A few weeks ago, did I mention that yearling does Lefty & Rap would probably just have single kids this season? Was there something about Columbine “reliably twinning”? What about Jonquil having had “unusual” twins her first breeding season and triplets her second?
All right, here’s the scorecard:
1-21, Hyacinth, triplets, 1 buck, 2 does
1-21, Edie, triplets, 2 bucks, 1 doe – 1 stillborn, the other two died shortly after birth
1-22, Jonquil, triplets, 2 bucks, 1 doe
1-23, Columbine, triplets, 3 bucks
1-25, Lefty, twins, 2 does
1-26, Aggie – I should make you scroll down to the picture and count them as family and friends had to do with my late night e-mail – no – Aggie, quadruplets, 1 buck, 3 does.
Nightshade, Rap and Trillium are left to kid. And before you congratulate us, speculate about the SGF water supply, or request Nobel’s autograph: yes, 15 live kids out of 18 for 6 does make an impressive tally. Never mind the quads, which even with the prolific Boer occur in only .9% of cases.
No, impressive or not, it’s not all good news. Doe goats normally have two functional teats. So with triplets, one of two things happens: one kid gets left out, usually the smallest or least aggressive, and fails to thrive: or the doe strives womanfully to feed them all (like Jonquil last year) and winds up depleted herself.
And, I bear the full responsibility for any such problems!! Only now do I learn that multiple births (and overlarge kids like Edie’s, causing birth trauma and losses) are owing to overfeeding, especially of grain, which is too rich for this thrifty species’ normal diet.
For now, these hardworking females will get their full ration, plus daily tonic, to make the best of their huge flock. But when the kids are weaned, I will re-work my feeding program. My overfeeding came out of 1. ignorance, 2. misplaced pride in a sleek, well-fed flock, 3. over-reaction to some horror stories of neglect and ill-judged thrift on other farms 4. worry that the low goats don’t get enough. Which, if Lefty’s twins are any indication, hasn’t been a problem!
Okay, okay, you want pictures! But first, a full measure of gratitude, tamped down and flowing over, to (in chronological order) Pam, Charleigh, Steve, Ken, Jess, Charlie, Julie, Larry and Genia, for help, patience, milk replacer, pocketknives, cheer, gloves, information, blankets, insight, sandwiches, chocolate cake, and soup! Ken especially, for 2 late chilly evenings, flashlights and more of a learning experience than you bargained for! I owe ya one and will be there for the alpacas!