I keep telling my goats this, but they don't believe me, particularly the baby goats. Especially if it's kidding season, the goats see me all the time. I'm either cruising through the barns and run-in sheds at all hours day or night or just sitting on a bucket among them to see what is going on and if anyone is acting suspiciously like they might want to kid.
In fact, the new bottle babies that end up in Rubber Maid tubs in the living room think that they own the house, because they only see me at bottle time during kidding season. They probably think, "Man, this is a great barn! Wood stove, color TV, and a maid." Of course they also probably think that the maid is pretty high handed to move them to the primitive barn when they start jumping out of the Rubber Maid tubs to explore their home. I mean, where's the TV at the primitive barn, they ask.
I find myself mainly outside or in the barn during kidding and also after kidding. Since our main kidding takes place in winter, all imminently due does are housed in the barn with their individual stall, water and hay feeder. That could be anywhere from 30-40 does at a time & it takes time to individually care for that many. So I'm mainly at the barn.
I do run up to the house to thaw out and put wood in the stoves and bottle feed any new babies, but mainly I'm at the barn, so you can see why the goats think I live there.
I had already had five girls give me four kids each and when my very favorite doe, Lightning Bug, popped out 4 kids and she was a good four teated doe, I told her, "Girl, I'm wore out. I've already got nine new bottle babies from triplets and quads, you are going to have to handle these four. I just can't do no more."
She just rolled her eyes at me and sighed, like she was saying, "You're wore out! Who's been kidding for you year after year, always giving you triplets, and always taking care of them? Oh, all right. So there's four, what's one more?"
So, like the trooper she is, she started training her four how they were to feed. The first week, it was anyone who wondered over could eat any time they wanted. The second week, she became a drill sergeant and started training them that all four had to eat at the same time, two on one side, two on the other. No fighting and messing about. Be polite or no one got to eat. Amazingly, it worked. The four kids dove under mom, fanned out, two to a side, and all nursed industriously for the few minutes she allowed at each feeding. It was amazing to watch.
And, watch I did. I felt so guilty to not take one or two to help the doe out and make sure that everyone got a good chance to eat, but I was all bottled out. If she had been a two teated doe, I'd never have left four on her. But, knowing who she was and she had four good separate teats, if anyone could do this successfully, it would be Lightning Bug.
But, still I watched. After watering or haying or graining, I'd stop by the stall and watch. I kept Lightning bug in a big stall where she could get the best alfalfa and also get grained twice a day, and have her very own protein block. I wormed her within 24 hours after kidding, and generally checked her over regular to make sure everything was good health wise. So, those four little kids saw me a lot, in between caring for the other 200 does and kids Lee and I took care of.
I would sit down on a bucket in Lightning Bug's stall to observe closely how things were going, to take short rest breaks, and eventually find myself nodding off. I can sleep on a bucket as good as I can sleep in an easy chair. I always wake up before I fall off the bucket, so it works out that it's time to get back to work.
While sitting there, Lightning Bug's four kids were usually bouncing off me, on me, under my legs, and once I nodded off and woke with a start to find four little kids reared up on me, peering into my face. I believe they were saying, "What she doing? Did she die?"
I told them then and there that I really did have a home and a place to sleep. They all went bucking off. "No, you don't. You live with us. This is your home," and they would bounce around the stall some more and bounce off me. Little twerps. "Come here and let me pet you," I told them. They'd come bucking over to get patted before I went back to hauling hay or water to someone.
I'd drop by a couple of hours later to see what was going one and the little things would come stampeding over to me, "She's here! She's here! We missed you so much! Sit on your bucket so we can jump off you! You are so wonderful!" I'll have to admit, no where else anywhere do I get such a reception. Maybe I am home.