January 6, 2014 Goat Mamas. The current very cold weather has caused a problem for my pregnant goats. If they deliver in the cold, their babies will freeze within minutes unless I just happen along at the right time. So I have moved the most pregnant females—five of them—into a small, hastily constructed pen in the greenhouse. For goats, a greenhouse full of plants is like a candy store for humans, so I hope they don’t escape from the pen and eat everything in sight. I also hope and that I have picked the right females, who are Gwenna, Sunshine, Sweety, Speckles, and Rocky Road. I left other females with the herd because they didn’t look quite as ready to deliver. It’s hard to tell with goats until a few hours before birth of the kid or kids. Sometimes they become vocal and start acting differently…sometimes not. Likewise, some are good mamas and some aren’t. Some nurse their babies on their own. Others have to be taught the procedure. A few never learn. We use Chloe, one of our Great Pyrenees dogs, to help clean up the babies, especially if twins or triplets are born. She’s a good helper. Greenhouse Heating. I have a 3,000 square foot greenhouse, covered with double walled poly and heated with a propane furnace. Should the furnace go down or the outside temperature drop so low (below -10F) that the furnace can’t keep the greenhouse at 45F, then an alarm system notifies me that things are getting too cold quite rapidly. At that point, I rush down, plug the propane furnace fan into a generator and/or fire up kerosene shop heaters, portable propane heaters, and anything else I can find. These latter solutions will not work well if animals such as goats are in the greenhouse because of the carbon monoxide produced by temporary heaters in a closed space. At -8F, the propane furnace barely maintains 45F while sucking up propane like a drunk with a new bottle of wine. I noticed on the news that the temperature up in the Yukon was exactly the same as what the Curiosity Rover is currently measuring on the surface of Mars.

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