Today, two more animals have joined our Farmlet menagerie: two little saanen doe kids. They are twins — five weeks old.
Today we went on a much anticipated mission to pick them up. It was a long day for the little goats, since they had already had a three hour journey to meet us. When we first put them into the cab of the truck with us, they were a bit feisty and unsettled. Luckily they settled down after a few minutes, and curled up in a box by my feet, a bit like two large cats. We were very impressed that they were able to wait until we got to the Farmlet to relieve themselves! We are delighted with these dainty, curious little creatures, and hope they will be very happy here on the Farmlet!
Why did we choose saanen goats? Because we wanted goats bred for milking. Of the milk breeds, saanens are by far the easiest and cheapest to obtain around here. We got two of them, since they are herd animals, and do not do well without company. We are happy to have found two healthy goats from an organic farm. Their previous owners have been raising dairy goats organically for quite some years, and have given us lots of advice about how to care for them.
The little goats seemed to enjoy nibbling at the forage and looking around in their new paddock, but they still look a bit lost in a new place and without their mother. After letting them explore for a little while, we gave them a bottle of goat milk, mixed with some formula, and put them in their shed for the night. (Their previous owners gave us a bit of goat milk that we are using to soften their transition onto milk-replacer formula.) They are already grazing a bit, but will continue on formula until we wean them in about six weeks.
Why are we bottle-rearing the goats? According to the previous owners, five weeks will have given the little goats a decent chance to drink plenty of their mother’s milk. Bottle-feeding the goats should help them bond with us, and (we hope) will make them easier to handle and milk when the time comes.
We are still working on choosing suitable names for our dear little goats. At this point, it looks like we might call them Daphne and Lulu. Daphne (black collar) is the more settled of the two. She had horns, but has already been de-budded. Lulu (blue collar) is polled. She is smaller and a bit feistier than Daphne, so it’s easy to tell them apart.