Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Carmen's kidding

 Carmen and Rosie
Carmen was due to kid last week, and even after ten years of goat birthing, it was a unique experience -- starting with the last week or so of her pregnancy. I could see her belly bouncing from across the stall in the barn. And when she would get on the milk stand for her grain, I'd put my hand on her belly and feel the crazy kicking and squirming inside. It had me a little worried that someone might rip off an umbilical cord or otherwise get hurt. You know how us grandmas can be!

Thursday afternoon around three, Katherine came into the house and said that Carmen's water broke. So, I posted on Facebook, "Carmen's water broke! Babies coming soon!" I will never again do that! I wound up spending the next nine hours going in and out of the barn watching her and worrying. But I kept seeing her belly bouncing, so was not too concerned about the kids being okay.

Finally at midnight I decided I'd sleep in the barn. As soon as I walked out there at 12:20 a.m. with my sleeping bag and pillow, Carmen got serious. I pulled out my new camera and started snapping a few pictures. It wasn't too long before I saw a nose and then a whole head. And then ... nothing else. A contraction came and went. Carmen pushed. And there was still just a head.

I reminded myself that the kid looked perfectly fine and was very much alive, and that eight years ago, it had taken about 45 minutes to get a lamb out of her mama after her head had emerged because the mama was running around the pasture. And the little ewe lamb was perfectly fine. Still, I ran into the barn office to get rubber gloves and iodine. I squirted iodine all over my gloved hand and slid my fingers into Carmen to see if I could find a leg to pull on. There was nothing to be found within easy reach. After a few minutes, I decided to get Katherine to help because she has smaller hands, and it was a very tight squeeze in Carmen's pelvis.

I ran into the house and yelled, "Mike! Katherine! I need help! NOW!" Katherine was already asleep and was not terribly happy about being woke up in the middle of the night to help, but she sleepily put on her shoes and headed to the barn with me. It was not an easy task and took a bit of pushing and pulling on the head for her to find just the right placement of the kid's body in the pelvis for her to be able to get her hand in there to find a leg and pull it forward. Once she did that, it reduced the size of the kid's shoulders enough that she was able to pull it out.

The buckling looked huge, and I immediately told Mike to get the scale. I had to know what the little monster weighed! No wonder Carmen had trouble. A few minutes later, she was pushing again, and another black kid started to emerge. This one had both front hooves under its chin and came out without any help from us. It was a doe! And it was equally huge. I thought it might even be bigger than the buckling, which had weighed in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. As it turned out, the doeling weighed merely three ounces less than him.

Within ten minutes, both kids were walking around on wobbly legs, and five minutes later, they had both latched on and nursed. There was no hint that the buckling's entré into the world had been anything less than perfect. By 2 a.m., I was in bed.
Carmen and kids were the stars of Saturday's Farm Crawl.

Carmen's kids are all named after operas, and Mike suggested Figaro for the buck, so I decided to check out the Figaro opera for female names. The doeling will be Countess Rosina Almaviva, which I'll call Rosie for short. And I may leave off the Countess on her papers because otherwise, I won't have room to add her sire's name.

Rosie will be staying here as a future milker, and Figaro will be sold as a future herd sire ... although it is really tempting to keep him too!


Carolyn Renee said...

OK, this is the second blogging buddy goat birth I've seen at so "late" or "early" a time in the year. I didn't think that goats would be receptive to breeding in March.

The Little Red Hen said...

Carmen's goats are so cute!! glad everything turned out well.

Patty said...

Congratulations, Grandma! :) They are adorable, big babies. Is Carmen sort of a small girl? Those kids look so big compared to her, even for 4+ lbs. I love all your goat birth stories. I've learned so much from reading them, so big thanks for sharing taking the time to share with us.

Deborah Niemann said...

Yes, Carmen is a little doe -- only 19 inches! So, those are big babies for her!

Carolyn, NDs are supposedly year-round breeders. I say "supposedly" because sometimes they are and sometimes not. I'd like to do more fall kidding, but I don't always see goats come into heat in the spring. People down in Texas seem to have a lot more fall kidding than those of us farther north. NDs are originally from Africa, which is very close to the equator, so they don't have much difference in the length of their days, which is why the goats don't cycle seasonally the way that European breeds do. However, when you put them in a climate with longer days in the summer, most of the NDs tend to become seasonal breeders in my experience.


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