The Beginning of Kidding Season

I wrote this last year, and am posting an edited version here in honor of the beginning of kidding season.

During the months of March and April, I’ve spent my Tuesday and Thursday noon hours tending baby bucklings and doelings on a nearby goat farm and creamery. During that hour, I:

  • Warm colostrum, milk, and replacer in water baths
  • Bottle feed the littlest ones
  • Guide the “toddlers” onto bucket feeders
  • Wonder how the Nigerian Dwarfs managed to jump onto their box soundlessly
  • Clean nipples on the self-feeder while being tackled and nibbled by the big kids
  • Sprinkle lime on the most egregious pee spots in the hay
  • Distribute flakes of alfalfa and fluff the green stuff to encourage the kids’ curiosity
  • Check their general health (energy, status of scabs on horn buds, see who’s made a mess with the milk replacer and how/why)
  • Hear a small bell tinkling and know one of the Nigerian Dwarfs has leapt off its box
  • Ignore the chickens walking around like they own the place
  • Spend time with the moms, scratching their necks and cheeks with my knuckles and turning my head when they belch and cough in my face
  • Bring that gamey mom smell back to the kids and rub their plump bellies while they jump and ram each other
  • Bring that warm kid smell back to the moms, especially the brand new ones who just passed their placentas and seem confused about where they misplaced their twins
  • Give a cursory nod to the gentlemen/bucks, who seem to genuinely give zero squats, so long as they can find a spot of shade to lie in
  • Get covered in milk, and also in poop from digestive tracks of varied levels of maturity
  • Play fetch with the Austrian herding dog mix who likes to meet me at my car door while I’m trying to discreetly change my pants, and dart in front of my bumper as I drive away

The experience is so educational, fulfilling, and peaceful, I’m happy to have the opportunity to participate. It’s good down time for the mind, and the milk, cheeses, and gelato are delicious, to boot. If I had a yard, I think I’d take a goat home. A Nubian, probably, because I’m a sucker for the floppy ears. It wouldn’t be a wise long-term decision for me, but it’d be a happy short-term one.

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