Just before our afternoon trip to the barn on Tuesday, we noticed that Coco was not with the other three goats. That should have been the tip off right there, but we had had so many false alarms in the past that all we said was that something might be up. After all, it was her due date, but then again none of the sheep seemed to adhere to due dates, so perhaps the goats wouldn’t either. We were still waiting on a ewe that was due some time ago. I would say our attitudes have changed a little since Franny and Francois in February. We decided to leave the goats until the end and proceeded with the other chores first. We fed the sheep, freshened the water buckets, and, of course, stopped and spent some time with the new Icelandics. We simply can’t get enough of them. They are slowly getting over their post arrival jitters, and, having found their voices, now baa softly in anticipation as they hear us on the stairs. I have no doubt that the decibel level will increase as they get more and more adjusted!
We finally arrived at the goat enclosure, but there was still no sign of Coco. Now we were concerned. We rushed to the goat house to find Coco, surprise, surprise, in the final stages of labor. If we had lollygagged a bit more with the Icelandics, we would have missed it. The hooves were already quite visible, and within a few minutes, which included a mad dash to find rubber gloves, it was over. A very smooth birth with no complications, thank goodness. She had a healthy 11 pound doe kid, whom we named Chanel. When we took a closer look, we had to laugh. She was almost completely black! After 22 lambs with identical black fleeces, we were looking forward to something a little different, maybe a little color perhaps? Small differences started showing up as soon as Coco started cleaning her newborn, however. Little white markings appeared on her face and on her ears, and even more on her legs and on her belly. Very sweet, but she definitely reminded us of someone. It was at that moment that I glanced out of the goat house and came face to face with Prince Harry, the buck, and realized that I was staring at her mirror image, a much bigger version, but the same nonetheless. She was a miniature version of her father down to the last detail! Hopefully, Annie and Belle’s kids will be more like their mothers.
Next, it was off to the chicken coop where the new chicks were thriving but outgrowing their original enclosure. We needed to put them in something larger and taller. Their first enclosure was about one foot high. After two weeks, we needed something at least double that height in order to stop them from flying over the top. Since they still needed the warmth of their heat lamps, some adjustments had to be made. We transferred them all to a larger and higher confinement system, somewhat similar in height and appearance to a child’s playpen. Since it is still getting cold at night, we placed the foil tent back over the heat lamps. The system seems to be working so far.
The day was not over yet. One last surprise was awaiting us in the old barn next to the chicken coop. We only use a small section of that barn to house the ducks at night, so we are not in there all the time. In a far corner, we discovered one of the heritage chickens sitting on a nest with 4 new little hatchlings. Unbeknownst to us, she had been sitting on those eggs for quite some time. The chicks were very tiny, so they couldn’t have been more than a few hours old. We quickly scrambled around for the next half hour looking for a safe place to put the mother and her 4 little chicks. We decided on an area in the lower coop next to the baby chicks. Unlike all the apparatus we had to set up for our other chicks, the mother hen simply tucked the baby chicks under her wings and that was that. Good old mother nature. Simple, hassle free, no maintenance. You can’t beat it!
We were finally satisfied that all was safe and secure. Coco and Chanel were ensconced in their kidding pen, safely separated from the other goats, and the chicks were separated from the rest of the chickens, ducks, and geese, who roam the farm freely. We still have ducks, geese, and chickens down at the big barn who are sitting on nests, and of course two pregnant goats and ewes. But for now, all adjustments to living quarters had been made, and we could rest assured that all would be peaceful on the farm, at least for one more day.