Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Freshener...

I'm a day late on this post, and I apologize. I've been a bit busy with Celeste the goat. Celeste was pregnant and due to deliver her first baby (or babies.) Goats that have never given birth before are called "First fresheners." This is because a goat "freshens" when she begins to produce milk after kidding.

(NOTE: birth pictures follow. If you don't want to see, stop looking now! Consider yourself warned!)

On Easter Sunday, Celeste was restless. I kept an eye on her. By 3:00pm I could tell she was in labor. I gathered the necessary delivery gear and intensified the observation.
She spent a long time lying just inside the shed, where I could clearly see her from the house. Chanel, the horse, went out and laid down with her. She did something I rarely see her do, laid flat on her side, with her long neck pressed against Celeste. I think she was commiserating with her laboring pal.

Soon Celeste was up and pacing outside. And then two little hooves appeared. She stood up and with one giant push sent a kid flying out to thud on the ground.

All of this happened very quickly.

We scooped him up and dried him off, and moved his mama into the goat palace.

Moments later she began to deliver kid number two.

A boy and a girl. Both strong and healthy. But there was a problem. Rather than cleaning her kids and talking to them in a sweet goat voice, she looked aghast at them. I pushed them up under her nose, and she recoiled then tried to bite them.

In fact, she looked at them like they were knit out of a mass of writhing spiders. This presented a major problem. Mama's that think their babies are demons don't nurse them. Things looked grim.

Friend Marion came over and gave us several suggestions. One was to confine mama and babies to a small space, alone. Another was to tie mama up so she could not get too far from the kids, giving them more opportunity to get up to the milk bar. We did these things. And every few hours I would go out and hold Celeste still so the babies could have a chance to suckle.

I can't imagine why Celeste isn't enchanted with her babies. I certainly am!

We are still hopeful that given time Celeste will tolerate the kids better. Meanwhile, they are growing strong and beginning to bounce around adorably. One more goat is due to deliver any day now. Stay tuned.

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