I was doing quite well waiting for our kid crop until my goat friends starting kidding out their does. So I decided to feature some of our babies from previous season - some are still in our herd, others have moved to their new homes. I added some ramblings and observations as comments to these pictures to give some insight into our kid raising management and preferences.
Here is a shot of our December 2010 bunch - we had 7 doelings and 1 buckling from 4 does that freshened that month. We retained two sets of sisters - Zia's doelings Jasmine and Lavender and Autumn's girls Velvet and Harvest. They look so little in this photo, it's hard to believe a year has gone by already and our babies are having babies ;)
Our kids are hardy and spend their days outside, unless we have bad weather, they have no trouble keeping warm by dashing all over the place and inventing new goat games :) They get tucked away in the barn for night (since usually our temps drop below freezing in winter months), but we don't use anything but bedding to make them comfortable- no heat lamps, heaters, etc.
Munching on leaves. I really liked having this group so close in age and observing herd dynamics even in such young stage. Out of these 7 (buckling Gobi was already gone to his new home in Texas by the time these pictures were taken) - there are 3 sets of sisters and one doeling without a littermate. While this shot does is not the best representation of the tight bonding littermates form (we see siblings hanging out together most of the time), we noticed how growing up with peers their own age and a "buddy" made a big difference in their growth pattern and also in the pecking order.That single doeling ended up on the bottom and that, too, effected her demeaner, behavior and growth rate. We see the same pattern repeated with kids who are introduced into the junior group without a mate of their own age and don't thrive the same as kids who are introduced with either a sibling or peers of the same age group. We try to pick our deposited choices to be able to transition into our farm with a friend, same with retained doelings, I won't keep a single without peers who are compatible in age or size. That said, of course, it does not always work this way and it is quite doable to raise a single kid even away from other kids, my point being that
we do see a difference to the point of some kids seeking solitude, showing sings of depression, all paired up with lack of vigor and decreased growth. We do our best to select our junior herd to grow out to their potential and the importance of littermates and same age peers seems to play a major role in our herd.