When I heard that Deborah’s goats were giving birth I was very excited. When she told me that she wanted me to take video or photos of a goat giving birth I was quite nervous. Deborah told me she would call me when one of the goats was in labor last weekend and so I waited. When she finally called to say Sadie was in labor, I packed up my camera and headed to her farm.
I am from a small town in Illinois about 30 minutes away from Saint Louis, Missouri. I spent a lot of my time there doing various activities with my church. So I spent a lot of time in the city. I have been on farms before and have seen farm animals. I live in an area where corn fields are abundant, but I have never seen a goat give birth before. Actually, the last time I had seen a birth was when I was in kindergarten and saw a guinea pig give birth.
When I got to Antiquity Oaks there was a lot of snow on the ground. I was dressed warmly because I knew these things could take time. I met Deborah’s daughter Kat and her adorable dog and we talked. Kat was home for the weekend from the University of Illinois. Everyone was able to hear the goats in the house because they had a camera with a microphone in the “kidding” barn. This provided a live feed to a TV that is in Deborah’s bedroom.
After a few minutes Kat and I went out to the kidding barn where I saw Sadie, Vera, and Giselle. They were so pretty but looked very pregnant. As Kat and I talked, she felt each one of the goats to make sure that their tail ligaments were still hard. Sadie's were soft which meant she was ready to go anytime now. Kat and I stood there talking and Sadie gave me the stink eye. Kat and I then moved to a different area to talk and Sadie sat down and relaxed.
We went back into the house and relaxed for a bit. We were sitting in the living room when all of a sudden, Kat’s dog goes over to a laundry basket and I look in and I see a baby goat! I wanted to cuddle with him. He looked so soft and so cute. He was very tiny, and Deborah said when she first saw him he looked smaller than a tub of butter. So I decided I was going to call this little guy Butter. I stuck my hand in the basket and noticed that Butter wanted to suck on my thumb and so I mentioned it to Kat and she said that he was probably hungry. So she went to get him a bottle. He was in the house because he was so small, he was having trouble maintaining his body temperature outside in the sub-zero weather.
As Kat went to get Butter a bottle I heard a loud scream. It sounded like someone was in extreme pain. Kat turned around, grabbed her coat, and ran out the door towards the kidding barn. Deborah came downstairs and told me to grab my camera and follow Kat. So off to the barn I ran while Deborah stayed behind to give the baby his bottle.
Once I got there I found Kat with a bunch of towels next to Sadie. I was nervous and excited. Kat told me I could come into the stall so I did. I bent down next to her and watched, and Sadie pushed and suddenly a giant squishy ball came out. Kat grabbed it and it popped, and a baby goat came out. It was so cute. I was amazed. As a Christian I had a moment of how wonderful life truly is and how neat creation is.
I then grabbed my camera and began taking photos as Kat began drying off the first baby goat. Not too long after the first goat came out, a second one was born. A third goat and a fourth goat came quickly too. The first two goats were girls and the second two goats were boys. I noticed that the first three goats got up and were walking around but the fourth goat was just lying there. It looked like it was sick. Kat noticed it too and she picked it up and rubbed its body to see if that would help. It didn’t. I felt so sorry for the poor goat. Kat then told me to put down my camera and asked if I would be okay to dry off the other three goats while she took the fourth goat to Deborah. I said I could try.
Kat then ran with the little goat in her hands and I was left there alone with three baby goats and a mama goat. I looked over at them and I was like, okay here I go! I went to pick one of them up when all of the sudden all three baby goats headed towards me. I stared at them for a moment and decided to just grab one. When I did, all three of them jumped on me and I fell over and laughed and screamed, “Attack of the goats!"
Kat came back and we got out a blow dryer to make sure all of the baby goats were warm. After the kids were dry Kat and I made sure that they nursed. They did really well!
Needless to say getting to see Sadie give birth was an amazing moment. I feel as though I have seen a glimpse of Deborah's day to day life. Not only that but to see something give birth is almost like getting to see hope. It is a beautiful thing to see a mother bond with her child and to see Sadie bond with her kids right after they were born was precious. Not only that but I went up to Deborah’s room and found Deborah cuddled up with Butter the baby goat and a book. It was adorable!
I got to see the passion that Deborah has for animals and the hard word that her husband puts in at Antiquity Oaks and how it pays off. It was such a blessing to be able to be at Antiquity Oaks at this time. Thank you Deborah Niemann for this experience! This has been one of the coolest internships ever!