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October 22, 2018
We’re Not Kidding Around: Baby Goats
If you watched Meysha’s YouTube vlog last week, you will have seen special appearances by several of our new kids. Before you go back and try to see who we’re talking about, we aren’t talking about human kids! Our goats have started giving birth, and their baby goats are also called “kids”! Here on the farm, goat kids receive the same love, care, and attention that human kids do! In some cases, a goat kid has been known to sleep in a human kid’s bed for a night or two!
Our goats typically give birth in February which can be very cold in New England (the past week we had a huge blizzard!). Because of this, we bring the kids into our house for the first two weeks of their lives to keep them safe and warm. After being born, we dry them off with towels; each kid typically requires two to three towels so that equals a lot of laundry around the clock as goats give birth at any time. We have to keep watch 24/7 to ensure we are there to assist and step in if necessary during the birthing process. This year, we had to call our local vet to perform a c-section to safely deliver twins (mom and kids are doing fine).
After they are born and dried off, we tie their umbilical cord with cord floss and dip it in iodine (this is done for their health and does not hurt them). Their first poops are dark and then quickly turn to yellow.
Once in the house, the kids love to sleep snuggled together in playpens! During the day, they walk around and get into mischief, like peeing on the floor! When a kid stands, it is going to pee so we quickly remove them from their playpen. For the accidents we miss, we have a mop and soapy water handy.
The kids drink milk from a bottle, so this means that we are constantly sterilizing bottles to ensure they are sanitary. Once cleaned, the bottles are filled with fresh, strained goat milk and warmed on the stove to mimic the temperature from the mother. Each baby drinks a bottle of milk every two hours.
Within a few days we are able to teach them to drink milk from a bucket and begin to take them outside during the day for exercise (the temperature must be over freezing and sometimes they wear coats!).
When they are about a week old, we disbud (remove their horn nubs). This is a quick procedure which ensures their safety as well as ours – if their horns were allowed to grow they could cause damage or injury to themselves, other animals, or even us – intentionally or accidentally – such as becoming entangled in brush or fencing. At two months, we castrate male kids if they will not be used for breeding purposes. This is like neutering your pet cat or dog; it helps the animal have a calmer temperament and eliminates the risk of accidental pregnancy.
Once the weather is warm enough and the kids are old enough, they are moved back out to the barn. While we miss having them little and in the house, it’s a lot less work when they move out!
What surprised you the most about the first few weeks of our goat kids’ lives?
*We raise all our animals humanely, with love, and the best possible care. While we do consume animals as a food source, this is done with the animal’s quality of life in mind as a high priority and our standards far surpass any commercial farm. We welcome conversation-starting comments, however any comments strictly bashing this topic will be deleted.
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