Saturday, April 6, 2013

one year four days

Yesterday when I was working outside -
because it was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy, warm day!!! -
I looked up to see the boys, Betula and Acer, enjoying the lovely, lovely, lovely warm sunshine:

Sorry about the murkiness of these pictures!  They were taken from a distance and through multiple fences.  If I had moved toward the paddock, the boys would have hopped right up (both) and either walked elegantly (Acer) or cavorted madly (Betula) in my direction, whilst uttering gladsome cries (guess which one).

Of course it is always pleasant to have such a warm welcome, but it does make photography quite challenging.  My cameras have recorded hundreds of goat-shaped blurs.  Thousands, more like.

This is not a place where they usually nap, and something about the scene nudged my memory: oh my gosh, it was almost exactly one year ago that these boys were born!

We all had a tough few days at first.  Their mama was very attentive in terms of licking and general watching-over, but was not entirely sure she wanted to feed her babies.
With her perfect milk.
From her full and healthy udder.

By contrast, I was very, very sure I did not want to raise bottle babies when there was a perfectly good mamagoat standing right there.  A mamagoat who had shown similar inconsistencies the year before, but who then became a helicopter mom, in constant hover-mode.

The thing is, as you might imagine, the first hours and days are critically important.  Dithering is not an option.  So Acer and Betula required a lot of my attention at first: specifically, their bodies needed to be kept warm enough to digest milk, they needed to be getting enough milk to nourish them, and they needed to be functioning comfortably at the other end of the digestive process.
My, my, what a few days that was.
Somewhere between Day 3 and Day 4, we saw The Return of Helicopter Mom, and I cannot overstate how delightful it was to spend an entire night in my own bed!  Whew.
These pictures were taken one year ago today, when the bucks were four days old.  Familiar pose, no?


And see that shadow?  Yep.  Mamagoat.  Hovering.

Acer was born first.
Acer, the Maple Man, soon known as "The Gentleman Goat."

And Betula, the Birch Boy.
Bet was the smaller baby, but with enough Imp Factor for both.

Oh, and look who's here...

"Are you boys alright?  Not too cold?  Not too warm?  Let me feel your forehead.  A bit peckish, maybe?  It's been at least five minutes since you had some lovely milk!"

I love this doe.