Monday, March 14, 2011

Scandal's quadruple surprise!

Saturday morning dawned cloudy and cold. When I checked on Scandal, I knew she would kid before too long because I couldn't find her tail ligaments, and her udder looked full. I put her into a clean kidding pen and came back into the house. Each time I checked on her, she was quiet and calm. The thing you have to know about Scandal, however, is that she definitely falls into the category of "easy kidders."

The first year she gave birth here, it was quite the experience. It was our third kidding season, and we knew just enough to be dangerous. Katherine and I realized she was in labor, but it was quite early in the morning. I confidently said, "Well, Katherine, there's no reason for both of us to be out here. You go have breakfast. She's obviously not going to do anything very soon." So, Katherine went back into the house, and I sat down with Scandal -- without any towels or anything, because obviously she was not going to kid anytime soon, right?

She was making a few little "maa, maa" sounds, but they certainly did not sound serious. About ten minutes after Katherine had gone inside, Scandal stood in front of me, looked me squarely in the eyes, and said, "maa-aaa" a bit more seriously than previously. "That sounds like you might have actually made some progress," I said knowingly, thinking that perhaps I would see a bit of mucous when I crawled around to look at her back end. Did I see a bit of mucous? Yep -- and a whole head hanging out! Then she proceeded to quickly birth four kids, while I attempted to clean off their noses with my bare hands and no towels. That was a great lesson learned!

So, back to last Saturday -- I was on the computer when I heard several short bleats that sounded like Scandal was giving birth. I ran upstairs to get the towels out of the dryer, because Jonathan had used all seven of our goat towels to clean off Anne's kids the day before. By the time I reached the barn, Scandal had already cleaned off the first kid -- a doeling. Within a couple minutes, she gave birth to the second one -- a tiny breech doe. Then she started screaming in a different voice with her ears back. Katherine and I looked at each other. We agreed it was not good. Katherine looked under Scandal's tail and said, "I see an ear." Definitely not good! Kids are supposed to come out nose first when the head is presenting. If the top of the head is presenting, the kid is much wider and more difficult to push out. Thinking that we might have to push the kid back in and grab the nose, I jumped up to get gloves. Then Katherine said, "Oh! Got it!"

In spite of the larger circumference of the kid, Scandal had pushed it out all by herself -- and it was another doe! As we dried it off, Scandal didn't take much of a break at all as she proceeded to push out a fourth kid -- another doe! Four does! And then Scandal continued pushing. Katherine was sitting near Scandal's back end and said, "It's another bubble."

Is she having five?
"What? She can't be having quints! No one has two sets of quints in a single year!" And then Scandal pushed out three bubbles the size of oranges. No, it wasn't quints. It was just the beginning of the end of her labor -- membranes that were attached to the placenta. It really was not very nice of her to scare me like that. I was practically hyperventilating when I thought she was about to have five. But four does is quite an achievement, so I'm certainly not complaining.

I'll be keeping one of these because Scandal is 8 years old now. In addition to being a finished champion in two different registries, she also has a milk star, and she has the highest butterfat in our herd. Although we have a lot of goats that can produce more milk, Scandal can produce as many pounds of butterfat in two or three less months than goats who can produce fifty percent more fluid milk. And because we make cheese, we love the high butterfat.

None of the other goats are due until this weekend, but we are still waiting on Bridget the cow. Mike and the two-legged kids are on spring break this week, which means we will be getting a lot done, so you will get to hear about more than just goats this week. We have some amazing temperatures forecast in a few days, so hopefully we can get started in the garden.


Michelle said...

I still find it hard to believe that one of those little bitty goats can carry FOUR kids to term! Wow!

Mama Pea said...

Four does! What a good job Scandal did! What a nice gift to you at her age.

Carolyn Renee said...

I got the same "scare" this morning as you guys did with the placenta bubbling out like another kid coming! Our doe stopped at three though...and all does!

Congrats on your doelings!

Shula said...

Congratulations. And 4 does too. What a good girl Scandal is.

Nancy K. said...

I doesn't get any better than four healthy doelings and an unassisted delivery! You might want to keep two of those little ones...


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