Sunday, February 3, 2013

Long Day

I am exhausted.  Did you ever have a day where you juggled the entire time?  That would be today. 

Yesterday, I picked up Winter.

It was late, and she was so nervous that we couldn't get her out of the car.  I used that to my advantage and gave her her injections and some Selenium paste and then trimmed her nails.  My husband and I lifted her out of the car, she touched noses with the other goats through the fence, and I put her in the pen in the garage that Stewart slept in when he had first arrived.

Unfortunately, unlike Stewart, who was kept by himself, Winter was kept with 30 other goats.  Yes, she did notice that she was alone.  And yep, she told us all about it for quite a while last night.  Luckily, between the stress of the moving and all the new smells, she conked out somewhat early and she only cried rarely during the night.  Poor little pudding.

This morning, I got her fed and then took care of everyone else while she voiced her opinion about being left alone.  I let her out to explore with me, but unfortunately she was only ever kept in a house and in a pen, so she was afraid of all the space.  If she lost sight of me, she would just walk off and bellow.  She went into the woods and bellowed, she went near one of the streams and bellowed.  Once she stood in the road and bellowed.  Luckily all her calling made her easy to find, and I was able to convince her to follow me back.  But she was not so eager to do it.  I can see that I will have to work on her to get her to understand that I am the one to follow.  I think it's going to take a little doing. 

Besides working with Winter this morning, I checked on Daphne and her babies.  Bad news on that front.  Somehow she had knocked two of her babies out of the nest last night.  They had frozen.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to revive them--just in case they could be saved.  They could not.  I tried though, I really did.  It was just not meant to be. 

I tried to be mad at Daphne, but the truth is, she can't see under her nose, and what she can see otherwise I think is relegated to shadows and light.  I think the babies were attached when she got out of the nest, and she never noticed.  Unfortunately, it's really cold and they just had no chance.  It's a crappy loss, though.  I was hoping for a miracle.

I did get one later, however.  Daphne had done it again--somehow booted a baby out of the nest.  This time my favorite baby--black with a white splash on his/her head.  I came out to check on Winter in her pen and let her walk outside a bit, and there was the baby, on the wire, cold and not moving or breathing.  I took the baby to the heat lamp and began to rub.  Miracle of miracles, after a few long minutes, feet started to twitch, the mouth started to move, and up and down when the belly.  She was cold, but not frozen.  After she/he really started to move and squiggle, I gave her a very small sip of warm water, and put her back in the nest.  I put a heat lamp over them.  I'm still worried, but they are warmer and have more of a chance now.  I also raised the sides of the nest box so they couldn't be spilled so easily--I hope.

Cross your fingers for these four littles.  They are all that's left.

Of course, all of this was occurring while Winter was bellowing like a madwoman, which echoes like crazy in the garage, so I let her out of her pen to explore and then had to keep an eye on her while trying to resuscitate a baby bunny.   That stopped her from bellowing, but then I was fully occupied.

I spent the rest of the day outside, watching Winter roam around, trying to let her get her bearings, and watching to make sure she didn't get lost.  She was interested in the other goats, but very wary of them.  She also talks all the time, which is pretty funny.  It's low and not loud, but she's always maaaing.  I think she's still looking for her herd.  I think it's going to take a long time for her to not look anymore.

After the animals were all fed dinner, I brought her into the goat pen to meet the others.  They were not that interested-save for Stewart, who was VERY interested, but after he eats, he's always really "worked up".  The girls all sniffed and snuffed and followed and looked, and then went back to doing whatever they were doing--mostly wanting petting from me.  I guess new goats are old hat now.  I have no doubt though, that there will be plenty of head-butting in the future. 

Being in the pen, I had a nice chance to watch everyone interact.  A lot of times I take the girls (and boy) out of the pen and let them run.  Then they are all distracted by what's going on outside and busy interacting with the environment.  But today as I sat in their environment, I got to really watch them.  Stewart, who has filled out quite a bit, by the way, is surprisingly very tender with "his" girls.  I never noticed that before.  As I watched them all, yes, he definitely does jump them from time to time--especially Winter, who is new, but with Lilly and Dulci, he nuzzles them more than jumps on them.  I saw him walk up to them many times and just nuzzle their faces with his.  I have noticed before that he keeps track of the girls.  Three days after he got here, if he lost sight of one, he'd bellow until they'd come running--and they came running!  But that's male behavior--I never thought he would be so sweet.   After I watched him a while, I noticed he kind of does the same thing to me.  So I guess I'm one of his girls, too.  It could just be that I found the magic cheek spot, though.  Ever since then, he's allowed me to touch him more often.  Before I found it, he didn't really like to be pet. 

Winter is sleeping in her garage pen tonight.  She will have to be very slowly introduced for short spans of time to the others.  Not only because I want her somewhat quarantined, but because she's so nervous around the others.  Goat psychology is really fascinating.  They have very complex emotions, and it's hard to always gauge exactly what everyone is going to do.  So for now, I am taking it slow. 

I'll keep you posted!  But goodness, didn't someone say winter was a farmer's "down time"?  I'm not seeing that right now!
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