Every farm is well acquainted with “If you pray for rain prepare to deal with some mud.” Well, at Homestead Farms January has been more correctly summed up with “If you pray for milk prepare to deal with lots and lots of babies.”
In the last two weeks, 32 of our sweet mama goats have given birth to 67 babies. Most of these births happened in the ten days between January 5 and 15. This amazing miracle of life is beautiful, but also creates loads of work for your friendly dairy farmer and his wife.
We knew we had about 30 moms due the first week of January, so the last week of December there was this huge dark green cloud hanging over head, like right before a big Texas storm, warning us of what was to come. I think the smell in the air even changed. We would sneak out to the goat lot to feed and wait to hear the quiet cry of a new baby. But we made it through the holidays and we even enjoyed our calm before the storm by sleeping in, staying snuggled up on the couch reading and napping. Because we knew what was ahead.
You remember the only “kind of, sort of” snow we have seen this year, that brought 10 days of freezing temperatures? The chaos ensued that quiet Sunday morning with 9 new babies to kick off the New Year! For the next ten days every time we turned around the corner we would find a mama licking off her new trembling baby. Our lives were consumed with making bottles, warming bottles, and feeding 4 times a day (including a midnight and 6am feedings) and hand milking moms twice a day.
Because all babies take time to learn to find the nipple, drink standing, and then out of a bottle rack there were a few days it was taking both Farmer Michael and I almost 2 hours to feed all the babies. Milking also takes twice as long, due to colostrum production. We have to hand milk mama the old fashion way (and get that specific milk to her baby) for the first five days after she has kidded. Thank goodness for our amazing farm hands James and Cale, as we would have been a mess without their help.
Things have slowed down and we are feeding only 23 girls three times a day straight out of a bottle rack and Farmer Michael can now milk directly into the milk line. As I finally have some time to tackle the mountain of yellow pooh and milk stained laundry I can now smile thinking back to those long and seeming like never ending weeks, knowing we now have plenty of that much sought after white gold!