Our off season came to an abrupt end last week when one of our goats delivered triplets, launching us into a frenzy of baby goat bottle feedings. We also received our first order of chicks last week, and opened our farmstand up for the year. Since then, we have had two more does deliver their kids, and we are currently waiting on one of our sows to deliver a litter of piglets as I am writing this.

Baby season is such a joyous time to be on the farm, but it is also very demanding of us farmers. We have to check on our pregnant does and sows every few hours to ensure that they are not in distress. We check on them as soon as we wake up in the morning, throughout the day, before we go to bed, and we even wake up in the middle of the night to go out to the barn. We are always ready to intervene at the first sign of dystocia, which typically occurs when the offspring are too large or are malpositioned for the birthing process.

Our baby goats require a lot of our attention as well. Kids should drink 10% of their body weight in colostrum (the first milk that their mothers produce, which is rich in antibodies) within a few hours of their birth. Failure to ingest adequate colostrum puts goats at risk for serious health issues and even death. When we have newborn goats on the farm, we offer them a bottle as often as every hour so that they have ample opportunity to get the colostrum into their system. Once they are a day old, we transition to giving them bottles roughly every six hours.

Between feedings, we have lots of other things going on. We have been working on preparing our garden beds for planting, moving pigs into their summer housing, and beautifying our property before visitors start to arrive (we offer farm stays, tours, and events beginning in May). We are also making lots of goat’s milk soap as we gear up for another season of farmers’ markets. Soon, we will begin a major fencing project that will keep us busy all summer long, but for now, we are just trying to enjoy the baby season and all of the chaos that it brings!

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