Hi Everyone! Happy New Year! I want to start off the New Year by sharing with you the newest member of the Sunshine Farm, Noel. Noel was born on December 18th, 2017.
We knew her mother was going to deliver any day, but had no clear idea on when that would be. I shared with you a bit about the pregnancy in the post, Willow’s Growing Belly!. We adopted her mother, Willow, knowing it was possible she was pregnant, but they weren’t sure, so we just had to wait and see! You can learn more about the adoption and Willow’s background in my post, And Now We Have… Rescued Goats!.
Pregnancy tests are unreliable for goats, and the only real way to find out would be an ultrasound, which is expensive and not always possible. We also didn’t want to stress her out any more than she already was from her prior neglect, and move to the farm. Needless to say, we were surprised to find that when November rolled around Willow’s belly had grown substantially. As we watched her belly grow and her udder fill up, we became 99% sure a baby was on the way. We knew the latest possible date would be the very end of December/very beginning of January, but we wanted to play it safe and plan as early as possible!
- First we setup a stall with straw, water, and hay so that Willow could deliver her baby in a warm environment.
- We purchased the safest heating lamp on the market, Premier 1. Heat lamps are known for being dangerous in barns since they can easily lead to fires, so we wanted to be careful with this one. Ideally, you wouldn’t need any sort of heat source, but this winter has been SO cold! We really didn’t have another option.
- We borrowed an xs dog sweater from a friend to keep the baby warm during winter months.
- We setup a camera to observe Willow when we were in the house or away from home. Unfortunately, we set this up the evening before she delivered, which meant we hadn’t fixed the kinks yet. The first day we attempted to view it from our workplaces, it wasn’t working… which meant it wasn’t working the very day she delivered! If it had been working, we would have been able to see unusual behavior on the video feed and we likely would have been able to make it home for the delivery. On the bright side the camera has been working ever since, so we are able to check on mom and baby during the work day and when we are in the house.
- We compiled a list of items in case we needed to intervene in the delivery or support the baby or mom after the birth. This included a bulb syringe, towels for drying off the baby, pee pads to keep the stall clean, a thermometer, formula and a bottle in case the mother rejected the baby, electrolyte supplement for mom and baby in case they needed a boost post-delivery, and iodine solution to clean the umbilical cord. Turns out the only things we needed were towels to help dry off the baby and the iodine solution.
On December 18th we came home to an already delivered, healthy, adorable, doeling (female baby goat)! This obviously required no work on our part. Mom and baby were both doing great when we found them. Willow was super attentive to Noel, constantly checking on her and cleaning her. I called a friend to come over just to check and make sure all was well. Shout out to Val for teaching me the ropes! We waited to make sure baby Noel was nursing well, I was paranoid for the first couple hours, really until Noel was a couple of days old. All babies are so vulnerable when they are young, it can be easy for things to become dire quite quickly, and I just wanted to be sure she was perfectly healthy. Honestly, the whole thing went incredibly smooth. Mom and baby have the best bond, Noel is growing every day, Willow has been the best mother, and we have encountered absolutely no problems. I am SO grateful for this, especially since Willow was a rescue and was likely malnourished during the early parts of her pregnancy. I am also so grateful for her rescuers at Lollypop Farm. It is such a blessing that we were able to bring this baby into the world in a safe and healthy environment. I am so excited to watch Noel grow up with her mother always by her side. Goats develop lifelong bonds, and it’s a beautiful thing when they get to live out their lives with each other.
Now I want to introduce you all to our adorable Noel. First of all, she is very friendly. She is also incredibly smart and curious. And she LOVES back scratches. For example, friends of ours came to visit the other day and she was trying to jump up on our friend to say hello. She quickly learned when she did that she received back scratches. So now, anytime anyone comes to see her, she tries to jump up or balance on her back legs in order to get scratches. It’s pretty much the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. We love how friendly she is, and are glad we’ve been able to take the time to teach her to trust us. The other rescued goats are not quite as friendly as she is, which we completely understand, since they came from a neglectful home. Another adorable thing is that Willow seems to like it when we spend time checking on the baby. If we feed the goats without checking on Noel, Willow cries out, begging for us to come in and spend time with them.
I can’t wait to share more photos of Noel with all of you as she grows up. I’m sure there will be lots of adorable and hilarious moments to share. And I hope you’re as touched by the mother-daughter bond as we are!
Thank you for reading about our sweet baby Noel!
All my best,