Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anne's triplets

Saturday afternoon, dinner guests arrived early for a tour of the farm before sundown. As we were showing them the pregnant goats in the fancy new kidding suites, I suggested to Mike that he should get some practice checking tail ligaments, so he will know when a goat might give birth. When I felt Anne's ligaments, they were completely gone. Coco's were still cast iron, so it was a good lesson. However, no ligaments means that the goat is going to kid in the next 12 hours or so, and as I said, dinner guests had just arrived. Anne seemed content though, so we continued with our tour.

A little later, I went back into the barn to take Trouper for a walk, and I thought I'd also check on Anne. She was laying there with both legs sticking straight out, and I could see mucous hanging from her back end. I went back to tell Mike that Anne was getting closer, so Katherine would have to walk Trouper. Anne is a Sherri daughter, and all of the goats in that line give birth quietly, which always makes it seem quick, because we don't usually know they're in labor until the head is coming out. Sherri and her daughters also tend to have three or four every time, which means that if a person is not there to dry the kids, we'll lose one or two to hypothermia.

Dinner guests or not, I knew I was not leaving the barn until the kids were born. For the next hour, Anne was very quietly pushing while lying on one side or the other. If I were in the house relying on a baby monitor, I would have no idea that she was so close to giving birth, which is why we've abandoned the baby monitor in the house. It just does not work when you have such stoic goats.

Katherine joined me after walking Trouper and doing the evening chores. Finally we saw a little bulge, and then Katherine said, "There's a tail sticking out." I wasn't alarmed because her mama had just given birth to triplet breech bucks last year. But over the next few minutes, not much changed. I told Katherine to get the iodine. After squirting it on my hand, I ran a finger around the kid's butt. It was smooth as glass. There was nothing I could grab. The hind legs were clearly plastered against the kid's belly and chest, probably extending all the way to his neck. I only saw two options: wait or shove the kid back in and reposition it. I decided to wait. After a few more pushes, a couple inches of the kid emerged but was quickly sucked back inside.

"You little stinker!" I said to the unborn kid. Then I looked at the panting mama and said, "Do that one more time, Anne, and I promise, I won't let it go back inside." When the butt emerged on the next push, I dug my fingers and thumb into the kid's rump, hooked behind the pin bones, and held tightly. That was all she needed. I didn't even pull. Anne was able to take another breath, push, and the kid slid right out.

It was a buck, mostly black with a few white spots. I started drying him off and put him next to her face, so she could help get him cleaned up. About 10 minutes later, Anne looked like she was concentrating on something other than the kid upon which she had been lavishing so much attention. I reached for a dry towel as she made a little noise, and without much effort on Anne's part, a kid plopped on the straw still completely covered with the amniotic sac. I gasped and blurted, "Mama mia!" I popped the amniotic sac with my fingernails around the kid's nose and wiped it with the towel, so the kid could start breathing. It was a buckskin doe, who weighed a lot less than her brother. Why do the big ones have to come first? And see how big his butt is compared to his head? Head-first would have been so much easier.

A couple minutes later, with even less effort than the second kid (I know, how is that possible?) Anne pushed the third kid out, also with the amniotic sac intact. As I grabbed it and started to pull the sac off its nose, one of our dinner guests suddenly appeared and asked how things were going. The third kid was a beautiful black and white spotted doe, who was trying to stand within five minutes. As our guest stood there, and we chatted about baby goats, all three kids started looking for their dinner.

Did someone say dinner? Jonathan, Katherine, and Mike had all pitched in to get dinner cooking. I had started marinating pork tenderloin medallions earlier in the day, and I gave Mike instructions on how to cook them. Jonathan started a loaf of bread, and Katherine made manicotti and stir-fried garlic green beans. After I was convinced that Anne and her babies were doing well, I went inside and threw together a Caesar salad. It wasn't exactly the most organized meal ever created, but it was all delicious. When we finished eating, we realized we had not made dessert, and I suggested homemade caramel corn, because it's quick. Turns out our guests also make homemade caramel corn, so we compared recipes, but that's a post for another day.



Boy oh boy!! It's never a dull moment at Antiquity Oaks! What a good farmer momma you are!! I'm really impressed. I was getting breathless just reading your post. Congratulations!!

Genny said...

What beautiful babies. I'm so glad you were there to help Anne with the first one, poor mama. Will you keep the babies?

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Coneflower, you're so right about never a dull moment! Even though there is still snow on the ground, the sleepy winter is over. And I'm still waiting on Coco to kid any day now.

Genny, I do wish I could keep them, but since my children are growing up and leaving home, I need to cut back, so I'm only allowing myself to keep two doelings this year. One will be from Coco, because she's six now, and I've never kept a doe from her. She's only had one! I am thinking about keeping the black and white doe and perhaps selling Anne, but it is very hard for me to sell an adult, because I do become attached to them.

SkippyMom said...

What a lovely evening. I know I could never excite my guests with goat birth [although I wish I could] we have nice understanding friends like that too.

I just am in love with the first pic. She just seems to say "Nice job, eh?" We should all come out of giving birth to triplets looking like Anne. heehee

Congrats on the beauties.


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