First, the excellent news: In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Razz finally had her baby girl. We've named her First Star!
Isn't she adorable? She has her Momma's "fancy" ears.
Now, for the dramatic telling of the story . . .
While Honey romped around with her two little baby boys Thursday, Razz began to show early signs of labor, ranging from teeth grinding to fast-paced breathing to low grunting. According to our books, this should go on no longer than 36 hours. Thursday night, I "slept" with the baby monitor by the bed but got very little sleep as I jumped any time a goat shifted out in the shed. My reading suggested that, eventually, early labor would progress into actual pushing that would take about 30 minutes to produce the first kid. Any subsequent kids would be born within another 30 minutes. Upset that I narrowly missed the birth of Honey's babies Thursday, I concocted a surefire plan not to miss seeing Razz give birth -- I would check on her every 30 minutes. Surely with this plan, even if she pushed quickly and delivered a baby within a 30 minute window, I'd make it there in time to see the next one be born. (And video it, so that I could share it with you). I mean, she had to be having at least two kids. I mean, look at how big she was! She was much larger than Honey who had just delivered twins. So, beginning Friday morning, I basically followed my 30 minute check-in routine. And continued that all. day. long. That night, I allowed myself some sleep and only went out to check on her about 4 times. But, she didn't seem to be progressing much. Saturday we had lots of great visitors to the farm, and as little kids romped around with the baby goats, Razz sat off to the side laboring away unproductively.
Saturday night, John and I alternated shifts, taking trips to the shed every 30 minutes to monitor Razz's progress, which she was finally making. On my trip out at 5:00a.m., my flashlight beam across the field revealed Razz cleaning up her newborn baby! And, she was big! But, so was Razz still. As Razz cleaned up her precious little one, she continued to contract and eventually passed the afterbirth (which can happen after each baby in multiple births). Still, she contracted . . . and contracted . . . and contracted.
According to our reading, if a doe contracts unproductively for more than 30 minutes, the baby may be breech and unable to make it through the birth canal, the effects of which are fatal for mother and baby alike if there is no intervention. If the goatherd can reach inside the doe and help turn the baby and ease her out, all may not be lost.
So . . . yep. You guessed it. I donned that OB glove, lubed it up good, and eased my hand into my goat as John held her in a head lock. It was not a pleasant experience for any of the three parties involved as a very surprised Razz slammed John's arm into the side of the shed. I went in as far as I could (to my elbow) and was convinced that I was doing it wrong because I couldn't feel a baby. I made John don a glove and give it a go because I just couldn't believe that she could still be so big, be contracting, and not have another baby in there. John's search, however, turned up the same results. Perhaps it was the trauma induced by this incident, but Razz soon quit contracting and began acting much more normally. The things we do for our animals around here!
She seems to be fine now and is an excellent Momma. I love to hear the "conversations" she and Star have with one another as they learn to recognize one another's calls. Razz will be on a round of antibiotics as a preventative measure, which is a good idea anytime a goatherd has to, umm, "intervene" during delivery.
Now, for some fun photos: These brothers are so rambunctious and fun! Here they are hopping around the field -- FC, on the right, is in mid-air! I love watching them headbutt and wrestle each other -- too cute!
I used to think that a goat pile was about the cutest thing ever. Then, I saw a baby goat pile and realized that that was maybe the cutest thing ever. But, I stand corrected. A baby goat/kitten pile -- THAT is the cutest thing ever!
Since boys only serve one purpose in a dairy herd and these boys can't be bred back to their own mommas and sisters, we will be trying to sell them. If you know of someone intersted in ADGA registered bucklings, please direct them to us. We plan to have these guys listed on both Craigslist and GoatSpot by sometime tomorrow. First Star (we'll call her "Star"), however, will stay. How could we not keep her? She's the only daughter of Razz, our herd queen. And, the first girl born on our farm who will eventually become a part of our milking herd.
**For those who are following my Lenten posts, I haven't forgotten. I just wanted to get the goat update posted in a timely way. Tomorrow, I will discuss the week's emphasis of Acting Justly.**