Tag Archives: goat kids

Buck Year Totally

My spring kidding season is over, I think. This year’s score is: bucks 5, does 0. It is definitely a buck year.

This is also a year of mostly single births. I don’t really mind as I hate selling the kids. This is more complicated now since the local internet classified site closed down.

Nubian buckling of High Reaches Pamela
Spots are no surprise on this little Nubian buck born March 12. Both High Reaches Pamela and High Reaches Augustus have spots. This intrepid little boy followed his mother out to pasture at a week old and every nice day since.

Another reason I don’t mind a buck year is that I no longer keep any new herd members. Kidding season used to be a time to look over the kids and decide on one or two to keep. Now I know all of them are for sale.

Nubian buckling of High Reaches Valerie
High Reaches Valerie had twin Nubian bucks on March 21. This one was up and nursing in a half hour, follows his mother into the barn lot and loves sleeping in the sun.

Why would I stop adding to my herd? There are several reasons. Top of the list is my age and that my girls have no place to go if I am no longer able to care for them.

Nubian buckling of High Reaches Valerie
Smaller than his brother, this Nubian buck born March 21 has had a challenging time. He had trouble learning to nurse, got chilled the first night. Sleeping in the sun was just the thing to warm up. He knows how to nurse and practices on any doe who stands still and doesn’t notice him.

My High Reaches herd has been with me for over 45 years now. All of my herd members were born here. They are like family.

A second reason is the amount of work my herd entails. Younger people don’t get it. The work, even if the amount stays the same, gets harder each passing year over the age of sixty.

Nubian buckling of High Reaches Agate
High Reaches Agate surprised me with this little Nubian buck March 23. He was up doing fine when I found him. He has brown liver spots so will probably have white spots in a month or so. In the meantime he is already staking out his favorite nap spots in the barn.

A third reason is being tired. Dairy stock requires care at least twice a day every day all year round. I no longer have anyone to spell me for even a single milking and haven’t for a number of years now.

Younger people don’t get this part either. As a person gets older, they need less food. This isn’t because children grow up and move out. It’s because our bodies slow down. I no longer need a refrigerator full of milk and cheese.

Nubian buckling of High Reaches Rose
High Reaches Rose was supposed to be bred, but didn’t look it. Still, she dropped this Nubian buck kid on March 23. He has bold white markings, no spots with brown highlights. He is curious and goes exploring whenever he can.

For those goat owners with growing herds a buck year is a problem. The main market for those bucks is the meat market.

For me such a year is par for the course.

Read more about raising goats in Dora’s Story and get a free ebook now.

November Kids Arrive

Weather is a battle between fall and winter. Days are growing steadily shorter. Then the November kids arrive to brighten up the season.

My first fall goat kids were accidents. The buck escaped in June. Nubians come in season all year.

I had always arranged for March and April kids as spring was moving in and the weather was warm enough to avoid popsicle kids. My does seem to prefer kidding about dawn. Newborn wet kids don’t do well in temperatures in the twenties or lower.

The weather has changed. Falls are a mixture of warm and cold times. Some of my does seem to prefer having their kids in the fall.

November Kids arrive as a Nubian doe
High Reaches Juliette had a little Nubian doe a few hours before this picture was taken.

And I have a couple of wethers who love to open the buck’s door. They have a knack for knowing when I neglect to latch the spring hook holding the bar in place.

Something I’ve noticed as more November kids arrive over the years is that the kids seem bigger and livelier than the spring kids. Perhaps this is because the does have been eating well all through their pregnancies.

Winter fare is mostly hay. The grass is like standing hay in the field. The acorns and persimmons are gone or too dirty to tempt my finicky eaters.

My does bred for March and April live on such fare. In addition they use some of what they eat to keep warm. The result seems to be smaller kids.

November kids arrive as a Nubian buck
High Reaches Juliette had this little Nubian buck a few hours ago. He is already a challenge for her to keep up with.

Once the November kids arrive the herd seems happier too. As the herd numbers dwindle, they like having those extra herd members.

Winter weather does keep the herd inside more often. However the kids have several places to go where the adult does have difficulty going. And the barn has more room with fewer goats occupying it.

This year two does were bred for November. The first November kids to arrive were a buck and doe pair. I’m waiting on the others.

Harriet has a wild time when her goats kid in “Capri Capers”.

Goat Kid Play Groups

Goat kids grow up so fast. There is a group of seven, yet already there are two kid play groups.

leader of one of the two kid play groups
Single goat kids have several advantages. Often they are larger at birth. Then they get all of the milk. Nubian Matilda’s buck kid takes advantage of both as he is awake more, plays more and explores more than any of the other kids.

The three older kids – older is relative as they are only three days older – are going outside. Matilda’s single buck leaps up on the bench and spends lots of time outside exploring. Juliette’s twins try to follow her out to the small pasture but stop at the gate and run back to the barn.

kid play groups need kids like these
Only a week earlier these two Nubian kids were wet newborns trying to make sense of their new world. Now they are lively and curious about everything. They sample grass, hay, dirt as their rumens start to work. They spend lots of time playing and sleeping.

The other four sleep more. These were smaller kids being a set of triplet bucks and a doe from a yearling.

Kid play groups matter. When kids are small, their mother answers their calls, comes running back when they are lost and showers them with attention. As kids get older, their mothers start to ignore them and get on with the serious business of eating. The play groups then keep the kids together, answer each other’s calls and occupy their time with various games.

The kids in a group are normally about the same age and stage. A smaller, more backward kid will often end up in a play group of younger kids.

kids sleeping group
Out in the barn kids dodge adult does. Young kids spend lots of time sleeping and want a safe, warm place. This old cobbled together bench offers a safe haven and the kids move in. It looks like they would smother each other, but each head is sticking out. The difficulty is getting up, especially if you are the bottom kid. Usually all the kids get up when one does and all of the kids go searching and calling for their mothers.

By the time these kids are a month old, the seven will spend most of their time playing together. Another two weeks will split them up again into two kid play groups as the three older kids get more serious about eating.

The groups will still merge for fun and games. King of the mountain, race down the log, tag through the herd and other activities are popular until kids get to be yearlings. Even then they indulge themselves at times.

Nubian doe kid
Nubian High Reaches Valerie is a first time mother. She is a yearling. She had this single doe kid that is a bit small. High Reaches Rose had triplet bucks at the same time. Valerie was happy to adopt one and much prefers the buck to her own little doe. The little doe has adopted me as I make sure she gets two or three big meals a day. She is growing fast.

The does watch the antics with such long suffering attitudes. They have forgotten when they were parts of kid play groups. As adults they are far too dignified to engage in such antics. Unless no one is watching.

Meet Star, The Little Goat, in “For Love of Goats” and read more about kids growing up.

Enjoying Winter Goat Kids

Winter in the Ozarks has its ups and downs this year. A week will have highs in the 30’s, lows near 20. The next week will have 50’s for highs and 40 for a low. That makes winter goat kids an iffy affair.

I prefer March kids. Traditionally March is more settled and warmer. The last couple have been cold, but not winter cold.

Nubian bucks aren’t concerned with when kids are born, only producing them. Nubian does are the same. In the Ozarks Nubian does can cycle all year.

High Reaches Silk’s Drucilla seems to be like her mother Silk and prefers winter kids. And so I have winter goat kids born December 1.

black doe of winter goat kids

The ears have it on Nubian kids. This is the bigger twin doe, independent, inquisitive, loud and demanding.

It was obvious Drucilla was due soon. There was a date on the calendar for early December. Cold moved in and lingered.

Kids are wet when they are born. Below freezing temperatures can freeze them quickly. Trying to tell which day kids will be born has signs that are often wrong.

Suddenly winter got shoved out by fall for several days. I urged Drucilla to hurry up while the weather was kid friendly.

Drucilla ignored me.

The weather was supposed to change Friday night. I laid out towels to dry kids, wrap them and carry them to the house for time by the wood stove. Winter goat kids dry, fluffy and with goat coats on can take a lot of cold.

brown doe kid of winter goat kids

This slightly smaller brown Nubian doe kid got pushed off the milk and needed a bottle boost. She’s doing fine now.

I knew Drucilla would have her kids Saturday morning.

The expected cold front got delayed. Saturday dawned bright and warm. The kids were dry and up when I got to the barn. They had the entire warm day to get thoroughly dry and fluffed up.

Saturday night brought the edges of the cold front. Sunday let it settle in. Monday the twin doe kids had their goat coats on and looked like winter goat kids.

Harriet panics when her goats kid in Capri Capers. One kid is Capri.

Cute Goat Pictures

Each week I browse through a Sunday paper. The latest one announced a call for goat pictures specifying cute or funny.

I seem to have a lot of goat pictures. Are any of them cute or funny? Is my definition of cute or funny the same as that of the paper?

action goat pictures

Action shots are the hard ones. The goat is moving which can cause blurring unless the camera lens speed is high, but then less light is let in the lens so the picture can come out black. The action is often some distance away necessitating using the zoom. The higher the magnification, the easier it is to move the camera blurring the picture. This is High Reaches Silk’s Augustus as a kid.

Any excuse to browse through goat pictures is welcome. I went browsing.

Kids are cute. They are among the cutest baby animals around. They are notoriously difficult to photograph acting cute or funny.

flying ears action goat pictures

Nubian ears are long and seem to act as wings when a kid runs bouncing and leaping across the ground. For every acceptable action kid picture, I delete five or ten. Taking such pictures takes lots of time following the herd around until they get bored enough with having me around to start acting almost normally again.

This difficulty is due to the tremendous energy filling the kids. They are only still when snoozing, usually in a place difficult to use a camera. Any other time they are a blur racing around. By the time the camera is aimed at the cute kid, it’s moved on and is no longer cute.

Goats as a rule don’t like getting their pictures taken. I go out several times a year to get pictures to update my picture galleries. I walk by the herd on various hikes and stop to take a picture or two.

action goat pictures

Nubian bucks love to test their skills against one another. They love to play. Augustus and Gaius played like this for half an hour or more. I took lots of pictures and kept a half dozen. Augustus would rear up, then plunge down so fast he was only a blur. To get a good picture meant setting the camera up and waiting until Augustus was at the peak, then snapping the picture hoping to get it before he came crashing down.

The goats see the camera and turn their rumps to me. Another ploy is to walk up and lick the lens. Then there are the ‘scratch suddenly’ or ‘toss the head’ or ‘move into the middle of the group’ ploys.

doe and kid goat pictures

Nubian goat kids learn many difficult lessons as they grow up. One is how to follow mother goat both out and in from pasture. High Reaches Jewel’s Sasha is so unhappy being stuck in the barn lot while her friends are out grazing. Young kids get tired quickly, lie down, go to sleep and get left behind. They are hard to find nestled down in the grass. This afternoon was the first day Sasha’s kid was allowed out with her mother. Sasha is determined to find the herd and leads her kid down the trail. The kid gamely keeps up. This picture was a lucky one as I happened to be out with my camera and looked back to see Sasha and kid coming behind me.

I see the cute, funny, beautiful goat pictures on Pinterest. I think “If that person can do this, I can too.” Then I go home, get my camera and get laughed at by my goats as they dare me to try.

Still, I do get lucky from time to time. Maybe these other people get lucky too.

cute goat pictures

Goat kids can be so cute. This pair went out with the herd and laid down to rest while the herd grazed nearby. The first thing most people notice about Nubian goat kids is the ears, especially if they are frosted (white).

The secret to great goat pictures seems to have two sides. One is having help to set the goat up for a great picture as for a show picture. The other is luck perhaps with someone to distract the goats from the camera or trigger a great shot.

sweet goat pictures

This is one of those goat pictures both cute and special. Nubian does don’t often sleep with their young kids. Augustus was one of Silk’s last kids and she was very attached to him. Goat kids form play groups and tend to sleep with the group. Augustus always preferred Silk to his peers. But finding the two together, not waking Silk up and getting the picture was luck.

Unfortunately I have no help. I must continue to trust to luck and value the special shots I do manage to get.

Cute goat pictures are scattered throughout Goat Games. Check it out.

Doe Kid, Buck Kid, Misidentification

Now, any goat owner will tell you it’s easy to tell a doe kid from a buck kid. There are several very obvious differences.

Buck kids have scrotums. They are smooth under the tail. They urinate from the middle of their bellies with their legs planted out in a rectangle.

Doe kids have a tiny vulva under their tails. They squat to urinate. They tend to have smaller, more streamlined heads than buck kids.

buck and doe kid

These two Nubian kids are so alike in size. I assumed both were bucks. Wrong. The black one is a buck. The gray one is a doe.

Telling a doe kid from a buck kid is much easier than figuring out whether or not a kid is polled. For that the hair is swirled over the horn buds and smooth over polled. Hair can stick up or otherwise distort this look.

Three does had kids. Agate was first in the morning. Violet was acting like kids all day but had them in the morning. Lydia had hers that evening.

There was enough time to leisurely take care of each kid set. I took a cursory check and decided Agate had two little bucks. She moved into the large pen with Matilda and Rose.

Nubian buck kid

This little kid is definitely a buck. I double checked. High Reaches Agate isn’t concerned about it. She loves her kids.

That was a mistake. Matilda started chasing Agate. Hay was a temporary distraction. The chase resumed.

Matilda and her week old buck moved into the barn. Peace reigned in the kidding pen. The kids piled up in their cubby hole and slept.

Nubian High Reaches Agate with her kids

The problem with an Houdini buck is keeping him away from yearlings. So High Reaches Agate had twins at just over a year old. She had little trouble kidding, but didn’t know what had happened. She stood looking at the kids, then at me, then at the kids. She sniffed them, but didn’t talk to them. Finally one of the kids started talking. Agate is now a devoted mother goat.

Kids have trouble staying warm for the first few days. They can be stepped on. I build cubby holes for them.

A kid cubby hole is a line of bales against an outside wall. Two bales are put in front spaced apart half the length of a bale.

Two bales are piled on top of the wall line behind the space. A bale is placed over the space leaving a cubby hole.

Kids move into the hole. The hay provides insulation. The small space stays warmer than the outer temperature and keeps drafts out. Does can sniff their kids but can’t step on them.

This year I’m short on hay. Two straw bales backed by thick flakes of straw with a two inch thick board over the top did the job.

Nubian doe kid

How could I ever think this lovely kid was a buckling? All I can think is that I was very careless. This is definitely a doeling belonging to High Reaches Agate.

Kids grow fast. They want to jump on things and run. Even a big kid pen is too small in a few days.

I moved the kids out into the barn while the rest of the herd was out to pasture. My barn is set up with kid cubby holes.

A sunny day invited pictures of these last six kids. I moved Agate and her kids out. That’s when I noticed. Agate doesn’t have two buck kids. She has one buck kid and one doe kid. Oops.

This is a buck year for me. There are six buck kids. With the addition of Agate’s doe kid, there are three doe kids.

And I’m reminding myself to be more careful in the future.

Goat kid antics play a part in the madcap adventures in Capri Capers. Check out the sample pages.

Doe Rejecting Her Kid

High Reaches Matilda is a good mother goat. She has raised triplets. This year she is rejecting her kid, the little doe from her twins.

The day started out like any other day. Morning chores went smoothly. The herd was lined up devouring morning hay.

Toward noon I opened the pasture goat. The herd rushed out. Hay is great, but new spring grass is much better.

kid Nubian doe kept

High Reaches Matilda’s little Nubian buckling is her pride and joy. He thinks he’s something important too. This is the kid Matilda decided to keep.

I watched the herd file off toward the north, closed the gate and went back to the barn to let the boys out. Matilda was still in the barn munching on hay.

This goat has been playing the ‘any time’ game for two or three weeks. She is one of the first out the pasture gate. Kids were due today.

Bucks can be nuisances. I let Gaius out and ran him out of the barn. He was upset as he wanted to scrounge for leftover hay. Instead I put a barrier across the door.

rejecting her kid doe

Why would High Reaches Matilda reject this lovely Nubian doe? She is lively, alert, active and pretty. Still, Matilda was very busy with her little buck and didn’t notice this one. When her attention was called to the doe, Matilda seemed to think this wasn’t hers.

Augustus hung over the barrier. Anything new needs investigation. He finally gave up and went out to eat fresh grass.

Matilda hung out in the barn all day. She was in labor. She had feet showing. She wanted to wait for the herd to come back, so she did – almost.

The first kid, a little frosted buck, was born about the time the herd was wandering back from pasture. A barn full of goats is not healthy for a newborn. I picked him up and led Matilda in to the kidding section.

Matilda was going to have a second kid, but I had to put the boys up and let the herd in. I left to do early evening chores. Matilda was happily taking care of her little buck.

When I got back, a second kid was on the straw. Matilda was still taking care of the little buck and ignoring the cries of this second kid.

Nubian doeling

Nubian doe High Reaches Rose is delighted with her little doe. This is Rose’s first kid, but she is a good mother.

Picking this second spotted kid up made Matilda stop to look her over. She gave her a couple of licks and turned back to her little buck. She was rejecting her kid.

Usually a doe rejecting her kid indicates something is wrong with the kid. One first freshner rejected her first kid and was a wonderful mother the second kidding. Why was Matilda rejecting her kid?

As far as I can tell, this kid is fine. She is active. She loves to eat. Evidently Matilda bonded to the first one and didn’t notice she had a second so assumes this one is being foisted off on her.

Whatever the reason, I now have a bottle baby.

New Kids Coming

This year’s new kids are due any day. Which day is never certain anymore as Augustus is a master of escape. Maybe I should change his name to Houdini.

Usually the arrival of new kids is anticipated enthusiastically. This year is different. I know I can keep none of the kids, no matter how cute or endearing or special.

Someone else will have those special kids. I get to see them for three months, then say good-bye.

Nubian High Reaches Matilda expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Matilda’s kids have settled. Still she is playing the ‘any day’ game making everyone wait to see her kids.

My herd is as big as I can care for now. It’s easier to sell the kids I’ve known for only a short while than does I’ve known for years. The kids will all leave.

Since only Augustus was in on when several of my does were bred, I am left watching and waiting. The does know this and do their best to look like today’s the day for weeks.

Matilda and Agate look like they will be first. Matilda’s kids have settled. She has sunk around her tail bone. Her udder is taking its time filling up.

Agate has discharge from time to time. She has a nice udder.

Nubian High Reaches Violet expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Violet is starting to waddle, but is not concerned. Her kids will arrive sometime in March.

Then there is Violet. Her udder is starting to fill out. Her kids haven’t settled yet. Her history is getting both done overnight.

In the meantime, I’ve put the barn in order. There is a large area for the new mothers and their new kids.

Pens are better, but are more difficult to set up. Two of my panels are in use and unavailable. A third could be used, if I have to. That leaves me two.

Agate expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Agate is getting ready to kid.

The two can become one pen or the front of a kidding area. The area was picked.

March is a waiting game now. I’m watching Matilda and Agate. However, Violet, Pixie, Lydia and Rose are getting ready too.

New kids are fun. Will they be does or bucks? Will they have spots? Will there be triplets? All of us are waiting to find out.

My New Polled Kid

Late kids, especially single kids, are at a disadvantage. They lack the large play group earlier kids have. The kid equipment such as disbudding iron and tattooer are cleaned and put away. This is a polled kid so some of the equipment can stay locked away.

When I first started raising Nubians, polled goats were not difficult to find. Horns are a nuisance at best and a disaster waiting to happen at worst. Disbudding, banding and dehorning are not enjoyable at all. Polled was the way to go.

There wasn’t much of a meat goat market back then. So the uptick in hermaphrodites was a problem. It seemed tied to polled. Polled fell out of favor.

polled kid standing still

Standing quietly beside another doe kid, my new polled kid looks so tame. In truth, I was lucky to get this picture as she is rarely still for more than a few seconds.

I still have polled does in my herd. High Reaches Butter’s Juliette is one of them. This polled kid is her daughter. I have kept another daughter, Lydia, also polled.

One problem goat owners have with a polled kid is knowing whether or not it is polled. The polled trait is dominant so three out of four kids from a polled parent will statistically be polled. Reality can be very different.

I look at the hair on the head. Horn buds have a swirl over the top of them. Polled horn bosses have a ridge over them.

Horn buds are pointed. Horn bosses are rounded.

Skin is supposed to be fixed over horn buds and moves over polled horn bosses. I have trouble with this as a kid’s skin is so loose.

Juliette’s daughter is now a month old. She has no horns. I was right. She is a polled kid. She is also a livewire.

polled kid playing

The edge of the creek is a great place to jump up and down according to this goat kid. She loves to jump up onto things. And she is good at jumping, getting up a stack of four bales of hay! Luckily she knows how to get down again.

The milking room is a great playground. This kid leaps on the milk stands under the does. She leaps onto the hay at the end of the section. She pesters the cats.

To everyone’s relief, the kid has discovered oats. She now spends at least part of the time eating. Unfortunately she still insists on eating out of her own dish and everyone else’s dishes, preferably with hooves in the dish, as well.

Being a live wire and a late kid has another advantage. She has been racing out with the herd from nine days old. She has never been left behind or needed finding.

At three months old, this polled kid must be sold. I hope she goes home with someone who values her lively ways and personality.

Goat kids can be lots of fun or give lots of grief. Capri does some of both in Capri Capers.

Bottle Baby Challenges

Lots of goat owners raise all their kids as bottle babies. I did for a time but now a bottle baby is rare, only one or two a year.

My does have one or more sets of triplets every year. Since goat udders have only two sides, one kid is out of luck. I end up with a bottle baby.

Goat kids are greedy. Each one can easily consume a half gallon of milk or more a day. Buck kids are greedier than doe kids.

spotted Nubian buck kid

This spotted buck kid is the biggest of Eliza’s triplets and drinks most of her milk. He has already learned how to take a terrible picture.

Goat kids are bullies. The biggest or most aggressive kid gets the most milk.

This system works well in the wild. Sharing is not an option and can be a form of suicide. Those kids that eat the most and are most aggressive have the best chance of survival.

In the domestic world such tactics are not needed but the kids don’t know that. And each set of triplets has a potential bottle baby in it.

My present set of triplets has one larger buck kid. He is a lovely spotted frosted black. He is his mother’s favorite.

Nubian doe kid bottle baby

This little Nubian doe tried really hard to get her share of Eliza’s milk. Her two bigger brothers refused to share. Bottles are her milk source now.

The other two kids did share half the milk. Then the black buck kid pushed the frosted gray doe kid out. She became a bottle fan overnight.

Then the black buck started getting shoved out by the spotted kid. Besides, being greedy, he wanted his share of what his sister was getting.

Bottling a kid is normally not too difficult a challenge. Warm the milk up. Pour it in the bottle. Put on the nipple. Go see the kid.

A different challenge faces the goat owner. Bottle baby kids attach themselves to the bottle provider instead of the herd.

So far I’ve been lucky with these two kids. They still follow their mother and want to stay with the kid play group. Most mornings they race out the pasture gate and off with the herd.

Nubian buck bottle baby

Eliza’s black buck kid does get enough milk but doesn’t think so. He thinks bottles are a great snack source.

Then there are those mornings when the two kids stand between the herd on its way out and the gate and call me. I walk out with the herd until the kids are happily playing then double back to finish chores.

This doesn’t always work. On those rare days the two kids follow me out and back in. They can not be discouraged. They stay in the barn lot all day complaining bitterly about my not staying out in pasture all day for them to go out and play.

A final challenge is having enough milk to support a bottle baby. Since most of my milking does have kids, more and more of the milk disappears before the does come into the milk room.

Like the other challenges, this one will be tackled one day at a time. A bottle baby grows up fast. The other kids do too. Soon the challenge will be what to do with all the extra milk.

Check out the sample book pages for Goat Games, Dora’s Story and Capri Capers.

Chilled Kid Emergency

Having a chilled kid up north wasn’t a surprise. Temperatures near and below zero were commonplace and new kids can’t handle that. Nubian ears, even Alpine ears get frozen.

In the Ozarks temperatures are warmer. Still I ended up with a chilled kid. This is a goat emergency as the kid could soon be dead.

chilled kid now

The chilled kid now looks almost normal. He still has some problems standing because he was on his side too long. He is not as lively or bouncing like his sister. He improves every day.

A newborn kid is wet. The mother goat’s tongue cleans the kid up, gets much of the dampness off but doesn’t dry the kid.

Stick a hand in water then hang it outside at forty degrees. The hand gets cold, really cold. It doesn’t take long.

A newborn kid doesn’t have the reserves to keep itself warm. It must get dry. This little buckling didn’t get dry.

chilled kid and doe sister

The little buck has a sister who, although cold, did not get chilled. Unlike her brother, the little doe got dried off.

In the morning the little buck lay on his side unable to get up. He wasn’t hungry. He was crying.

A classic check is to put a finger in the kid’s mouth to see if it is warm. This buckling’s mouth was cool but not cold. He felt warm.

goat kids

High Reaches Topaz Willa had her twins, a buck and a doe, only twelve hours before picture time. They weren’t too sure what the sunshine was all about.

This was a chilled kid. Even though he felt warm his humped back, crying and reluctance to eat were signposts.

I bundled the kid up and took him to the house. Wood stoves are great for warming up a chilled kid. I tucked him into a box next to the stove.

After finishing chores, I checked on the little buck. He was sleeping. His fur was warm.

A couple of hours later I had a hungry little kid. He drank plenty of milk. He wasn’t crying. He was standing normally.

goat kid doe

High Reaches Butters Juliette had a single brown spotted doe. She was not impressed by being set up on the step for a picture.

He was still a chilled kid.

When a kid gets cold, the cold seeps all over inside. Even warming the kid up to acting well doesn’t insure all that cold is really gone.

It took a few more hours basking in the heat to finally get this kid up and going. He still has a little difficulty standing up but that too is disappearing. He is again out with his mother and nursing.

Triplet Kids Troubles

Cows have four teats but only one calf. Goats have two teats and usually have two kids. Triplet kids are one too many.

Eliza had triplets.

Goats have two horns or sides to their uterus. Usually one side is used for kids one year and the other side the next year.

Eliza used both horns. One had a single buck kid. The other had twins.

triplet kids

Finally the triplet kids were able to go outside. They were ready, bored with staying in the barn even if it was warmer and dryer. The littlest one, the doe, is in the middle. All are sporting goat coats.

The resulting triplet kids was a normal buck kid and two smaller kids, a buck and a doe.

January is a lousy time for kids in the Ozarks. Small wet kids are candidates for hypothermia.

These kids were greeted with lows in the twenties. This is not good in a hundred-year-old drafty barn.

Heat lamps are not an option in a tinderbox of a barn.

The smaller two kids moved into the house for the night. The cats were insulted and invaded.

New parents know what new kids mean to a night’s sleep. These two kids were awake and hungry every two hours all night. They would eat then play then go back to sleep.

It was a relief to put the kids back with Eliza in the morning. She was delighted to have all of her triplet kids back with her.

One of the kids was doing all right. The smallest one got cold. The temperature plunged as soon as night fell.

triplet kids with mother goat

Eliza has discovered goat kids have selective hearing. She calls. They don’t hear her. She wants to go someplace. They want to explore. Welcome to motherhood, Eliza.

A second night saw kids in the house. A second night was spent in two hour shifts.

The triplet kids went back out with Eliza in the morning. They stayed out with her and did fine. It’s amazing how much cold a dry, lively goat kid can handle.

That set of troubles was solved with two sleepless nights and two days of naps. Now the next round of troubles is starting.

A goat has two teats. Kids especially buck kids are greedy eaters. Eliza is running out of milk.

One advantage to the sleepless nights will come into play now. The small doe who is the one usually shoved aside does eat from a bottle.

That should solve the next round of troubles with the triplet kids. Supplementing one is a good option too as the triplets get to stay together.

Check out My Books for sample pages for Goat Games, a goat fact book with puzzles, and two goat novels: Dora’s Story and Capri Capers.

Good Mother Goat Matilda

One definition of a good mother goat, I suppose, is one who takes good care of her kids. Most does would qualify under that definition. Matilda is special.

I keep new kids like Matilda’s inside a special pen for up to a week. By this time the kids are up and playing, ready to be in the barn with the herd.

The second week kids and mothers stay in the barn lot putting up with Gaius and Augustus all day. The bucks mostly ignore the kids as they don’t like being the mountain in king of the mountain play.

When the grass is tall and seeding like now, I let the mothers out the third week but keep the kids in. Lydia and Matilda who have the youngest kids are not happy with this arrangement even though I try to take the kids out in the afternoon.

good mother goat Matilda

High Reaches Sprite’s Matilda Is a calm, unusually quiet Nubian goat and devoted mother goat.

Kids get tired, lay down and go to sleep. The herd moves on. The grass hides them. Finding them is arduous work.

Lydia and Matilda’s kids are tall and lively. They want out so badly. I relented.

Lydia is a first time mother. She is a good mother goat. Her little buck kid is her pride and joy.

Matilda is an older goat. She knows about kids and is very watchful over hers.

Lydia and Matilda were overjoyed. The kids were ecstatic. The three were with the herd that evening.

good mother goat Lydia

The grass stalks wave and rustle in the breeze keeping High Reaches Juliette’s Lydia on the alert protecting her little buck.

So the kids went out again in the morning. This time Matilda’s kids were missing that night. Sometime in the two hours since I had checked on them, they had disappeared.

Some kids will answer me when I call. These might. They would definitely answer Matilda. I put a lead rope on Matilda and we went out.

Some mother goats I must drag away from the barn and herd. Matilda was eager to go. She wanted her kids.

An hour and two pastures plus a creek later, I let Matilda go in. The sun was setting. I went back out checking the creek banks, zigzagging across the pastures, calling.

Flashlights don’t work for kid hunting. Rain was due that night. Darkness was closing in.

An answer! There, at the edge of the woods on the hill beside the hill pasture, two pairs of white ears shone in the darkness.

good mother goat Matilda has two doe kids

Matilda’s two little does are standing yet not tall enough to see over the grass. This makes it easy for them to get lost. They are lucky to have Matilda for a mother.

I was some monster so the kids ran. My voice was familiar so they followed distantly as I went in for Matilda. Then the kids came in.

Of course none of us learned anything from this. The kids went out again the next day. Now all three were missing.

The search area was much smaller so I didn’t bother to get Matilda, just walked out the gate. Good mother goat she is, Matilda was right behind me. We were going searching for her kids.

We backtracked from where the goats were when I went out to open the gate to where they were when I was last out checking on the kids. Matilda called.

A squeak answered. One of the sleepy heads had answered. The three were tucked into the base of a black walnut tree.

The next morning the herd went out. The kids stayed in. I’m glad because this morning the herd went across the creek and down toward the big south pasture and ravine.

Kids and Grass Don’t Mix

All winter into mid spring the kids and grass do fine. The grass is short so the kids can see their mothers and vice versa.

Late spring triggers the grass to seed. Stalks topped by seed heads shoot up two or three feet in the air.

Grass is wind pollinated and makes lots of pollen. It blows with the wind setting off allergies.

For the goats tall grass is a hiding place for all kinds of terrors. It rustles in the wind. Is something coming?

The herd bunches together. Heads and ears peek out over the stalks on the alert for any approach.

Kids call constantly. Their heads can’t get up high enough to see over the grass. Where is everyone? Am I lost?

small kids and grass don't mix

Born the last weeks of May these kids are now lively but only half as tall as the grass in the pasture. Each day they must watch their mothers go out and get left behind.

Then there are the little kids, the last ones born this season. They are still doing a lot of sleeping. Sleeping kids in the grass disappear and are almost impossible to find.

Kids and grass are now at odds with each other.

The last bunch of kids were out with the herd at three weeks old. The grass was shorter than the kids. They had a wonderful time out playing.

This trio of kids wants to go out. They gamely follow their mothers to the gate. I turn them back. Their mothers call. The kids call back.

bucks in pasture

My bucks are taller than the does. They are over three feet at the withers. Yet they disappear in the grass while grazing.

Late in the afternoon the herd reappears out of the grass. They have done their wandering and are getting ready to come in for the night.

Then the littlest kids get to go out. I wish they would follow me as three are too many to carry at the same time.

The three are overjoyed to nurse. Then they turn their attention to playing. They get to pretend for a little while that they are big enough to go out with the herd.

Kids and grass will remain at odds until one of three things happen. One is for the kids to move to their new homes where hopefully the grass is shorter. Another is that the kids get tall enough and lively enough to keep up with the herd. The last is bush hogging all those tall stalks down.

July will let the herd, kids and grass relax and enjoy themselves out in the pastures once more.

Crossing the Creek

Every day the goats go out to pasture they pass or go over a bridge instead of crossing the creek through the water. Kids think the bridge is great fun.

Our creek is clear with a gravel bed. Right now it has lots of dead leaves over the gravel. Fish, crayfish and numerous other creatures call the creek home.

If the goats cross the bridge, they go down into the south pasture. Most of the creek is fenced off from the pasture so the herd must come back up to the bridge to get to the barn lot.

Nubians browsing multiflora rose

Goats prefer browsing to grazing. They relish multiflora rose leaves.

If the goats don’t cross the bridge, they go up into the north pasture. They have free access to the creek all along the pasture.

This day the goats walked past the bridge. They left behind my bottle baby kid who was waiting for me to go out with her. We walked out to join the herd.

Lots of good browse grows in the creek bottom. At the moment buckbrush and multiflora rose are budding out. I don’t know why any of this nuisance rose continues to grow in the goat pasture.

Nubian goats crossing the creek

The herd decides the browsing is better on the other side of the creek so they walk across.

The goats graze along the creek then decide crossing the creek is a good thing to do. An inch of rain has deepened the creek. The water rushes over a small gravel bar. The goats don’t mind. They walk across.

kids crossing the creek by leaping

The goat kids are afraid of the water but want to follow their mothers and the herd so their idea of crossing the creek is to leap over the water.

Kids stand on the bank and cry. The bigger ones leap madly for the far bank. The smaller ones stand and watch the herd move away.

Today six kids are left behind. One is a little buck who is often lost and used to me leading him back to the barn. Another is my bottle baby along with her two siblings. The last two are a doe and buck set slightly older.

six goat kids refusing to cross the creek

The last goats are crossing the creek and still the six kids will not follow.

The only way across is the bridge back by the barn.

The group follows me, runs ahead of me, mills around me as we head back up the pasture toward the bridge. Kids are easily distracted so progress is slow.

Finally the kids and I get back to the bridge and across. Their mothers are still back at the other end which means climbing over a hill.

There are numerous paths across the hill. I meander from one to another heading north.

The kids have been here before so I am superfluous except as a prod to keep them moving in the right direction. They follow a path far below me.

goat kids crossing hill

The six Nubian goat kids had been across the hill before so they happily led the way stopping to explore and nibble along the way to rejoin the herd and their mothers.

At last we join forces once more and come out on the hill over the creek bottom. No goats are in sight along the creek.

I lead the kids closer to the creek bottom. The herd reappears but pays no attention to the now calling kids.

Once the kids are convinced their mother are really down below them, happy reunions ensue. I will be glad when crossing the creek is no longer a problem for the kids.

Photographing Goat Kids

Lots of goat owners enjoy photographing kids. There are so many lovely pictures of kids on Pinterest.

I enjoy taking pictures too. Most of my goat pictures are pretty tame. My does are grazing or lying around or standing there looking at me.

Most kid pictures are the kids standing around too. The kids are so cute and so active.

One day I came across a Pinterest picture of a kid leaping. Instantly I had a new goal for photographing kids: kids in action.

Every kid is different. Some are sedate. Some are shy and always seem to be behind another goat.

Nubian goat kids and mothers

High Reaches Violet and Flame are making sure their kids are following them out to pasture. The kids are ready for playtime.

Then there is the one kid that loves to run, jump and leap. Flame has such a little doe this year.

I went out with my camera to get some pictures of this kid in action. Every one was blurry. The background was fine. The kid was a blur.

Although I’ve taken pictures for years, I know little about the finer points of F stops, shutter speeds etc. Photographing kids will force me to learn at least a little.

Nubian goat kid leaping and bucking

Flame’s little doe loves to leap and buck. This gives some odd pictures as she can look very contorted.

The main difficulty is the online handbook for the camera. I don’t have access to the Internet at home. That leaves me guessing.

Normally I set the ISO fairly low, 200 or less. The reason for this is increasing the fineness of the picture. Higher ISO settings can give a grainy picture.

However, higher ISO settings can increase shutter speed without making the pictures too dark. At least I think it works that way. So I tried setting the ISO to 640 and went kid stalking.

The day was pleasant for a winter day except for a brisk north wind. The goats have these nice fur coats. I wish I could borrow one.

The kids are frisky. They will want to run and play. I hope so.

photographing kids racing is hard

Racing is a favorite goat kid game. They start investigating or chewing on something, get left behind and race to catch up with the herd. Photographing kids racing is hard as their legs especially turn to blurs.

Photographing kids in the middle of a herd has difficulties. The kid disappears behind another goat just as it leaps or races by.

Another problem surfaced too. I had to keep the sun behind me and stay ahead of the herd. The goats kept looking at me wondering what I was doing but grazing was more important.

I did manage a few pictures of Flame’s little doe in action. The kid is sharper. The pictures get grainy quickly.

Photographing kids will definitely take more thought and work. Now I’m trying a different setting and changing the shutter speeds myself. How fast does it need to be? I guess I’ll find out.

Watching Winter Kids

One of the best times raising goats is watching kids being born and growing up. They grow up so fast.

During the warm months the goat herd ranges far up on the hills. Small kids can not keep up and get left behind.

Nubian doe and kid

High Reaches Violet stands guard over her new little Nubian buck just a day old but already following his mother if slowly.

Over winter months the goats go out mostly for exercise. They find bits of grass to eat but rarely go very far. Small kids love to go out with their mothers.

Seeding grasses can get as tall as an adult goat so I often keep kids in the barn lot until they are a month old. They cry when the herd goes out. They find places to sleep much of the day.

twin doe kids sleeping in barn

Chocolate brown is the color of choice for High Reaches Trina’s Flame’s twin doelings. These two kids are snuggled up against a hay bale in the barn. The hay makes a good insulator for the kids and keeps the mothers occupied.

Depending on how many kids there are, I will carry or lead them out for the afternoon with their mothers. This way they learn to keep up through the grass taller than they are but the herd is near the barn lot so searching for lost ones is much easier.

twin buck Nubian kids watching

An activity of kids in pasture is lying down and observing all that goes on around them. High Reaches Bonnie’s twin bucks are doing that.

This winter I am letting kids as young as a week old go out with the herd. The two mothers are very attentive so they never let their little ones get left behind very long.

January thaw helps too. This warm weather for a week or so makes it fun for the goats to be out.

brown Nubian doeling sleeping

Much of pasture time for younger kids is spent snoozing in the grass. This is High Reaches Silk’s Drucilla’s brown doeling.

These kids don’t play much yet. They do chew on everything as they stock their rumens with bacteria. They spend much of their time lying down.

Black Nubian doeling on stump

Goats love to climb. These stumps were piled up here over twenty years ago but are still solid enough to be a kids’ playground. High Reaches Silk’s Drucilla’s black doeling thinks so.

It’s fun to go out to see the herd and kids except for a problem. Winter pastures are not as good as alfalfa hay in the barn.

As soon as the herd spots me, everyone thinks it is time to go in and eat hay. Instead of staying spread out to graze, the does start bunching up and drifting down toward the creek, the bridge and the barn.

Bonnie's black Nubian buck

Bonnie’s black buck is ready to play if another kid will join him on the stumps.

The goats are so disappointed when I walk the other way. But there at the edge of the creek bed is a group of old stumps perfect for kids. They are not disappointed.

Winter Kids

Winter kids are not normal for me. I prefer March and April kids when the weather is a bit warmer.

Drucilla had other plans. She celebrated Christmas a couple days late with a set of twin does.

High Reaches silk's Drucilla and kids

Sunshine is an invitation for Drucilla and her new kids to be outside. Temperatures made the goat coats necessary.

The weather had changed from floods to cold. Goat kids have a hard time keeping themselves warm for a few days.

Out came the goat kid coats. Newborn goat kids are smaller than small sweat shirts easily available at the thrift store. I use the sleeves from larger sweat shirts which become goat coats for adult goats.

Drucilla is suspicious

Cameras must be dangerous according to Drucilla so the photographer must be dangerous too. The two goat kids are not concerned.

The kids soon sported coats but these were not enough. By Wednesday morning the kids were cold, not desperately so yet.

Wood stoves have many uses. The two kids spent milking time basking in a box next to the wood stove. They were no longer cold.

The barn was still cold. Even surrounded by and bedded in hay, the area for Drucilla and her kids was cold.

Drucilla leading her kids

Good mother goats take their kids away from danger so Drucilla led her kids around the fence then up to the barn.

The kids needed some extra heat source.

My barn is ancient, over a hundred years old. It is old oak and filled with hay. This adds up to fire trap.

Heat lamps are not an option.

I’ve been known to keep young kids in the house. Linoleum floors help with this endeavor. It’s not my favorite winter activity.

These are Drucilla’s first kids. She is still adjusting to being mother goat. Separating her from her kids is very likely a recipe for bottle babies.

Wood stoves require kindling. Our house needed a new roof. The original wood shingles were under several layers of asphalt shingles. The asphalt shingles were disposed of. The wood shingles became boxes of kindling.

A large box was newly emptied. With a little remodeling the box became a kid cave complete with heating pad well wrapped in plastic bags and old towel floor.

During evening milking I turned the box upright, adjusted the heating pad and put the kids in. They were happy to settle in on that warmth.

goat kids napping

After a long walk, the sunshine in a sheltered corner is an invitation for Drucilla’s kids to nap.

After milking I turned the box back on its side, adjust the heating pad, made sure the kids were full of milk and watched them crawl into the box. They had figured out the box was an island of warmth in a cold place.

Heating pads must be used with care. They aren’t much of a fire danger. They can get too hot and cause burns. They should not get wet.

I had the pad wrapped in plastic bags to stay dry. It was on an old towel and covered by another one. It was set on low and would turn itself off in two hours.

Thursday morning the kids were up and warm. They are getting good at keeping themselves full of milk. Drucilla is enjoying her kids and unlimited access to hay.

Much as I would love to have a new built for goats barn like Harriet gets in Capri Capers to be released in March, my old barn is my reality. Such is reality for many goat owners. With a little ingenuity, these old barns work even for winter kids.

Books about goats include Goat Games and Dora’s Story. Find free sample pages under My Books and purchasing information in the Shop.

Surprise Kid

Breeding season for the goats has been in full swing for a couple of months now. I like to breed most of my does in October for March kids.
Ozark weather changes frequently. Cold spells followed by a few warm days followed by more cold. Kids born in cold weather can do fine or they can need lots of extra care to get them up and going. March usually has more warm than cold days.
Gaius is getting older as do we all. Thoughts of having another buck are sneaking in now and then although Gaius is a great guy and I have no plans to part with him.
Gaius had Louie as a best friend. Louie died and Gaius is lonely. It would be nice to have a second buck so they aren’t lonely. But how do you get a friend for two hundred pounds of jealous buck?

Nubian daoe and kid

High Reaches Bubble’s Silk is watching for dangers threatening her new little buck. He is interested in milk.

Then there is the question of what kind of buck to get. I like polled bucks and have owned several over the years. Polled bucks are hard to find in the Ozarks.
My dream buck would be polled, good sized, throw lovely udders giving lots of milk. Nice looking wouldn’t hurt. Good personality is a must. My hundred and ten pounds is no match for an ill-mannered two hundred pound buck.
Some of my does are polled. My herd is not show quality but they are nice milkers. There is Silk.
Silk is a big rangy doe with nice ears, good udder, good milker, good personality. She is polled. She is nearing retirement age.

Nubian buckling

Nubian goats are known for their ears. At a few hours old, this little buck has a nice pair. Silk is checking to see he is all right. After all, the camera may bite.

Several years ago Silk did have a lovely polled buck. He looked really nice and went to live with someone else where he was very much appreciated. He was a looker too, lots of color – frosted gray, red, black, white spots.
I told Silk I wanted a nice polled little buck. She ignored me. And she didn’t come into season. Gaius was no one she wanted to know.
Silk is a rangy doe, never seems to get fat. Her hundred and forty pounds doesn’t look imposing at all.
I had been milking her but she went dry. This was a surprise. Her udder shrank.
A week or so ago I noticed her udder looked bigger. Then it got really big. She was going to kid in November!
That means Gaius had a great escape the end of July. Anyone with a few goats knows about great escapes. There were two about that time.
Once I came home to find a rain shower went by. The herd was let in without Gaius being locked away.
Another time the weather was rainy in the morning so I opened the pasture gate in case it cleared. When I got home, the goats had gone out. Gaius was let out with the gate still open.
Silk had a single kid. First, the kid is a buck. Second, he is cute, friendly and easy going. Third he is frosted gray with lots of little white spots and a few bigger ones. Is he polled? I’m not sure yet. His hair says yes. The little bumps on his skull say no. Maybe they are horn bosses like his mother has.

Nubian buckling

Silk considers the barn a good place to park a tired kid for a time. She hasn’t noticed me yet so I can finally take some pictures without interference.

This kid is also lucky. He was born in a warm spell between thirty degree days. He wants to jump and play. Today he is wearing a goat coat and exploring the milk room with his mother who is trashing the place.
Keeping the little guy is tempting. The challenge would be raising him to big enough to hold his own with Gaius who, like all bucks, gets aggressive during breeding season. Deciding on a name is easier. I’m thinking.