Getting goats was 100% Marks idea. I was a little against it to be honest. What would I do with goats? What if they didn’t like me? What if, what if, what if… Instead of letting me overthink it too much, before I knew it, Mark found three pregnant Nubian Goats and we were on our way to pick them up.
In a strange way, it was love at first site. I had no idea how incredibly social these animals were and how much they really love being around people. The first day home we took them on a tour of the property where they frolicked around, ate weeds, and for the most part stayed within a couple feet of us. Mark and I immediately started thinking about names. Mark quickly overruled calling them Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, Michelle, and Kelly, so we settled on Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
The next few months I learned everything I could about goats. With kids (baby goats) on the way, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. We made individual birthing pens and I watched them like a hawk come springtime. I was DEFINETELY going to be there for each birth.
Well, turns out, none of them wanted me there to witness the births. All three gave birth on their own time, with no help. I scored in the goat area!
Crackle was first. I walked out of my house to collect eggs when I looked in one of the outdoor pens and saw this white thing furry thing on the ground. At first I thought, “Dang, that’s a big rabbit.” Then I screamed as realty set in, “BABY! WE HAVE A BABY!” Of course I was just screaming it to the other animals because Mark wasn’t home. I was shocked at their lack of attention to this matter! I ran over as fast as I could but stopped suddenly when I saw this adorable white baby goat trying to stand for the first time and Crackle grooming her as she did. I was shocked! I was amazed at how Crackle knew exactly what to do. I started snapping pictures and videos and sending them to Mark; “We have a Baby!” was the caption for each photo. I had read it is unusual for goats to give birth to a single kid so I was just waiting for the second one to come and I was excited that I would be there for it! I soon came to realize that Crackle was just having a single. I watched as Crackle nursed for the first time, as her kid took her first steps, and I laughed hysterically when she jumped around. She was the first baby on the ranch so the name “Baby” seemed just about perfect.
For the next week I was very nervous about leaving the ranch because I knew Snap and Pop were going to give birth any day and darn it, I was going to be there! On Mothers Day, 2016 Mark and I went into town and had dinner with my mom and grandparents. When we got home we went down to the barn and what do you know, Snap decided to have her twins, one boy, one girl. They were already cleaned up and she was nursing like a pro. Unlike Baby, they were light brown and white and it was amazing how attached they were to each other. The male’s face looked like he had a mask on so Mark started calling him Batman. Soon his sister had a name as well, “Sister” (we’re simple out here).
Two weeks went by before Crackle went into labor. I usually get down to the barn for morning chores between 530 and 6am. I walked in at 540am and it looked like Pop just had given birth. I missed it by moments! I felt like they were all laughing at me. I sat there and watched as Pop started sort of grooming the female who we later named “Dottie” and was completely ignoring the male who is now known as “Cowboy”. I was extremely concerned so I called Mark down to the barn to see what he thought. He as well was concerned and told me to monitor them. She slowly started cleaning them both up but she wasn’t as attentive to them as Snap and Crackle were to their kids. Each time the kids tried to nurse she would kick them off. I knew how important it was for them to get the nutrients from their mom and I wasn’t opposed to bottle-feeding but I wanted this to be as natural as possible. I got some grain and distracted Pop while Dottie and Cowboy nursed away. A huge sense of relief came over me and although Pop continued to kick her kids off, she would let them nurse for moments. They were gaining weight fine, they were active, and they were adorable.
Over the next eight weeks we had so much fun watching the kids (goatsies as they were being called) grow and interact with each other. We were giving mamas a break in the middle of the day, letting the mamas out into pasture for a couple hours while we kept the baby goatsies in the barn to run and play around.
Once the kids were eight weeks old, it was weaning time. I don’t know who took it the hardest, the kids or me. The mamas seemed to be just fine but the kids screamed for their mamas. They screamed so loud they lost their voice! I realized that if I was with them, the wouldn’t scream as bad so I spent the next few days with the kids for as long as I could.
While this was going on, I was learning how to milk. For the most part, the mamas took to milking with no problems with the exception of Snap. There wasn’t enough sweet feed in the world to distract Snap in order for me to milk. I begged, I pleaded, I bribed. She kicked, she jumped, and she somehow learned how to escape from the milking table. I was ready to give up on her as it was just too frustrating but I decided to give it another go around and what do you know? She stood and ate her feed like the boss she is.
Today, all five kids and three mamas live together happy and healthy. They love going out to the pasture with the mini donkeys, sunbathing, and chasing the chickens. I look forward to adding to our herd in the spring of 2018 when we kid again!