In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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New Additions

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friday morning I went out to check on Chutney before I went to work.  I had noticed the night before that her tail ligaments were getting pretty soft so I didn't want to miss the day that they actually "disappeared".  Much to my excitement they were nowhere to be found.  She seemed rather content so I felt confident that she wouldn't kid that morning but I had no basis for comparison to say if she would start going into labor before the end of the day.

I arrived at work at 7 o'clock and immediately started scrambling to get any pertinent items finished.  I had shipments to get out to our manufacturers that I knew couldn't wait until Monday so it wasn't until around noon that I was able to get back home to check on Chutney.  She was calmly munching on hay on the platform in the barn.  After a little while of pacing between the barn and the house waiting for something to change, I decided to open the door to the front paddock that we had fenced off for this occasion.  This way I could sit on the front porch and be able to see the goats.  Sure enough the girls were psyched to get out front where the grass was long and the low tree limbs had yet to be stripped of their leaves.

I tried to busy myself in the house.  After cleaning off our dining room table, which is our catch-all for anything and everything when we come into the house, and starting a load of laundry I decided I couldn't stand it anymore and went back outside.  I sat down in the grass within the paddock and started reading.  I needed to get my mind elsewhere or I would go crazy.  Chutney wasn't progressing at all and I was getting impatient.

The hours dragged on and still no sign from our little doe that she was even thinking of going into labor.  I went to bed restless, worried that they would be born during the night and something would go wrong.  At 3 o'clock in the morning I trudged out to the barn, the air was so warm and I was relieved that the babies would not come into the world in the middle of a hard frost.  I quietly opened the door and found Chutney lying in a bed of straw on the floor, my heart jumped up into my throat at the thought that maybe she was going into labor.  Alas, nothing.  I walked slowly back to the house, enjoying the mild weather, the darkness and quiet of the early morning hour.  But I needed to get some sleep.

Two hours later I gave up on my attempts to "sleep in", got dressed, and headed back out.  I kept wishing I had the same calm patience that my husband has.  Chutney still hadn't started going into labor, but when I felt her tail ligaments I noticed that I must have been wrong yesterday in thinking that they were 'gone' because they were certainly nowhere to be found this time.  She would kid before Sunday, of that I was certain.

Throughout the morning Chutney was obviously restless.  She didn't want to leave the barn, she continually cried out if someone wasn't in the barn with her, she didn't want to eat anything, and her udder was large and hard.  It appeared she was getting ready.  After hours of waiting I got annoyed with myself and went with Kyle to the gas station to get fuel for the lawn tractor, I had to stop hovering.  We got back and I checked her again, still nothing, so I went back into the house to warm up some apple cider before I went back into the barn to continue my surveillance.

Upon my return I found her lying on the floor of the barn and she was obviously pushing.  I ran out, and yelled to Kyle who was mowing the lower yard.  He saw me and calmly waved his understanding and slowly started making his way up the path to the barn.  I don't know how he can be so calm.  I ran back to the barn and arrived to see the front hooves and nose peeking out.  Chutney was about to become a mother.  Two seconds later a tiny, slippery kid came out and I cleaned its face off to be sure it could breathe before I stuck it in front of Chutney.  Her instincts kicked in amazingly and she immediately set to cleaning the kid off.  I was so proud. 

I took a closer look and announced to Kyle that we had a doeling!  Hooray, our herd has officially expanded.  But man this little girl was tiny, if they're all this small she's probably got five in there.  After a few minutes the doeling was relatively dry and started wobbling around trying to find the udder to start nursing.  Kyle went back to mowing while I tried to help her steady herself and nurse but Chutney was restless.  I wrapped the doeling into a dry towel and started rubbing her because she was just shivering and Chutney was distracted.  She kept lying down and getting back up, she started pushing again and I ran to get Kyle as he had asked me to do.  Thirty seconds later we got back in the barn and the second kid was on the ground.  I quickly cleaned of the face again with some paper towels and plopped this significantly larger kid in front of Chutney to get her cleaned off.  From the size of this baby I assumed it was a buck, but no, a second doeling!  These two look just like Chutney, same coloring with only slight variations on the white patches.  How cute.
Shortly after the second doeling was born a third practically shot right out.  This one was just as large as the second doeling but was a dark brown color.  I hoped it was a buck, but it just wasn't in the cards this time, a third doeling.  Chutney was still working on cleaning off doeling #2 so I cleaned off doeling #3 just enough to be able to move around until Chutney could get to her.

Once everyone was dried off we moved them over to the heat lamp (Saturday ended up a little too breezy and cool for newborn babies) where Chutney could get fresh water and hay and the babies could nurse without getting cold.  Within ten minutes all had nursed successfully and quickly fell asleep under the watchful eye of our new mama-goat.

Everyone is doing great and we are just as proud as can be with the new additions to our farm.  The doelings, who we named Poplar, Juniper, and Willow, are already bouncing around and climbing on anything and everything they can get their hooves on.

So in about one more month it will be May's turn but until then I'll be trying not to spend all my free time in the barn holding baby goats.  =D


  1. Donna Mae Says:
  2. I would of been doing the same thing :) Heck remembering when we had our first litter of kittens..but the goats are so much cuter!!!
    can't wait to come see them again..:)

  3. EcoLife Says:
  4. Yeah!! Congrats, they are adorable!

  5. Rebecca Says:
  6. I'm very excited and happy for you! And good job, Chutney! The pictures are terrific. And I believe I know exactly how you feel. When our Willow's time comes, I doubt I'll be sleeping much either.

  7. JWLW Says:
  8. Melissa: If you don't mind I will borrow the photo of the three and maybe quote some of your comments. To announce the birth of three beautiful kids.

    congrats on the expansion of your family.


  9. Melissa Says:
  10. I don't mind at all, John. =D
    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I'm hoping to post more pictures of these kids in the days to come, they sure are growing fast!

  11. Alicia Says:
  12. Can't wait to see new pictures of the kids. They are so cute!!!

    I found your blog via your comments on www.coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com. And I also graduated from JSC May 2003. Small world.

  13. Melissa Says:
  14. Hello Alicia! And welcome to my blog, thank you so much for your comment. What a small world indeed, Kyle and I graduated from there as well a few years ago and I actually worked in the admissions office for a short time after graduation. =D

  15. Ellada Says:
  16. Hello,
    Thank you for putting those beautiful photos, the three babies are too beautiful.

  17. Ecocheapo Says:
  18. I am so very glad I stumbled upon your blog! We are anticipating the arrival or our first nigerians later this summer! Congratulations on your beautiful, growing herd!