Today a family from Chicago visited us because they'd like to help around the farm this summer, and they wanted to get a better idea of what it's really like on a farm. When I took them out to the barn, Scandal's udder practically smacked me in the eyeballs. A pregnant doe only gets an udder like that when she's about to have kids.
Mike had just asked me yesterday if we had a clean pen for her. Uh, no, but she's only at day 145 on Monday, so we've probably got a couple of days. Yeah, right! I came into the house and asked Jonathan to clean out a kidding pen while I finished up the visit with our guests. Then I went out and checked on her after they were gone. We checked on her at least hourly all afternoon, and around 4:30, I decided to stay in the office with a novel.
Every now and then I'd hear Scandal make a little sound, but I'd look out the window and see her staring at me, so I figured she just wanted me to come out there and sit with her. When I did sit with her, she was completely quiet. So, I stayed in the warm office and kept reading. It was 39 degrees F today and raining, which created an icky wet-cold atmosphere, even if you were inside.
I was reading in the office when I heard three screams in rapid succession. I didn't even need to look at her to know what was happening. I pulled on my coat and ran to her. As soon as I saw her, I noticed something black under her tail. I thanked her for her efficiency as I walked into the pen. I sat down in the straw and wiped off the kid's nose, and a moment later, the rest of the body was born. It was a doe! The heat lamp in that pen wasn't working, so I ran to the neighboring pen to take their lamp.
About 10 minutes later, a second doe was born. This one was very tiny, probably two pounds or less, but she seemed healthy. Then about 20 minutes later, just when I was starting to worry, a third kid was born -- a buck! By then, the first kid was standing and ready to nurse.
They've all nursed now and are wobbling around the pen getting used to their legs. The little buck is in the bottom picture, and he keeps holding his ear straight back instead of up. He reminds me of those pictures of Mercury in mythology. Clearly, the muscles in his ears work. He just isn't using them correctly yet.