Monday, January 14, 2008

And Then There Were Thirteen.

Has it been over a week already?

Dang. Time sure does fly.

I had every intention of starting a new Project Goat Watch this past week but things didn't quite work out. As you all know, we've had our hands full with the new goatlings for the past couple days but things sort of finally settled down.

Until Saturday.

Saturday we picked up our NEEEEEEEEW PUPPY!



Ah luuuuuuuuvs me some puppies!

Can you tell I'm excited?

With everything we have going on right now, I am sure you are wondering "Why on earth did you get a puppy?"

Well, other than the fact that I LOVE PUPPIES!, we were looking for a dog to help keep an eye on the goats.

I know you're thinking "Suuuuuure. Goats. Right." But really, it's true. I have actually been researching this for over a year now. You see, eventually we are going to get to the point where our goats will be in areas not quite so close to the house, and we do have coyotes in the area. Actually, I'm kind of surprised that we haven't had any run-ins with them yet - knock on wood.

So I started to check out what other goat people do. The options were a dog, a llama or a donkey. Oddly enough, llamas and donkeys are very protective. I really didn't want to get a llama and, after checking with our farrier and finding that next to nobody will work on donkeys as far as hoof trimming goes, the obvious choice was the dog.

The next step was to start researching the preferred breeds. As it turns out, they are all fairly similar in that they are big, white and very protective. The big and the white I could deal with. It was the very protective thing that was holding me back a little bit. Each breed that we considered - Maremma, Kuvasz, Anatollian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Polish Tatra, etc. - were all great for protecting livestock but not so great for farms where a whole lot of people stop by unannounced all throughout the day. And, after having lived with an Akita for 12 years, I did not want to row that boat again.

I know, I know, socializing is the key. But still. A breed that has been honed to protect will very likely do just that.

And so the search continued.

Then, one day, I came across an article in one of the various anti-establishement, hippy-dippy, "Hello, Homeland Security!" magazines that we subscribe to, about Farm Collies. This article described a dog that was descended from the old working collie of the British Isles, having no set standard as far as physical appearance since they had long ago fallen out of fashion in the show ring, and able to do pretty much anything when it comes to farm help - herding or stock dog; watchdog; guardian of the home place, livestock or family; predator or rodent control; gundog; tracker; accountant; marketing strategist and more.

This piqued my interest. I had to know more about this "Farm Collie".

So I started researching further into it and found that the Old Farm Collie esentially has disappeared but two breeds - the English Shepherd and the Austrailain Shepherd - were derived from that breed. A little more reasearch and I eventually found my way to a breeder in the Finger Lakes Region of NY. I called her back in the summer and we had a rather long phone conversation about our farm, what kind of dog we need and life in general. We were pretty pleased with each other and she said she would keep me posted on litters.

She had a litter near Halloween but, based on the mother's traits, she advised holding off and waiting for a litter that was due near the end of November, coming from a mother that exhibited a little more of the characteristics we were looking for.

The litter came and she kept us posted on the puppies, letting us know how they were developing and how their personalities were shaping up. We didn't get our hearts set an any particular one - we wanted to just wait and see how they were in person. Dog.

Finally, this past Saturday, we were able to make the trip. We got to meet the breeder - a wonderful lady who really knows her dog stuff - mom and dad, and the puppies. It didn't take too long for our puppy to find us.

After a looooong ride ( I got lost in the north woods of Pennsylvania. Some people refer to this area as God's Country - I now refer to it as God's Forsaken Country.), we finally got our puppy to his new home.

And so I introduce to you, Fen, our English Shepherd.


He has alredy been helping out with the farm chores, even if it is just following us around while we tend to the various livestock. Although, today, he was going to try to fend off the killer rooster. I intervened and saved him. Not yet, little guy.

Speaking of various livestock, you know how I mentioned earlier about starting up the second Project Goat Watch? Well, Sunday morning I went out to feed everyone and while I was getting some grain, listening to the normal complaining about how long I was taking to get everyone their food, I heard one particular complaint that sounded much more ... complainy.


Oh, no.

Oh no, no, no, no, no.

Not today.

You see, I was dealing with a new puppy, a very sick hubby that was leaving the following day on a five day trip, and week-old goats. I did NOT want to hear what I was hearing.


I went over to the pen with the other two pregnant boer goats and, sure enough, there was a sac of water hanging out of Iris.


What the crap??!!

So, I dropped everything and got down to business. See, this girl was still out in the big pen, not in the Birthing Room. Which, inconviently, was still occupied by Gyra and her babies.

Since I already ran you through a goat birth, and since I didn't have my camera on me, I will try to give a fairly short version of what happened.

I ran into the house, opened up the bedroom door where hubby was convalescing and yelled "Iris is having her babies! I need help NOW!" And ran away again.

My poor husband.

Things were quite different for this birth - no special room, no Baby's First Photo. No, these kids were plopped right on the ground (on feeding bags) in the goat pen. How bourgeois. Or, I guess, boergeois. Hee.

She had two babies, one boy and one girl. The girl was the second one to come out and was decidely smaller. We needed to get them somewhere warm pronto.

So we had to move Gyra and her babies to a new pen and move Iris and her newborns into the Birthing Room, albeit a little after the fact. The After-Birth Room, if you will.

I'll tell you one thing. Some goats are very hard to move. Moving some goats is like trying to drag a 150 pound sled across the dirt with the sled constantly digging in.

Consequently, I am a very sore being today.

We got everyone settled and then set to work making sure baby girl goat was dried off and warm. Then I gave her some Goat Boost to help get her going. That's not what it's really called but it's pretty much what it is - electrolytes and such. Like goat Red Bull.

It must have done the trick because she seems to be doing just fine now.

Iris's babies

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent getting another shelter slapped together(which I eventually had to leave to my hubby and son in order to run errands), picking up feed and supplies and helping hubby get ready for the trip. The day is a toatl blur.

Finally, at about 11:30 that night, I sat down to check my email. That's when I came across the email asking for feedback on the house I showed at noon.


Oh darn.

But (and this leads us full circle back to the title), now we have 13 goats!

You'll be happy to know that the client I unintentionally stood up studied animal science (coincidence? I think not), and was very understanding of the fact the he was forgotten in the midst of the birth.


steph said...

oh my god -- could all of these pictures be cuter??

congrats on your goats AND your puppy! also, that puppy is so freaking CUTE!!!!

i had an australian shepard growing up,a nd it was the most awesome dog ever. he was certainly protective, but so great. i miss him!!! good pick for your doggie going with a similiar breed! again, so cute!

Pocklock said...

Ack! Dying from the cute!

Baby doggies and baby goats are just adorable! I wanna come play at your house for a weekend! It's like... Farm Disney!

D.B. Echo said...

Holy Crap! It's a population explosion at the House of Anne!

If you ever change your mind about the llamas, I know some guys in Kunkletown who can hook you up, yo.

nadzent said...

Annnnnneeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! You win for cuteness this month. Farm life actually sounds exciting and.....cute the way you spell it out. Keep going and you may convince me to move out to PA after all :-)

audrey said...

Congrats on two cute new goats and one ADORABLE new puppy! My husband and I have puppy fever right now, and we both completely melted over Fen.

Semavi Lady said...

Awww, such a sweet pup and congratulations on the kids!

Professor J said...

Fen is so beautiful! And what a great name for a goat dog! Your farm is a fun and fertile place.

we_be_toys said...

Well you have certainly gone far beyond the earlier "8 head of cats" that you had when you went to the first goat auction (I've been doing a little back-reading, cuz I've missed you!). Congratulations of the second set of kids!
btw, do you think your puppy might be up to giving a little tax advice later, or is it just accounting that they're good at? (VERY cute puppy - makes me want to get 8 head of cats wouldn't be amused, I'm afraid!)

Anonymous said...

when it rains... it goats? congrats again!
(is it time for curry yet?). the goat farm is off and running or trotting or whatever it is that goats do. i wish there could have been photos of the blessed event. i just can't get enough pix of a goat eating placenta. fen is adorable. i can't wait to meet him. ken

Peggy Sez.. said...

Congrats on the new..
Whne I was reading about the first blessed event and looking at all the neat pics "The Boy" happen to look over my shoulder.
So there you have it,an in depth commentary on goat birthing...LOL!

Bea said...

Wow! Babies, babies everywhere, it's a farm land romper room. Congrats on the new goatlings and the adorable puppy (he looks like he's ready to show those goats what's what). I don't know how you find the time or the energy to do all you do, but Im enjoying reading about it!

Julie Pippert said...

OMG you DELIVERED baby goats! I'm That's so cool.

And that puppy...that is too much cute in one package, seriously.

Those are good dogs for farms and working. I'll never understand city people who get those dogs. Why do that to me, I mean, yourself? LOL

This entry wins most excitement and cuteness in one post there one??

Mo Barger said...

Hi Fen! Uncle Hank says hello :)