by next spring we could be comparing Yin, (Lew's daughter), to her half sister,(Xavier's daughter). I am most interested in seeing how their udders differ in size, shape and teat placement. We have four does kidding, they are most likely to have two kids each. There is a good chance that we end up with multiple doelings. Hopefully we will, because this is the only way we can make money off of our goats at this time- selling kids. There is much more demand for doelings than bucks. I plan on selling doelings for around three hundred dollars. So if we could sell a couple that would certainly help pay for feed costs. Anyways...for now I'm mostly thinking of Xoe and when she is going to surprise us with our first kids of the year.