I must have been good last year, as Santa was kind enough to upgrade my camera and lenses for Christmas. For the last six years the blog has depended on my old camera, but it had some shortcomings, especially in low light conditions, so I’m quite excited about the upgrade. I’m still getting used to the differences between them both, as it’s amazing what they can pack into a DSLR these days.
I spent some time with the girls in the barn yard this morning, specifically because the lighting down there is always challenging, as it’s surrounded by tall trees, and this time of year gets a lot of dappled light. I think Lotus approves of the results, though.
Although we’re currently enjoying a slight lull in farm activities, and using that time to get ready for spring planting, and a new batch of spring chicks, the ladies in the barn are busy making some spring preparations of their own.
This season we have five does that are scheduled to have kids between late February and the end of March. The first doe scheduled to kid this year is Lotus, in just over seven more weeks, at the very end of February. I’m not sure that day can come quite fast enough for her though. Poor thing.
Lotus only ultrasounded with triplets in November, but I’m seriously questioning now if we missed one.
Her girth is already impressive to say the least!
She always has been an over-achiever, but we love her for it. This is how she looked a few weeks ago, in mid-December…
In livestock, ultrasound isn’t always an exact science, especially when there are multiple babies to count. They can easily hide behind each other, making accurate counts tricky, but we know she’s carrying at least three. It could be more, we’ll have to wait and see.
For some weeks now Lotus eagerly greets me at the barn gate, because she knows that humans have these wonderful inventions called opposable thumbs, and fingernails.
Not only can humans fill hay feeders with their nimble digits, which is perhaps the most important thing for them to do, but they can also reach all of those itches that are impossible to scratch with mere teeth, and hooves, this time of year.
Lotus’ daughter, Lily, is striving to follow in her dam’s footsteps, and is already getting noticeably more round.
However, Lily isn’t due to kid until almost a month after Lotus.
That said, Lily did ultrasound with quadruplets this season, so I expect it’s going to get very crowded in there by the end of March.
Even Minnie is looking a little more round this season, although we expect her to kid with the same number of kids she had last year.
Minnie is a little shy, and not always as eager to pose for the camera.
Oh well, maybe we’ll catch a picture when she least expects it.
Poor Minnie she’s been working hard to maintain her trim figure this season.
Royalia, though, is the one to watch this season. Like Lily, Royalia ultrasounded with quadruplets back in December, but that’s because we could only fit four of them on the screen at the same time.
There is some considerable question as to whether she might actually be carrying five this season. This time last year, with two more months to go before she kids, Lia didn’t even appear pregnant from the outside. You couldn’t tell just looking at her, but this year she’s already starting to show some increased girth.
Last spring we added one more senior doe to the herd, Ocean Flower, and this season she’s expecting triplets.
Most of our does crave a lot of extra attention when they’re pregnant, and Ocean is no exception.
Every time I look down, she’s usually at my feet, and if I sit down, she immediately comes over and puts her head in my lap.
If you been counting, while reading this post, you now know that between just five does we’re expecting approximately 17 kids this spring. Although I’m somewhat in denial, I know all too well that the next seven weeks will zip right by, and the sleepless nights, and endless rounds of bottle feeding adorable fuzzy babies will soon be upon us.
So, while the ladies kick back in the barn, for the next few weeks we’ll be busy clearing out the greenhouse, and starting seeds for our late spring and summer crops.
A new dedicated hay shed is being constructed the first week of February, weather permitting, and a new flock of Dark Brahma chicks will be arriving that week too.
Then we’ll have just enough time before kidding season starts to reinstall the kidding pens, and then spring on the farm will, once again, be in full swing!