Spring has to be my favourite time on the farm. New life is bursting forth with snowdrops, daffodils and buds on all the trees and the excitement builds on the farm as we watch bellies swell and try to guess who will be first to give birth.
We had been letting our Pigmy Billy goat gruff run free with the ladies over the winter months and were hopeful of a spring kid. As we headed into March one of the goats was looking as wide as she was long and we were worried she was about to give birth amidst the horrid week of cold hail showers. In anticipation Nick rigged her up a shelter in his shed and iKomms SW popped round to install a camera overhead so I could begin ‘operation goat watch’.
Clearly our lady had been eating more than her share of the food as she seemed to go down in size once we had her in her VIP quarters! The weather warmed and it felt only fair to let her go back to her friends again.
Meanwhile Ginger, the bad tempered mother of our adorable kid from last year was showing signs that she might also be close, we left her in the field as the weather had warmed and just made sure there was plenty of straw in the shelters.
Then last week she ran down for breakfast with the rest of the goats but looking half her size, Nick suspected that she may have had her kid and embarked on a thorough search of the field. There in one of the shelters quivering in the corner was a dear little newborn trying to stay warm lying on his already dead twin. That was the end of the feed run, thankfully we only had one family with us that morning and they fully understood. I was away with Clio at the dentist and Nick was on a mission to save the goat.
By the time I came back with Clio, minus 2 back teeth, the goat was next to the boiler and refusing the special colostrum Nick had gone out to buy. I took over and spent the rest of the day trying to syringe drops of milk into one end and cleaning up the other!
He was a fighter in every sense; he refused the milk dribbling it down his chin but also refused to give up on life. By the time the children came home from school he was beginning to bleat but still not drinking and I was warned them as they cuddled him that he was unlikely to make it through to tomorrow. They have seen it all before but still the first one we lose each year hits us all hard.
Finally I had all the children in bed knowing that what would be would be and began the night shift. By the early hours of Wednesday morning I had made a breakthrough, he had finally begun to swallow his first drops without a fight and was looking brighter. I was so delighted I began sharing with a few late owls on twitter. Eventually I crawled into bed around 3am having managed to get down a full two ounces of milk.
By morning I had a different animal. I was welcomed by a bleating and the children who had beaten me downstairs and already squabbling over giving him his first feed. He was out of the danger period and strengthening by the hour. I enjoyed a quiet minute myself feeding him outside and introducing him to the outdoors when they were all safely in school.
Kido just wasn’t doing it as a name so I introduced him on facebook where Rocky came back as the overriding vote. I think it really suits him, as he is sweet and colourful just like a rocky road treat though he needs to beef up a bit to step into Sylvester Stallone’s shoes!
I’m pleased to say he has continued to strengthen this week and has become the family pet with my children taking it in turns to feed him and play with him, even my Screenager has him lending a helping hand whilst gaming. He is rarely alone for any time.
Out on the farm he joins in with the feed run, stops by the properties for anyone wanting a cuddle and spends the rest of his days while the children are in school enjoying the space in my greenhouse and waiting for them to return and take him out to play once again. He has even had a ride on the Coombe Mill railway.
“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.