Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baby Goats

This is the Daddy, Dante.  He is a Nigerian Dwarf breed - he is quite small.
We bought him from the Hewitts two years ago this August when he was about 2 - 3 months old.
I figured that to get started with a buck, I wanted one that was handled by children from birth and I also didn't want a large buck to have to handle.  I had done some research and learned that it is possible for a little guy like him to breed with an alpine (which are quite large, especially our Madeline).  I also figured that there may be fewer birthing complications because the babies would be much smaller than if she had mated with another alpine.

 This is Madeline.  So when we purchased our buck, Dante, Madeline was already two and the first year it was obvious that Dante wasn't in much of a rut (that is when he is wanting to mate).  
This past fall, he was definitely in rut and while we observed some obvious attempts, we never saw what we considered to be a successful mating.  So perhaps, they just prefer the privacy of the dark barn at night:)

 Abby and the children named the babies.  I think they agreed on them for the most part.
This is the girl and her name is Oreo.

This is Cow - his ears have flopped down which is interesting as both Nigerian Dwarfs and Alpines have ears that stand up.  

So, over the last month I strongly suspected that Madeline was pregnant but in the back of my mind I kept asking myself if it really could be possible.  She has always had bloating issues so her enlarged stomach area wasn't necessarily a sign.  Oh, and she has always had enlarged teats so even that wasn't an obvious sign for me.

And then one week before she gave birth she started exhibited some signs of getting ready to birth - her tail stayed up and her stomach dropped and she looked much more like pregnant doe pictures I found online.

So for five days we kept her separate from the other two goats to be on the safe side.  After five days of not noticing anything new I returned her with the other two.

Thus we found her and her babies on Saturday afternoon with her afterbirth starting to come out in the small barn area.  We had kept all the goats in that morning since it had been cold and windy.  We were blessed that the other two goats hadn't harmed them but we immediately put them in the other barn area and put plastic on the fence covered barn windows to keep them somewhat warm.

So here is the neat part - we have two babies that are half alpine and half nigerian dwarf which I am hoping will make a wonderful combination.  Alpines are known for the quantity of milk they produce and nigerian dwarfs for the higher butterfat content.

This morning I made my first attempt at formal milking - not to drink the milk yet as she is just on day three since birthing.  We have a milking stand - but Madeline is really big, possibly too big for the milk stand.  That is what I am trying to figure out, what will work best.  This morning she only got her front two legs up and her head in the stanchion.  I was able to milk for about 10 minutes.  Milking by hand is a learn as you go process and I am confident I will get more efficient with each milking.  Our plan is to milk in the mornings and not to bottle feed the babies at all.  But separate the mom from the babies at night in about two weeks and milk Madeline before reuniting her with her babies.  We want to make the milking routine work for our family and also do what seems most natural for the babies and Mom.


  1. Thank you for the information on your little herd. So sweet, those babies! My friend, who has several nigerian dwarfs separates mom and babies at night as well (after a couple of weeks) and milks in the mornings only. Seems to work well. Good luck on this new adventure!

  2. Not much cuter than baby goats.... ;)

  3. How wonderful! I had read that a Dwarf may need assisted breeding or a stand with a bigger doe. Did you have to provide anything for him to stand on?
    Good luck with the milking, I'm glad to have found your lovely blog!

    1. We did not physically assist him - but we have a large tree stump in the barn and rocks, etc, in the outdoor area.
      Thanks for visiting.

  4. How exciting! This is a learning experience indeed. I love the names your kids chose. Funny - our cat is named Cow! Enjoy those beautiful babies.

  5. Oh my....so exciting, Tonya! We are a year from kidding as our two goats have not yet arrived to our farm (2 weeks and counting!). But I love your honest anecdotes and experience...I'm nervous about milking already! I am also planning on milking once a day but find few people who do this also....I'll be sure to ask you a kazillion questions next winter in preparation. I hope you enjoy the milk your does provide...so very exciting, and so very self-sufficient! Hooray!
    xo Jules