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

First freshener (I hope)

Goats on a log

Yawning goatWith a little less than two months to go until Artemesia's hypothetical B-day...

Abigail [interrupting]: Is this going to be another one of those goat-butt-collage posts? Because, if so, I'm outa here.

Anna [hastily closing the goat-butt collage she was building in the Gimp]: No, of course not, Abigail. Go stand on your tire.

Ahem, anyway, before I was so rudely interrupted....

Goat eating twigs

Artemesia has grown very rotund lately, but I'm 99% sure that most or all of that mass is hay. After all, on days when Abigail (using her herd-queen prerogative) declares that all goats are going to stand out in the rain rather than eating at their nice dry manger, our first freshener looks quite a bit skinnier.

First freshener teatsThat said, there are some small signs that give me hope our little doeling has a bun in the oven. This past week, I've felt like her teats are becoming subtly more noticeable --- they used to be tiny little things I couldn't even imagine squeezing milk out of, and now they're a bit more prominant. Possible sign #2: at hoof-trimming time, Artie's hooves hadn't grown much at all despite all of the concentrates we're feeding her (and the rather impressive amounts of hay she gorges on), suggesting that she's putting those calories to good use elsewhere. And possible sign #3: her chatty moods are even more frequent and are nowhere near on a 21-day cycle, suggesting that pregnancy hormones (rather than heat hormones) are at work.

That said, the goat-butt photos are as yet inconclusive. So we'll keep waiting and hoping that Artemesia will pop out a kid (or, more likely, a pair of twins) around April 24. Fingers crossed....

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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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I have two first fresheners this year. I read that at about 3 months along you can feel the kid (s). Sure enough! Placing my hand on her right side back and under close to her utter and gently pressing, I felt a define kid moving. Best wishes for an uneventful delivery.
Comment by Karla Mon Feb 29 05:10:08 2016
Karla --- I'm terrible at that method! I tried it on Abigail a few times while she was pregnant and felt nothing. Ditto on Artemesia this morning. :-/
Comment by anna Mon Feb 29 08:40:16 2016
Great post. It can be such a guessing game! I have a first freshener this year that I'm totally unsure of, unless she's carrying a single. All my other FFs at least look thicker around the middle. Watching teats, udders, and rear ends for signs of hope!
Comment by Leigh Tue Mar 1 21:28:52 2016
Leigh --- Thanks for chiming in! First fresheners do seem to be much tougher to decipher than more mature goats. I'd love to see some shots of your pregnant first fresheners (versus your questionable goat) on your blog!
Comment by anna Thu Mar 3 20:30:12 2016

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