Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring time on the farm

Hello everyone!
Well, spring has sprung in the Adirondacks. With 60 degree days and plenty of sun, the snow is melting and the birds are singing. Spring brings with it the start of the goating season. What is the "goating season" you ask? It is when the goats begin to have babies and a whole mess of new babies show up on the farm. So far this season three goats have kidded (that's what a goat having babies is called), giving me five new babies. I have three Nubian babies and two Alpine babies so far. There is one more Alpine to give birth. Maybe this weekend. She will probably have twins. She had twins last year.

It is more common for a goat to have twins than just one baby or triplets. Usually their first kidding is one baby. Pepper had her first kidding this year and had two babies. I was totally surprised! She didn't look big enough to have two and it was her first time. Both babies are doing very well and once she figured out they were hers, she started to take care of them and won't let them leave her sight.

I was present for the birth and helped the mom out. Pepper is a small Nubian who is about two years old. I bred her to my friend's nice Nubian buck. I knew she was getting close to giving birth on Tuesday morning. I can tell by feeling the ligaments at the base of their tail. The ligaments start to relax about 48 hours before deliver. This means the birth canal is widening and the baby is getting in position. The ligaments completely disappear from touch about 6 hours before. Pepper's had disappeared when I did chores in the morning. I stayed home from work and watched and waited. She stared off into space and stretched her back every now and then. Eventually she laid down and started pushing. After some strong pushes a hoof stuck out. It came out a little more and then I saw a tongue! That was a good sign. I could tell the baby's head was coming out in the right position. At that point the progress stopped. I could see the baby was much bigger than the opening it was trying to come out of. I grabbed the leg and pulled with all my might as the mom pushed. Finally the baby's head and shoulders came out. I started to clean it off with a towel and realized that Pepper was beginning to push again. I grabbed another towel and the second baby came out easily. I cleaned both babies off and made sure Pepper was okay. She was not moving and breathing hard. I shook her neck gently and she looked at me as if to tell me she was okay but needed a minute to recover. I didn't blame her! At first she didn't want the babies. After a while she started to lick them and now she loves them.

All the other goats and babies are doing well. Two boys were born two weeks ago and they are growing fast. They are as big as the baby born two months ago.

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