in #homesteading2 years ago (edited)


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.


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.


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.


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).


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



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]


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"!

I'm so happy you finally got some rain! What a relief! I feel for you having to fight for your young kids lives but so happy you persevered and now have little Rain to add to your flock. How many of your goats are expecting?

A relief indeed @porters. It's wonderful to see the ground still wet after two days. Alaska was the first of the six girls to kid. They usually have twins, with an occasional triplet so keep your eyes peeled for plenty cute kids!

Oh Excellent! I will be watching for those cute kiddy pictures!

You are such a mystery to the Steemit Community Sister you never post pics of your face? I have many I can post of you? ;P But I won't... congrats on your delightful new little childrens x

The mystery is my signature ;) @craigcryptoking. I don't want my baby boy's face on social media at all. And mine can also be masked. So thanks but I would prefer you not to post. Four legged kids can spam steemit!

What a story!!!!!

I'm so sorry for the loss of the baby boy but good for you nursing little Rain back to health. She's a beautiful little thing.


Sukkot is the time of the rains. May you begin to emerge from the drought now. Stay safe and hopefully all your other kids will be born safely.

HalleluYah indeed! In Israel the rain comes with Sukkot, like clockwork. It's amazing.

Hello my child,
I am so happy to hear of His blessings and baby Rain
It reminds me of Miracle the newborn lamb on our farm when you were about 6 years old, except that I did not think of putting him against my skin. I instead wrapped him up in towels and placed him in front of the fire in the lounge and fed him every two hours for the next few days

Dad I remember Miracle. And Hansie. My concerned husband was keen to take Rain away from her mother and put her in front of the fire. But I really don't want a hansie. She's still not strong in the legs but very happy

You got rain! Prayers answered.
Oh I admire you. I value the lives in my care as well.
Being a new goat mom myself I am struggling. My two little ones are not gaining weight on the feed recommended by the breeder so I've decided to change it. Scary for a newbie.
Winter is coming on here and they are far to thin.
Your new baby is gorgeous!
Congrats on your double blessing 😍

That's exciting @sugarcreek! You are welcome to bounce ideas off me. I'll help where I can. Have you dewormed the babies? How old are they? What feed are they on? Are/were they hand reared? And are the free-roaming at all?

They were worming them when we arrived to pick them up. With what I have not yet found out only that it was from the vet.
I had last seen them a month earlier. They were weaned from their mothers Bonnie at 10 weeks Betty at 8. They were being fed a sweet feed. Grass hay and an alfalfa hay added.
I have finally got the diarrhea stopped after weeks on and off.
I purchased free choice minerals for them, I keep a bucket of soda, which I believe was a life saver, and free choice grass hay for them. Fresh water with probiotics.
I found a high quality organic pelleted feed I purchased two days ago and am slowly switching them over. I leave their bowl of feed, about a pint for them to nibble during the day. There is always a little left. I refresh for night feeding.
They have not gained any weight and we are going into winter. I purchased some alfalfa hay to add but have not done so yet. I fear to much change???
The field they were in was over crowded, over grazed. I have them in a 16'x16' pen with a little Hut for sleeping. They sleep most of the time.
Watching videos of other goats their age I see the others coats look healthier and they are more active.
I did a good amount of research prior to getting them. I was expecting to start with healthy animals and have an opportunity to learn.
I realized they were wormy and under weight when I arrived to pick them up and could have easily walked away from the purchase.
I have waited 25 years to get goats. I can not explain it but these little girls are meant to be mine. So I do not mean to sound negative toward the breeder. Actually, I feel blessed. I thank God every day for them and pray for guidance to be a better shepherd for them.
They run to me with happy eyes and there isn't anything I will not to do help them thrive.
Sorry so long but doubt you could be helpful without the full knowledge. There is a lesson here that is important for me to learn.
If after reading this something comes to mind that you think would be helpful to my girls I would humbly accept the guidance.

I love your attitude @sugarcreek! I always find a lesson to be learnt from my animals. With your love and perserverence your goats will flourish. My thoughts based on what you told me is that they were weaned far too young. I wean my girls at 4 months (although 3 months old would probably be fine) The fact that they were dewormed does not mean that they are without parasites. Not all dewormers are created equal. And many only kill off certain parasites. I prefer natural deworming however I only have one medicinal bottle that I use when we have a crisis. It is excellent. You can offer them garlic, wormwood, olive leaves and cloves (all whole) which will assist the deworming as well as boost their immune systems. I add aloe to the water every couple months for a couple days (although my goats usually fish out the chopped up aloe). Maybe take their droppings to a vet to be tested. He or she should be able to refer you a suitable dewormer. Also do some research about diatomaceous earth. I use it internally and externally to keep my goats critter free. Other than that, high protein for growing kids. But you are absolutely right about small changes. And keep going with probiotics! What are their names?

I keep DE on hand, do I just sprinkle it on their pellets.
Yes, I felt it was to young.
Bonnie is the older and larger of the two. She is the most beautiful goat in the world. I fell in love onsite. I am sure she will be fine.
Betty picked me. I asked multiple times regarding her age. She is so little I can hold her like a baby. I suspect her digestive system wasn't really ready for food. In hind sight I should have offered her a bottle. But since she had been on feed and already had diarrhea I pushed forward.
They were very skittish and had not been handled. I'm sure that added to their stress.
They have come to see me as friend and they run to me which ofcourse makes me feel so important. Lol
Little Betty falls asleep while I brush her, she finds it relaxing.
I have tried to go slow with handling them because I don't want to stress them but have quietly been working on handling their hooves and teets.
They seem none the wiser that we are training.
Do you have any tips on training? Bonnie jumps up on me from time to time and I have just said no and gently set her down. She is more dominant personality.
I put collars on them but removed them because I found myself trying to use them and I was afraid of injuring them.
They push into pressure like wild horses but with a horse I would just hold and wait. The goats muscles are so much smaller and they are more fragile. I have not handled a wild horse in a while and my feel is not as fine tuned as it once was. I will need to lead them though. I am very grateful for your time!

Hind sight is a wonderful thing. You could've given them a bottle. Sadly many of us starting out make mistakes or are taken advantage of. My first goats I bought were way over priced and in such bad condition I just paid them because I felt so sorry for them. One died soon afterwards. One was so mastitic that she lost the use of half her udder. The other had a leaking udder due to injury. And they all had all sorts of illnesses I was constantly fighting. Two were horrendous milkers (as in virtually no milk despite my nursing them to good condition). I have learnt a LOT from that experience and subsequently.

Collars is a very good idea. While not horsesm goats are far tougher than they appear. Do they have horns? What type of goats are they? The jumping up will become a problem. It's cute when they are little but it becomes a major problem) You must be quite firm when you push her down. Best to push on the horns. Remember goats need hierachy. They will challenge you and ultimately respect you as the matriach. They establish their "butting" order through headbutting so they can take quite a knock. I am NOT saying hit them on the head but that horn area can take a firm hand. (The same is not true for their nose and mouth area.)

Best way to win their affections is to just be in their company. Sit with them with you have a cup of tea. Walk around where they are grazing and talk to them. If you want them to fall in love with you, it will have to be through food. I still grab a few outside leaves from the veggie gardens, or branches from the pomegranate or carob trees, pick two or three lemons and tear into quarters...and they come running.

Bonnie they said is Alpine cross with Kiko. I was looking for Alpine cross. My little Betty is a Kiko cross with Boer I think they said.

Both have horns

They have very pretty markings. I don't know Kiko but I can definitely see the Alpine. Betty looks like a Saanen cross I don't think Boer. It's usually a rather dominant gene and throw out a lighter colour but those distinct ears

Your Story, the rain and Rain! A story tells about survival and victory. The hope! That's what I understand. I understand how hard it is. I liked very much!

Happy that you could find value in what I wrote @bluemoon!

Yes, your subjects, most of the time your daily life, are interesting and very well written.

I am so happy for you! I suppose you have catchers to collect as much rain as possible?
Rain is beautiful I do hope this is an indication of better days coming.

She is adorable @headchange. Here's little miss in her pajamas. And yes, we have huge water tanks at the corner of each house

I love her!!! Thanks so much for the picture. The out fit is perfect. 🐐
I kind of figured you were collecting water like crazy. Smart move. I hope the rains continue for a while.
I have no shortage as the hurricane blowoff is hitting here with heavy rain.

Congratulations for this amazing post!!

Thank you for the compliment @paradise-found. Glad you could appreciate it

What a beautiful story. Now you got me: I want goats too!

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Don't say I didn't warn you! Goats are addictive. More addictive than adorable tea cups ;)

lol, @buckaroo ... too late, I'm addicted now.
My girlfriend says they are rather destructive, is that right?

I wouldn't say any more destructive than any domesticated farm animal. They are extremely curious and playful. If we move something new into an area that they can access (for example a big tractor tyre or steel drums) they will climb it, jump off it, try to nibble it or paw it. We have more damage from our cows

I'll tell her that, lol, maybe I will be able to have my own goatie after all;0)

Dear lord! Four years without rain?! I thought we were hurting after five months! How do you do it?

And congratulations on the new baby! 😍

Oh what a beautiful story and such love for goats. I'm so sorry you lost one and I'm so happy that you managed to save little rain. What beautiful pictures. I don't think you have to make any excuses for loving goats as they are clearly quite divine.

You say such sweet thing @riverflows. I think I'm going to use your words every time my goats break into the veggie garden and my husband threatens to do things to them ;)

ahahahaha!!!! That's so funny. I bet you don't stay mad at them for long...

And HE doesn't stay mad at THEM for long either. It's goats milk in his coffee and cheese for his salad or ......