Monday, May 1, 2006

No new babies today

Margaret finally came to bed last night at 1 a.m. I kept the baby monitor next to my bed all night, but Scandal slept just fine, and there were no new babies this morning.

This morning, she still looked the same, so Margaret and I had to take Hercules to the vet to have his leg checked. Three weeks ago he was delivered to me with a broken leg. He didn't have a broken leg when the transporter picked him up in Texas, but between there and here, he tried to jump a fence, got his leg caught, and he broke his leg. That took the whole morning after chores, because the vet is 50 minutes away. We pass four other vet offices along the way, but not everyone does large animals. It was one of the biggest shocks for me to learn that the vast majority of vets have no desire to see anything other than dogs and cats.

The vet said that Hercules's leg is healing well, but he needs to keep the cast on for two more weeks. The really good news is that his leg is continuing to grow. That had been a concern because the break was really close to a growth plate.

We called home for updates, only to learn that Scandal was still very pregnant. This afternoon, I spent some time sitting with her in the barn, which she seems to really love. Whenever we try to leave her, she has a fit. If we put her outside, she's okay with that, but it was windy today, and we've had bad experiences in the past with goats kidding unattended. Really, everything comes out okay, but when moms have three or more kids, they usually start shooting out really fast after the second one, and the mom doesn't have time to get them cleaned up. They are really wet when they're born, and they can get chilled very quickly. Of course, hypothermia can kill them very quickly. Scandal's labor is stacking up very much like Dancy's labor of 2004 and Sherri's labor of 2005. In both cases, we saw signs of early labor with the goats for two days. In both cases, someone even spent the whole night in the barn with them. In both cases, we got really frustrated after two days, decided we didn't know what we were doing, and we left. In both cases, we came back to find three babies -- two nursing and one covered with mucous and nearly dead. Luckily, in both cases we were able to save the babies. By plunging them into a bucket or sink filled with 100 degree water, and then wrapping them in a heating pad, we were eventually able to get their body temperature back up to normal. The first time, it was really scary. The second time, I was really angry at myself for having to save another baby from near death by hypothermia.

Scandal isn't screaming or doing anything to make me think she is in distress, but the area between her ribs and her hips is hollowed out, which usually doesn't happen unless they're within 24 hours of giving birth. For the past 24 hours, I've continued to think that it won't be much longer ... eventually those babies will be ready to come out, and we can't forget that! I held my hand on her belly this afternoon, and the kids were kicking and wiggling around in there.

This evening, we put up the bucks across the creek in a pen made with temporary electrical fencing, so they can get some of this wonderfully fresh spring grass. Temporary fencing is made to be easily moved so they can have new fresh grass when they eat everything in their current pen.

My ankle is improving slowly. It still hurts a lot, and it has turned all kinds of pretty colors, but it only swells if I've been on my feet for an hour or two. That's an improvement. When I wake up in the morning, it feels good.

It's been a long day. The sun is going down later. We didn't get inside until after 8:00 tonight. I still need some dinner.

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