The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Artemesia's first fall heat

Grazing goats"Which one is supposed to be pregnant?" Mom asked when she came by a week ago.

"Artemesia," I replied, pointing to our plump little doeling.

My mother, who knows very little about goats but plenty about pregnancy smiled indulgently. "No."

Saturday, Mom was proven right when Artemesia finally came into heat. I'd started waving the buck rag in her face every morning four days prior, which may or may not have jumpstarted the estrous cycle. No matter the cause, Artemesia seemed uninterested in grazing Friday, Saturday morning her normal tail wag looked a lot more like flagging when I pressed down on her butt, and Saturday afternoon mucous finally appeared on her vulva. Then she started yelling --- she was raring and ready to go.

With 20/20 hindsight, I'm now thinking that our doeling's loss of fat in late summer was due to a mild parasite infestation rather than to using extra calories to feed an unborn kid. At the time, I knew that was one of the possibilities, so I dosed both girls with garlic and squash seeds and also increased Artemesia's rations a bit. Now she's as plump as ever, verging once again on slightly too fat.

ArtemesiaI expected to be disappointed if no kids came popping out in early November, but I'm actually relieved. The cold spell we experienced a few weeks ago pointed out two things that were probably obvious to the rest of you about winter milking. First, your fingers will freeze, which is a no-no for keeping my carpel tunnel in check. Second, Abigail's milk became considerably less creamy during a rainy week when she was subsisting mostly on hay, suggesting that winter milk might not be the holy grail after all.

But spring milk --- I definitely don't want to miss out on that! So it's time to get back on the ball about tracking down a buck to provide stud service. Since the chances of me finding a mate for Artemesia today are slim to none, that means her sex life is going to complicate my first experience hosting a full family Thanksgiving. I can see the explanations to my grand-niece and -nephew now. "Sorry, Auntie Anna has to go make sure her goat has a good time...."

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Yes, you dodged a bullet. Winter milking is for the birds, and the milk is not as nutrient-dense.
Comment by Nita Sun Nov 8 08:51:41 2015

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