Following Murphy's law, our first goat birth this year happened during the blizzard on Saturday, February 21st! We spent about 30 hours in the freezing barn while ten new inches of snow fell, but the babies survived!
Thanksgiving Alibi, an Oberhasli doe that we purchased this fall already bred to Thanksgiving Billy Jack, delivered healthy twin doelings. The girls have been named, "Mosby's Secret Summer Promise" and "Mosby's Secret Anam Cara."
With zero-degree weather and windchill even lower, the big challenge is keeping the water for the goats from freezing. The 100-year-old barn provides moderate shelter, which, with these Swiss Alpine goats, is generally plenty to keep them warm. They all have puffy, thick winter coats on right now, and sleep curled up together to stay even warmer in chilly nights. When the weather hits the negative temperatures, however, even they need a little help, so we bring them hot water every morning and every night.
We use a dog igloo to help keep babies warm (adults use it too, when no babies have claimed it) but even that wouldn't be enough in this cold snap! So, that meant pulling an all-nighter on Friday, watching the beginnings of labor, and spending almost all of Saturday waiting in the barn to assist with the imminent birth. It was fortunate that we did so; the second of the twins tried to emerge shoulders-first, and had to be turned by hand in order to come out!
The new baby girls are doing well, and though the stress of the freezing birth took a toll on mama, we're trying to coax her into milk production with twice-daily meals of hot mash and lactation-boosting herbs. The twins were whisked indoors as soon as mama licked them clean, to warm up by the fireside. So far they're doing well and eating happily. Say a prayer that they continue to thrive; bottle-babies born in winter have much lower odds of survival than kids born in spring who can stay out with their mothers to nurse.
Farmer Shannon runs MSSF and keeps horses, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, pigs, dogs and cats, while living gluten-free & spinning/weaving for a hobby in the SCA.