The four Bramblestone Farm Nigerian Dwarf does (Hot Tea, Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box) all kidded over the past week, and everyone is doing well. Our sister (Julie) is a highly skilled veterinary technician who stayed with us and helped during kidding – we learned a lot from her and the process was easier for the does because Julie proactively helped each (as necessary). I think a couple of the does would have been quite exhausted (if not worse), and a couple of the kids may not have made it without her assistance. I’ll be posting pictures and sale information for each [...]
Continue reading 2013 Kidding Success – A Baker’s Dozen!
We’re now less than two weeks from the start of this year’s kidding (see Kidding Schedule), and if the does deliver on time, we’ll have four does kidding over a three day span! The closer it gets, the more excited and nervous I get. There’s nothing I can do though, except to make sure we’re prepared. What does being prepared mean? Well for us it means:
Going through my list of kidding season supplies and making sure that it’s up-to-date, and that we have everything on hand (see list below). I try to have supplies on hand to handle all reasonable [...]
Continue reading Kidding Supplies and Preparation
Our four mature Nigerian Dwarf does are all obviously “in a family way” as my father-in-law says, and I was wondering how developed the fetuses are as we count down the days to kidding. They still have two months to go, and they look so big already. Here’s what I found:
20 days – apparent heart beat
28-35 days – limb buds appear
35-42 days – differentiation of mouth, toes, and dew claws
42-49 days – nostrils and eyes apparent; mammary buds in females; empty scrotal sac in males; jugular vein barely visible
42-84 days – lung bronchial divisions are differentiated and air conducting [...]
Continue reading Goat Fetal Development
All of the does were bred at the beginning of November, and after six weeks seem to have settled – so I think the Bramblestone Farm kidding schedule is finalized for 2013 (see below or click here to go to the website). We’re expecting kids between March 25th and 28th, and are now taking reservations. It doesn’t cost anything to get on the reservation list, and these animals all have very impressive genetics behind them. Lots of Sugar Creek, Rosasharn, Old Mountain Farm, NC PromisedLand, and Buttin’ Heads with many championship titles and top ten milkers behind them. Note, the bucks we used are owned [...]
Continue reading Bramblestone Farm Nigerian Dwarf Kidding Schedule
“Sigh” – it seems that our first kidding season has already come and gone – the last of the bucklings left today. The three Nigerian Dwarf does (Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box) produced eight kids (seven bucklings and one doeling) between them this spring, and we put all the bucklings up for sale. I was worried that it’d be difficult to sell that many bucklings, particularly since the does kidded late in the season and most human kids already had their goats for 4H projects. However, all the bucklings sold quickly and were picked up immediately after being weaned at eight weeks.
We retained the doeling [...]
Continue reading Kidding Season Success
This was our first kidding season, so I tried to read and prepare for all possibilities when it came time for the Nigerian Dwarf does to freshen; but we learned so many things actually going through it (that just don’t seem to be covered in books). One thing that really shocked us, was that Jewel Box rejected one of her triplets (Dillinger) when he was five days old - totally surprising us. He went downhill so fast after she rejected him that we nearly lost him, and ended up learning how to tube feed a kid to keep him going (see Tube Feeding A Goat Kid).
It was actually our [...]
Continue reading Kidding Lessons Learned: Kid Rejection
Well, our first Nigerian Dwarf kidding season has ended; and the girls had one doeling and seven bucklings collectively. Seven is a few more bucklings than I’d ever imagined having in our first season, and the five latest to arrive need homes. They come from very good bloodlines and would make good herd sires or, they can be wethered and would make wonderful pets or 4H projects.
Their parents are all ADGA/AGS registered, and come from herds that have been tested to ensure that they’re disease free. The five bucklings still for sale all have the same sire, he’s Old Mountain Farm Palindrome, and he’s [...]
Continue reading Bucklings Need New Homes
Our last doe due to kid this year, Bit ‘O’ Honey, delivered her healthy kids late this morning! She started exhibiting signs of labor shortly after midnight, so one of us was up with her all night - it’s been a long day. But, around 11:30 AM today, she delivered three kids and they all seem to be doing well.
The first two kids she delivered were bucks (more bucks?); but the third was a doe. So, the very last kid delivered this year at Bramblestone Farm was finally a doe. I’m thankful that we have so many healthy kids and three very good mothers. We’ve learned so much in our first kidding season, [...]
Continue reading Final Kidding!
We were fortunate that Tinker Bell kidded without having difficulties, and is a very good mother too. I’m amazed at the way she cares for her kids – as newborns, she’d wake them every few hours and get them to nurse – as they’ve grown older and the stronger kid wants to nurse all the time, she regulates how often he gets to nurse but still encourages the weaker one to nurse frequently. She also cleaned everything up after kidding – I suppose it’s to prevent predators from finding the young; but it’s still incredible that they can do it [...]
Continue reading Basic Goat Care – After Kidding
It’s now obvious that all three goats are pregnant - Tinker Bell is 2 weeks from kidding, Jewel Box is 4 1/2 weeks, and Honey is 7 1/2 weeks (if they go the full 150 days). Fetal growth in goats is exponential in the last 4 to 6 weeks, so it’s in those last few weeks that they really look big – and Tinker Bell is certainly looking huge.
She lays down a lot more now, I guess that’s understandable ……… sometimes it almost appears that she’s talking to her stomach, or whoever’s in there!
All three goats have started to develop udders, although Tinker Bell’s [...]
Continue reading Pregnant Goat Update
The goats are nearing their first kidding dates (see Kidding Schedule for dates); so we had to get a new camera to keep an eye on them. If you click on the picture of the does on the left, it should bring up a camera view of the goats in their stall (unless it’s night-time in which case all will be dark). Anyway, the camera view should look something like the picture on the right (the stall may be empty if they’re outside).
The view is currently set-up as an overhead of them in their stall; it’s not the most interesting way to view them [...]
Continue reading New Goat Cam!
With our first kidding season coming up, I’ve been accumulating notes on what supplies to have on hand and how to use them. The first half of the list below is everything that I could find that might be necessary to support a normal kidding, while second half identifies supplies that may be necessary if kidding isn’t going well (kids not coming out, weak kid, etc.). It’s six weeks or so before our first kidding (Tinker Bell is first) so I’m putting together an order of supplies so we’re sure to have everything necessary on hand – did I forget anything?
Continue reading Kidding Season Supplies
When we first got the Nigerian Dwarf goats, I asked if there were any books that would be good to have on hand for reference. The two that our friends from Wild Wind Farm recommended are definitely worthwhile as they’re specific to the Nigerian Dwarf breed. I’ve since attended classes on goat care etc., but having these on hand for reference has been invaluable for us.
The first recommended book is called Goat Health Care by Cheryl K. Smith. It’s made up of reprints from Ruminations, the Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat Magazine. I particularly like the information on medications for goats and [...]
Continue reading Recommended Reading for Nigerian Dwarf Goat Owners
I thought our plan for breeding the goats was all worked out – I’d monitored their heat cycles so we knew exactly when to take them back to Wild Wind Farm for breeding; and we were going to have goat kids by March 30th next spring (see Goat Kids – Preparing for Breeding). However, I forgot to ask the goats if the plan was ok with them; and we’re currently wondering whether we have pregnant goats, and if so, when they’ll be kidding.
While at Wild Wind Farm, Jewel Box and Bit ‘O’ Honey never obviously came into heat, so our [...]
Continue reading Goat Breeding Plan – Hah!
The Nigerian Dwarf goats (Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box) are old enough to breed, so the first “Kidding Schedule” page is now up on the Bramblestone Farm website (click on Kidding Schedule). I’m very excited to be planning their first kids, particularly since we’ll be breeding them to bucks owned by our friends at Wild Wind Farm (where we originally bought the does). And, of course, this means we’ll have milk next year – the whole point of having dairy goats!
The girls will all be about a 1-1/2 years old, which some have said was longer than necessary to wait for breeding. However, if they’d [...]
Continue reading Kidding Schedule