January 10, 2011
Prissy the goat is due to kid for the first time, in a few days. Scarlett is due 2 days later and looks like she will have multiples. But then, they can fool ya. Priss could go into action anytime now, and she is fat and unhappy. Her gut sticks out on both sides like she swallowed a dinner table sideways, and her bag is pretty darn full. It takes her awhile to lay down and she is rarely comfortable when she does. She takes this out on the stall floor, pawing and grumbling. Typical of late pregnancy, in a female of ANY species.
We have the closed-circuit camera up in the barn, so I can watch her from the house, in case she runs into problems. Just being a first time mother could be a challenge, as it has been way below freezing here, and if she doesn’t figure out what is going on, the babies could be at risk, so I will trudge on up there, over the ice, with my little goat midwife kit and help out where I can, if needed.
Meantime, life on the ranch goes on. Its been an exceptionally cold January here, and with 6 to 8 inches of ice everywhere, the cattle can’t get to any feed, so the guys have been extra busy hauling hay and feed to nearly 9,000 head, daily. I got roped into driving the big tractor a couple of times, but I try to avoid that at any cost, as I have ‘tractor-phobia’. I wasn’t aware of this until recently. Funny how you always learn things about yourself you never wanted to know.
January 13, 2011
Dolly is back in her ‘prom dress’ as it is hard for her to gain weight in the extreme cold. The pups, sheep and calves don’t seem any the worse for wear, even though temps have occasionally dipped below 0. The chickens have been spending their days inside, as a small hawk has decided to park himself on top of their run everyday. I need to put the dogs on him, as it is rude and unacceptable behavior. Sometimes neighbors can be so annoying.
The little building across the way is being revamped as a house for our nephew, who is one of the cowboys here. A pipe broke and we found over 2” of standing water in every room. I spent 8 hours with a shop vac, sucking water up, in an effort to save the hardwood floors and the kitchen cabinets, which had not yet been installed. I had reasonable success. His birthday is today, so I got a cake made (Boston Crème Pie, actually) and am making Mexican cuisine for the rest of the ranch, to celebrate.
January 14, 2011
Things are finally thawing today, so a small river is once again flowing thru our back yard and down the road, making trips to feed and water challenging, but not nearly so much as the ice had been. Instead of slipping and falling, now I merely have the boots sucked off of my feet in mid stride. Always a pleasure, when you have been up half of the night watching a very unhappy, pregnant goat on camera, just in case she needs help. Poor thing.
January 15, 2011
I am exhausted from having no sleep. The boss’ wife had an iron to give me, as mine, being 30 years old, gave out. I would go get it, but they are out of town for the kids wrestling tournament, and I hate going in their house when they are not home. I am not feeding puppies for them, so I will just wait.
It has taken a lot out of me to get all the animals fed in this heavy mud. Had to go out 4 times to straighten Dolly’s prom dress. Constantly running in to check on the goat, as she has been up, down, rubbing, pawing, and generally miserable. Gonna be a long night. I just want to lay down.
I manage to get the animals fed. I had to drag a 500 lb leppie calf, out of the hay, as she got thru the fence again. She doesn’t lead worth beans, and it has done nothing for my disposition. I manage to get dinner on the table and flop out on the couch.
OH MY GAWD! The boss’ wife just called to ask how the dogs were! I thought they took them with, but now that I think of it…why would they? I run up to the house to let out the 2 Jack Russells who have now been locked up for 15 hours and apparenlty only possess bladders and colons good for 2 hours. The 4 puppies don’t seem terribly hungry, so their mother must have a little milk still. I feed them anyway and find a note from the boss’ wife that she is changing their formula and going to feed them 3x a day, not 2. It rings a bell. I vaguely remember having this conversation with her. What the heck? Am I having a stroke, or has my brain just totally checked out? I search the house for spots that need to be cleaned up, and I spend the night sickened with guilt over the dogs, hoping the boss’ wife can forgive me. Prissy the stupid goat is playing her games again, and pretending to be in labor. I waste most of the night observing her.
January, 16, 2011
Much of the same today. There is a roaring river going past our house and the entire back yard is underwater. I have to wade out to feed the animals. I drive up to the boss’ to feed puppies, and the 4 WD slides around in the mud. I stop by the barn to check the goats. Prissy is sleeping peacefully, and Scarlett, has done nothing to show that she is due to have babies in only 3 days. Priss is due tomorrow. Her ligaments are soft, she’s changed shape, her bag is huge…it could be anytime. It irritates me to see her sleeping.
I spend 2 hours with Priss, as she was grinding her teeth, panting, and generally acting like she was dying. I have my ‘midwifing” kit ready and in the barn. I am totally wiped out, but will stay here, in case she needs me. As quickly as she began, she stops, and goes to sleep. She is a total drama queen. Afif, our friend the chef, is visiting the ranch for a month and asked what we would like him to make. I am seriously thinking goat.
January 17, 2011
The drama queen is at it again. The calf is back in the hay again, as well. The rain stopped, but the wind is horrendous. They say all roads leading to the ranch are closed as they all washed out last nite. Randy proceeds to get stuck 7 miles away, feeding cattle.
I grumble at Priss all day. She has REALLY sunken ligaments now, and can’t possibly hold out much longer…I think. I clean her stall once again, and re-bed it with more straw. She relaxes and takes a nap, while I go home to do laundry. Afif comes to make dinner with me at 6 pm, and I check the monitor. She is in LABOR!!!
I arrive at the barn to find her screaming. She is frightened and clearly in pain. I come in to help her to find she is delivering the kid tail first. I do what I am able to assist her without causing injury and actually feel bad for her. It has to be the MOST uncomfortable way to do this. Once delivered, I clean off his face and swing him a little bit to clear the fluids from his nose and lungs. I set him in front of her to dry and she is instantly in love.
It is always the most miraculous thing, to see an animal give birth for the first time…a few minutes later, she cries again and ANOTHER baby arrives. Randyman helps me dry this one off, and I realize I forgot to bring her warm water for molasses/water to up her calcium and give her a little boost. No sooner does he head back to the house, then she she gives another little cry. Number THREE slides into the world like a batter to home plate. All 3 babies are strong, and in good shape. They are on their feet within minutes, vocal, active and hungry. She is NOT happy about them trying to nurse or indeed about anyone touching her THERE. As Randyman holds her I milk out some colostrum in a bottle to insure the babies all get some before the hour is up. They clinch their jaws together like pitbulls. This is not what they are wanting. Deciding that 3 of them, to 1 of her, is likely odds in their favor, we leave them to do battle. Within the hour, all 3 babies are happily nursing, and Prissy has conceded to stand quietly for them.
Not yet sure, as it was kinda dark, and I was kinda tired, I think there are 2 does and a buck. Welcome to the ranch, Stormy, Windy, and Sonny!