Friday, January 9, 2009

They Do It To Me Every Year....

My wife calls it "Cute Season"....
Some people call it "Kid Season"....
I am about to start calling it "Aggravation Season"....

Don't get me wrong, I love it and it is always fun trying to "out guess" the goats. It just never fails, they win in the end.

We have one Boer Doe (sounds French, doesn't it?), that always "drops" at least 2 weeks before kidding. She also will "bag", loose her ligaments, and show other signs of "eminent" birth. Then it's a waiting game.

Mean while, one of the other goats - who isn't supposed to kid for another 10 days - decides to have hers first.

I just wish they'd stick to the schedule...

Instead, they plan on giving birth at 2:30 in the morning, during a snow storm, with wind chills below zero.

I think they are toying with me.

Yesterday morning, I was out in the barn trying to finalize a couple of stalls for the new moms, when I decided to check on Chocolate (she's the "Good Year Blimp" of a nanny that always plays the silly waiting game). I observe her with her face stuffed in the hay feeder, munching away. Meanwhile, I hear a load "BLAAAA!" coming from the other room. I turn just in time to see Carmel flop on the floor like she had been shot. It took me a couple minutes to make my way over to her, and in that time, the kid started coming. It's head was all the way out.

Unfortunately, it's front feet were still inside.

We waited over 2 hours, and it wasn't getting any better.

Deb's dad and our neighbor gave me valuable assistance during the ordeal (the neighbor came down to help - Deb's dad would have, but he is over 200 miles away...). The neighbor told me to push my fingers inside along the baby's neck and see what I could feel. I found that one of the baby's knees was trying to enter the birth canal, along side of the neck. This was different from earlier in the day. I ended up pushing the knee back down with my finger and pulling the baby out. I had helped "pull" calves before but, this was the first time I'd ever had to do it for a goat. I'm just glad we were home.

This was OBVIOUSLY painful for mom, but was a GIANT relief for her when the baby came out. The baby was weak, but soon was up wobbling around on it's own.

Meanwhile, Chocolate still messes with our minds.....



When I first saw this photo, the first thing to pop into my mind was - "Driver! MOVE THAT BUS!" You can just see Chocolate's horns above her huge body. Bunny is right behind her.

She was number one on the "I got bred" list, but she has slipped down to number 4 on the birth chart.

See more goat photos here. Deb's blog is also a good place to go for more goat stories. To go there, click here.

So, true to form, a nice snow storm came through Friday evening. Not very much accumulation - only an inch or so - but the temperature was 18°, and the windchill was -1°. I checked on everyone at about 10:00pm - all is well. Chocolate is still a blimp, and everyone is bedding down for the night. I decided to go get a "nap" and come out later.

Besides, Tractor Buddy was on duty:



At a little after 1:00 am on Saturay, I wandered out to check on things. Turned out, I was just about right. The first of Chocolate's twins was a few minutes old and the second was about ready to come out. She had a boy and a girl.

I used Deb's hair dryer to warm them up and dry them off. The nice warm "kid can" sure made them happy. Neither one wanted to go inside (and the three cats had to be chased out) but, once inside, they REALLY liked the warmth it provides.

In case you don't know what a "kid can" is - I take a good, clean, 55 gallon drum (metal or plastic), cut a 9" x 9" hole in the side, at the bottom. Then I install a light bulb socket close to the top and add a removable lid. Add a nice 75 or 100 watt light bulb, and you have a nice "brooder" for goats.

As of last week, I only had one kid can. I needed to find a couple more barrels to modify. After a few phone calls, I got in touch with a neighbor - who is also a car dealer in town. He told me that there were a couple barrels sitting in his yard that I could have. They were REALLY appreciated! It only took about an hour, and I had two more 'cans!

Now, we have two more goats to kid, then four more in March.

At least the March ones have a CHANCE of not being in a snow storm!

I did finish three stalls in the barn. I used some of the wood from the buildings we tore down last year. The Stalls end up being 65" deep and 40" wide. It might not seem like a lot of room but, it ends up being more then enough space for mom and baby. They'll only stay in them for the first few days anyway.

The "new" part of the barn is also the warmest. It the most "open" but the wind has to wind around a couple of corners to get there. I found out the difference this morning. I noticed that the two water buckets in the "old" part were frozen solid. The two buckets in the "new" part just had a "skin" of ice over the top - even with temps in the teens outside.

Now, I've got to go back outside and check one more time before I can go get more then just a nap.

The goats might have to wait for breakfast in the morning.....

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