Sunday, March 8, 2009

I catch a kid...

The day finally arrived when one of our does liked having me there when she delivered.

It was Elegant, sweet girl!

Elegant had grown right along with her pregnancy, and was looking like a copper blimp. She had grown more and more affectionate. We kept an eye on the calendar and on her, and on the sunny Saturday morning when we figured she was due, she kept close to me during chores.

And when I rubbed her, she voiced her approval in a tender way.

I added some fresh hay to the milkroom and led her into it, and sat on the milkstand so I could see what was going on. Not much, unfortunately.

I left to get some chores done, but she called after me in a loud Nubian voice. The rest of the ladies lifted their heads, then went back to eating their breakfasts.

The sunshine was warmish, but the milkroom was in the shade and cold. I grabbed a warmer jacket, the washbucket, some rags, and a brush. Might as well do some goat grooming while I kept near her.

By the time I got back to the barn, she was lying down and breathing hard. Her mouth was a bit open and she was looking off into space. Hmm! It looked promising.

Then she pushed. And pushed and pushed.

I had no idea how much was a normal amount of pushing, and when I should become concerned. I hurried to let myself into the milkroom. The brush, rags and water went on the little shelf, and I knelt down at Elegant's rear to see what I could see.

Not much.

I have a great respect for natural processes and think we all must work pretty well or we wouldn't have survived this long. So I was ok with waiting and seeing. Except for my natural impatience.

I couldn't tell what might be going on inside with the baby or babies, but goat people had told me the babies had to get themselves untangled and lined up during labor so they could come out face first.

In fact, the normal position, as I reviewed for myself, was the two front legs coming first with the nose just behind the tiny hoofs. Anything else was difficult to make come out right.

After some waiting, she pushed again and I saw a bubble about the size of my fist appear. The front of the baby should be in it, and what I wanted to see as I peered more closely was what part of the baby.

More pushing on Elegant's part gave me a better view, and I quickly saw the two white hoofs. But where was the head? The murky fluid in the bubble didn't give me a good view. Why hadn't I thought to bring a flashlight?

I called to the children, who were out and about doing jobs or cavorting on this first beautiful day of the Spring. I knew they wanted to see the birth. But Elegant was pushing harder now and I went back to trying to figure out if the kid was in the right position.

I was trying to discern the contents of the bubble when suddenly it surged outward and a blackish kid plopped onto the straw, with his face still in the sack.

Elegant reached around and made tentative licks on his tail. But his head was still covered, and he was bobbing his head up and down as if he were trying to get that thing off. I couldn't wait. I pulled at the sack. It was fairly tough, but in a moment - who knows how long! - I had it open and the baby let out a tiny, infantile meh! meh!

Elegant looked startled by the sound and began to lick him more vigorously. Then she quit and began to push again. I rubbed the baby with a rag fairly vigorously and he seemed fine. Then another bubble appeared: Baby #2 was about to be born.

She slid right out. She was red like her mom, but with spots. Cute bright white spots! The sack broke right away and she shook herself.

Sad to say, I scooped them both up and ran them to the house. Elegant would have to love me instead of her babies. She was soon milked, and the babies were fed and settled down to sleep. I treated her to her 'goat tea', the bucket of hot water new mama goats so appreciate, and I brushed her and talked to her and she rubbed her head on me.

The babies were first a little buck, then a little doe. They were gorgeous, with long Nubian ears and a bouncy attitude. We didn't name the little boy because he would end up as someone's pet (and only if he were lucky), but the little girl became Anandalila Velvet and took after her mom in temperament as well as looks. It was a beautiful day!

Elegant had done well for a new mom. Next time she might do more licking and be more self-sufficient. Within a few days she would be one of the goats who leapt onto the milkstand in her turn. And when she saw her babies again, she wouldn't know them. And wouldn't miss them.

At least so we hope.


Tessie258 said...

OK so I'm confused...I haven't read every post because I've been busy but don't the babies get to stay with mom for a little while? I thought they would stay for a few weeks and then wean them away....sheez shows what I know about animals. Kind of seems mean.

Peg Lewis said...

There are many ways... In the story about Monique having her babies, I talked about the reasons we chose this one.

Today I might do it differently. Except for the scourge of CAE. But none of that has happened yet...

Real said...

Yeah, I don't know if I can handle any more stories about baby goats being separated from their mamas. I don't even like goats, but those stories almost make me cry.

Eloise said...

There are other methods now, but most dairies still practice that method. Baby goats usually only nurse for about 8 weeks, as it is. People disagree on whether or not bottle-feeding makes friendlier babies. Some say that mother-raised babies who are handled daily are just as friendly.

One method keeps the babies exclusively with mom for two weeks, then starts locking the babies in with feed and friends at night. Then, the doe is milked in the morning, and the kids are allowed to nurse as much as they want all day.

CAE is a serious disease among goats, which behaves curiously like HIV. There are many cases of false negatives of CAE, and it is transmitted to the kid through the milk. It is a horrible and debilitating disease and is present in about 85% of the goat population. So, bottle feeding of baby goats can be really important in situations where CAE may be present in either buck or doe. CAE cannot be transferred in any form to humans, but, in goats, can permanently cripple them within 6 months of life. It's really horrible.

Tessie258 said...

Wow..I really don't know anything about that! See what you learn from Blogging!