Winter Weather Report

Anne & Belle’s kids: Annika & Andy; Cap’n, Cherry, and Crystal

We continue to cope with the weather here in Northern Antarctica—I mean, Imnaha. Sheesh! How long can this cold snap go on? Every morning I look out my window to see the thermometer stuck at 2 degrees. If it makes it to 12 or 14 during the day I count myself lucky. Man, I’d love it if it warmed up to freezing. I know I say I won’t complain about mud when it thaws—but I know I will. Nothing is ever perfect, but I’m really tired of hauling hot water from the house for the animals to drink three times a day.

On a brighter, happier note: We have kids! Even though most of our does did not cooperate and are due to kid in April, May, and even June, we did have three come through, presenting us with three lovely doe kids and three bucks. All are healthy, happy, and hungry, and we are very pleased with them, too. They are really active, so I can tell you exactly what “bouncing off the walls” sounds like. It’s been so cold, we kept them in our utility room on the back porch for several days before transferring them outside to a larger area in one of our outbuildings. They will move on from there to a larger kid pen in the does’ Quonset once it warms up a bit, hopefully within another week or two.

Silver Belle’s kids from Amador: (L > R) Crystal, Cap’n, and Cherry

The rest of the goats seem to be coping well with the weather, though they spend most of their time eating hay or cuddled up together ruminating, rather than hiking up on the hill to forage. It’s just too cold for that! When I let them out of their Quonset this morning so I could feed and milk, there was one huddle of five with their noses all pointing into the corner. A couple had managed to scrape up a little hay to sleep on (they do have shavings for bedding on top of rubber mats, so they aren’t on the ground), and the others were huddled together in the opposite corner. The bucks were nestled down into the bedding in their shed, too. As soon as I show up with the warm water, I get mobbed.

Fortunately, the three does I’m milking are doing well—today is our first DHIA test day of the year, so I’m collecting milk samples to send off (we’re on Owner/Sampler-AR 40), in addition to weighing milk. One doe (Queen) is on her third lactation, one is on her second (Silver Belle), and one is a first-freshener (Lady Anne). Annie, in particular, is exceeding my expectations and looks as though she will do as well as her older sister Jane—or maybe even better? Annie came in with a really lovely udder, plus she is very well-behaved on the stand. She tends to leak a bit if you show up late to milk, however, so that keeps me on my toes. Udders are all still hairy, too, since I declined to clip them until it warms up. Right now they need all the protection they can get.

In the meantime, I need to update the information on PCdart so I can enter our test data. It’s a good time to update the goats’ individual health pages, too, with dates for booster shots, hoof trims, etc. from this past month, so I don’t get behind. Nothing is more daunting than getting behind on any kind of chore and having to catch back up. Think I’ll do that with a cup of hot chocolate!

Stay warm!

Cap’n & Andy with Annika behind

Cherry & Annika

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