jQuery(function($){ $('#et-info-phone').wrap(function(){ var num = $(this).text(); num = num.replace(/[^0-9+]+/g, '-'); // sanitize num = num.replace(/^[-]|[-]$/g, ''); // trim return ''; }); });

Part 2 Violets 2015 Maternity Story


This is Part Two of Violet’s maternity story and a follow up to my introduction to Rufus.  These events actually occurred on December 17, 2014.


Well here we go again, and a little early at that, at least for birthin’ goat babies. “Miss Scarlet I don’t know nothin’ about birthin no babies.”  Actually, I guess we cannot plead ignorance anymore, as with these most recent births, we have now been part of bringing eleven goats into the world although the goats of course do all of the work.


Isn't she cute?

Isn’t she cute?

We had been watching Violet for a little over a week and believed she would give birth any day now.  She has gotten very large and rotund and her udder has bagged up nicely, which means she has lots of nutrient rich goat milk ready for her babies.


We decided a while ago to move crazy Rufus, our Billy Goat, back up with the girls. It is all about timing with raising these goats and Hope (my wife) and I thought we had it mastered but I guess not. We were trying to time the mating period so that Violet and the other girls would have their babies in March when it wasn’t so cold.  They have a 151-day gestation period so keeping Rufus away from them was our goal as he is one horny Billy Goat.


Violet and Daphne comfy in the maternity ward.

Violet and Daphne comfy in the maternity ward.

We think Violet got pregnant one day back in the summer during a brief period when Hope was in the middle of giving a school group a tour of the farm, and Rufus busted out of his pen.  I had to wrestle with him in front of the kids, trying to keep my cussing and straining quietly to myself all while smiling and saying, “I got him, it’s ok!”  I put him in with the girls just until the tour was over and we could fix his door, and this was just long enough for the Rufus “magic” to happen.


As I said we knew she was close, heck we were worried enough about it that Hope put me to work before I left town for my annual Duck Hunting Trip preparing the maternity ward of the goat yard. We fence off a separate area so she can be partitioned off from the other goats and have her babies and tend to them in peace.  We didn’t like the idea of Violet being in with all of the other girls and again with crazy Rufus, who is in the middle of everything and always primed for trouble.  For more about Rufus and his Billy goat behavior, and his helping me build the maternity ward, see Part One of this post. I’m beginning to think his goal was sabotage from the get go.


I made a little enclosure for our very pregnant Violet and moved her and Daphne, her daughter from a year ago in with her. We figured she could keep her company and be a good companion right until the birth came and then we would move her out.


They had been in their safe little pen next to the other goats for two weeks and by this time we realized that we had jumped the gun because there were still no babies.  Early one morning, after battling my 30-second commute to work, I got settled in my office and had my morning meeting with the landscape crews.  During the meeting, I receive a text from Hope asking me to check Violet.   Reluctantly, I went out into the dark, winter morning and saw that she was fine with no babies yet, however I could sense something was different. First, she was wide-awake and standing at attention, even greeting me with a gentle “mahh.” All of the other goats looked up but soon put their heads back down as a sleeping child would, and resumed their snuggling and sleeping in their warm “goat pile.”


I texted Hope back that she was fine, with a no baby report, however she was up, wide awake, talking and her bag (udder) was huge. Hope said, “It is going to be soon. We need to keep a close eye on her today.”


I left Violet and went on about my business and took a crew to start at a new landscape job and Hope came back from dropping the kids off at school and fed the animals, and the day went on from there.  After having lunch at our favorite restaurant in Crestwood, The Red Pepper, Hope had to run our youngest child to the doctor’s office and I came back to the garden center. I went into the office, checked email, sent off some invoices and tended to general business.  As I walked out the door and was headed to the bank and post office Hope’s voice popped into my head. “We need to keep an eye on her today.”


New born kids.  Here Violet is actually being a good mom to little girl.

New born kids. Here Violet is actually being a good mom to little girl.

I silently cussed to myself that I had to stop what I was doing and backtrack, but I did. I retraced my steps and walked out the back and as I approached the goat yard, just like earlier in the morning I felt that something was different, and low and behold, it was. There sat Violet with two new baby kids.  They were healthy, beautiful, standing and already able to walk around.  I was petting on one of them and felt behind the ears that they were still wet, exhibiting exactly what “wet behind the ears” means. Mama Violet had cleaned them off completely; they were dry but shivering from the cold.  This rude awaking is common for goat babies with the timing of the birth and leaving mama’s womb in the middle of winter.


I texted Hope and told her that we had two new kids, one girl and one boy.  Of course, after she waited weeks for these guys to come, they are born when she is not even on the property, the audacity of them!  Quite frankly though, as long as things go as they are supposed to, these are sometimes the best births, because nature just takes over and we are not there to worry and try to do our human micromanage thing showing us that we are no better than God. I couldn’t tell if they were nursing yet but Hope reminded me that was normal, “they will figure it out,” she said.   I told her to run by Feeders Supply and grab two small dog sweaters or jackets, as these little kids were cold.  They were fine for now but definitely would need something to wear thru the night to help keep them warm.


After Hope got home with our children, we had a big trip outside to visit the new babies. There is nothing more fun and rewarding than sharing this experience with your own children and the excitement they get when we have new babies on the property. Hope had gotten two little puffy, ski vests (for little dogs), one pink and one blue of course.


Boy looks just like rufus, girl looks like Violet's daughter from last year.

Boy looks just like rufus, girl looks like Violet’s daughter from last year.

We struggled a little to get the vests on, they seemed to fit perfectly but as soon as we got the one on the little girl, she would just fall over on her side.  It was so pitiful but funny as she would fall down, we would stand her back up and then she would fall down again.  We repeated this process at least five times with the same results, her falling over like an AD-AT Walker from Stars Wars or an actual Fainting Goat, which she is not!  She didn’t like it all and would just give up, lying there crying for us to get it off.  “Mawwmmm, Maawwwmmm!!”  If you have ever heard a baby goat cry out, it sounds just like they are saying mom in an exaggerated, high pitched tone.


This was not going to work, they had to have something to keep warm, but if they couldn’t stand to nurse and get the invaluable colostrum from their mother they wouldn’t make it thru the night.  So I ran back to out to Feeder’s Supply, by now it was after 7:30 on a school night and we needed to feed our kids (as in the human ones that we are responsible for!)


As I am driving to the store, my best friend Kit called me and said “What’s up?” I had to admit “I’m driving to Feeder’s Supply to buy two miniature dog sweaters for our newborn baby goats.” He laughed at this statement, so I replied “I’m serious.”  He said, “I know you are, I do not doubt that, I have come to expect this kind of thing from you.”


When I returned to the farm, Hope had fed our children and we ran back outside to put the new sweaters on.  These softer, wool style sweaters were much easier for the little goats to maneuver in and I must say quite stylish, like something from the LL Bean catalog.  Of course the rest of the night, we barely got any sleep worrying about the babies and whether they were warm enough, getting enough food from Mama, and so on and on and on.


Bad picture, but this is Hope adjusting the new sweaters that fit just right.

Bad picture, but this is Hope adjusting the new sweaters that fit just right.

The next morning we woke up to happy healthy but cold babies.  They seemed to be doing fine but the coming night was going to be even colder. We needed to decide whether we should run a bunch of extension cords to heat lamps and worry about burning the place down, or spend hours cleaning out an office that we were using for storage and move the goats inside.  Well, we decided on the office and luckily it did not take hours to prepare. Violet was used to this hotel treatment as we did it last year, fashioning an indoor goat pen in the garden center offices with our kids old pack and play.  It worked out great, and everyone seemed much happier right away.


Violet and babies moved indoors to the hotel suite.

Violet and babies moved indoors to the hotel suite.

Things were going swimmingly when we started to notice that Violet was rejecting the little girl.  It got so bad that as one point she head butted her with her horns and flipped her in midair, throwing her.  Nature can be so cruel and we knew we were going to have to do something and do it quick for the baby girl to survive. To be continued…

Rufus- Part one of Violet’s 2015 Maternity Story

I knew the moment I finished creating the make-shift maternity/ new kid pen for our goat mother and new baby that it wasn’t secure and it was a poor job.  The way one looks at any job that has just been performed half-assed, reassuring one’s self that it is indeed fully-assed and just fine, even though you know better. With this I had no excuse, but I decided to leave the “farmer rigged” goat maternity ward and go back inside and see what happens.

Rufus just hanging out

Rufus just hanging out

An hour later, I came back outside and low and behold, I had two goats that weren’t supposed to be in the maternity ward, performing the equivalent of older siblings running up and down the hospital hallways unsupervised.  Right there in the middle of it all was Rufus!  Yes, Rufus, our one and only Billy Goat and resident stud.  I guess I should cut him some slack as he is the proud new Papa to be, maybe he just wanted to hand out Cigars.  However, with Billy Goats and their behavior, you are always quickly and rudely pulled back to reality.

It was obvious to see that Rufus was the culprit as he was looking at me with his big, bug-eyes while sections of woven wire fencing still hung from his horns.  Deeply relishing his 2 minute destruction of  what took me over an hour to make.  Like a toddler tangled up in the tinsel from the Christmas tree, who stumbles, falls and takes the whole tree with them, he sits there looking at me and saying, ”This is fun, and isn’t it funny!”

I think to myself, “This is not fun, and it is definitely not funny.  I am neither having fun nor being funny, period.”

The tricky part of working on anything in a goat yard while a Billy Goat is present is that the Billy Goat is present.  The shear presence of a Billy Goat on a Farm changes a farm.  Kind of like the presence of a dirty old uncle at a family event always changes the family event.  If he isn’t leering at your sister, commenting how pretty she is and how much she has grown up. Then he is rough housing with you on a level on par with Ultimate Fighting, and you just want to get away.

A Billy Goat is horny, has an insatiable curiosity and is horny.  Did I mention he is horny?  And the curiosity part means that if anything happens, he is there in the middle of it making it all about him.  Remember the dirty old uncle, yeah you get the picture.
“Woo Hoo” he says to me with his eyes as I walk in the yard to start my repairs.  “What’s up buddy??  You want to play??”, he continues on.

“No Rufus, I don’t want to play, particularly your style of play”  I say.

“Oh Come on, it will be fun”, I imagine him saying as he snorts and flicks his horns.

I carry a fiberglass livestock stick that I can use to fend off Rufus and keep him away from me.  With me, he only wants to play (thank God), which entails standing on his hind legs to become 7’ tall and wanting to butt heads, lock horns and everything else male goats do.  The other female goats who are present look at me like, “Where is my fiberglass whooping stick?”  Her looks say it all, “I needed one of those damn things earlier today and where were you, oh that’s right, inside the house. After all buddy, you’re the one who moved his ass back in here with us, like we would enjoy him and his CONSTANT ATTENTION.  I mean seriously, the son of a bitch never leaves us alone and he is always horny.  Always!”

After tapping Rufus out of the way, I try to go about my mending of the wire fence, clipping wire here, retying there.  It is a tricky process as I have to always keep one eye on him and one eye on what I am doing, he is constantly walking up behind me, checking things out.  My wife tells me that I am overly paranoid and that he is just curious, but I say “nah nah nah, this is a guy thing and he wants to challenge me.  To see whom the bigger Billy really is.”

This go on for a while, things seem to be going fine, but then when I am not paying attention, I get separated from my sacred stick.  Like Gandalf from Lord of The Rings without my staff, my powers are greatly reduced.  Rufus moves in, tries to butt me and of course since I am a guy, I react more aggressively than I should.

I grab him by the horns (you know, grab the bull by the horns) and hold his head down, demanding to him “You want some of this, you want some of this!  I know you don’t want some of this, you cannot handle it!”  My wife just rolls her eyes and walks away.  Now she has full proof to back her theories that I have lost my mind.

He is bucking and flaying his head around, enjoying the moment way more than he should and certainly more than I am.   It takes an incredible amount of energy and strength to hold a Billy Goat down and I finally give up and release him.  He backs away, snorts, palls the ground and then rears up in the air, again to his over 7’ height. “Awesome man, this is fun”, he seems to say to me.“No Rufus, no.  Get down you SOB”, I holler out.  Luckily I am reunited with my staff of power and I poke and prod him with it till he realizes that I am back in control.

Rufus displaying his next trick.

Rufus displaying his next trick.


He backs up and goes for his next move or trick in his bag that he pulls out when defeated but still trying to show his dominance.  He bends his head towards the ground and proceeds to do what all Billy Goats have been doing for thousands of years.  He urinates all of his face, goatee, underside and backs of legs. Once he is convinced that he has thoroughly doused himself with his equivalent to Drakkar Noir to goats, he throws his head back with furious abandon and curls his top lip, grinning his teeth at me.


This part is almost worse than the urinating on oneself, actually it is.  He takes such pride in this horrific act, that after he throws his head back to the sky announcing to everyone look at me and what I just did, he curls his upper lip showing off his teeth.


Yes, a full out Elvis style lip curl that he holds in pose for several seconds.  I am convinced after witnessing this numerous times,. that Elvis actually was exposed to goats at an early age and saw Billy Goats do this lip curl and that is where he learned it.  At least he did not repeat the golden shower part of the segment.

The Elvis Lip Curl

The Elvis Lip Curl

After this dramatic display, I quickly go about finishing my reinforcement work of the pen and get the heck out of Dodge.  I tell myself that I shouldn’t be insulted by Rufus and his shenanigans, after all, this is not unusual behavior, just a goat being a goat.  I am the one who chose to have him live here and use his services.  He is after all the resident stud.