Yesterday was one of those days that makes you think. What the heck are we doing kidding in January? Everybody with dairy goats starts kidding in January, but as my mama used to say (and probably your mama too), "If everybody was jumping off a bridge, would you do it?"
January kidding never seemed as crazy as jumping off a bridge until yesterday, but we certainly can't rule out the possibility that it will happen again. I'm so glad the girls were there, because we were all working like crazy to get the kids dry, so they wouldn't get hypothermia or frostbite. In three years, they won't be here. Next year, Margaret won't be here. And at some point, my part-time teaching will probably go to full-time. Kiddings should be scheduled for school breaks. I can't cancel classes every time I think a goat might kid. We currently coordinate our schedules, so there is always someone home.
Yesterday was wild. We had the heat lamp, a blow dryer, a heating pad, and a stack of towels. Between the first and second kid, the mucous-soaked hair on Sherri's tail froze. I tossed a couple of wet towels over one of the sides of the pen, and they froze to it, so they'll be there until the temps go up, since I don't want to risk ripping them to get them off.
I am so glad we have the office out there, because it was only a few steps away when we needed to warm up ourselves. It's amazing that animals survive in those temperatures when we get so cold, in spite of our triple layered clothes, coats, hats, double socks, and lined boots. When Margaret felt frozen and stood up to head into the office for a few minutes, she said, "I don't want to do this anymore." Florida Institute of Technology became Katherine's first choice for a college, and Margaret said, "I wonder if it's too late to find a college down south."
In spite of their complaints, the girls took turns going out to the barn through the day to check on the kids. One of the little bucks is polled (daddy is polled), and his ears kept freezing. The other two seemed to be doing okay. After the 11 p.m. check, when Margaret said, "Polled boy's ears were frozen again," we decided we had to do something since no one would be going out there to warm him up again until morning. I suggested that we cut a sock in half and use the cuff part to slip over his head and hold his ears against his neck. To my surprise, Mike said that there were already socks like that in the laundry room. No one knew where they came from, but Jonathan took one out there and put it on the little guy. Although the whole thing had slipped down to his neck, and his ears were sticking up this morning, they were warm. I don't know whether or not my little wimple helped him, but at least we tried. One ear has a bent tip, which is red, and I'm afraid that means it's damaged. Another kid has a bent tip also, but he has black ears, so I can't see any color changes.
Next goat due is Carmen. Day 145 for her is Tuesday, so she will probably kid between Tuesday and Sunday of next week. She kidded at day 143 one year, but hopefully she won't do that again. One reason Sherri's kids are probably doing so well is that they are big for baby Nigerians. Temperatures should be somewhat more normal next week in the 20s, which is nothing to celebrate, but it is better than the below zero temperatures we have been having!