Monday, February 14, 2011

Jo's quads

I have to get this written before I forget everything! Tomorrow is the deadline to get my manuscript to the publisher for Homegrown and Handmade, but the goats don't know or care, and I don't blame them, of course. We've had four kiddings in the past few days -- three set of quads and one set of twins. Yes, that's a record for us. Last year, we had two sets of quads, and before that, we'd never had more than one set of quads in a year.

February 9 -- Jo's tail ligaments were rock sold, so we were all thinking she would be the third or fourth to kid. Charlotte's ligaments had been soft as a rubber band for days, so we were carefully watching her, thinking that she could drop kids at any moment. I even spent one night in the barn when it was really cold, because I didn't want the kids to get hypothermia. We finally found the baby monitor and got it hooked up so I could sleep in the house.

Jo's belted doeling
Wednesday evening, one of the goats was bellowing over the monitor for quite some time, although it didn't sound like she was in the midst of actually giving birth, so I sent Katherine to check on her. She came back with an inconclusive report. So, before I went to bed at 11:00, I decided to go check on her myself, even though she had been quiet for the last couple hours. When I saw her and checked her tail ligaments, I thought, yes, she could go at any time. So, I put her into a kidding pen with clean straw and bucket of warm water and came inside.

I was brushing my teeth, and Jo continued to make little "meh, meh, meh" sounds. As I was just about to get dressed for bed, Mike said, "I think I hear a kid." I listened, but I didn't hear anything. He insisted. "Don't you hear it?" Knowing that I would forever feel guilty if I didn't go check on Jo, I headed downstairs. As I was putting on my insulated overalls -- because it was 8 BELOW ZERO outside -- Mike yelled down the stairs, "That's a newborn sound!" He sounded really convinced, so I hurried outside. He said he would listen at the baby monitor, in case I needed help.

Jo's black doeling
I walked into the kidding barn and saw Jo laying right where she had plopped down fifteen minutes earlier when I left her. At her back end were three babies in a puddle of amniotic fluid. I started screaming a bunch of stuff that I didn't even remember five minutes later. It really didn't matter what I was screaming. I knew if Mike heard me, he'd come running, and I knew I needed all the help I could get. If we didn't get the kids dry and warm quickly, their ears could freeze, or worse, they would die of hypothermia. I ran to the office and grabbed the blow dryer and heating pad. When I got to the pen, I realized I needed towels, so I dropped everything and ran back to the office for the towels, running smack into the handle of a wheelbarrow in the darkness.

Jo's black and white buckling
Having no idea which kid had been born first, I spread out a towel, grabbed two kids and wrapped them up in it, while I toweled off the third one and began blow drying it. As soon as Mike arrived, I told him to start toweling off one of the other kids. We didn't even stop to check the sex of the kids until we'd been working on drying them for at least five minutes. Jo was making the most horrible noise. She sounded like she was dying, and she was shivering badly. We draped a towel over her back to help warm her. As soon as Katherine arrived, I told her to get the Nutri-Drench, which is a molasses and vitamin concoction that gives goats a little extra energy. I squirted some into Jo's mouth, and she continued making the pathetically weak bleating sound. About ten minutes later, she pushed out a fourth kid -- a doe. All of the kids were at least three pounds, so I wasn't worried about any of them.

It took two hours to get the kids dry, and by then, the placenta had passed. We helped the kids get started with nursing, and then shortly after 2 a.m., we went to bed.

Hope you'll forgive me for not getting any pictures of the blessed event. Jo's kidding was the beginning of a crazy few days, and these photos were taken when the kids were three days old. Unfortunately, I didn't get any non-blurry photos of the broken buckskin buckling, which is a shame, because he's really cute.

Coming up -- the stories of Charlotte's quads, Giselle's twins, and Bonnie's quads! Hope I can get those written before Carmen, Coco, Cleo, Caboose, and Lizzie start kidding! They're all due the 21st and 22nd, but Carmen has a history of going early.


SkippyMom said...

Wow - that's a full house! :) Congrats.

They are cute. I think the doeling needs a name like "Panda" - that is what she reminds me of. :)

Restless Prairie Farm said...

So cute!

Nancy K. said...

Congratulations on lots of healthy babies!

What a happy Valentine's Day that was!

Jane said...

Gotta love em' They are so cute! and you sure do have a house full.Sounds like an exciting time.Blessings jane

Jane said...

Gotta love em' They are so cute! and you sure do have a house full.Sounds like an exciting time.Blessings jane

LindaG said...

Wow. I didn't think quads were that normal. Congratulations on such good fortune! :)


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