Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dharma's fuzzy babies

Back in January I took Dharma over to my goat-partner-in-crime's for a little goat-on-goat action.  I'd missed getting Dharma bred in 2010, and didn't want to miss another breeding season.  So when I failed to catch her again in heat, I made arrangements for her to go on an extended stay with the buck of our choice. 

She obviously came into heat after just three days of exposure to the buck.  We left them together for three weeks, which should have caught two heat cycles.  Goats have 150 day gestation periods, so I calculated out the first day to watch for labor signs as June 17, with a likely day of June 22.  The days came and went...  No babies... 

I had to conclude that she, as well as Maharani, were in fact not successfully bred this winter. Since they were both obviously pregnant, beginning to resemble extra-wide loads, I had to further conclude that they had gotten themselves knocked up by the Angora buck after we moved to new pastures at the end of February.  We share a barn and pasture with a big beautiful Angora buck, a couple of Angora does and their babies, and several sheep.  Well, my girls decided that they liked this big, fuzzy buck, and perhaps they'd like some fuzzy babies of their own.

So based on moving day, I recalculated the earliest possible day they could possibly deliver as July 22.  Sure enough, Dharma at least didn't take long to make friends with the new hunk in her life as she delivered triplets, two boys and a girl, this morning around 3am.  My housemates heard the commotion; I slept through it all.

And they are fuzzy.  One of the boys has long ears, not a La Mancha trait at all. We have fuzzy babies with some dairy conformation characteristics.

One of the boys, the darkest of the three, was having trouble standing, which meant he couldn't effectively nurse. Luckily I had frozen extra colostrum and milk from Dharam's first lactation two years ago.  We thawed the jars and my housemate began feeding the boy on three hour increments while I went off to work.  After the last feeding this evening, the little boy looks like he might start standing on his own soon, and we can stop the bottle feeding. Dharma is a trooper and is taking care of all three babies.

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