|Vera's buckling (l) and doeling (r)|
I continued doing chores, and at one point when I was in the other barn, I sat down on the ground and started playing with baby goats. Jonathan walked past, and we chatted a bit about his role in an upcoming play at the college. He left, and I continued to cuddle Lizzie's little doeling. Then I heard five short, rapid bleats. There was no doubt in my mind that was the sound of a goat seriously pushing. I put down Lizzie's doeling and ran next door.
Vera was standing there, looking at me, and there was a head hanging out of her back end. There was also a kid laying on the ground, still completely covered with an amniotic sac. I ran into the pen and dropped to my knees, pulled the sac off the kid, and started squeegeeing the mucous from the kid's nose. I didn't feel any movement, but I kept trying to wipe off the nose, holding the kid with its head down to help the mucous and fluid drain. Then I remembered that there was a head hanging out of Vera -- still! She wasn't even pushing, so I laid down the first kid and moved around to her back end on my knees, took hold of the kid by its head and front feet and pulled. It easily slid out. I broke the amniotic sac and tried to clean the kid as much as I could, although I didn't even have a towel.
I was pretty sure the other kid was dead. I ran into the office, grabbed the only towel in there, as well as the bulb syringe and the cordless phone. I called Jonathan's cell and told him I needed towels. The second kid was very much alive and shaking its head. I started suctioning the nose of the kid on the ground, but it was still not moving. I felt a heartbeat, but the kid was clearly leaving us. I briefly wished that I had the drugs that they have at the U of I vet hospital -- the ones they used to save little Marshall Dillon -- but then I remembered that the vet said we were lucky that he turned out normal. He said sometimes when a kid is oxygen deprived, they save it, but the kid is brain dead and has to be put down anyway. I lifted its leg and saw that it was a doeling. Jonathan arrived with the towels, and I cleaned up the second kid, a buckling. I had stuck him in front of Vera as soon as he was born, and she immediately started to lick him. Unfortunately, as a first time mom, she didn't know that she was supposed to do that with the kid that magically showed up at her back end before I arrived.
A few minutes later, she bleated briefly and pushed out another beautiful little doeling. And then Vera proceeded to spend the next hour or two licking and licking and licking. I had never seen a doe so bent on cleaning up her kids. They couldn't even nurse, because she would follow them with her mouth, licking and licking whenever they moved. If one would start to move towards her udder while she was cleaning the other one, she would immediately stop licking the other one as soon as she felt movement against her udder, then turn around and start licking that one. When I tried to help by moving a kid towards her udder, she would walk backwards so she could continue licking it. I know it sounds crazy, but it occurred to me that maybe she was trying to make up for not cleaning the first one.
I thought for sure that a pan of grain would take her mind off licking the kids, but it didn't. She took a few bites, but as soon as I got the little buckling latched on, she walked backwards and started licking him again. But as with everything else, patience and persistence finally paid off. Close to two hours after they were born, they finally nursed. I continued to worry about them and checked on them frequently all day. I had not tube fed a kid in six years before having to tube feed two of Coco's boys last week, and I'd be perfectly happy if I could go another six years -- or ten or twelve -- before I have to do it again. So, I was not going to take any chances on these kids falling behind with nursing.
They're doing great now, bouncing around, nursing and playing. And I just have to wait for Anne and Scandal to give birth. Anne is at day 148, and Scandal is at day 146, so it will be any day now. And the two heifers are also due any day now -- Molly was actually due Sunday, according to an online cow gestation calculator -- so we should soon have calves joining the other babies on Antiquity Oaks.