We are getting very excited! In about two weeks our first “batch” of Saanen babies, known as goat kids, are to be born. Eight moms all seem ready. . .they are serenely lumbering about the farmyard – all now “wide-bodied!” The eight pregnant goats will have 10-12 babies according to the results of the ultrasounds done!
Each goat kid born will be half Saanen – representing the Canadian Saanen semen used to impregnate our goats. Saanen goats are white and tan in color. The semen are from one of three creatively named Saanen rams: Touchdown Taser, Cloverleaf or Turbo Whiplash. When the goats were artificially inseminated we recorded the source of the semen for each of our goats. We thus know the name of the ram who fathered our goats. And, we have a picture of each ram! Our goats represent a variety of Nubian and local breeds. We are looking forward to seeing what the new babies look like!
Named for the Swiss countryside where they originated Saanen goats are amongst the most popular dairy goat breeds in the world today. They are known for their large size and efficiency producing milk. Saanen goats were originally introduced to Jamaica from the USA in 1929. Nubian goats had been in Jamaica since 1907. Both Nubian and Saanen goats interbred with the so-called “Creole” goats, the original Jamaican goats. To the best of our knowledge there have been no Saanen goats in Jamaica in decades. . .although the goats born this month will be half Saanen, we intend to again attempt embryo transplant in the future as it was not successful this time– they would be 100% Saanen.
We are ready for the babies to be born. Our vet is “on call” for any problems or questions, and we’ve reorganized the sleeping arrangements of our goats. Some goats don’t get along well with other goats, while others are very adaptable! The goat house will accommodate space for each new mom and her kids in their own pen. We have also added a goat pen separate from the goat house, to be used as a flex unit – maternity or for several young goats. We have special nipples for the goat kids in case any need to be bottle fed. Bottle feeding is usually needed if any goat has three babies – and one of the goats might have three babies. And, occasionally a goat does not have enough milk for her babies, or a baby needs frequent feedings-more than the mom wants to accommodate.
Each pregnant goat is being monitored for signs of impending labor and delivery – udders full and “dropped,” moist vulva, decreased appetite and whether the goat is staying with the other goats or is finding her own “space” away from the others.
Byron and I are are eagerly anticipating this next phase of Ruby Goat Dairy!