BRANDY RAIN

in #homesteading6 years ago (edited)

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A double blessing! No, I'm not speaking of brandy and rain being the double. This is something more wonderful than brandy. Yesterday we were woken very early, to the sound of rain around our homestead. Not just any rain. The first shower in over four years. We hope this will break the drought. My goats, naturally refused to leave the warmth and comfort of their wooden house. So I gave them extra dry food and promised to return later. They are due to start kidding next week so I have to keep a close eye. A couple hours later my husband radioed me that one of my goats had kidded. I knew it had to be either Lily or Alaska. I ran across. To my horror the twins were stretched out, soaking wet and apparently dead.

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A baby comes with huge responsibility but immense joy. And being a goat mad person (yip, I don't deny my obsession with the loveable mischiefs) the arrival of the kids is by far my favourite time of year. But I hate losing animals. And I very, very seldom lose goats. Not without a huge fight. Now goats are intelligent creatures. Highly intelligent. But blame pregnant hormones. Blame a very young first time mother, Alaska decided to birth in the pouring rain. And by the time I reached them her twins were ice cold and in shock. We lost the boy. With a very concerned Alaska nuzzling me and asking me to help her baby I sat on the floor back in the wooden goat house with her baby girl. After towel drying her, I milked out a teaspoon of precious colostrum from Alaska, which I got down her baby's throat. Then I did what any hippie organic mama will do and I held the limp baby skin-to-skin for an hour. Rubbing her body until slowly she started responding.

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Unlike sheep which have wool, goats have hair. The lanolin in a sheep's wool protects them quite effectively against extreme cold and wet. Not so a goat. They are very sensitive to weather and prone to pneumonia. Eventually I was able to hold the little goat kid to drink off her mama. It took ages. It was not easy. But she did get in some precious life giving colostrum. I then took off home to sew her a little double fleece jacket and get a nip of something else. Not for myself - although Farmer Buckaroo took a double tot to fortify himself from the stress of watching his wife, yet again, fighting for her animals lives.

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An old farmers trick for weather stressed newborns is a shot of brandy. I filled a syringe with 2mm which the baby girl sucked down before I again helped her drink off her mama. Alaska spent more time nuzzling and grooming me than her baby. Poor girls are always extremely needy when they birth. Her little baby took very long to recover. Her legs refused to work but within another two hours she was all fluffed out and bright eyed. She would even bleat when she heard my voice. Every couple hours throughout last night I would wake up; and over pajamas throw my raincoat, gum boots (what the British call Wellington boots) and a torch (the English word for flashlight).

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By bedtime tonight Alaska is very settled into motherhood albeit disgusted that I've locked her away from her little goatie family, including twin sister Bella. Her pretty baby finally standing but still very wobbly on her legs. Usually they are strong on their legs within hours but she's obviously taken quite a knock. After debating about calling her Brandy, I have settled on the far more suitable name Rain. As we climb into bed this evening we are so grateful for this double blessing of yesterday. It reminds me of the historical account in Exodus of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness, fed on manna. The Most High told them that every sixth day of the week (Friday in our language) they would be given a double blessing and they were to collect a double portion to tide them over that day and the next, Shabbat (Saturday). Yesterday we were blessed with an immense double portion of both the life giving Heavenly Rain and the life of the Baby Rain! Today we have rested knowing the ground is refreshed, the first kid of the season is strong and we are greatly blessed

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Oh @buckaroo, if I were there, I would have been right there with you, gumboots and raincoat, feeding and caring for the wee kid!! I'm saddened by the loss, but delighted that this one is happy and healthy with her mama ... the goat, not you haha

....but you too <3

And rain!!! Hooray :) Hope there's more to come!!

This one's going to c-squared, no question!

Thanks @lynncoyle1! The only problem with you being here in gumboots is that that would mean I can't be there sipping sundowners...ummmm...I mean being a diligent secretary ;) Also hoping for plenty more rain. There will definitely be plenty more kids. Baby Rain is out in the sunshine today. Exploring her new world. So adorable

True enough! I totally need a secretary here :)

Baby Rain!! awwww so cute! My neighbors had goats and I used to get such a kick out of them ... the little ones really are adeptly named ... they act just like bad, cute, little kids :)

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Good job!

Raising animals is hard work. Occasionally we lose calves, and I hate it. I think my husband takes it worse than I do, though. He gets very attached to the animals, the babies especially. I have to keep some distance or else be totally wrecked when we wean and sell every fall.

One year, weather forecasts were for a really cold and wet calving season, my husband built a calf-sized box with a false floor in it, drilled a bunch of tiny holes in it for air circulation, and you can plug in a standard hair dryer into a larger hole on the outside... it’s for helping warm cold/frozen calves. You can stick them in it, start the hair dryer, and put a towel over the top and it warms them up in no time. If you are interested, I will happily share the plans (although hopefully you won’t need them!).

What a great idea that animal "brooder" of yours is
A blog on it would be great to share for other homesteaders, maybe?

Thanks @heatherthebard. I also don't take it too well whereas my husband distances himself. Your plan sounds like a wonderful one. But I've never had this problem with goats. I always plan their pregnancy so they kid in the warmer weather. This out of season rain may have broken the drought but it caught us off guard. Our lambs drop in the worst weather but they seem to handle it. Not goats. Perhaps you could email me the directions if they are more complicated? [email protected]

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All measurements are in inches since I’m in America... but the dimensions are flexible. Goat kids are way smaller than Angus calves. Ideally, you want the box small enough that you can get them in and out, but not so big they try to wiggle and scamper around in it (or crawl out!). We used 5/8” or 3/4” plywood for ours, but it is very heavy and again — bovines are bigger and heavier.

Just stuff the blowing end of your hair dryer in the hole as indicated, plug in and turn on. It will circulate warm air in the gap, which will then rise through the small holes you’ve drilled in the false floor. Cover the top with a towel or quilt and it will incubate poor frozen critters pretty nicely while you tend them.

Good luck!

Such a brilliant and easy idea. Thank you very much @heatherthebard. I probably won't need it as our weather is warming and I don't separate mothers and babies. But one never knows.

That’s good. I definitely agree it is best to not separate moms and babies, but you are right that you never know. I know having one built and ready to go has saved our bacon a few times, and it’s nice to know it’s there, just in case.

Blessings! A much needed/anticipated rain and Baby Rain. Hallelujah!

The loss of the other twin is sad, but Rain lives on. Rejoice in struggles and in overcoming. You are a great steward @buckaroo.

Aah! Such a sweet comment. Thank you @lovenfreedom

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I am so happy Rain made it! We also had our first rain last night! I am hoping for more today.

Wonderful for you too @cecicastor. Makes me think of the Scripture "I will rain my blessing on you". No rain is always a scary place to be

It certainly is a scary place. Rain is the gift of life from the Creator to us...

Okay now, this was beautiful. We might roam around each and every post calling it good, nice , very pretty and what not but we all know how well can we justify that all.
Here this beautiful creature is very cute and good luck with them :)

That's such a compliment @hananali. Thank you. There's more kids on the way so more cute goat posts

You are amazing! So wonderful to hear about Rain's entrance onto the homestead.

Thank you for the compliment @bananamemos. Keep posted for more Rain developments as well as the soon arrival of an entire bouncing flock of baby goats

howdy there buckaroo! what a wonderful story, those goats have no idea how lucky they are to have you, there's no way Rain would have made it without all your hard work..and then the rain from the sky! What a blessing, I too pray that the drought has been broken and this is the first of many rains. wonderful post!

@janton as always you say such sweet things. Thank you. Also praying for more heavenly rain. Today Baby Rain is enjoying the sunshine

lol.. Baby Rain..what a wonderful name and what a blessing for both "rains"!

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