Soon. I swear.

Are you familiar with those lotteries that are set up like a grid? The ones where there is ‘time of day’ on one axis and ‘date’ on the other and contestants pick a spot on the grid in the hopes that whatever event is being bet on will occur on that spot thus winning them win a prize? Yeah, those contests. That’s what we were going to do. We were going to use that to predict the birth of the goats and it would have worked just as well as the goat-prognostications that were circulating around here.

Jenn had been out checking the ligaments of the goats for nearly three weeks and it’s been ‘any day now’ almost since the checking began. The ligaments are between the rump and the tail and they completely disappear 12 to 24 hours before the goat is going to give birth. The funny thing is that Jenn knows her goats so when she says things are going to happen, I expect things to happen; yet nothing did. I was secretly hoping that the kids would come on the weekend, when Jenn was not working, so that it would be her assisting with a difficult birth, not me because, although I could do it if necessary, I don’t ever wake up and expect to have the better part of my arm in a goat. It’s just not something I set aside time for. So when Lisa went off her feed – ever so imperceptibly – and Jenn noticed some discharge from her on Thursday night prompting Jenn to announce that ‘tonight is the night’, I was feeling pretty lucky: Jenn was home, it was late evening (the whole night was ahead of us) and Hunter was already asleep.

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Lisa, the mother, the next day.

Jenn made a phone call to her mother because, like me, she’d heard for the last few weeks that it was going to happen soon. Jenn was on the phone and I was in the kitchen at the table when I heard Ruby bark. We’ve had rabbits behind the dogyard lately, so I didn’t pay any attention because the dogs usually bark once or twice at them. Again, Ruby barked and I wondered if it was maybe the fox we had seen earlier that day. He lives on and around our property, feeding on many grouse and occasional chicken that he can scrounge. Ruby stops barking and I assume that the fox has passed on through. Five minutes later there is more barking. This time, I get up and go to tell the dogs to be quiet, after all, it isn’t the frenzied barking of a loose dog or the persistent single bark of the dogs barking at something they can’t see, it’s just: bark, a pause, bark, another pause and it’s annoying. As soon as I step outside to tell the dogs to be quiet, I hear the faint, feeble bleat of a goat. A really young goat.

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The female goat, which Hunter has already named Jasmine, less than an hour old.  We were going to get more pictures of the really young goats, but Lisa was getting pretty anxious and protective.

“Jenn, you’ve got one.” I said. She hangs up the phone and springs into action, gathering all she has set aside for the occasion. We go outside, headlamps illuminating the way to the goat barn. We can hear the baby baa-aa-ing and, as we get to the barn, we see Lisa licking dry the second of two babies. It’s over. Just like that, in less than an hour.

“That was fast.” remarks Jenn, disappointedly pulling off her shoulder-length rubber glove.

All that was left was to finish drying off the babies and to make sure they were able to feed, which they weren’t so the first night was spent feeding them with a 12cc syringe, filled directly from the udder. Lisa’s udder is mis-shapen and low to the ground – the babies keep looking for the nipples too high up and can’t find them. We had to hand-feed her babies last year, too. We do have a nipple for a bottle, but although it is made for goats, they hate it. If you are picturing a baby goat, just hours old, cradled in the arms of Jenn or I, suckling from a bottle, forget it. Picture instead a squirmy, gangly-legged kid with milk running out of the sides of its mouth because one of my hands is holding the goat, the other is opening the goat’s mouth and the third is squeezing the syringe and the kid isn’t swallowing. I got it figured out after the first two syringes, but it was still a gongshow.

I’m happy to say that the goats are feeding off their mother finally and that they are out and exploring their world now. We just have one goat left to kid and Jenn assures me it will be any day now.

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The babies, not quite a full day old, in their little babies-only area complete with heat lamp.

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The crusty-from-milk face of the male.

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Lox (short for Goldilocks – thanks Hunter) our yearling doe from last year.


2 Responses

  1. Great Story Evan…I hope Jenn gets the chance to use her shoulder-length glove for the next goat?! LOL

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