Monday, May 26, 2014


One of the projects for yesterday was to begin to move the manure pile. My plan is to take wheelbarrows full of the stuff and bank around the base of the little animal shed, and also to haul it where we have recently whacked down an old hedge, mounding the manure over the stumps to help encourage them to decompose, while hiding them under a nice row of what will soon be good, grassy, dirt. It's going to be a project!

Part of the reason I wanted to tackle that particular job yesterday was because I wanted to be near the goats. Novella was due to kid on the 27th, but she was acting like things might go sooner. While the other goats were out grazing, she was hanging tight in the shed, calling out from time to time. I kept going in and petting her. Around 3:30 I noticed she was in serious labor and gathered up my supplies.

I plunked myself down in the deep bedding of the goat room, and she seemed to be glad of the company. After a while my visiting daughter and husband joined us. We all noticed how cozy the little goat room is. A slice of afternoon sun cut through the old glass window and the air smelled like hay.

Soon she began to push, and I wont lie, she wasn't happy. There were some pathetic sounds coming out of that poor little goat!

A bubble of amniotic sac emerged, and in it, a white hoof, then a second hoof. They were big, and attached to heavily boned legs. After some heroic pushes I could see a little nose. Then I broke the sac so the little kid could breath. I wrapped my fingers around those little legs and as Novella pushed I gently pulled a bit. With a rush the head and shoulders popped out, and Novella looked much relieved, and a little shocked. She rested a moment then pushed the rest of the kid out. A black and white buckling.

Eyes wide open, covered in goo, he breathed immediately and began looking for something, anything, to suck on. I pulled him up to the new mama's head and she began to clean him off, uttering little bleating sounds deep in her throat. He answered in a high, sweet voice. Since he was large I assumed that he might be a single kid, but I pushed up on Novella's belly and could clearly feel another hard little body there. Moments later we had a repeat of amniotic sac bulging out, little hooves and a nose. This kid was smaller and a much easier birth.

Another buckling, sturdy and strong, gasping for air and looking for lunch. Both kids were up and toddling in no time, their thick coats drying with the help of the sun, some towels and their good mamas devoted licks.

We brought a quart of goat electrolytes in cool water out for the mama, and after a quizzical taste she drank down almost every drop. Then she had a little snack while her kids figured out how to access the milk bar. Once everyone was full the little family settled down cozily, muttering small noises to each other in a pleasant conversational tone.

I am filled with gratitude for the healthy new lives on our little farm, and happily anticipate the antics that are soon to come as the kids grow sturdy enough to frolic and play in the spring meadow.

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