Two years since our last blogs before today, and I can't believe how much I have grown and learned as a shepherdess. I feel much more experienced with not only birthing, but with all goat care in general. I spend a lot of time on Facebook goat groups helping people and giving advise, as well as being the local "go to" goat lady in my area. I love it, and I love helping people. I've always loved teaching and it's definitely a passion of mine.
Kaya, one of our two year olds, gave birth in January and those are the two little cuties you see to the upper left there. Kaya was a first freshener, meaning she had never given birth before, and she did really well. The birthing itself was a bit tough as they didn't want to come out easily, and I had to assist a little bit and pull, but they were presented correctly and everything after that was fine. =)
With me working full time, not having interns, and my boyfriend not being able to do morning chores, we decided to go head and try dam raising this year. I have never dam raised before and have only had several encounters with dam raised goats, and it was not positive. They were skittish, scared, and did not enjoy human contact. Bottle raising seems to be the standard around here for dairy goats, and I was very nervous about attempting dam raising- will they be scared and skittish, will the moms take care of them, what happens if they get stepped on? As nervous as I was, it really was the only option, so I helped with the birthings but overall let the mama's do their thing. We ended up dam raising three babies, and one is half bottle/ half dam raised.
Well I do have to say, after dam raising for about 2 months now, that it is working out very well, better than I imagined actually. They take just a moment to warm up to new people, and are a bit more afraid of loud noises than the bottle babies, but the moms are taking very good care of them and they are still friendly and loving. =) As well as it has worked out, and as nice as it has been with the easier workload, I still think it's preferable to bottle feed them. In addition, because our buck that we used this year is slightly skittish, we have decided to bottle raise all the future babies past these three that are being dam raised.
Lastly, I cannot express how thankful I am that I have had amazing response to my intern program. I don't know if it's because of the location, (as we are in town now versus way out in the outskirts) but I am so humbled and thankful to have the opportunity to teach people in exchange for some farm work and baby care. Since I had to go back to work full time, and the goats need to be cared for, milked, and babies fed, I really would not be able to do this without them!!! <3 THANK YOU INTERNS!
Here are our three dam rasied babies. <3