Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Charlotte's quads

In previous episodes . . . Jo gave birth to quads at midnight when the temperature was eight degrees below zero. The next morning, the bucks were refusing to eat or drink, so Deborah spent the whole day running them down to the U of I vet clinic, only to learn that they were stressed out. Arriving home in time for supper, Deborah didn't get to bed until after 10 p.m., and then at 2:24 a.m., she sat straight up in bed and screamed, "Goat!" as the sound of a goat screaming over the baby monitor awakened her . . .

Charlotte's buckling
I knew it was Charlotte, because she had all the signs and symptoms of going into labor soon. I jumped out of bed and got dressed as quickly as I could. Because the temperature was in the teens (above zero), I told Mike that he and I should be able to handle it on our own, so he didn't need to wake Katherine. I grabbed an armful of towels and ran to the barn. One kid was already born when I arrived. I started blow drying it as Charlotte licked it. Unlike her half sister, Jo, who is also a Sherri daughter, Charlotte gave us plenty of time to dry each kid before pushing out another one. It was very considerate of her, and we thanked her profusely. By the time we got all the kids to nurse, it was after 5 a.m. as we headed into the house. I can't believe how few details of this birth that I remember, but I was running on empty at the time. Final tally was four kids -- two bucks and two does.

Charlotte's mini-me doeling looks like mama!
The next evening I noticed that one of the bucklings was sucking on Charlotte's beard. I tried to get him to latch on, but he wanted nothing to do with it. I was thinking about cutting off Charlotte's beard, but then I saw him sucking on a sibling's ear, so there didn't seem to be much point in cutting off the beard. His tummy didn't feel full, but I knew he had nursed well at birth. I did recall that he was the second one to nurse, and I'd seen him nurse more than once. He was big and strong, so I wasn't worried. I thought that maybe he was just being weird. But the next morning he was dead. I had heard stories of baby goats and sheep sucking on odd things and starving, but it has never happened here. I guess I always assumed it was something that might happen at birth if there is no one there to help the kids get started. It never occurred to me that a kid might be nursing and then totally forget how to do it. I still find it odd, but it is certainly something that I will be more careful about in the future. Of course, it could have been something completely unrelated to that, but it's the first thing that popped into my head when Mike told me the little guy had died. It's hard to believe he could go from bouncing around to dead in only nine hours.

Sundgau doeling make me glad I'm not a goat mama!
Tonight when we were doing chores, I noticed that Charlotte's udder was huge. It really looked like she needed to be milked, so I got a milk bucket for Katherine. The dear girl isn't used to milking much right now because the goats have only begun to give birth, and they're all nursing kids at the moment, so her hands were in pain fairly quickly. I noticed that the bucket was more than half full. It wound up being more than a quart! So, Charlotte certainly has a lot of milk -- more than enough to feed four. I'm glad because we do have a bottle baby now, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Coming up: I still need to tell you about Giselle's twins before you hear the wild news of Bonnie's birth. And there are exciting developments on Homegrown and Handmade!


Nancy K. said...

Oh, my Lord! You exhaust me, woman! Sorry about Charlott's buckling. What a sad thing to have happen. I guess it's better that it was one of the boys though. :-(

I can't wait to hear "The Rest of the Story"!


Happy Dreams!

Caroline in NH said...

Can't wait for the next installment, and the news on the book! (I'd like to hear that the e-book version is available a couple of months earlier than the p-book version, actually!:D )

LindaG said...

Fortunately it sounds like you have plenty of other babies to keep you busy. ♥

Paradise Found Farmgirl said...

What a terrific blog! Thanks for sharing.


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