The maddness that is kidding time starts here in under two weeks. We've selected our bucks, tracked heat cycles, fixed the fence broken by the bucks we selected, bred the does, drawn blood for pregnancy tests, sometimes repeating these steps over several times before, finally, everyone is expecting. There's a short break before its time to trim hooves, give shots, copper bolus, and then there is the agnozing wait for the most chaotic time on the farm.
While I have a small herd (I am freshening just 9 does this year), and some people have 10 times that number, I think we all feel the strain of late nights, frequent barn checks, and emotional rollercoasters. Of course, our beloved goats are especially good at making things worse when they choose to follow The Doe Code, waiting until we've been running on limited sleep and we're practically pulling our hair out in anticipation. Sometimes the doe kid you were hoping for emerges with testicles, and there's nothing left but to hope for next season and be grateful that the doe and kid are healthy. Sometimes everything goes just perfectly. Sometimes, nothing goes right and you're up to your elbow in a distressed goat trying to reposition a kid that may or may not be alive.
One of the things I love about the dairy goat community is that, mostly due to the seasonal breeding style of these animals, we are all in it together. We're covered in placenta, meconium, colostrum, and who knows what else. We're cold, we're tired, and we know the true cost of spilled milk when you've got cold hands, babies calling, and a first freshener who keeps kicking the bucket over and dancing around in the resulting puddle. And dammit, I'll cry over it if I want to.
Somehow all of this just seems worth it when those sweet little ones, on their too-long legs with knocked knees and tiny hooves, gain just enough balance to start really hopping around, spinning and dancing and celebrating life in the way that only a baby goat can. Maybe they'll grow up to be star milkers, or finished champions. Maybe they won't. But they certainly will represent the time, the hopes, the anxiety, and the work that went into bringing them into the world- a journey that often starts not just months but years before they touch the ground.