So much has been happening the last couple days that I haven't had time to blog. Cleo kidded yesterday with buck/doe twins, and Lizzie kidded today with buck/doe twins. Both had fairly long labors, compared to our other goats. I knew Cleo was in labor yesterday morning when she wouldn't eat her grain and wouldn't stop talking to me. I sent Katherine outside to stay with her since I had to teach yesterday afternoon.
Cleo kidded around 1:30. Katherine said it was one of the most interesting births she's ever attended. The first kid was breech, but it was back legs first, rather than butt first, which is a fairly common presentation. She said that once the two legs were out, the kid started kicking wildly whenever she touched its legs. I've asked her to write up a blog post about it, but she's pretty busy with school. She started college this year and is taking four classes this semester, in addition to finishing up algebra at home. In any case, I will get up pictures of Cleo's kids tomorrow!
Last night, I went out to see Cleo's new kids, and I checked ligaments on the three other goats still due. Lizzie's ligaments were barely there. I may not come across as a satin PJ kind of gal, but I wanted nothing more last night than to put on my satin PJs and crawl into my nice, warm flannel sheets. After throwing a little pity party for myself, I decided that I couldn't risk having Lizzie kid in the middle of the night without someone there to dry off the kids, since the temperature was around freezing. I was pretty sure she was having twins, but I didn't want to gamble on that. Most goat mamas could clean up two kids before they got hypothermia in this weather, but probably not three or more. So I spent last night in the barn. Of course, she didn't kid.
Around noon today, I knew she was getting close. The upper part of her belly was completely hollow looking, meaning the kids had dropped. (See photo. Her belly isn't perfectly round anymore; there's a hollow area near her spine.) Poor girl couldn't get comfortable either. She'd lay down, push her legs out in front of her, get up, turn around, lay down, sit like a dog, get up -- you get the idea. At 12:30, I hurried inside for a quick lunch of Jonathan's pork chili. Then I was back in the pen with her at 12:45. She'd lay down against me, push a tiny little push, get up, take a couple steps, lay down -- and on and on. After an hour, I was about to fall asleep in the straw, so I decided to lay down on the futon in the barn office. Sneakers, the four-year-old barn cat, curled up next to me, and the next thing I knew, it was 2:45!
I momentarily wondered if I'd missed the birth. I had really expected Lizzie to kid sooner than that. Then I heard a loud bleat. Hmm . . . that could have been the sound of a goat pushing. A couple minutes later, I heard the unmistakable scream of a goat pushing. I pulled on my coat and went back out to sit with Lizzie. There was a bubble under her tail, so she was finally getting serious. Then there was another bubble. Oh dear, we had one of those last spring -- two kids were trying to be born at once. Then another bubble -- and another bubble! Yes, there were four bubbles sticking out of her back end. As a long string of expletives went through my head, I told myself she couldn't possibly be trying to give birth to four kids at once!
Then I saw a hoof in one of the bubbles. A few more pushes, and I saw a nose. Then I noticed there was a tongue sticking out of the mouth. Once the head was out, I realized it was quite a large kid. There was only one leg out, which the books will tell you is a problem, but it's never been a problem for us, and it happens a lot. A few more pushes, and a great big buckling was born! I didn't even look between the legs -- I was just assuming it was a buck because it was so big. Then I realized I hadn't actually checked the sex, so I lifted his hind leg as I was drying him, and verified my assumption.
With such a big boy being born first, the second one practically fell out. At least that's my perception. Lizzie might describe it differently. I did find myself scrambling to grab another dry towel, however, as I saw the second kid shoot out as if being fired from a cannon. One push delivered the head, and a second quick push delivered the rest of the body. There was no time for me to clean the nose before the little doe wanted to start breathing, so she did a fair amount of sneezing.
Both kids were up within 20 minutes, wobbling around the straw and looking for their first meal. The little girl caught on first and went back for seconds, thirds, and more helpings of mama's milk. The little boy took about an hour to figure out how the breakfast bar worked, but he's doing well now.
We're still waiting on Coco and Anne. I am starting to wonder if Anne settled when Draco bred her, because today would be day 150, and her ligaments were not soft when I checked tonight. Will we have more babies from Tennessee Williams?