All Kidding A S I D, better make that F R O N T & C E N T E R

We're about ten days away from the first kidding at our suburban farm.  Sweet Lavender leads the line up. If you've come to the farm lately, she's the doe with the blue collar that waddles around as if she's not quite sure what to do with herself. These days, we're constantly checking on her, talking to her and telling her not to worry, it's all O.K. She just stares back at us but somehow I think she knows what we're saying.

Needless to say, we're excited for this impending birth of baby goaties.  We're hoping for some beautiful twin does (triplets would be nice) from the nice combo of Lavender and Charlie. Two of those girls are tentatively spoken for and the others will be sold (let us know if you're interested).

The past few days Michael's working hard at completing our kidding stall aka birthing pen. It's about 8 ' x 13 ' and we can see this area from our sunroom. Sides and the roof still need to be attached and then lights in case she decides to kid in the middle of the night (and she probably will).  After that we'll lay down a think layer of fresh hay, hook up newly sanitized empty buckets for water bucket feed - for her grain and fresh alfalfa. 

A few weeks ago, we completed Lavender's final hoof trim and her BoSe injection (selenium/vitamin E combo that helps prevent uterine dystocia - abnormal labor), aids in passing the placenta and it helps prevent white muscle disease in kids.  

She's also had her CDT toxoid vaccine booster.  The provides the new kids with some immunity from enterotoxemia and tetanus in the first few months of life. 

Each herdsman has a unique management practice and we've been developing ours.  We consulted those who are our goat mentors as well as read as much as we can about different practices and the reasons why.  In that we have added two other vaccines to our birthing preparations that have to do with helping prevent mastitis.

Within the next few days we'll do Lavender's Spa Treatment - we'll trim her tail and udder area.  This will help her stay cleaner during and after kidding. This keeps the goopy goo and bloody discharge from sticking to her, causing us/her problems we don't need.

Last night I began to put together our kidding kit. Anita says it's like a woman getting ready to give birth - she's got her suitcase packed and ready to go.  

It's always a miracle to watch a birth (even in the middle of the night) and I wish that all our farm friends could come and stand around the kidding pen to see this beautiful miracle of life.  Unfortunately, we've needed to limit requests and our quota is full.  We want to be sensitive to Lavender and her time to labor and kid and also, this is our first, so we're a bit nervous as well.   

Raising goats are a kind of therapy for me. Sometimes I can hardly believe that I "get to" have goats again.  They're the most amazing creatures.  I tell people they're like big dogs that give milk. If treated kindly and respectfully and cared for they will give you more than you could ever give them.  You get to learn about life and love and care through these animals. They also reveal our own character issues of stubbornness and bossiness as well as our neediness.

Many people don't realize the care and expense and time that takes to raise goats -  checking each doe daily (especially when they're pregnant), feeding, milking (twice a day), processing that milk with stellar sanitization practices and then testing the milk, health care -  giving shots, oral applications, anal thermometers, tending to their wounds, breeding, assisting in deliveries (etc.), but when a task is a "get-to" and not a "got-to," it's so worth the effort.

I know our goats are therapy for others too. Elaine comes by on market day to love on Miss Storm (one of our younger does). They  have a bond that is too sweet for words.  One day Michael and a friend of ours who is an Anglican Priest, Father Ed Jones, sat in the goat yard for about an hour, observing the goats and philosophosizin' about God, life, purpose, community and loving others. Therapy, indeed.