Oh, Fiona. I’m going to get a little misty here. Fiona was part of the first group of goats I bought, the first whose kids I delivered, and the first I milked. Her kids were the first to bear my farm name, and the first I retained. She has kids, grandkids and great-grandkids throughout our herd. Although there are some conformational things about her that could stand to be improved, she is a dear girl and I am proud to have her bloodlines throughout my herd.
Fiona is also super-frustrating to breed. She is quite picky about her baby-daddies, and short-cycles her heats. One year, I ran her with a buck the entire time and she never became pregnant. I don’t think she even let him TRY. As soon as I gave her another option, she settled. Go figure. On that note, I expected Fiona to deliver some time last week, but apparently she short-cycled one last time after her last witnessed breeding because she was about 5 days overdue when she delivered this time. I have been checking on her frequently during this time because we had a COLD snap. Like, really cold. Like, close-the-schools-because-the-windchill-is-negative-30 cold. She showed zero signs of delivering until this morning, when we were finally above freezing. I thought MAYBE her ligaments were a little looser and maybe her udder was a little fuller at 9am. She was enjoying absorbing the sunshine and standing with her eyes closed, but was pretty enthusiastic about getting her alfalfa pellets. I figured I’d be seeing kids around suppertime or even overnight. I came out again at 12:30 to do some chores (because “above freezing”) and peeked in on her. Before my brain could interpret that she LOOKED labor-y, I heard her making her mama noises. Thankfully I hadn’t missed anything yet, but I could see she was streaming, and very close to delivering. I pulled her to her kidding stall, and within 15 minutes, she had her baby. Although we expected twins, we got a single big buckling. He weighs in at 6lbs, 12oz; is mostly black with some white and a few dark brown moonspots. He is polled and has nice long ears.
At 8-years-old, Fiona will be retired after this milking season. Although she’s a great mama, easy kidder, and a big milk producer, I want to give her a nice retirement and not push her health any more. I have enough of her genetics in the herd, and there just isn’t a compelling reason to keep breeding her. This little guy is her grand finale, and a grand one he is!