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Cami with twins, photo by Kerry Beiter
The melting of snow each winter brings new life to our farm.  The birds begin to sing and build nests, newly opened buds allow for leaves to take shape, and wet, earthy smells of spring fill our nostrils as we prepare for the gardening season ahead.  Along with new plant emergence each spring we ready ourselves and our beloved goats for freshening season.  Our Does are eager to birth the kids they carried all winter long, especially those that carry twins.

It's very common for goats to birth twins, and makes it easier to milk them when they have multiples.  When twins are born they each feed from one teet allowing both their mother's udders to be fully emptied.  If one kid is born, that kid will tend to favor one teet and thus empty only one udder.  The other udder will need to be milked at least twice a day so as to prevent engorgement and possible infections.  We prefer to milk our goats twice a day, and we leave the kids with their mothers for at least the first three weeks of life.  After three weeks, we separate the kids from their mother's at night only.  This ensures a substantial supply for the morning milking.  The kids love being with their mothers all day long and can nurse free choice, which generally keeps up the milk supply for at least a few months.  I like to wean our kids around 3-4 months of age, when they're comfortable being away (in separate stalls) from their mother's and are eating a full diet of hay.  If we continue to milk twice a day usually every 12 hours apart, we can continue milk our Does even after they've weaned their kids. 

So, with new babies arriving each spring, we re-energize ourselves to begin the long list of outdoor chores that await us.  Electric fencing must be in place and working, water lines must be installed in the paddock areas, and the transitioning of the goats to a diet of hay and grain to pasture vegetation begins.  Springtime is truly a wonderful season for us at the farm; the freshness of emerging life (both inside and outside the barn) is warmly welcomed after the long, cold days of winter have left.

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Cami with twins, photo by Kerry Beiter




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