Kidding season at Diamond W Ranch

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Kidding season is in full swing! Actually, we are almost done now. Last week, we took a trip to the St. Mary’s Manor, a local nursing home, with a couple of baby goats for the residents to see. We chose to take Lisa, a little blonde cutie who loves to suck fingers and nibble shirt collars, and Annabelle, who is a quiet and unassuming sweetie with the most adorable face. We gave the little does a good scrub in the bathtub, packed them into a large dog crate, and loaded everyone into the Chevy. The manor residents lit up when they saw those little babies! Annabelle quickly made friends with one resident, who cuddled her close on her lap and kept her almost the entire visit! Lisa went with some of the nursing home staff, trotting happily down the nursing home halls and greeting residents in their rooms. It was so heartwarming to see those people glow with pleasure at the touch of those little goats! Lisa, of course, had to pee on the floor several times, but other than that they were a hit! Kate, our daughter, did her best to draw smiles from the residents as well. She is such a sweet and happy little girl.

My parents came down to help out. However, there was a miscommunication between my mother and I, and they went to the Alma Manor instead of the St. Mary’s Manor. My parents told the nursing home administrator who they were looking for, and that we were already at the Manor with baby goats. The administrator and staff were all in a tizzy trying to figure out how we got in without them seeing us and couldn’t find out who had authorized our visit! After some confusion and a few cell phone calls, we figured out the mix up.

Usually we are done with having kids by now, but due to our carefully thought out strategic goat breeding plan for 2009 kids, we are learning how true it is that the best laid plans do not always (or even usually) work out how we intend.

Our original plan was for our kids to be born earlier this year to accommodate the desires of our 4-H customers. We put our hunk-a-love buck, Dawson, in earlier than usual, and also separated our does into two groups so as to space kidding out a bit. We only have a limited number of kidding pens and space for our newcomers, so we felt that spreading things out a bit might help us be able to keep up. However, things have not progressed as we had envisioned. I think Dawson must have taken his sweet time wooing the ladies this year, giving in to laziness since he didn’t have any competition staring at him across the fence (we have always had two bucks in the past). We started kidding February 12 and we still (as of March 22) have two more does to go!! So our plan kind of backfired.

We have 19 babies on the ground so far this year, with a nice set of triplet does born last night as our newest additions.

Our 15-month-old daughter, Kate, has really enjoyed the babies. It has been so much fun watching her with them, how she loves them, pats them, and has even helped bottle feed a couple who needed a jump start!

She is a real trooper, preferring to be down in the trenches with mom and dad versus behind the fence looking on. She is a true country girl, born with a love for animals that continues to amaze us!

Doug built new kidding pens this year and they have worked out very nice. We had kidding pens from year one of our goat breeding adventure, but they were built out of concrete steel forms (they look like cattle panels, but are much cheaper) and we learned that baby goats will squirt right through those holes! Let me tell you, trying to keep babies in the correct pens was quite a challenge. We spent more time patching holes trying to keep the onery little guys in than we did doing anything else it seems! In addition, the does seemed to think the pens were their own private demolition derby arenas and they enjoyed crashing, trashing, and mangling the pens until they were any shape aside from square. So much for that attempt at saving some cash.

Our new pens are sturdy and should wether the storms of the does’ various girl fights. At least, they seem to be so far.