Queen Elizabeth shared her birthday with our triplets. Just 72 years divides them! While the triplets celebrated with a massive sleepover birthday party here at the farm, we had our very own little Queenie born and surviving the terrifying early hours of birth through a mix of luck and good judgement.
3 cheers for the lambs
Our 2016 lambing season has been our best ever. Successful births and caring mothers have left us with a field full of springtime happiness. Even the twins from our neglectful ewe are thriving on a bottle with us.
Goats in Disgrace
The goats have been a whole different story. I have been keeping very quiet about our goats this year. We lost our old Billy goat in the winter from unknown causes and hoped he had already done his job in the autumn when he was running with the girls. As spring began we watched the ewes give birth and the nanny goats swell. We had three possibilities for kid goats. The first gave birth to beautiful triplets, however when we found them they were all dead and scattered around the field shelter. We were on careful watch for the next, spotted she had given birth but after scouring the field there was no sign of her young, we can only imagine a fox or badger was to blame. Finally our oldest goat ‘Bully’ was due. We checked her and the field shelter several times a day only to be greeted by Sprout trotting over for cuddles.
A cunning manoeuvre
Finally on Farmer Nick’s early morning rounds ahead of the feed run he saw Bully had signs of afterbirth and raced over. Another dead baby in the field shelter, we had no idea if it was her or another goat. Disheartened he started to leave only to hear a gentle bleating. A second kid had wedged itself in a little gap between the outer and inner wall of the shelter. I’m sure she was unaware, but this is what saved her life, together with Nick discovering her in time. By the time I was home from the school run Nick had Bully and the little one in the pen used just a few weeks earlier for Ebony and her twin lambs.
For three days we expressed Bully and fed the little baby girl. Each day I tried to put them together, Bully was happy enough to tolerate the kid until she attempted to feed, then she would push her away. She has the most aggressive horns of all our goats and isn’t afraid to use them. I strongly suspect this is how the twin died and possibly some of the earlier born kids.
On day 4 I’d had enough of the expressing and Bully was losing her fight allowing me to pet her which I suspected meant it was time for her to return to the field. However the moment she arrived everything changed and there was an almighty tiff in the field while Bully re-established her head role in the Coombe Mill Goat Kingdom. If you watch the video clip below, look out for Titch making a gallant attempt to support her friends against Bully, but actually not tall enough or strong enough to reach anyone!
Thank you to everyone on Facebook who helped me come up with Queenie as a name. It was a tight race at the end between Pickle and Queenie but Queenie won thanks to the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
Queenie has grown into her name these past weeks. She is an absolute delight following us round the farm, visiting the other animals and delighting the guests. The only one who is unhappy is Sprout, last year’s hand raised goat, who definitely looks a little put out by the newbie stealing her pet status.
We still have some availability before the school holidays if you fancy coming to meet our new addition on holiday here at the farm.
“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.