Introducing…Scarlet and Rhett!
It’s that time of year again, and I’m one happy farm mama! Yep–baby goat season for us! This year is Ginger’s first time kidding. It is…a tense and exciting time, all at once. Always fun to anticipate the kiddos, but I definitely say a little prayer of thanks as soon as they’re out. I can’t help but let myself reflect a little on our past experiences this time of year : )
Day in and day out, goats are goats–differences in personality and temperament, but mostly the same goat stuff (except for Napolean…who really does beat to his own drummer!) But I’ve learned that every goat is different, once it comes to kidding and mothering. Daisy is kind of ‘average’. She’s a big, strong girl. Has her kids easily enough (put out those quadruplets last year no problem!). She’s got great-sized udders, which makes for lots of milk for us…but she’s not the most patient mom. The kids drink, but when she’s done, she’s done. She loves ’em, but let’s just say she values her “alone” time…(I hear ya, girl!) When she’s pregnant, she won’t let me near her belly (to feel for kids moving, or for labor coming on), but once they’re out, she knows I’m her nurse and nanny, and she definitely takes advantage of it!
Now, her mama, Melody, was really something. Like ‘Mother Theresa’ something. I could practically march her into a birthing class to demonstrate…anything, really! “Here, feel where the kids are moving” or “Run your hand along her tail to feel for tendons loosening”, or even “Touch her udders! See how they are filling up?” Patient, beyond patient : ) Then, when her kids came, even more so. They could nurse for an hour, she would just stand and wait. She let Daisy nurse, even up to a year. And, for the Mother-of-the-Year award: one year we had to pull Daisy’s kids a bit early. We put them in with Melody, mostly for their safety, and –yep! she even let them nurse! She was an awesome grandma : ) And, although all goat kids like to climb, for some reason Melody’s kids liked to climb on her. And she let them, endlessly. With her, I always felt she wanted me with her when she kidded. So sweet…I miss her on the farm!
So, now it was Ginger’s turn. She’s a skittish one normally, so I didn’t expect to get near her to feel anything. But I found if I let her get up on the milk stand and munch away on her favorite grains, I was good to go. She’s very petite, and I had been feeling what felt like at least one good-sized kid. Slight concern because…did I say she’s petite? ; ) Then, a week before her due date, I thought I’d feel those tail tendons to see what was “normal” for her, so that when they loosened, I’d know the difference. Well! There were none to be felt, they were already gone…labor was imminent–usually within 12 hours. So we watched, and watched. And checked her throughout the night. And the next night…! Remember when I said ‘every goat is different’? Well, this is how Ginger was going to do it: I glanced out the window and she was already pushing–Two beautiful kids. Ten minutes. Total. Silly Ginger! As I watch her these first few days…turns out, she takes after her grandma : )