Saturday, April 9, 2011

This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you

There are so many things about farming that I love but there are also several other things that aren't so much fun.  In the past month I've performed a few tasks or observed others that are on the "not as fun" list.

I'm finding that disbudding, or dehorning my baby goats is getting easier and easier.  I don't stress out near as much as a few years ago.  I still say, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry", the whole time but I don't get as tense as in the past.  A few weeks back a stranger brought her kid here to be disbudded.  Actually, I was supposed to be teaching her to do it but I don't think she even watched.  Her husband had responded to one of my Craigslist ads about 6 months ago and that's how we got to talking about disbudding.  He emailed me months later to ask if I remembered him and if my offer still stood to teach him to do it.  He had to work that day so his wife came.  She was a mess.  She asked if the kid would cry.  I told her yes.  I had no idea the woman would cry also.  Afterward I told her which iron I used so they could get one for next year.  She said she didn't think they'd be able to do it themselves.  I emailed her husband the day after to ask how the baby was doing.  He said she and his wife had both recovered..

Last week I went to Lucas' house to help him burn the little horn buds on his new calf.  I thought baby goats were the cutest baby  but I think calves come in a very close second if not tie.  Oh my gosh, this little guy was adorable.
He was also a lot stronger than a little goat.  We actually had to lie on top of him to do the job and still we were tumbling about.  I found it to be more stressful watching someone else do the burning than doing it myself, though most of the time I couldn't see what was going on because I was doing my best to keep him on the ground.  Here's what he looked like afterward.  I felt so sorry for him.  It's never pretty.  Lucas' wife, Ann, is pregnant so there's no way she could have helped wrestle this calf (not safely anyway).  Also, I have a feeling she might have cried too if she had to watch.  Lucas had also planned to castrate him while we had him down and I was a bit relieved the testicles hadn't dropped yet and we didn't have to do that.
Earlier this week I went to Susans to watch her dock the tails on her new little lambs.  Again, more cute babies to be hurt, though I don't think this even comes close to burning heads or castrating.  I hope no lambs are reading this.  Susan did a good job and I don't think any of them cried out in pain.  The same tool and bands were used that I used for castrating.  Is this little lamb a cutie, or what?
Yesterday I went to see Kirsten and Sophie's new kids.  I'm glad my own kidding season is over but I still love to see other newborns.  I was going to take some pictures of the twins that were born the day before because I may just want to bring this little girl home with me when she's old enough.
Little did I know I'd be watching two other goats giving birth, one of them being a very intense and stressful for all of us.  The first doe, Freida,  kidded pretty easily with 2 adorable doelings.  The second, Geraldine, seemed to be taking her time going into full labor.  Once she did we saw 2 bubbles coming out at the same time.  Not a good sign.  One had a foot in it and the other a head. 
 Geraldine pushed for a good while but didn't progress so Kirsten tried putting the foot back inside, hoping the other baby could come out first.  The two babies were side by side and wanted to come out together no matter what we did.  I have no idea how long this went on because we were getting a little distressed and didn't know what we could do to help.  Finally Kirsten asked me if I wanted to try helping.  I knew how she was feeling.  We both decided we needed to pull a little to move things along.  There were 4 feet and one head sticking out so I pulled on the feet 2 at a time and straightened the legs out so they were in a diving position  and that seemed to make enough room for both of the babies to come out seemingly effortlessly.  Shortly after, a 3rd doeling arrived - triplet girls!  Mama and babies were all fine and the mother seemed no worse for wear.  She was amazing through it all.
All 5 doelings born yesterday were offspring of Cooper, my new buck, so I hope next year he gives me all girls too.  

I know it hurts them more than it hurts me, but it does hurt me to see them hurt.  Does that make sense?


  1. Thanks for putting up some pics of Daffy. I appreciated your help. So many babies I am glad Ann and I are just starting with one.

  2. Will you come to my house so all the rest of the lambs will be born? Not 5 though.

  3. Wow! What a lot of adventures you've had in torturing adorable babies!
    I docked tails for the first time the other week, and I found it to be the most painful procedure I'd done yet. (I haven't castrated the ram lamb yet, so that may change.) They were 8 days old when I did it, so that may have been the cause of the pain.
    After seeing the cutest brown calf ever born with those sad tears, I am glad I don't disbud (dehorn?) my cattle!

  4. Wow Karen. You've been busy! I loved the little lamb! That is something else I have tried to talk Travis into getting. He hasn't budged.
    The calf was adorable. Have plenty of those lying around here! I love their big brown eyes. So sweet. The boys are out of school the week afer Easter. Interested in some company one day?!