This week Nick and I were lucky enough to have a two night break away in Devon. Farmer Kym stayed with the children and looked after the farm for us. We are shut here till half term so it felt like an opportunity not to be missed after a busy fun filled Christmas period.
However while we were enjoying ourselves, back on the farm our goats had begun to kid. We have been unsuccessful with baby goats for two years and then they arrive on a bleak January day while we are away. Let me just remind you of Nick’s farm timetable:
So things have not gone quite to plan! Back in the autumn Nick bought some local goats to add to our collection, he was advised that they might be in kid, but nothing was certain. It turns out the advice was sound, though January is far from ideal. We cut our break short keen to get back to the farm and meet our new arrivals and more importantly sort out a safe home for them as their current field, whilst offering a lovely cosy field shelter, was in danger of a visit from the local fox.
We found one Mum doing fine with twins and another with one kid. However abandoned in the straw was a poor little mite who was far from fine and another goat in the field who looked to be distressed. To be safe Nick called the vet.
Within half an hour the vet was in the field and giving resuscitation jabs to the poor wee abandoned kid in the field shelter. The goat in distress had given birth, I had remained in the field and watched the first of her twins be born and all looked well there with front paws then head sliding out. Nick and the vet had a check on the whole field while I took the poorly little one indoors to make up some first milk the vet had brought and try and warm her through.
Our children arrived home from school and it was all hands on deck to help us build a new maternity wing in Nick’s shed so the kids would be safe from foxes and badgers at night while they were so young.
First out was Guy followed by Theo and Felix. Jed had an after school lesson and dashed out in his school uniform as soon as he could, and for once I didn’t have time to argue as we needed everyone to help round up those in kid. The farm was so sodden after all the rain the tractor and trailer struggled and slid on the incline to the field. It was a real game of chase trying to round them all up as there was no way of explaining to the goats that we were trying to help them!
Finally we had them all into the trailer and transported to the new wing. Guy, Jed and Theo all hopped in the trailer with the goats.
There was a fair amount of pushing between the goats and the children were worried about the kids, however I reassured them that the mothers were just protecting their young from each other and establishing their positions within the new home. Guy and Jed were finally persuaded to leave them and just watch from the log pile. They sat here for about an hour ensuring everyone was feeding properly from their mothers.
Meanwhile Theo took responsibility for nursing the poor we kid indoors. She was warming through but still not responding to the milk and very lethargic. I had warned all the children we were most likely fighting a losing battle but would give her all the love and warmth we could. It was a long night with everyone wanting to hold and feed her but despite our love she lost her fight in the early hours of Friday morning.
Farm life can be tough and lessons in life are seen by my children in their most raw state. They have grown up with this reality and while they understand, losing a life is always a blow. Thankfully we have five healthy kids to focus on which is a bonus considering we were doubtful of any, least of all in January. If you are planning to visit for February half term there will be plenty to make you go “ah” here on the farm!
Joining in with Country Kids
Country Kids is all about leaving the sofa & screens and enjoying the outdoors together. Farm life makes that very easy for my children but a little outdoor fun is healthy for everyone. Whether it is the garden, the woods, the park or a day trip, please grab the badge and link up. Every week I am inspired by all the amazing activities here, please take a little time to visit some of the posts; it might give you a good idea too.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.