Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sherri's triplets (for the sixth time)

Sherri is seven years old, and she came to live here as a yearling. Her breeder said not to worry about kidding difficulties. As a yearling, Sherri kidded in the pasture with triplets while her owner was preparing a kidding pen for her. Well, "don't worry" is subjective. It kind of depends on what you want to worry about. I do not have to worry that she'll have any sort of dystocia issues. Her pelvis is big enough for a Mack truck to go through at top speed. However, there are things to worry about.

As a two-year-old here, we thought she was in labor for two days, and we kept her in the barn. Then I finally decided that we had no clue what was happening, so we let her go out into the pasture. About 15 minutes later, my son reported that there were three kids in the pasture with her, and one wasn't looking good. When I got there, I thought it was dead, but my daughter insisted it was alive. We brought the tiny doeling into the house and put her in a sink of warm water, because she was ice cold and clearly suffering from hypothermia. She finally snapped back into the world, and she grew up to be a fine doeling. I, however, am still traumatized by the experience five years later. Sherri gives birth too efficiently -- so easily that she doesn't have time to clean off the three or four kids that she always births.

Every year, Sherri makes me think she's going to kid "any minute now" for about two days. This year (as in years past), I thought that I was older, smarter, wiser, and I'd know. Right? Wrong! For two days, I kept thinking that she was going to kid soon. Although she didn't act like she was in labor, her belly was hollowed out between her ribs and hips on Saturday, and her ligaments were so soft that they could be gone any minute. Her udder didn't look like it was ready to explode, but there's a little wiggle room in that particular criteria. On Sunday, we had tickets to a Broadway play in Chicago, and I tried to explain the situation to Sherri, but she looked at me like I was nuts. "Could you please have your kids now? Within the next hour?" Nope. Katherine stayed home on kid watch. Even though Sherri wasn't showing signs of labor, she can go from 0 to 3 kids in about 20 seconds. So Katherine waited . . . and watched . . . and waited . . . and watched . . . and you get the idea. Sherri did not kid Sunday while we were at the play.

Monday morning, the ligaments were gone, so I knew it would be soon. But the thing about Sherri is that she is the most stoic goat in the world. She makes NO sound until the kid is actually being born -- as in, the kid is shooting out at that moment. This is not a big deal for Shetland sheep people, because practically all Shetlands are quiet as a lamb when giving birth, but most goats are kind of wimpy and loud.

Logic and science not being on my side, I decided to appeal to Murphy's Law to get Sherri to go into labor. I told Katherine that I was going to make some bran muffins. I figured that I'd be in the middle of making muffins when Sherri would start to give birth, because that would be really inconvenient. I mixed up the muffins, peeled and diced an apple, put the muffin batter in the oven, and still no sound from the kidding barn. Fine! I'll have lunch! I heated up some left-over tamale pie that we'd had for dinner the night before, and I sat down. I took a bite . . . and, "Maaaaaaaa!" came over the baby monitor. Katherine looked at me and laughed as I said with a mouthful of food, "ONE bite!"

"I'll check on her." Katherine said. A moment later, as I was in the middle of my second bite, I heard her scream over the monitor, "Baby!"

With my mouth full of tamale pie, I pulled off my reading glasses and dropped them on the table, dashed to the front door, pulled on my shoes and ran across the yard towards the barn. (Note: Chewing and running are really not compatible activities. Do NOT try this at home!) I arrived at the kidding barn as I was swallowing my tamale pie, trying not to inhale anything and choke.

Katherine was laughing about Sherri's impeccable timing, and I suggested that she retrieve her brand new camera from the house so that we could get pictures. (She's been saving her money for months to buy a fancy DSLR camera.) She took my advice and then proceeded to take more than 100 photographs of the birth. They're truly amazing, and I'm trying to talk her into making a slide show for us! (Hint: If you want to see it, and enough people ask in the comment section, maybe she'll do it!)

Sherri took an unusually long amount of time between kids this year. For her, that means we were able to get each one dried off before the next one was born. It was really fun compared to most years where she is spitting them out faster than we can dry them or even check the gender of each kid.

The first two kids were does, and then she had a buck, which is pretty cool, because that is exactly what was reserved from her. So, yes, that means that all these sweet little darlings are going to another farm to live. But that's okay, because this was a repeat breeding of the one that produced Jo, whom I dearly love. She fed triplets last year as a first freshener, so she's an awesome little milker.

Back at the ranch, uh, house, the timer on the oven was going off. Luckily, Jonathan was still inside, and he knew it was for the muffins, so he pulled them out of the oven. No one, however, knew that I had put my big tomato plants out on the deck for their hardening off time (including the beautiful green zebra I wrote about yesterday). When I came back inside an hour later and saw them out there, they were only a little wilted, and I pulled them inside immediately.

If you want to see some of the pictures of Sherri's actual birth, I've created a photo album on the Antiquity Oaks Facebook page, so you can check it out. Warning: They are not for the faint of heart, as they do contains things like blood, amniotic sacs, and other bodily fluids and tissues.


LindaG said...

Congratulations! They're all cuties. :)

SkippyMom said...

i know i shouldn't laugh, but the picture you paint of the stoic goat and the running and chewing. Oh, too funny. Congrats on the trips!

And yes!yes!yes! please may we have a slide show :D


Related Posts with Thumbnails