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Friday, January 18, 2013

Nobella the noble and lovely

The nice thing about winter is that I have time to do things that just aren't in the schedule during the summer, like write this blog. Winter brings with it its own joys and challenges.

Wednesday it snowed, and it snowed all day.  Wednesday was the first day of "heat watch" for Bella.  I looked at the snow, prayed that I would see no tail wagging, and as the day progressed and the snow kept falling, I decided if she came into heat, I'd wait for the next cycle, if there is one.  February, after all, is a bit late in the season.  She was pretty loud that day, but no other signs of heat, and when I put them all to bed, I was thankful that Bella hadn't shown any physical signs yet.

Thursday dawned cloudy but warm--warm for January, anyway--and the snow started melted a bit.  I checked on Bella in the morning, at noon, and around 3:00, at which time I gave the backup crew the news that, no, today was not the day.  At 7:00 I went out to the barn to fill the hay feeders and give the goats their grain.  In came Bella, tail just a-flaggin'.  She was cozying up to Leah, who swung her head in aggrieved irritation; forgetting or ignoring the fact that Violet and Beatrice butted her every time she came close.  Oh! the joys of goat heats!  Their personalities change, and the only thing on their mind is getting rid of the itch. 

I called the backup crew again and told them we were on for the morning.  Now, I'm always a little concerned about waiting, because a doe stays in heat only 12-48 hours, and I know of a few that were even harder to catch, for their heats lasted only 6 hours, sometimes less.  The there's always the possibility that the transport itself can end the cycle.

Today dawned clear, cold, and bright.  Bella exited the stall with her tail flagging almost constantly.  When Charles got there with his Goatmobile, we packed her in, left the care of my mother to my son, and off we went.  Could the timing be more perfect?  It was very cold, true, but the sun was shining, the roads were clear, and the doe was in a standing heat.

We separated Ike from the herd, brought him into a separate area, and introduced him to Bella.  It was love at first sight, and when we left a half hour later, they called to each other plaintively.  She's bred, covered twice, and I can only hope that timing being so perfect on all other accounts, she'll present me with Sable kids in June.

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