Brooding On

Follow-up Friday: Please Excuse our Goats

My precious, precious Star.

Unlike most dairy operations I know of, we allow our doelings and bucklings to nurse on their mommas.  During the early months, I think this has a lot of benefits -- not the least of which is, of course, that it's what Nature intended.  This, however, allows the little ones to form strong attachments to their mothers and makes weaning time, when it comes, all the more difficult.

Star has been old enough for weaning for quite some time now, but we were waiting because we had a week-long vacation scheduled for the end of July and didn't want to have to ask anyone to milk for us in our absence.  (What?  You didn't notice that were were gone on vacation all last week?  Isn't technology amazing?  It allowed me to blog before I left and post a new blog entry each day, even while I was away!)
Once we got home, though, it became a priority to wean Star by separating her from Razz, her momma.  

Razz is telling me what she thinks about it. 

I have a theory that, when it comes to goats, weaning is more difficult when the mother is an especially good one.  That just seems to make sense.  For example, Honey had very little patience for her twins this spring.  She wouldn't tolerate them nursing for long and was off to hang out with her buddies.  When the time came to wean her twins, there really wasn't much fussing about it from either party.  Razz, though, is an excellent mother.  She's patient with her doelings (both this year and last) and even allows Star to play on her.  I've tried to get video of this but can't seem to catch it.  Star jumps across Razz's back, so that her front feet are in the air across Razz's back, and Razz moves around, kind of giving Star a goat version of a piggy-back ride. It's really funny. 

And, so, no surprise -- weaning has been tough so far.  It's worst in the morning, right after I milk Razz.  That's when I used to turn Razz out into the field to be with Star after their overnight separation.  Now, when Razz realizes she's not going to be sent out to the field with Star, she begins the "rounds."  Razz bellows, Star answers back.  Razz bellows, Star answers back.  And on and on it goes.  They start this up during random times of the day as well, especially when they catch sight of one another.  Last year, Razz's doeling Izzy went hoarse during weaning because she cried out so much for her Momma.  Star was so old, she wasn't really drinking much milk anyway.  Somehow this makes it sadder:  she's not crying for food as much as she's just crying for her Momma.  :(

For now, things are pretty loud around here, so please excuse our noise.  ;)