Goat produces unusually high number of kids in litter at local family's farm
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
MAURERTOWN -- There's a lot of kidding around these days on the Orndorff family farm on Swartz Road.
Charlie and Carmel Orndorff's Boer goat had quadruplets on the first of the month, taking them by surprise.
According to the goat website, www.fiascofarm.com, a doe will most commonly give birth to two kids at a time, with one kid being the next most likely. It says three kids are not unusual, and four aren't common, but are possible. On rare occasions, a goat will have a litter of five or six babies.
The Orndorffs' goat doesn't have a name, but did produce twins last year. The 150-pounder took about 3 1/2 hours to deliver her little ones -- two girls and two boys.
"The first two were about 30 minutes apart, and the last two were about 15," said Mrs. Orndorff.
On Monday, the four were frolicking in the straw of their pen in a hay barn. Three are white with brown heads like their mama, while one female is a solid rich brown.
"That's unusual itself because neither parent is [brown]," Orndorff said.
They were nursing some, and eating a little hay. At one point, two goats nursed at once, one while making squeaking noises, and the other with a wagging tail. One climbed up in a milk crate to eat some more. Some of the others preferred to lie down for a little rest.
There are three dozen goats on the farm, with two more close to birthing, Orndorff said. One of their other goats had triplets last year. Except for three Alpine goats, they're all Boers.
"We will have goats from now till spring," he said.
The mother goat has done a good job nursing her young, the Orndorffs said.
"We haven't bottle-fed or hand-fed the little ones," he said. "They nuzzle her a little bit. And, there was no runt. That's unusual."
As market goats, the males are sold at about 4 to 6 months, when they're around 40-60 pounds.
"I get to keep all [of the] girls," Mrs. Orndorff said.
Orndorff said, "We only sell boys just to increase the herd."
And, he'd already decided they'd keep their unusual brown goat if it had been a boy.
The couple have been raising goats for about three years.
"I love it because I guess you become more attached to them than like a cow or something," Mrs. Orndorff said. "Because we make pets of them, I guess."