Sunday, March 8, 2009


We had baby goats today. This makes me happy - and I needed a bit of happy. I've been waiting and waiting and so looking forward to having babies and was devastated when the first batch died before I even made it to the barn. This time I swore to whoever would listen that I wasn't going to let anything happen.

I've been in the barn for at least half the day for the past two weeks. I've spent all night out there when it looked like Anya, mama goat, was getting close. She wasn't....and it makes for a rather long night. My intermittently charming spouse has been very patient with my being outside all the time. He's awakened me in the middle of the night to go down and check. He's made me sandwiches to take and hot rags to carry just in case. He forced me to go to bed twice because I'd been up for over 24 hours and had planned to go back yet again "just to check on her". He's been remarkably and uncharacteristically patient about it. He knew how much it hurt to have the other babies die.

So last night I was in the barn until about 11.30. I was tired and I didn't want to spend the night dozing while kneeling with my head laying on the goat's side. It was chilly and I was exhausted. So I went to bed and asked him to wake me at 2. He woke me at 2.30 instead. And again at 3 because I really didn't want to get up and crawl back into my winter outside gear and slog through the 3" mud mixed with cow shit and walk in the rain down the hill to the barn. I just really didn't want to. I got up at 3.30, I put on the gear and slogged and put a ball cap over my knit hat and nothing was happening beyond some stretching and yawning - something they do for no known reason when they're getting close to kidding.

I came back up at 6 and went back to bed. For some reason, I lose track of time in the barn. I always think it's been about 20 minutes when it's actually been a couple of hours. I woke up late. Really late. Then I felt guilty because I woke up late and wasn't already in the barn checking on things. Everyone needed to be fed because I didn't want to feed them at 3 am in the cold rain. They wouldn't starve overnight.

I got to the barn around 2 this afternoon. There was a bit of stretching and begging for treats which I hadn't brung with me. And then....contractions started. So I hauled the other doe into a different section of the barn. She was being a pill and trying to push her way into the grain bin we converted into a kidding pen. She was chewing on my hair and licking my coat and getting on my nerves, slightly, in a goat kind of way.I watched the contractions. I timed them - 3 minutes apart. I waited. I texted my sister and faux-step-dau to tell them babies were finally coming. I called hubby on the walkie talkies we use when I'm in the barn or he's in one of the other buildings. It's quicker than using the phone. I watched a while longer and the contractions didn't come any closer together so I made a run to the house to get hot molasses water, wet towels, another cup of tea and the sandwich that hubby thrust on me. Back to the barn. more waiting, more watching, shared part of the sandwich with the goat.

About an hour later, her amniotic sac broke. Now things would get interesting. It took 15 minutes or so and the first baby started coming. That was some slow going. Push, push, push, squalling all the time. Then take a break. More pushing, more squalling, another break. When the front feet had been out for a while, I decided to help a bit so I held the feet firmly while she pushed and the little nose started to show. Finally she got the baby out. It took about an hour. Poor mama. I dried the baby off as best I could while she pushed the second one out. We cleaned their little faces, she and I and I made sure they knew where the food was. Not as easy as you might think but it's important to get colostrum in them as quickly as possible. Anya, mama, kept licking and licking to stimulate them and clean them off. They finally seemed to get annoyed with all this licking but what could they do? They're babies and what mama says goes.

Two bouncing baby bucklings (as far as I can tell at the moment). One looks just like mama only darker. The other gives credit to his papa with a white stripe on his side and his pushy personality - already. We're deciding on names. So far Arnie, Artie and Fredo are topping the list. Fredo's pretty much a gimme; it's a choice between the other two now.

I love babies.....I'm out of cigarettes and I'm going to bed


Jes said...

Hooray baby goats!! They are so cute - girls checked out pics and are in love already - LOL!! now get some rest!! LOL

Esther Garvi said...

Aw, baby goats are the cutest!! We had a little doe last year and now it's almost time to bring our two ladies some male visit again. :-)