a very special goat. She loves people, loves to be milked, and
loves her children. She is also kind to other kids (though of
course, she would never let anyone but her own kids nurse her).
One of my fondest memories is entering the barn and seeing Goldie
laying under a hay rack with 9 kids all nestled around her. She
just looked up at us, and really did have a smile on her face,
and it seemed as if she was saying "Look at all the babies
I have". Only three of the kids were actually her's, but
they were all safe and warm gathered around the herd queen.
given birth to 3 sets of triplets in her life and has never had
a problem raising them. Her last set of triplets, when she was
8 years old, were three boys. Boys can really be hard on a mother,
and it took a bit out of Goldie to keep up with them. It was kind
of like a grandmother trying to raise three ADD boys. Once they
left for their new homes Goldie seemed a bit relieved and fully
recovered in a couple months. She loves having babies so she looked
forward to her new batch of babies the next year.
Goldie & her Quads, just a couple hours old.
Goldie Jr. is on the far right.
We decided that
2004 would be Goldie's last year of having kids. She would be 9 years
old which, we felt, was a good age to retire. She loves having babies
and being milked, so if we lived on flat land, we might let her have
babies longer, but Goldie has developed old age arthritis in her rear
knee and favors that leg. Goldie weighs about 190 pounds when not pregnant
(a big, solid, girl). She doesn't have the best rear feet in the world
and when she is carrying a belly full of babies around, going up and
down hills is difficult. Considering her tendency to have multiple kids,
as well as needing assistance with kidding (twisted kids) we decided
not to put her through the strain anymore.
We promised Goldie that with this last kidding, she could keep a girl
to stay with her for the rest of her life. We also let her breed Uly, whom she has always loved.
Primavera being held by Marco.
She is just hours old and he has never
held a goat baby before.
Goldie really slowed
down toward the end of her pregnancy and we knew it was the right thing
to do: not to breed her again.
The first day of
Spring, 2004, we knew she was closed to kidding so right after morning
barn chores, I decided to run to town for groceries so I could be back
to be with her that afternoon (when we though she would kid). Also,
Marco, a gentleman from Belgium, had an appointment for that afternoon
to come see our farm so I needed to get back quick. I went to town and
when I returned Larry was not at the house. I turned on the barn video
monitor to see if Larry was at the barn and I saw him, Goldie and kids.
Oh my! I told Larry (over the monitor) I was back from town and he said
hurry down to the barn. When I got to the barn, Larry was standing in
the center isle and smiling. I looked into Goldie's stall and there
she was standing there happy and proud as can be with FOUR babies. Oh
my! Oh my! Four babies!!
Larry told me how
he was working in the barn and Goldie came over to him as if to say
"it's time". She went to the kidding stall and said "let
me in, it's time to have my babies". Larry told me how the birth
went fine and he had already gotten everything all cleaned up when Goldie
revealed her surprise. She had already delivered triplets, and Larry
figured that was it. We had never had a goat have more than 3 babies
and so it never occurred to us that Goldie had another kid left in her.
Larry was all cleaned up and ready to head to the house when Goldie
started to push to deliver the fourth kid. It was twisted and Larry
had to "go in" to straighten it out. Goldie has always been
amazing about knowing that Larry was helping her when he would have
to "go in" and never fought him (he has assisted her many
The first time Larry
had to help her deliver, we had never seen a birth assisted, and never
even talked to anyone about it. All we knew was what we read in a few
books. It was our second year of having kids and Goldie went into labor
and you could tell she needed help. I ran up to the house to try to
find a vet to come help and after a desperate 1/2 hour on the phone
with no luck I ran back to the barn. It was only our second year with
goats (and Goldie) but I loved her dearly and was in a panic with the
thought of loosing her. When I entered the barn and looked in her stall
there was Larry, Goldie and two beautiful babies. Larry told me how
he knew he had to help her, so he "went in" and straightened
out the twisted kid. Goldie, who is an amazing goat, stood there, with
no one holding her, without being tied or tethered, she just stood and
let Larry go in and do what he needed to do to help her. She has a great
understanding of when we are trying to help her. So there they were,
Blondie and Trouble. We named her Trouble because her father's name
was Troubleshooter and she was so much trouble to deliver. It actually
turned out to be an ironic name, because she has never once been an
ounce of trouble since the day she was born.
So.... where was I...oh yes, there was Goldie with her three
sons: Lane, Shane and Zane, and her little daughter "Primavera" ("Spring" in Italian). Normal single
or twin kids weigh about 7 pounds at birth; Goldie's brood weighed
4, 5, 5 and 6 pounds which is quite normal for that many kids
(there is not that much room in there). All were healthy and
everybody was happy. Larry kept saying (jokingly) "Four
babies? Goldie, what were you thinking?"
Nursing three boys can really take a lot out of a mother and
we knew it would be difficult for little Primavera to compete for her food with her three brothers
(especially since goats only have two teats). After a few days
(after Primavera had gotten plenty of colostrum) we decided to supplement her with a bottle. She
still lived with her mom and brothers, but we gave her a bottle
three times a day. Primavera eventually stopping nursing Goldie because it was
easier to have a bottle than compete with her brothers. She and
her brothers were very close and mom looked after them all excellently
(like Goldie always does with her kids).
Goldie & Goldie Jr at 7 months old.
Trouble, Goldie's daughter from her second kidding,
is standing on the right.
When Primavera's brothers left for their new homes at two months of age,
we tried to get her to nurse Goldie (who would have let her, no problem)
but Primavera no longer considered a teat as a food source. I struggled
with her to try to get her to nurse but she would just cry and yell
so I gave up. Primavera loved her mother, but she did not want to nurse her. Instead,
I milked Goldie into a bottle and fed it to Primavera. I bottle fed Primavera until she was three months old and then weaned her. She
was not happy about being weaned because she really liked her "ba-ba" but dealt with it well; maybe better than many bottle
babies, since she still had her mother to love her.
The bond between Goldie and Primavera is the closest mother daughter bond we have had here.
They are never apart and love each other very much. When we filed Primavera's paperwork to register her with the American Dairy Goat
Association, the name we wanted to give her "Goldie's Primavera" was one letter too long, so we rethought her name
and decided to register her as "Goldie Jr" because Goldie and her are so close and so alike.
So, Primavera is now officially Goldie Jr.
Goldie Jr. likes us (humans) very much and is very friendly, but
loves her mother.
The "lesson" of this story shows us that: where your meals come from ( i.e. bottle feeding) is not the magic key to having a kid be friendly
or like you (or love you). Goldie Jr. is very friendly toward humans, but not any more friendly
than any of our dam raised kids. She likes humans, but she loves her
mommy. Even though she never looked to her mom as a food source, she
knew Goldie was her mother and loves her just as much (if not more)
than any daughter loves her mom.
Photo taken 3/18/06
Goldie Jr (age 2) & her mom Goldie (age 11).
Goldie Jr gave birth to her first kid two days after this photo was taken