Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The kidding watch has begun!

"And there will be ample goat's milk to supply you, to supply your household, and maintenance for your maidens."  Proverbs 27:27

We've kept Nubian dairy goats on our homestead since last summer.  Nubians are full-size dairy goats with elegant long ears and Roman noses.  Their milk is especially wonderful because it is notably rich in butterfat.  Nubians also tolerate extreme climates well, so they are perfectly happy here in the low Sonoran desert.   As mammals, goats must be bred and give birth to offspring in order to lactate.  I realize to many this may seem self evident...but you would be surprised how many highly educated people don't realize this simple biological fact.

We are now on our first kidding watch.  My doe, Black Spot, (named by Grace) is due on May 16th.  She also has a tentative due date in June, but we are thinking May 16th is the due date.  She is absolutely huge, and miserable.  Goat herdsmen and herdswomen know their girls are getting close by keeping close tabs on a few pelvic ligaments that soften up when the doe is going to kid soon, also by noting the color of the discharge that the doe is passing.  Yesterday, Black Spot started separating herself away from the rest of the goats.  This is another sign that kidding will take place soon.  It's a primal instinct to give birth away from the rest of the herd.  She only stands up when I come outside if she knows that she will be getting some grain or a treat out of the deal.  Her ligaments are softening, and she's having some clear discharge off and on.  I don't know when we'll have kids on the ground, but it will be soon! 

Black Spot resting in her favorite spot between her barn and the wall

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