Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wish Me Well

I had read repeatedly that bottle-fed goats are ready to be weaned from 10 to 12 weeks, had even marked the 10 week point on our calendar, but somehow I just sort of woke up to the fact this morning that both of our goat girls are 12 weeks old as of today.

They both eat hay, grain, and alfalfa pellets really well. They know how to drink water, but I don't catch them at it very often. This might be that they've not needed water, getting enough fluid from their milk - I don't know. They've been getting 3 bottles a day, and today I just gave them their morning bottle and am skipping the mid-day bottle. The plan is to hold at this point for a few days and then drop the morning bottle as well, etc. However, at this point (posting at 6 pm) it isn't going very well. They are both mega-cranky and yelling loudly each time they hear a voice, thinking maybe some kind soul will offer them a bottle. Too bad I didn't think of that and begin weaning on a weekday for goodness' sake. You never really notice how often your neighbors laugh, holler, open their back door, etc - and I think they're actually having a party next door. Not loud, but there are a lot of voices and Selkie and Sarabi sound like they're auditioning for Fierce Guard Goats. This has to get better, right?!!?

But this has to be done. Sarabi in particular has been looking more and more chubby - oops! And worse than weight gain: if they're allowed to bottle feed past 12 weeks, their stomachs won't develop correctly for eventual milk production. Whew. Close call there.

And in other backyard news, The Patriarch got the barnlet arranged to sequester the hay and hang the goat minerals up where the ducks can't access it, so last night the ducks made the big move out to the barn. Woo hoo! Nigel scooped all of the straw off of the screened porch, and rolled up that plastic/Goodwill blankets combo I'd stapled down in July when we got the goats. Worked perfectly. Screened porch carpet dry and clean, and awfully good to have it back until it turns into something else that I can't imagine right now!

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