Miniandtrackhoe (Minnie) is officially due to kid this coming Saturday. I’ve had it written on the calendar for five months, but this date still sort of snuck up on me. Though goats are generally known to be easy birthers, I’m kind of nervous this time because of the kidding complications I’ve dealt with past years. Read more about my experiences with kidding here, here, and here.
I’m planning on being at home pretty much all of next week except for a few breaks when Henry’s here to monitor the situation. Hopefully, I won’t have to intervene during the actual kidding any more than the basic drying off, cleaning up, iodining the umbilical cords, and making sure everyone gets something to eat. This is will be Minnie’s first set of kids, so there’s a small risk that she will need a little extra coaching to get her in a mothering state of mind, but she’ll probably do fine.
Because I only have one set of kids per year, I’m definitely not a kidding expert. Every spring, I go back to my goat reference books and the Fiasco Farm website to read and reread about normal kidding procedure and possible complications. I’ve also been double checking the supplies in my birthing kit and checking off things on my pre-kidding to-do list. I’m hoping to get the barn cleaned out today or tomorrow, and I’ll start locking Minnie up in a stall at night.
Another way that I’m preparing for new kids is by saying goodbye to Kai Ryssdal the goat. I thought I would be more sad about this day, but friendly Kai Ryssdal has turned into super obnoxious Kai Ryssdal, and I’m pretty ready to have him gone. I can now safely say that not disbudding him last spring was a huge mistake. When I’m in our small barn with him, I’m constantly worried that he’s going to poke my eye out or just stab me in the leg with his horns (accidentally or intentionally). He wastes a ton of feed by getting hay tangled in his horns while he’s eating at the feed bunk and then unintentionally pulling it out on the ground. He also has a penchant for destroying the barn by bashing it with his head and trying to break in or out of the stalls. This morning, he hurdled the fence for the first time while I was working with Minnie in the stanchion. I proceded to curse at him a multiple times and then haul him back into the barn before he had a chance to get into the grain.
When I finally decided that he had to go, I debated whether I should sell him to a livestock buyer or butcher him for our own consumption. Though I have eaten goat meat before, I haven’t actually eaten one that I personally raised. In the end, it became clear that we’d probably appreciate the meat in the freezer more than the $60 or so that he’d bring in from a sale (where someone else would end up eating him).
Henry is planning on dispatching him today and hanging the carcass until Monday when we’ll pass it off to Brad Burnheimer of Burnheimer Meat Co. Henry has a fair bit of experience with butchering, and I’ve helped out a little, but neither of us has time or motivation to devote a lot of energy to the art of butchery and sausage making. Brad, on the other hand, is a local professional butcher (and really nice guy) with a fledgling charcuterie business set up with the tools to do a really good job. His custom butchery skills will allow us to utilize all the meat and honor Kai’s life and death as well as possible.
I’m still trying to decide whether or not to blog further about what happens to Kai after today. I’d like to share more about Brad and his business, but as a former vegetarian and conscientious meat eater, I don’t delight in grisly, bloody flesh photos. I might write more about it if I have the time and feel like I can do it respectfully. We’ll see. Feel free to weigh in with a comment one way or the other.