Human kids are on Spring Break during the first week in April here in North Georgia. Most of our friends use this time to head to the beach or are involved in various camps, but things happen a little differently on our small family farm. Instead of enjoying the waves at the beach, we are birthing goats. Because things can and do go wrong, it’s important we are present for each birth, if possible. So our human kids have to miss trips this time of year while we essentially live at the barn as slaves to our goats.
Our oldest, Adelyn, is 6. We got our first goats over 5 years ago when she was just 6 months old. She has seen many births, but this year she was ready to take a more hands-on role. Although she isn’t playing in the sand, she is learning about life, motherhood, compassion and sometimes death.
Most of our does have experienced kidding before, but we are always prepared to intervene or call our vet if needed. This year our girls seem to be having large litters. So far we have had quintuplets, quadruplets, and triplets! Although that seems like a lot, it happens quite often with Nigerian Dwarfs.
Because we sell raw goat milk, we breed our does once a year. It keeps the milk flowing, and the baby goats are a bonus.
Most of our “kids” have homes/farms lined up before they are born, which we are thankful for. Our goats are family, so we always want to make sure their kids go to great homes.
I have always loved animals and wished for a farm. I begged my parents for every animal under the sun as a child. Once I became a parent, I knew exactly the type of life I wanted for my kids. For now I am confident my girls are living the dream. I hope their experience and the knowledge they acquire leads them to great things. But if they hate all this at 13 I understand that as well. For now, we will just continue to play on the farm.
The first sign of Spring at the Tucker Farm is KIDS!
We kicked off the season with a bang today when two of our ladies gave birth just minutes apart. Barbie had three kids and Norma, one. Kidding season is amazing as well as an exhausting time for us. While we love this time of the year, we can’t wait for our first batch of goat cheese! We’re also excited to make goat milk soap for the first time.
In addition to delicious goat cheese, baby goat cuteness, and soap… goats provide many benefits on the farm. They are excellent weed-whackers – they particularly love poison ivy! We raise Nigerian Dwarfs, which are the smallest dairy breed, often kept on hobby farms like ours. The kids move to new farms each Spring and this year some of our baby goats are going to work at an outdoor yoga studio! Until then, our little farm girls love taking care of their kids.
As most of you know I recently had a baby. I was instantly connected to Jane even though I had never met her. Just like my first daughter, I simply love her unconditionally.
We celebrate life on the farm often. We’ve had puppies, kittens, bunnies, and most recently, goat kids born! But motherhood is hard business and a job not to be taken lightly. I’ve seen the many faces of motherhood and they are interchangeable between species.
The most recent addition to The Tucker Farm is a little goat kid! She was born a few weeks early in the middle of the pasture and sadly, we missed the whole thing. When I found the kid and her mom, Pepper, they were beneath a tree at the back of the pasture. They were surrounded by the other animals who were interested in the new kid. Pepper is a first time Mom, but her instincts are top notch. She was head-butting any creature that got too close to her kid, whether it was a tiny kitten or a much larger donkey.
Over the past 24 hours, I’ve watched her emotions range from anger, to frustration, to joy … all stemming from the instant love for her kid. Her facial expressions say it all.
Pepper never takes her eyes off of her kid, which is how I am with with both of my girls. I hope that they too will someday experience the joy of motherhood.
If you had your money on Ruth going into labor before me, you are a winner! Ruth gave birth to twins on Saturday, June 13th, a doeling & buckling.
This was our first kidding at The Tucker Farm! I have been reading about goat labor non-stop and getting advice from fellow goat owners for weeks now, trying to prep myself for any possible issues that could arise. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of experienced friends close by that were on call to be goat doulas. I had been watching Ruth for the typical signs of impending labor, such as, her udder getting really full and her ligaments disappearing. But these things were never obvious to me, even on the day of labor.
On Saturday morning I let all the animals out into the pasture as usual. Ruth came out of her stall but didn’t follow us up to the pasture. Since it’s been 90 degrees here and she waddled as much as I do, I was not going to force her out. So I led her back to her stall and gave her fresh water and made sure she had plenty of hay for the day. My husband, toddler and I then went off to run errands.
We returned around lunchtime and I wandered down to the barn to check on things. Much to my surprise, I found this!
Unfortunately, I missed her actual labor. The kids were very wet when I found them and Ruth had just started passing the afterbirth, so it must have been quick. Mama Ruth is an experienced Mama and an excellent one at that. I’m thankful that in our journey to be more sustainable she made things a bit easier.
What’s amazing about kids to me is that they are already “kidding” around at only 24 hours old! Quite different from puppies & kittens. Nothing is better than watching kids play!
We look forward to watching Mama Ruth raise her kids and can’t wait to finally have our own goat milk! Believe it or not, we didn’t just get goats to be pets and weed whackers, but we got them for milk! Both my daughter and I are unable to drink cow milk, so we’ve been buying goat milk from a local dairy for a few years. Of course in order to have milk, you must also have kids. We have another doe, Pepper, due in August . . . so more kids to come!