Tuesday, April 25, 2017

And then there were seven...

When the handsome Nubian buck goat came to visit us last November, Jane Doe was the first lady goat to fall under his spell.  This meant that she should have been the first to deliver, around April 4th by my careful calculations.  But she did not.  Days passed, the other goats had their babies, and still Jane languished.  I began to joke that she was not pregnant at all, but her large abdomen was inhabited by an alien.  (In fact, she did not "take" that first mating, and mated later in the month, unbeknownst to me.)
All day Sunday she acted odd.  She kept away from the rest of the herd, spent a lot of time lying down, and in general was not herself.  Monday she seemed more normal, but subdued.  This morning I knew the time had come.  The ligaments around her hips and tail bone were very loose, her udder was enlarged, she didn't want to eat, and was pacing.  

Luckily she hung out near the studio windows, so we were able to keep an eye on her while we started our first dog grooms.  Suddenly Rachel announced, "She's kidding!"  I looked out and could see something protruding under her tail.  We grabbed towels and headed out. 

Two very large feet were making an entrance to the world.  Jane stood outside, and screamed. She's always been a vocal girl, but the screaming was horrible and seemed endless. A terrible sound, an animal in distress, it cut me to the quick. To my total surprise, Celeste, Jane's birth mama, came to comfort her.  She pressed her head into Jane's neck and rubbed against her. It was quite touching. 

 We tried pulling gently on those huge hooves, but the kid was stuck fast. 

 A little nose and a sliver of pink tongue protruded. Then the tongue began to turn blue.  Jane pushed and screamed and working by gut intuition I slid my fingers inside her, on either side of the kids head, and felt around for something to get a grip on.  (Side note: there is very little I have ever experienced that is as slippery as the goo that helps a kid be born.)  Things happened fast but I got my finger tips wedged behind the jaw bone on one side and near the eye socket on the other and when Jane next screamed and pushed I pulled.  With a popping sound and a rush of fluid, an enormous head and two thick legs slid out.  In just a moment the rest of the kid emerged and landed with a wet splat on the waiting towel we had spread out.   Jane began to clean him.  He was so large that I suspected he was a singleton.  Daughter Rachel had everything under control, and I had dirty dogs to groom, so I left her to it.  

I went back to work and a moment later received a text message, "A second buckling just flew right out!"  I was most surprised.  

Two healthy boys, up and nursing in moments, and Jane, a first time mama, was taking it all in stride.  Rachel got her moved into the goat cozy and brought her a bucket full of warm electrolyte water, (think: goat Gator Aid.) Jane drank it down gratefully, grabbed a mouthful of hay and then went back to cleaning and drying her new treasures.  

Soon the two newcomers will pile up with the these 5 and add to the whimsy that is encapsulated when you have a whole mass of precious baby goats lying in a warm tangle.  I can hardly wait. 

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