Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Special delivery!

It has certainly been a whirlwind week down on the farm.  After getting settled into a steady and generally relaxing three months of winter, March arrived.  With a vengance.  Followed by babies.  Lots of babies!
Friday the second of March brought tornado warnings to our area which is generally an uncommon event in our region, especially in early March.  I had five goats about ready to pop and I was willing them from the confines of my root cellar where I was sitting, NOT to go into labor now.  Fortunately they listened and waited until Saturday afternoon.  It was a pleasant, mild day so I spent part of my afternoon on baby watch sitting in the kidding stall reading.

Its' a boy!
Snickers was getting restless so I knew we were off to the start of our kidding season.  She went into labor and after a half an hour or so she was getting nowhere in her delivery.  I don't like to intervene but I just felt in my gut there was a problem.  I mixed up my lubricating gel, slimed my hand and proceeded to investigate.  All I could feel was a large bony something and it wasn't a head.  I think it was a butt.  It seemed to be wedged on the pelvic bone.  I sort of pushed and manuevered the kid around and it finally presented and popped out.  A beautiful baby boy!  He was followed in rapid succession by his two sisters.  Ginger, Snickers' stall mate and twin sister began helping  clean the babies and also started cleaning the afterbirth from Snickers.  Apparently all this motherly activity was just too much for Ginger so in 3 hours Ginger went into labor and literally popped out her first kid.  She was standing up at the time and before I could grab a towel the kid went sliding under the gate in it's slimy birth sack.  The next two came within a few minutes while I was still drying off the first kid.  Whew.  Six kids on the ground and doing well.  Don headed off to wash towels and get ready for the next blessed event.

I keep a baby monitor in the bedroom and I woke to the sounds of a squeaking kid at 4am on Sunday.  I thought a kid had gotten separated from its mother somehow so I went out to check on the six babies.  I did a head count and all seemed to be tucked in close to their mommas.  Why do I still hear squeaking?  Uh-oh.  It seems to be coming from the adjacent pen.  I go in there and I see three wet babies with Do-Dah working frantically to clean them in the sub-freezing chill.  Do-Dah is a stoic little doe and somehow managed to have three kids without uttering a peep, let alone the screams that usually accompany labor.  I was temporarily in shock. I finally regained my composure and yelled into the baby monitor which woke up Don, who promply came down to help.  I plugged in the heat lamp to help dry and warm the babies.  Two were vigorous and squeaking  and looking for a meal.  The third little kid seemed chilled so we brought her into the house and warmed her with the hair dryer.  Soon she took a bottle and she became our first bottle baby.

Jamboree, Do-Dah's pen mate also helped clean her two remaining kids.  Twelve hours later Jamboree decided it was time for her own babies to make their entrance and popped out three of her own.  She also decided that they were not hers because she apparently adopted Do-Dah's kids.  Long story short, it was easier to make them bottle babies than to fight with Jam over feeding them so three more bottle kids came into the house.  I just love bottle kids though.  Because I decided before the kids came that I was going to only leave two kids on their moms, I also took one each of Ginger and Snickers' kids and started them on the bottle.  Ginger and Snickers didn't seem to mind because between the two of them they were both feeding and tending 4 kids.  That's enough for any goat mom.

With four does safely kidded and all bottle babies fed, I settle into bed for my long winters nap, only to be awakened at 4am...again on Monday.  Tenacious my older doe was calling and nickering and generally making enough noise that I got up to check on her.  She didn't look like she was in labor and she has a history of a long preparation period involving much noise (talking to her babies I like to think of it), nesting and general restlessness.  Being the kind and considerate doe she is, she waited for an appropriate period of time which allow us to have some much needed coffee and a bit of breakfast.

Oh did I mention it was snowing really hard at 4am?  So much for considerate.  Anyway, at 9:30 in the freezing barn under a heat lamp she had beautiful twins, a boy and a girl.  All 14 kids arrived in the space of about 30-some hours and were doing well.  Finally we could sit back and relax and watch (and feed) babies.


  1. wow.....great word pictures forms, especially now that I have seen the end result. Would it be okay with you if I copy and repost on the wvfarm blog?

  2. That would be wonderful. Thank you!

  3. I'm not sure how all of this works. Do the bottle babies spend any time with their mothers?

    1. No the bottle babies were in the house and are separated from their moms. Now they are in the barn in a separate stall. They think I'm their mom now and that's why bottle kids make such good pets...they imprint on humans not goats.

  4. Well that was quite the 30ish hours!! Fun Fun...wish I were closer to help with the feedings!! ~~Rain

  5. Me too! Now that they are almost two weeks old it is like being mobbed several times a day.