Have you met our new herd yet? We've only had them for six days now, but they've all endeared themselves to us already.
This is Fritzen, a mini Lamancha doe -
Fritzen is a 6-year old with a very interesting back story. In case you couldn't tell from the photo above, Fritzen is pregnant - extremely pregnant!
According to the man that we bought our new goats from, this will be Fritzen's 6th kidding, and so far every year her kidding has increased by one kid. As in first year, singleton birth, fifth year, quintuplets! Quintuplets are heard of in goats, though are quite rare. Sextuplets would be crazy. A recent house call from our vet, Dr. Natalee, confirmed that Fritzen has at least three in there, and is expected to deliver as soon as this week!
She is very sweet and according to the doc, 100% healthy, though a touch thin for having to nourish all of those babies. We're doing our level best to feed her and the other mamas up without rocking their boats too much. Goats' bellies are not big fans of sudden changes in diet, and can suffer from bloat on account of it, occasionally seriously enough to die from it. Since we don't know exactly what they were being fed at their old home, we're feeding them tons of orchard grass hay, organic "all stock" grain mixture, small amounts of chopped apple & carrot, mineral supplements, and the odd evergreen branch now and then. They all seem to be handling their "new" diet ok. Now if we could only get a little more meat on their bones!
Our other mini Lamancha doe is Chardonnay, aka "Chardy" -
Chardy is two years old, also pregnant, and per Dr. Natalee, expecting either one big whopper or twins. She is nowhere near as huge as Fritzen, but is still due to kid within the month.
You can't tell from this picture, but Chardy has some amazing light blue eyes - a favored trait in Nigerians (which is half of what constitutes the mini Lamancha breed, the other half being Lamanchas, of course) and just plain lovely to look at. I'll have to try and get a better shot of her straight on.
Dr. N found Chardy on the thin side as well, and also noted a "hot foot", meaning that her right front hoof was infected with hoof rot. Her hooves were in horrible shape when we first brought her home and needed a good trimming, which Bill gave her with a little bribe of grain and hugs from me to quell the resistance. It was rather tricky, since the normal procedure for trimming hooves is to either put the goat in a stanchion (which we don't yet have), or straddle or sit on them to trim, which isn't an appropriate approach for already-stressed pregnant does. After trimming, we soaked her infected hoof for about 20 minutes in an iodine solution and will be giving her injections of penicillin to help her body fight back. Considering all that she's been through these past few days, it's sort of amazing that she is still so sweet. She will walk right up to me and rest her head in my lap and just sit their nuzzling me for a good 20 minutes. She is mamas lovebug. <3
In addition to the two preggo mini Lamanchas, we got Blue, a Nigerian Dwarf, and her baby, Blackjack, also a purebred Nigerian.
Blue is 9 years old, and to my mind, looks extremely similar to a teeny-tiny burro. In fact, I sometimes like to call her "Donkeh!", a la Shrek. Her baby boy, Blackjack, is an 8-week old buckling (un-neutered male) and will be the herd sire of our Nigerians, which at this moment only consist of his mother and Gertie, with Gertie being the only one that we'll be breeding him to.
Blue is very sweet and loving, and is a very good mama to Blackjack. When we pick him up to say hello, he bawls "MAAAAAAAHHHH!" and Blue ambles over to see that her baby is ok and will give you the stink-eye until you put him back down. Blue is still in milk, but seems like she's about ready to be done with nursing, as I never see Blackjack get more than 10 or 15 seconds per teat before she either kicks him off or runs away. We're hoping to get a bit of milk from her soon, but have been warned that she likes to sit down during a milking, and therefore might be a two-person operation, which is rather alot of trouble for 1/2 quart of milk, so we'll see.
Blackjack is a spunky little man. Shy, but also curious. He's not a big fan of being picked up, but I figure that if we're going to leave him a buck, that we'd better establish as personal a relationship with him as we can now before he morphs into Mr. Stinky-Fighty Guy.
We are all madly in love with our new herd, and will probably begin integrating them with our other three Nigerians as soon as Chardy's hoof rot is cleared up, with the boys co-habitating in one pen, and the mamas & babies in the other. So far this has been a very fun and exciting adventure, this goat keeping. Now, if we could finally get some milk out of the deal... ;)