Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bonding with my Caps

Goat lovin'
While Mistress Winter still has her long nails sunk, unrelenting, into our hopeful spring-loving hearts, my goats are on schedule with their deliveries and are proving to be the hardy, dependable creatures with which I've placed my faith.

My best girl was due today, but her behavior and physical changes indicated an early kidding.  In goat speak, she bagged-up Tuesday afternoon.  Last season, she delivered in the early hours of morning, alone, as a first-freshener with a huge buckling.  Spring was good to us last March and while her unattended birth was an accident, there was no threat of freezing to death for her kid.  This year's subzero March temperature has already presented new challenges to our predetermined kidding schedule.

We almost lost our first twins to the cold.  It only takes about 15 minutes for a new and very wet creature to perish at 2 degrees Farhenheit.  Birthing attendance in March is required for many reasons, the most fundamental of which is to dry off, warm and feed the new life before it expires.  I spontaneously woke in the middle of the night to check on a first-freshener who was behaving strangely during the daytime.  She wasn't due for almost two days, but that didn't stop her labor.  I arrived just in time to rush her two kids into the house, and revive them with a hairdryer followed immediately by tube-feeding each 1/2 once of their mother's colostrum.  The change that I witnessed within an hour of that effort was truly remarkable.  The experience reinforced my commitment to take responsibility for the kids I'd helped create and be there, at any inconvenience, to make sure they had the very best start to a promising long life.

Mucus plug - Wed afternoon

I've been looking forward to Titanium's offspring since her own birth in 2012.  I made a promise long ago to do my best for her at any time of need and dependence on her human friend.  I began checking her every 2 hours, Tues evening.  Wednesday at 11 am, I was so sure that she would deliver that I left my own mother waiting at the airport until my husband could collect her.  That afternoon, a fierce snowstorm descended upon our new barn and home.  Wednesday evening, after checking all day with a sick feeling that every time would be too late, I decided to sleep in the barn through the predicted 20 inches of 30 mile an hour blowing snow.  I snuggled into the hay under a few extra heat lamps at 9 pm, confident that I would hear her final labor screams since she was only a few feet away.  The wind tore at our new structure like the roof could fail at any moment, which would be the first test of my neophyte carpentry skills.  Snow swirled into the structure through EVERY little crack my inadequacy had left, belligerently, almost invitingly.  The labor stall was covered with a thin layer of snow, so I asked Titanium to join me in an area set aside for her new kids, shivering under the lamps in hushed silence for fear of rousing the week-old kids who vocally demand food at my presence.  She would venture in for a moment to make sure I was awake, nickering in acknowledgment, and then fade out when a contraction sent her into a more spacious area to lay down and gently push.  Her contractions would build and then she purposely stopped them by changing position, snoozing, or having a hay snack.  It was incredibly cold and frustrating to witness this process, but rewarding, none-the-less.  There was purpose with every movement and I was privy to them all.  I coached, encouraged her contractions and petted her face or scratched itchy spots, in the time we waited together.  Just before her final labor, she came up to lick me as this helped her to push.  It reminded me of how a doe's attitude towards a kid (older and not their own) changes in the last stages.  In early labor, they are fearful or even violent towards another doe's offspring, while just before delivery they will bestow an almost-mother's kiss on every kid nearby.  Each doe has a unique way of experiencing labor, that unless witnessed, will remain a mystery to the herdsman.  It was a privilege and a memory to be there, for both of us.
Nearly indistinguishable, brother and sister pair.

Titanium delivered VERY large twin siblings, a blue-eyed buckskin doeling and a blue-eyed buckskin buckling at 3 am Thursday morning.  All are well and I am headed for bed.     


  1. Oh...they are beautiful! Are you keeping them both? I CANNOT wait for my kids! I want a blue -eyed goat...someday :)

  2. You will have a blast this summer with your kids! They are SO much fun.
    All of our goat kids are adorable. However, their dam has the best personality and milk potential of anyone in the herd, in addition to her beauty. I would be a fool not to keep them both, but with our space constraints, it would require tough decisions for the future of the herd. I'm looking forward to having at least one blue-eyed buck with strong milking genetics, for breeding next fall. Maybe "someday" isn't that far off ;)

  3. Yay Titanium! What a memorable, rewarding kidding experience. Spring is coming, tally-hoe :-)

  4. Yeah, we are getting through, however slowly. One week in-between deliveries gives me a little sleep reprieve, but it draws everything out too long. I would prefer to do it all in a week, but the cards were not there. Come on spring!