New life on the farm

We (mainly myself) have been a bit overwhelmed with things happening at the farm since we last ‘spoke’.

Winter came full on with bells and whistles, lots of snow and ice, barely any sunny days and the odd times of weirdness, depression filled moments. But, so far, we survived them all. Before Christmas, I was truly excited to welcome (finally!) the alpacas to our farm. A new adventure started! They are so easy to care for, it is a pleasure to see their faces every day and interact with them. I am on a mission to make them tamer around me. They don’t really like to be touched – the people that had them before kept them well, but there was very little interaction other than at feeding time. Totally normal, I just like all my animals to feel comfortable with me being around and partake in the odd cuddling session. Alpaca pellets help to get them closer 🙂

The alpaca gang

Tazzy: chocolate color big goof. A bit of a boss, but gets along great with everyone. Legend: tan color ‘middle child’. He keeps away from arguments and keeps the peace around. Avalanche: white color silly boy. Loves attention and has big puppy eyes. Remi(ngton): “little brown boy”, the baby of the pack. Avalanche’s best buddy and partner in crime. Avalanche loves to nibble at his ears – in return he gets spat on because Remi absolutely hates it!

A few more members at our farm

The newest additions to our pack are actually new babies born on the farm. That’s right! New life was born and not hatched in an incubator hehe. A huge learning curve for me – one that I took very serious and did all the preparation research I could do. We had a pretty good feeling that the goats are pregnant. We witnessed “the deed” back in August and made notes on the calendar to prepare me for what’s to come in the dead of winter!

Just like every other article I read, every single goat had their kid(s) while I was not there.

I knew 100% Valentine would be due the first week of January, so I watched for all the signs related to labour and birth. When I thought “today is the day”, I separated her and gave her space to get comfortable and do what she needed to do. I walked back to the house to gather some towels, a night-light and the good camera to take full advantage of the experience. I even called Mitchell to tell him the good news and asked him to wish me luck with the whole goat midwife job. The time it took me to do all that and get back to the barn to check on her and make sure heat lamp turned on, I was welcomed with 3 kids on the ground! Yes, in 15-20 minutes this lady birthed 3 babies and started cleaning them already. I got right in there, with towels and looking for signs of distress, just like I learned from my readings. Immediately I noticed that the first-born (the biggest boy) was having a hard time catching his breath. He looked like he was gasping for air. The readings taught me to wipe their noses right away and use some straw to induce sneezing to clear their airways. Done and done, but it wasn’t helping… I wrapped him in a towel and tended to the other two. In the meantime, I dialled my neighbour to ask for advice. She came right away and helped me with all three – to make sure they got dry right away, to make sure they were good to stand and that they were willing and able to suckle. Two hours had now passed and she suggested we take the babies inside to get warm. I had knitted them sweaters and they helped a lot, but when goats are newborns it is very difficult for them to keep alive AND try to control their body temperature. We made sure they took some more colostrum from mom and then we brought them inside. Unfortunately, that evening, I lost the first born… he passed away while I was holding him and telling him about the vast meadows he will soon run free in. My duty now was to make sure the other two kept thriving!

And they sure were thriving. The twins were nameless for a while: Frick and Frack seemed suited at the time. For the first time, in writing, their names are Clementine (from Valentine) and Buckaroo (from Bucky). Two witty little goats that I fell in love with right away! Every time they see me they run to me and if I knee down they jump on me or right up on my lap.

Cinnamon’s baby is a funny story. I was 110% sure she was not pregnant. My neighbour and the alpaca family agreed with me… What was the major giveaway? Her udder was not at all filled with milk – it looked like normal development. Until one Monday morning, when I walked to the barn for morning chores and saw a big commotion happening by the goat stall. I hurried along only to find a new baby boy in the straw, trying to get up. Puzzled, I looked around to figure out whose baby it is. I saw Cinnamon with clear signs of birth and went into action – took the baby to the back and placed him under the lamp (with Clementine and Buckaroo). Then, I prepared the first outside stall for Valentine to come out and vacate the kidding corner for Cinnamon. Done and done – now Cinnamon was reunited with her baby and had all the privacy she needed to get to know the little guy. Within minutes he latched on and sucked down a belly full of colostrum. The rush was over. I went on to finish the morning chores and went back after just to stare at the new baby. For now, his name is Cinnabun 😉 Also that morning, I checked the calendar once again for my notes from August, and it turned out that particular Monday was actually the due date for Cinnamon. That left me with Halo. My notes had her due date for that Friday – a few more days to get ready.

But, as you might have guessed it, I missed Halo’s babies being born too. I was in town at a dentist appointment… on a Wednesday… not a Friday like the calendar said. Middle of the day, gone for about an hour and a half, and she decided THAT was going to be the time to do it. Two babies were born: a boy and a girl. The girl was significantly smaller than the boy. It really looked like mom knew something was wrong with her and didn’t always allow her to suckle on her own (she kept walking away from her). She slept in the house during the night, just so I make sure she doesn’t get too cold. I kept a close eye on her development and wanted to make sure she gets enough milk – stubborn as she was, she would not take to the bottle I offered… Unfortunately, we lost her during the night on Day 3. She went peacefully, in her sleep. The boy is thriving and for now his name is Olly (from Olaf, Frozen)

So, for the past two weeks, I’ve had my hands full. I am very happy that this happened and I got to experience it, but next kidding season will definitely not be in winter anymore 🙂

— family photo. They were all watching the dogs approaching. Charlotte keeps close at all times —

On another note,

  • I kept myself busy with knitting and crocheting too. Finished a few items as Christmas presents and I am now working on a couple of blankets as birthday presents. Soon, there will be a new post with more details on that.
  • miss Annie turned 7 months at the beginning of January and has now started barking protectively. She loves to stand guard with the big dogs and walks the perimeter with them every chance she gets. During the day, I still keep her on this side of the fence as she is still too playful to be trusted alone with the chickens and ducks…plus she absolutely loves to annoy the crap out of Charlotte (she does get butted for it, but she doesn’t quit)
  • baby chicks hatched early August are not babies anymore and I am happy to announce that they started to lay. I was not expecting any eggs from them until the beginning of Spring. but I guess they felt they were well treated and the weather has been somewhat kind to us.

9 Thoughts on “New life on the farm

  1. Pingback: Something like a "bro code" - Caledon Acres

  2. Great to read all this – I loved catching up on your news. Will you do your own weaving too? All that warm alpaca wool!

    • Thank you. Weaving is something I would love to learn to do, though I think I am a few years away from it… for now, we will be making a deal with an alpaca farm to take our fleece and send it out alongside theirs to be processed and then I will get it back as workable yarn. Next winter will be “alpaca yarn projects” kind of winter 🙂

  3. Lovely story about your farm family and new arrivals. Sad to hear about two losses, but that’s part of life. Alpaca cuddles sound wonderful. They are so cute and full of personality. Looking forward to your next post, Laura. <3

  4. Congrats on all the new kids that are doing well and sorry for the losses.. nice to read and get caught up on what has been happening 🙂

  5. Congrats on doing a great job as a goat midwife!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation