June saw another first for us here at Olive Tree Farm. Our pregnant goat, Lolly, finally gave birth to two healthy, bouncing, baby billy goats.
We had been on alert for more than two weeks, camping out in two hour shifts through the night and carrying out hourly checks throughout the day just in case she had problems. Lolly is a first time mum and although we have seen plenty of births in the last few months, the birthing of baby goats was a first for us as well.
We were well prepared with a small bag of medical items including rubber gloves, vaseline, wipes, hand wash, towels and some olive oil. We had also researched what to do if she had difficulties, for example, if the kid was breach etc. So we were pretty well prepared, but also slightly nervous.
As it happens the birth was fantastically quick and easy for both Lolly and us.
We were in the pen with her at feeding time when she made a strange little bleat and out popped the first baby – she didn’t even lie down. She immediately started to clean the babies face and we checked that it was breathing. She was still washing the first baby when out came the second. She didn’t even turn around to look, just carried on washing baby number one. I am not sure if she actually realised at that point that she had given birth to a second.
We cleared the babies airways and made sure that it was breathing at which point Lolly took over the task of cleaning him up.
The whole thing happened in less than three minutes – it was absolutely amazing.
Within about fifteen minutes the little goats were attempting to stand and within thirty minutes they were walking around, albeit a little shakily.
The only thing that we needed to ensure now was that they were feeding. We needn’t have worried. They were soon latched onto Lollys teats and suckling for all they were worth. Lolly was calm and relaxed and the whole experience was just a wonderful thing.
We took them for their first outing with the other goats a few days later and they had an absolute ball, running and jumping around.
They are now coming up to three weeks old and are incredibly energetic and playful. There is something about watching baby goats playing that just makes you smile and quite often laugh out loud.
On the veg front ….
The vegetables are coming on well, in fact the melons and courgettes are make a concerted attempt to take over every square inch of land, but they are producing well, so we will just have to keep an eye on them and make sure that they don’t encroach too much on the other beds.
The onions look fantastic and are virtually ready to pick and we have a number of tomatoes that are reddening up, so they should be ready to pick very soon.
We have planted more lettuce, carrots and onions as succession crops.
We have been preparing some beds over the past month or so which will be used for winter plantings of cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbages etc and we will be looking to plant them up in the coming weeks.
The olive trees are looking good. We pruned them quite heavily earlier in the year with the help of our neighbour so it will be interesting to see how this affects this crop, they are certainly laden at the moment but it is difficult to forecast what the end result will be.