wooly wednesday: fuzzy babies

Perhaps not wooly, but, warm and fuzzy!! My daughter’s Oberhasli doe, Eowyn (aka ‘Fuzzy’) a first freshener, kidded first thing this morning. Twin bucklings (boys)!

eowyn_2015bucklings

The first buckling was breech (back legs presented first) and needed a little assistance. Once ‘cleared’, his brother almost ‘popped’ out (normal presentation).

first bucklings_eowyn

Mama and boyz are doing fine! Oh happy day!

Coriander kids!

Oh my… Friday already??? Where has the week gone? I’ve barely recovered from Coriander, our Oberhasli doe, kidding last week! YES!! Coriander was four days overdue when she FINALLY began to show signs of going into labor! That was last week Wednesday evening at about 6 p.m. [learn more about kidding here].

The Hubs and I took turns with hourly checks on Corey’s progress through the night and into the wee hours of Thursday morning!! Finally, at approximately 2 a.m., Corey gave birth to twins: a buck and a doe. Thankfully, a  textbook ‘normal’ birthing presentation – and no drama! I like no drama!! Kids weighed-in at about 9-pounds each!

two goats on a log

All is well! The kids have gained a little over two pounds already. They’re my full-time gardening companions… hop, skip and jump!! As you can imagine, I can’t get much work done, but, I’m NOT complaining!

Happy weekend!

 

still winter

Hello my dear friends! It has been a R-E-A-L-L-Y long winter here in Michigan (and all across the US, for that matter!). March 1st dumped several more inches of snow and another round of (all too familiar) record-breaking/below zero frigid temps this past weekend. I think we are all disheartened… lacking ANY evidence of Spring’s arrival any time soon!?? We have snow/ice piled up higher than I am tall!!

However, Spring has certainly arrived in other parts of the country… as evidenced by photos of green grass, beginnings of greenhouse plantings [I can almost smell the earth] and babies, babies, babies everywhere! Thank goodness for my daily dose of visits to blog posts, fb, pinterest, tumblr and other social media resources!! You have SAVED me!

On the farm this past weekend, I finally took down my make-do/temporary sheep breeding pen(s) and re-united the hopefully prego ewes with the rest of the flock. Potentially more dramatic, the rams have been re-introduced as roommates! I am totally thankful for the advice of a shepherd friend, to  confine the rams – in the smallest space possible – to the point where they are almost immobile. In addition, food/water are withheld for 24-hours! Upon their release, they pretty much lose ‘interest’ in each other and go direct to eating with very little squabble! Happy sheep!

Speaking of happy sheep, I recently sold my remaining yearling wether as a ‘pet’. YAY! Saved from the freezer!!!!

Continuing the Spring ritual, sheep shearing has been tentatively scheduled sometime later this month. It’s also time to prepare for kidding/lambing, vaccinating mama’s and taking note of any necessary ‘supplies’. After a long wait, it’s best to make plans… not to be caught off-guard or surprised by this blessed event! 

So, while I anxiously await Spring, I continue to play with fiber (explore weaving ‘smalls’ with a lap loom) and work on my garden wish list!

gray sheep

There’s a baby in the house!

Yes! Quite literally, there are two newborn goat kids presently residing in a large tub in my laundry room! Cassiopeia (aka Cassie), one of my two dairy goats, kidded yesterday and presented us with a doeling [the first GIRL baby goat in three years/freshenings!! WOOHOO] and a buckling/boy!

Sunday, (around noon) Cassie displayed all the ‘textbook’ signs that birthing was near: 1) her vulva  became more swollen and less firm 2) her ligaments just above and to either side of her tail softened 3) she started “talking” to her stomach 4) she become sunken in the flanks as the kids move into position in the birth canal 5) she began to stand up, lay down, stand up, walk around, lay down, stand up, dig the floor, lay down, stand up… and finally 6) she developed a thick, stringy, long vaginal discharge announcing that she’s getting serious about having these kids.

Around 4 pm, Cassie began to ‘heave’. These ‘heaves’ or contractions repeat every few minutes and eventually a small balloon of reddish-brown liquid appeared outside her vulva. This is where [my emotions begin to swell] it gets exciting and the clock begins – take note of the time and duration of this stage of labor. With a few more heaves the bag of fluid may break or it may just get bigger and hang down to the floor. The contractions continue and I’m desperate to identify familiar body parts, ideally, a couple of tiny hooves inside the bag and a little nose… a normal birth position.

In a normal birth presentation, the goat is positioned head first, with its hooves outstretched.

NORMAL BIRTH PRESENTATION

It’s a gift to stand-idly by and allow nature to take it’s course…and, a greater blessing to KNOW when assistance is required! Since Katie and I could not recognize any hooves/nose/tongue, nor was any further progress being made by Cassie [through all her ‘heaving’] — WE agreed and decided it was time to glove-up and investigate/take a closer look!  That big blob was in fact a head, sideways. Thankfully, mercifully, I was able to hook/straighten one foot and then the other with my fingertips. The kid EXPLODED out of Cassie’s womb, into my lap, knocking me down and Cassie on top of me!  Now, I wish I had a picture of THAT!!! Praise God, for he is merciful!

sheepyhollow_doe_buck

Immediately following the doeling’s EXPULSION (left, 8 lbs.), we saw two tiny feet [in the correct birth position, YAY!] waiting his turn to meet & greet!! Almost an hour passed before Cassie finally had the strength/courage to push, uneventfully [phew!] her second kid out – a little buckling (right, 7 lbs.)!

sheepyhollow_cassie2013

Cassie earned a warm drink of molasses water and a restful night! I’m soooooo glad I only have two does!!! To all the large dairy farms, you folks have ALL my sincere respect!!!