Reflections on Kidding Time 2019

Tina and Ellie with “Lottie”

February kidding time is our kick start to the new lactation season, and a lot of preparation, getting supplies and materials into place and a schedule of helpers to carry us through is so important.  We chose to follow the goats’ natural cycle to breed in the fall and kid in the spring.  So called ‘block calving’ in our former world with cows, where the whole herd calve together, so do all our goats kid together, most of the herd within a 3 weeks block, some stragglers in the following 3 weeks making it a six week program in total.  Goats are proving to be far more fertile and responsive to breeding than cows, which is an asset to a dairy business which relies mainly on milk production resulting from our goats having their kids

Here at Lord’s Lot Dairy (home of Redcoat Goats!) we rear our baby goats ourselves with their mother’s milk.  By this control, we can be assured that they get what they need and off to a good start.  So there’s always a lot of work to be done bottle feeding and later bucket feeding kids 3-4 times a day.  It’s always an intensive time and takes a lot of focus to co-ordinate our helper team and getting the correct individual colostrum milk from each mother to their own baby in the first few days to ensure the transfer of the essential anti-bodies which are present in the first ‘colostrum’ milk

“I want to be a milking goat when I grow up”!

Kidding of 2019 a truly successful time and much improved on the year before, not a doe or a kid was lost, no still born and no sickness.  Neither were there any heavily assisted births which blighted February 2018 and also compromised the health of the goats.  Whilst we can’t nail exactly the reason, we were pleased to be able to add copper and selenium supplements (believed to be deficient in our area with effects on pregnancy and birthing) to our organic approved inputs and annual health program.  I also felt very much, God’s blessing on us, our goats, and our business.  It made for a great start to the lactation season, great goat health starts there, and is essential to producing fresh, wholesome milk

King-pin to a successful kidding time is the continuity and reliability of our team of helpers.  Truly those people gave their time so freely and we loved working with them, their care and attention to detail was exemplary and their love for those baby goats was a joy to see.  From my milking stand I could hear their voices just loving on those baby goats as they were feeding them in the next pen

Our helpers also gained a lot from their time here, heart-warming, soul-feed for sure and a new experience for some, and a few went home with their own baby goats …

Amanda and Tom running the baby goat taxi.

Of course, that was February, and we are now well along and in the lowering slopes of the lactation, but I couldn’t launch the stories from our farm without mention to that precious time

Another blessing for us this year was the facility to sell all the kids we couldn’t keep (there were 100+ of them!) and the milk we were producing then, to feed those kids until weaning.  We were thankful of some income to carry us along whilst we were building up for licensing to sell our milk in retail outlets

More to be said about the lovely couple who bought our kids and our symbiotic partnership with them at a later date …

More news to come of how kidding time gave rise to people pouring love into our farm and the birth of ‘goat sponsorship’ …