Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Wee One

Welcome to Wednesday, the most celebrated day of W-week!
Yesterday evening, as I was doing the last check on all the animals, I felt Helens tailbone tendons as I've done twice a day since Friday.  They were so soft they couldn't be felt... meaning birth was just around the corner!

I couldn't sleep.  I wondered if I should wait up.  I checked on her again really late (ok, maybe it was 10 but that's well past our normal bed time!).  She seemed annoyed by me. I didn't try to touch her, I just wanted to watch her to see if she was contracting.  Nothing.  I sadly went to bed.  At midnight I woke up and checked again.  Again, I seemed to be a nuisance.  3am: same thing. 

I gave up on sleep at that point.  I moved to a different room and began reading through our books about goat birth.  Husbandman teased me saying, "Like what?  You haven't done this before?"  Truly, this would make our 10th kid born here, but every goat is different and this being Helen's first on my watch, I was nervous. 

The baby woke up at 5.  I fed him and checked again.  Again, I was disappointed.  I crawled in bed and slept for an hour.  I went outside after a normal morning, making phone calls actually, at 7:30.  Helen didn't come up with the crew wanting breakfast.

I found her in the back, feet already out, laboring silently.  She didn't like me getting close so I watched from a distance.  It was clear she didn't need me so I ran to get the kids.  By the time I made it back to the pasture he was out and she was dutifully cleaning him.  I never would have heard her in the middle of the night.  Contrast that with Fudge, a prior goat who really wasn't so lovey dovey normally but during labor would practically climb into my lap screaming.
He was just starting to nurse when I had things set up to take him away and milk her.  Oddly she really didn't protest when I scooped him up.  I had a little bit of a chase getting her to come with me to the milking stand.  She immediately gave over a half gallon of colostrom.  The little farmer girl helped to bottle feed him.  He ate ok.  I'm somewhat concerned about him as he's panting a lot.  Its a little warm but not that bad.  He's always in the shade and is eating frequently.  Nervous mothering on my part I guess.

As for names, we had named him Willy... for W-week, of course.  But then the neighbor boy came over with a great name- Niblet.  And given that his fate could possibly end up being dinner, that may be better.  We'll try to sell him... blue-eyed mini nubian, son of a fabulous milker... he should be good.  But times being what they are, he may be more valuable as a yearling whether.  Hard to think about that when the cute factor is so high, but perspective is important too.
And this is slightly confirming that our buck only throws bucks.  Not like it matters, we're not keeping any of the babies anyway, but does sure are easier to sell.

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