I can recount many stories about the lives and experiences of the goats here at Fias Co Farm, but there are some that stand out as extraordinary. With these, I try to write the stories here so I can share them with more people than those who just happen to visit our farm when I am in particularly a chatty mood.
And so goes the remarkable story of Candace The Tiny….
I had invited my good friend Pete to come visit us and he timed his vacation to coincide with our kidding season in hopes of seeing a goat being born.
Myrtle, was due and we were keeping a close eye on her. Myrtle is not the sharpest tool in the shed by any means: her mother and father were half brother and sister. She has a good heart though, and is quite amusing, but is a bit dim. Because of this, we especially like to make sure to be around to help her when she kids because she forgets how to be a mom every year.
On April 29th, 2005, the last evening of Pete’s stay it was a long night for Larry and I as we monitored the progress of Myrtle’s labor using the audio and video monitors in our bedroom. Finaly, at 4:00 in the morning I woke up Pete and told him we were heading to the barn and to come along if he wished.
“Proud Myrtle” photo by Pete Chapman
Myrtle delivered Bernie, a 7 pound boy with no problems. It actually went so quick and easy that Pete did not make it down to the barn in time to see the delivery. Pete stood next to the kidding stall and snapped some photos as we helped clean off Bernie and encouraged Myrtle to bond with him, which she was just a little slow to do.
I checked Myrtle to make sure she had no more babies in her with a technique called “Bouncing”. It is non-intrusive and entails feeling the new mom’s belly. I am really good at this and had 100% success through the years. I could feel no more babies. All was well, we could clean up the birth mess and concentrate on Bernie.
We continued to dry off Bernie. We were all happy, if not quite tired, and I think Pete was enjoying seeing the kidding process in all it’s realism and goo. Then, all of a sudden, Myrtle gave a sort of cough, and to everyone’s surprise, including Myrtle, a tiny thing fell out of her with a thud onto the floor. How ironic it was that in an entire kidding stall bedded well with straw, Myrtle managed to find the one place to stand where this tiny object fell from her onto the bare wood floor. She had hardly pushed and out came this teenie tiny baby. We were all so surprised and I grab the poor tiny creature and started drying and rubbing to stimulated it.
Candace arrives with a thud – photo by Pete Chapman
Candace weighed two pounds. She was the smallest kid ever born at Fias Co Farm. She was so tiny and weak, but had spunk and a will to live. With Pete looking on, neither Larry, or I, said anything out loud in regards to the reality of the situation, but we both knew that this little girl might not make it. We just stayed positive, as we always try to be, and worked hard to help this tiny creature.
She could not stand on her own, she was too weak with her tiny legs, but had a desire to suckle, so I held her to her mother’s teat and helped her nurse. Once we were sure everyone was doing relatively ok and Candace had filled her belly well with milk, we left the family together to bond. Candace could not stand, but her mother was there to tend her and her brother to nestle with her. I checked back on her every hour or so to help her nurse.
Bernie, 7 pounds ; Candace, 2 pounds
6 hours old; Candace standing for the first time.
6 hours after the birth, we were finally able to help her stand. She took tentative, weak steps and eventually was able to nurse on her own. We were surprised at her progress, but of course very pleased. With every hour she lived, the possibility increased that she would actually make it.
That day we received a contribution to the Fias Co Farm web site for $100 and in honor of the donor, we named Candace after her.
Candace improved every day, though she was so much smaller than the “regular” kids. She and her brother had a great relationship and he looked out for her.
Candace & Bernie
Of course Candace was especially endearing and we showered her with love and attention.
An odd little goat with an odd little man.
Bernie on left. Candace in Larry’s lap.
At two months of age, Bernie went to live in West Virginia and Candace stayed here with us and her mother. I milked Myrtle and she continued to nurse Candace. There was plenty of milk for everyone.
We registered Candace’s full name as Candace The Tiny. She continued to be happy, healthy and thriving though she maintained ï¿½ normal goat size for her age.
We awarded Candace the 2005 award of Fias Co Farm Goat of the Year Award, due solely to the fact that she not only survived, but thrived. She is the youngest ever to receive this prestigious award, usually only awarded to older star milkers.
The next year, when Myrtle kidded, she had one big boy named Jaunty. Most new mother’s push the older kids away, amtionally as well as physically. when the new kids are born, but Myrtle continued to have a very close relationship with Candace, and Candace befriended Jaunty.
“Little brother” Jaunty, nestled between sis Cadace and mommy Myrtle.
It’s rare to find family of different ages snuggled together, so I was touched when I saw this as I visited the barn in the middle of the night to aid in another doe’s kidding.
Candace, 15 months old, with her “little brother” Jaunty, 4.5 months old.
Candace is smart…. much smarter than her mother and always stays with her. As an adult, she now watches out for her mom.
Candace gave birth to her first kid on March 31, 2007 at 9 pm. Her daughter, Constance was an extremely healthy and normal sized kid. She weighed 6 pounds at birth… 3 times more than her mother when she was born.
Candace is showing herself to be a wonderful and loving mother. Her daughter is smart, cute and a real sweetie.
[Check back, I’m going to add a photo of Candace and Constance here very soon]