Thursday, February 23, 2006

We have quads!

I am typing this post with a baby sleeping in my lap. Shortly before noon today, Star gave birth to four beautiful babies! She seems to have a fondness for boys (she's had 80% bucklings), and this time was no different. The first kid was a lovely little black and white flashy doeling, so we had our hopes up that she'd be giving us mostly girls this year, but that's not what happened. The other three were bucks.

We'd seen signs of impending labor for two days already, and this morning didn't seem a lot different than the last couple mornings. But at one point, Katherine went outside to check on her, and as if the whole thing were choreographed, Star's water broke just as Katherine looked into the stall. She came running back to the house, yelling, "Star's water broke!" I grabbed the camera and went to the barn. The first baby was born about 15 minutes after we got there, maybe only 10 minutes. It wasn't very long. Then Star spent another 10 minutes licking her and walking around in a circle. She pushed out the head of the second baby, and although she continued pushing, nothing happened. The little black head was hanging out, and the baby was yelling! I slipped two fingers into her and swept around the neck, looking for legs. The head should come out with legs, and since there were no legs out, it was obvious that they were twisted in some way that was making it difficult for the rest of the baby to get out. I found the left leg quickly, and pulled it right out, but I couldn't find the right leg, meaning it was probably straight back, so I gently pulled on the leg and shoulders, and the baby came out easily. The last two babies were born without much fanfare.

Since we have never had a doe successfully raise quads here, it was a quick and easy decision to take the little doeling into the house, even though Star is our best milker. If anyone could raise quads, I imagine Star could, but I've decided it's just too stressful to be weighing babies and trying to figure out if they're getting enough milk. Since goats only have two teats, it's not just a matter of production -- it's also a matter of the kids getting the time they need at the teats.

We have one more goat due now, and then we'll have a break for a couple of weeks.

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