Well after two days of causing havoc in the house, it was apparent that Buttercup needed to go out to the big barn and join her two new goat siblings, Rana and Rafeka.
So I stitched her up a little coat to keep the chill off of her, and we gave it a test run. I figured that since she could boing and jump all over the furniture and the dogs, she was ready to go outside and brave the elements. Well, not really the elements, since she will be in the big barn all nice and safe, with a coat on and a heat lamp. Still, a bit more harsher than inside the house!
I was upset a bit, I really loved having her around, she was just so darling and cute! But I wasn’t getting much work done with a baby underfoot and getting into trouble. And I have read and been told that babies really do need to be outside and get tough or they can be fragile and sickly. We’d like Buttercup around a good long time, so, that means… out to the barn with others of her own kind.
Of course, the only one REALLY upset was Ratchet!! He loves the baby and was so sad when we took her out of the house!
The next morning, we found him sitting in her crate, snuffling her blanket. He was so upset. We took him out to the barn and see her and he was just all wiggles and happy boy! She was glad to see him as well. I think we’ll be letting him out to the barn often.
But I regress… We had set up a nursery area for the sheep in the big barn and I decided it was as good a place as any to test it out for Buttercup and the Angora twins. We used part of the dog kennel I got last year as the perimeter fencing… (Make mental note to ALWAYS pick up dog kennels at garage sales if they are cheap… they make GREAT stalls and such!)
We blocked a bit of the draft with a couple straw bales and set up the heat lamp to help keep an area warmish for her. The temperature has not gone below freezing, so it’s pretty comfortable, for a barn. Rana and Rafeka are pleased.
Leaving her out there the first night was so hard! I think I checked on her 4 times. And had little cry baby tears on my cheeks when I left and heard her calling to me so desperately. But thankfully, they only went on for a minute or two and then she settled down. She knows how to yank my heart chain already.
She needs to be with other goats to learn from them and model their behaviors. It’s very important. She is trying to eat hay in little amounts and having a nice supply is a good thing. She was making a bit of a mess in the house with her little hay bucket. She doesn’t have to wear diapers and she can frolic and be a total goof ball all she wants out there. We brought a big log stump in for her to climb and play on and she digs that. Her little coat helps keep Rana from biting her too hard. Rafeka just head butts her gently if she gets too annoying around him but Rana is a little bit of a pistol and will butt her a bit hard at times and I’ve caught her nipping the baby pretty hard. Buttercup bawls if she does it, but mostly because Rana has a hold of her lovely little pink jacket. Rana gets a scoulding and a nose slap if I catch her being a snirt. She just looks mean at me with a grunt. Once Buttercup gets a little more size on her, she’ll be able to give it back, I’m pretty sure. In the meanwhile, she’s learning to just stay away from grumpy Rana.
Monday was nice and sunny, so we brought her out for a little sunshine and romping about. Cody looks HUGE compared to her, but it’s funny because he’s pretty dinky too. The sheep are super curious about the little thing, it’s pretty funny to watch them all watch her so intently. She sticks so close to Maggie or I whenever she’s loose, you have to be careful you don’t step on her! She is just a little pistol and just jumps and leaps all over the place. Such a silly little creature.
If she gets big enough and has the proper weight next fall, early winter then we will have her bred, probably from our neighbor’s buck or perhaps a nubian buck if we can find someone with a nice one. And then in 5 months, she’ll have her baby or babies and we will begin our milk animal adventure. Or, well, we’ll begin to milk her. It’s a long effort just to have fresh milk in the house, but I think it’s worth it. It rounds out our plans, to have meat, egg, dairy, veggies and fruit here on the homestead. Eventually, too, bees for sweeteners and of course wool/fiber and handcrafts. The only things that we will be using from others will be grains, beef and fish, oils and electricity. However, I will admit, we’d like to consider a few solar and wind based energy sources, even if they are just small isolated systems for the barns, etc. And I would love to have a little fish pond at some point, maybe even consider fish farming in a greenhouse environment. We are not big fish eaters but do like some… so a big stock tank set up with maybe some tilapia or another sort of farm fish, just might be fun to give a try! Someday!
In the meanwhile, we have little Buttercup to enjoy and spoil! I’m hoping that when we have lambs she’ll be able to hang with the gang of lambies and enjoy playing with them! I think they will all have fun!