Whispering Pond Farm

Whispering Pond Farm

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Surprise! He's not mine

Arriving in the barn when you are expecting new babies is either a disappointment or a surprise. The disappointment, you have checked on the mothers so often and nothing has appeared. Complacency sets in. Doubtful thoughts creep up. I don't think the mother is due just yet, maybe in a week. Her udder isn't big enough. She hasn't dropped. She doesn't act uncomfortable. She was laying on her side and moving a little slower this morning. No, later. The surprise, the babies are actually standing in the stall. I knew she was ready. A true guessing game. Ruthie presented me with such a surprise Wednesday afternoon. I arrived home from work, called Kelvin to help me milk the ewe with mastitis, and headed to the barn. Planning on getting the ewe in her stall before Kelvin arrived, and yes, checking on the goats. The goats had been in their stalls for several days. I leave them in the barn when the time for them to kid is close and I am working. It's been chilly during the day and I don't want to run the risk of them trying to kid outside. Sweet Pea was in the divided portion of the stall next to the inside door. I knew she would deliver first. She had to. She was so big! I resisted the temptation of looking at the goats and got Lulu in her stall so we could milk her. Then to the goat stall. A baby goat was nestled in the hay in Sweet Pea's stall. Just one? Yes, one. All clean, dry, resting. Sweet Pea still looked huge, pregnant. Oh well, drying the cord with beta dine, I examined the kid more closely. Everything looked perfect. Warm mouth, bright eyes. After much difficulty, I caught Sweet Pea and attempted to milk her. She wanted nothing to do with me and she was shoving the kid away. What shameful behavior for a goat! Sheep act this way not goats! And why does Ruthie keep calling to this kid? Okay, plan B.. Call Lisa Johnson. Yes, Lisa is available to help. Great! Walking back to the barn it occurred to me that the kid's ears are small...like Ruthie's. Wait a minute! Small ears, Sweet Pea still looks pregnant and dosn't want anything to do with the kid, no afterbirth in the stall, and Ruthie is insistant on calling for this baby. Sweet Pea and Ruthie both were trying to tell me that the kid was in the wrong stall. As soon as I put the kid in Ruthie's stall everyone calmed down. Sigh, crisis averted. Lisa laughed a lot when she arrived. This was a much better outcome than having to deal with a mother who is rejecting a baby. Okay, so I laughed a little too. Kelvin and I returned to the mundane task of milking, or stripping, the ewe's udder with mastitis. I purchased udder cream from a friend at work, her husband has dairy cattle and swears it helps treat mastitis. Kelvin and I have the routine down to a science, he catches the ewe and I milk her, first the left side then the right. As Lulu wanders off smelling like peppermint udder cream, I am immensely thankful for good friends willing to help at a moments notice, and for a small temporarily misplaced kid with small ears. Live well..Carmen

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