Today we were pleased to welcome the first kids of the 2018 season (they couldn’t wait for the New Year!) with a pretty brutal cold front rolling in, so it seemed like a great time to share the story of having babies right in a bedroom of our home.
Early in our goat days, we had just moved to a little farm in an obscure town in Texas. Our home was a “fixer upper” with its share of problems, and we were pretty unprepared when we had a nasty cold snap roll in. At the time, I’d severely cut our herd down, leaving us with just two does – Hope and a sweet little doe named Rudy. Hope was due to kid any day, and our temporary goat shelter was far from adequate for newborn kids. I was fraught with worry – we had to find a solution, and quickly.
The next morning ice was hanging from our kitchen faucet and the two does were huddled in their little doghouse, so I made a decision. The back room in our home was only used for storage, so I sent my husband to town to pick up tarps and shavings. I moved out the dusty boxes, and we spread the tarps out on the floor and then covered them with shavings. Hope and Rudy came inside without hesitation and we walked them to the back room and gave them hay and water. They seemed to like their new digs, peering out the window with interest and making little nests in the shavings. I for one was delighted with how easy it was to check on them, and half of me wished I could turn the room into a permanent goat stall – but we all know that keeping goats inside long term is a bad idea!
Hope, a very smart doe, apparently enjoyed it too and decided to hold onto her babies a little longer. She and Rudy sat in the back bedroom in comfort as our pipes all froze in the wretched cold, then cracked and burst. They gleefully drank expensive bottled water from their bucket as we wriggled underneath the house, pulling out old brittle pipes and replacing it with new.
When the sun returned and began to thaw out our frozen little farm, Hope finally went into labor.
Her two little boys came quickly and without issue – Hope was always a very good birther and mother. Cute as buttons, they looked exactly like her first set of kids with me, and it wasn’t long before they were up and bouncing around in the shavings.
A few days later, all the pipes were replaced and delivering water once more, and Hope’s babies were strong enough to go outside for the first time. Hope and Rudy reluctantly left the back room, clip-clopping down the hallway and out the back door, the two bucklings dancing along behind them making little squeaks of happiness.
Those two little boys were like a bright ray of sunshine on our farm, and when they were old enough, they went to an amazing home as pets, and I was able to keep up with them and their adventures for many years – at one point they even came back and stayed for a time while their owner was on vacation.
Hope was an amazing goat and she lives on in my memories of little adventures like this. She taught me so much, and her granddaughter Minx has so much of her personality. I still miss her, but her bloodline will live on as long as I can keep it going – let’s “hope” Minx gives us the next generation this year.
Happy New Year my friends – I hope you’re looking forward to all the new adventures that 2018 will bring as much as I am.