Yesterday we took the goats for a walk around our property. Up to now, we’ve been calling our goats a “herdlet”. But I think they’ve grown beyond herdlet status at this point. With eight goats, it’s now a bona fide herd.
We’re all ears!
Snickers and Sputnik learned to play “King of the Hill”.
Lilly’s progeny. Aren’t they a colorful crew? They aren’t posing very nicely but they’re all here: Lilly the matriarch, her daughter Petunia, her son Huckleberry Finn, and her grandsons Snickers and Sputnik.
My mom, my sister-in-law Jill, and her kids (my niece and nephews) came to visit on Jill’s birthday. They wanted to see the baby goats while they were still little.
Snickers was the calmest so he got held and cuddled the most. My mom helped Robert hold Snickers on his lap.
Robert tries to engage Finn in conversation, but Finn has the attention span of a typical kid. Lilly seems casually interested though.
Jill poses for a portrait.
Finn enjoyed showing off his wall-walking prowess for my relatives.
It’s been a long weekend. I went out Friday morning to discover that Petunia’s kids were frantically nursing without result. They were hungry and frustrated and crying. I ran a mastitis test and the left side came back positive. She probably developed it before she kidded. Her udder was full to bursting for two days before she delivered, and her enthusiasm caught up to her.
So I spent all weekend doing massages and hot compresses and stripping the udder almost round-the-clock. I had to make an emergency trip to Pueblo Saturday morning so I could pick up antibiotics from the vet. Then more massaging, stripping, hot compresses, Bag Balm throughout the day, late at night, and early in the morning.
This is what I looked like Sunday night.
Phil and I like to watch movies with baby goats on our lap. We’ve always had to fight over one baby before, but since we have twins now we don’t have to play tug-o-war!
We named the twins Snickers and Sputnik. Snickers because of his beautiful caramel coloring and Sputnik because it just fit.
Huckleberry Finn was scared of the new babies at first, and both Petunia and Lilly kept him away from them, but a youngster’s curiosity is insatiable. It wasn’t long before he was sneaking over to investigate these new little creatures.
Unfortunately, they were kind of boring. When they weren’t laying down they were toddling slowly around on shaky legs. No running or jumping or doing “goat” things.
“Hi little guy. Will you play with me?”
Later that evening, the babies were curled up together in the corner of the retaining wall behind the house. Finn wanted to interact with them but he was still afraid to touch. Petunia and Lilly had chased him away from them several times earlier. But mama and grandma were off grazing. The babies were tucked away out of parental view. I watched the drama unfold as I quietly milked Nubbin on the back patio.
Finn glanced at the babies, then glanced at the mamas, then casually began bouncing off the far end of the retaining wall like it was a backboard. He bounced a few times, casting sideways glances at the sleeping kids. He paused, looked nonchalantly over his shoulder at mama, then resumed his bouncing. Closer and closer he bounced with deliberate indifference, keeping one eye on the object of his curiosity and pausing from time to time to check for moms. Before long, Finn’s playing “unintentionally” brought him right next to the twins. Mamas still weren’t looking, but the babies stubbornly refused to acknowledge Finn’s presence. So with a final overtly casual jump, Finn “accidentally” landed squarely on top of the babies heads!
The kids let out a squawk and immediately began crying for mama. Finn leaped away from them and bolted about ten feet before skidding to a halt and strolling casually away from the scene of the crime. I don’t think a goat can put his hands in his pockets and walk away whistling, but Finn came about as close as he could get!
I made the birth sound so calm and straightforward in my post, but I was absolutely terrified. When the bubble came there was nothing in it and Petunia was screaming like she was going to die. There are supposed to be two little feet inside that bubble. I ripped it open, thinking the feet must be just behind it still in the birth canal. But the birth canal was completely empty. Meanwhile, Petunia is pushing like crazy, screaming her head off in pain, and nothing is coming out. I had to reach far in before I came across a sharp set of teeth, but I couldn’t find any feet to go with it. After fishing around in the depths I recovered one foot and brought it to the outside, but now the head had disappeared! Another foot pushed its way forward, but at this point I couldn’t tell if it belonged to the one I already had. So after starting out with a head and no feet, now I had two feet and no head! At this point I’m beginning to panic and I asked Phil to please start praying and to get one of our “goat mentors” on the phone.
Petunia was a wreck. We hoisted her to her feet because it felt to me like both babies were trying to push their way out at once and I couldn’t get either of them to go back in. Once Petunia was standing, gravity helped pull the kids back down so I had more room to work. Of course, having had both feet out while Petunia was rolling around in the muck, I’m now worried about all that nasty junk going back inside her. But you can’t pull a baby out with its head back, so at least one foot had to go back in (especially since at this point I was afraid I had feet belonging to two different goats).
Phil got the goat mentor on the phone and described to her what was happening. She was very calm and was able to give instructions to Phil who relayed them to me. I eventually found the head turned way back (it was easy to tell what it was because of the long ears), turned it towards me, then felt along down the neck and shoulder to make sure it belonged to the same foot as the one in my hand. Once I was certain, I was able to guide the little fella to the outside world. I didn’t try to find the other leg–Petunia, it turns out, is a very roomy goat and I knew she’d be able to push him out just fine with one leg back.
After that it was pretty easy. The second little guy came head-first. I had to push him back quite a bit because his entire head was hanging out while both legs were still inside. But he was much smaller than the first, and Petunia was so preoccupied with her new baby that she didn’t seem to notice me fussing around with the second one.
Everyone seems happy this morning. Petunia still seems a bit confused what to do with these new acquisitions. She didn’t lick them to nearly the extent that my previous mamas have done and she’s the first goat I’ve seen who wanted nothing to do with eating the afterbirth. The dog ended up getting it, and both babies got a warm bath in the sink last night because they never got thoroughly cleaned by their mama. I toweled them, but they dried so fast in the hot windy weather that both of them turned crusty and Petunia didn’t want to clean it off, so they weren’t fun to pet or hold. Neither one liked the bath, but they both liked the blow dryer.
After mooning around by herself and pretending she was about to kid for the last several days, Petunia finally decided it was time to do it for real, and we’ve got two precious little bucklings.
This big fella came first and he weighed in at eleven pounds. His head was back and I had to go in and fish him out. It was a bit tense because I had no idea what I was doing and all I could find were two legs and no head. I wasn’t sure the legs even belonged to each other, and since I couldn’t fit my hand in there with both of them anyway, I ended up pushing one leg back in, finding the head that went with the leg I had, and pulling him out by only one.
This little guy came second, head only. I was sitting by Petunia’s head, congratulating her on the first when she gave a couple of big pushes and here comes this face. I had to push him back in so I could find a leg to pull, and then he slid out easily. He weighed nine pounds. Phil was thinking since we’ve got 9/11 babies we could name them Al and Qaeda, but I told him that probably won’t go over well with anyone.
This fella has Pac-Man’s ears and red coloring.
And this one has Petunia’s ears and gray roaning and the same striking brown-and black legs of Petunia’s father.
What a beautiful family!
Phil’s got his arms full!
Well, it’s nearly midnight and still no sign of babies. Petunia’s been teasing us all day. She woke up this morning with an enormous udder that she can hardly walk around. I told Phil she looks like those severely uddered-up goats at Nationals. Her ligaments have been gone since day before yesterday. She hangs around the pen pawing, circling, laying down with her head stretched out, then pacing around like she’s ready to go into labor any moment. Then, like someone flipped a switch, she goes straight back to eating and chewing her cud like she’s happy hold out for a few more days if necessary.
Finn loves his big sissy and tries to play with her a lot. She hasn’t really been in the mood to play recently, but she did butt heads with him for a few short sessions today. I never realized a baby could be so wholeheartedly embraced by an entire herd! Finn has wormed his way into everyone’s affections, and Pac-Man has fully adopted Finn as his own.
Finn climbed up to see if he could get in to meet the tin porch goats. Then he discovered the joys of balancing along the top of this rock wall. I’ll have to post some video tomorrow if I get a chance.
Our friends Hank and Deb came over to play games last week and Deb and Finn became good friends in a very short time.
Today we found out why our internet went down yesterday and wouldn’t come back no matter what Phil did to it. We jiggled the wires and got it back, but we’ve got a service call in to the phone company to come fix it properly. Naughty goats!