It happens every year and this year it is happening twice: we kid. All kidding aside (farmer joke, sorry!), when we knew we were moving to Silver Creek, we made the decision to expand our goat herd and to kid twice a year. This spring we purchased Ahab,. the great, white Savannan goat who has become the new leader of our herd.
Our plan was to send Ahab and our 12 young nannies to Silver Creek ahead of the rest of the herd. We figured we could easily kid 12 goats, even on a new place with 1000 other things happening.
Who were we kidding? (Ok, ok, I'll stop.)
Things with goats, as with all of farming, never go according to plan. With Ahab and his brides to be waiting on the coast, we discovered something we had been told (and naively believed) that we did not have here in the "north:" a coyote problem. Oh we don't have one coyote, not one lone outlier as we used to have on the coast, we have packs. Some nights we listen to at least two separate packs on opposite hills, each trying to out-dual with other with yips, woofs, and howls.
With coyote in place, we could not send our new (and expensive) billy goat and our prized young nannies north until we had a secure fence and a guardian plan. We made the guardian plan rather quickly. Sam and Max came to the farm as eight-week old puppies, Anatolians born and bred to guard goats. But they were puppies, 30lbs of cuddly love and a long way from the 120 pound guardians of the galaxy we needed. So we made one of those "the only thing to be done" decisions: we opened the gate and turned Ahab out with the ladies.
In a perfect world, we would have only allowed Ahab access to the original 12, but folks...sigh. With things being the way they are, Ahab had access to all 60 nannies. We hoped for the best. Over half of the nannies were still nursing younger kids so we reasoned that they would most likely not become pregnant.
Ha ha ha ha ha. Not a farmer joke.
We started kidding a week ago Monday. We kidded and kidded and kidded some more. As of this message, we have 49 goat kids all born within five days of each other. It has been a whirlwind. Thankfully, at 80 pounds, Sam and Max are stepping up. Thankfully, with a summer to work on fencing, we've managed to secure an area for our goat kids that, at least so far, is safe.
Next time up: the rest of the kidding story.