I have been interning at A Joyful Noise Farm since sometime in November, and I’ve been learning a lot. One of the things that I’m most excited about is that I’m developing the knack of milking. They use a machine to milk their goats, but to get it to work well, you really need to get one squirt out of each teat to make sure the milk is flowing. I can almost always get it, now.
In order to get an animal to lactate, though, they need to have babies. In order to have continued milk production for their shareholders, the breeding and subsequent birthing of the goats is staggered. The first group has just finished giving birth, but there will be two more groups later in the spring. The births are staggered because the goats are dried off (no longer being milked so they stop producing) for a bit before they give birth and then after the birth the bulk of the milk goes to the babies for a few weeks so that they get a good start in life.
Goats, like most hoofed prey animals, prefer to give birth at night. The babies are up and functional in an incredibly short amount of time, but the mother and the babies are pretty vulnerable during the birthing process. During the dark of night, or better, the shelter of a storm, they are less visible to predators that would love an easy meal. Of the three that delivered for this round, the first two had their babies the night before an internship day, so we got to see each set of twins when they were less than 24 hours old. So far, the goats are hands-down the cutest babies on the place.
Annie, the last to give birth, actually delivered during the day while we were all there to see. I think she was expecting a quieter morning for her delivery, but she did put up with the lot of us hovering around waiting for the newborns.
Baby one! They’re very floppy, and slimy, when they come out.
Baby two! So far Curly, the one on the left, is living up to his name. Usually the first one out is the big one, but in this family, that prize went to baby two- Raoul.
Annie was being a very attentive mama, helping to clean her boys up and prodding them to get them to stand up and have their first meal.
Curly was worn out by being the first out, so he needed to be hand-fed a little colostrum before he had the energy to think about latching onto Annie on his own. Raoul had no problems beating his brother to the punch and latching right on.
Raoul was way more precocious while Curly really took his time to think about standing up.
Finally, the last one was ready to come out- breach, or butt first. Her brothers had taken up so much room that it took Dolly half an hour to make her way to the exit end of the birth canal.
Annie, being a good mother, was keeping a close eye on all of us while we hovered around her triplets.
Dolly also needed a shot of colostrum. Being born is exhausting work!
A much skinnier mama and three healthy babies.
If you want to watch the next round, check out the GoatCam. You can find it on their website under “Education” when it’s time for more babies!