When I got to the barn at 7:30 this morning to do chores, two new little surprises were waiting:
The kids, both males, belong to Marigold — the twin sister of Button, the goat which kidded exactly two weeks ago. Fortunately, Button’s kids have been doing very well in the kidding pen we put together for them. They only needed the heat lamp for a couple of days, and have gone on to be very spry and active.
But back to Marigold. Both of her kids were huddling in the dirt of the main goat stall, sopping wet, with the afterbirth still hanging out of Marigold’s rear end. Clearly, they had just dropped out within the last hour. And with the temperature in that drafty part of the barn hovering at roughly 32 degrees, I didn’t want them to stay there for long.
With all the other adult goats distracted by the hay I’d just put out for them, I enlisted Scooter’s help for the logistics of a “stall swap.” Once the gate to Button’s kidding pen was opened, she seemed more than ready to push her way out; after two weeks of confinement, I couldn’t blame her. With some nudging from Scooter, we easily led her into the main goat area. I then retrieved both of Button’s kids and carried them to that same area.
While this was going on, a couple of other goats noticed that the gate to their main area was open — and they began coming out to explore the rest of the barn. Fortunately, Scooter got in their faces and quickly put an end to that little adventure. (I love Border Collies, and don’t know what we’d do without one.) I then scooped up the two shivering and wet newborns, carried them to the kidding pen, and plugged in the heat lamp. Both of them bleated plaintively, and continued shivering, but seemed to appreciate the heat. Finally, with Scooter standing guard at the gate, I grabbed Marigold’s collar and led her to the kidding pen. As she worked to finish expelling the afterbirth, I secured all the gates to the various pens.
Before going back to the house, I took a moment to survey the scene. Button’s kids were prancing around the main goat area with abandon. Button and the other adults were all chowing down on hay. Marigold’s kids were still huddled under the heat lamp, so I made a note to check on them again to make sure Marigold licked them off and got them nursing.
Sure enough, when we returned from Mass (at roughly 9:30), the two newborns were tottering around the kidding pen. They were still quite wet, and splay-legged, but were definitely mobile and definitely nursing. We’ll certainly keep close tabs on the whole goat situation throughout the day, but so far it looks like we’ve had another successful kidding.
And our children will soon enough have another doe to milk. But, as Homeschooled Farm Boy observed, “I’m glad they’re both males. We won’t have to milk them when they grow up.” Then, picking up on my glare and realizing what a bad attitude this was, he quickly added, “And it’s good we’ll be getting good goat meat from them!”
Yes, indeed. Yum.