Wednesday night I was in the barn for my shift. Some of the goats in the pen next to me were fighting, some of the goats in the other pen were eating hay, and one of the babies was whining.
I was sitting in my comfy lawn chair, the heat lamps on above me, my iPad on my lap, and I was “sprinting” (writing for a certain amount of time) with some online friends. I had music in one ear. It was turned down so I could listen, but still hear the goats. It wasn’t too cold, I was comfortable, and it had been a great shift so far. If anyone was going to kid, I’d hear them and sound the alarm.
Then I heard a baby cry again – from the wrong side of the barn. The baby goats were behind me. The sound was coming from the other end of the barn.
I wondered if my sense of direction was off because I had an earbud in one ear, so I got up to check on the babies.
They were both sound asleep.
I ran towards the far pen, stopping short when I saw a little body in there, with Valley standing in front of it. I ran back to the baby pen to grab some of the towels that were sitting there, pulling off my gloves so I could call Mom. “There’s a baby, I had no idea, come out!” I said, hanging up once I knew she’d understood me.
As I stood in front of the gate, I realized there was no way I was getting through there without the other goats fighting me to get out, and I didn’t have time for that. So, like any respectable farm kid, I gave up on the gate and climbed the fence, jumping down in a spot with no goats in it. I walked towards the baby, talking quietly to Valley, and my eyes widened when I saw a second baby hiding behind Valley.
I picked up the first one and wrapped it in a towel, dropping the second towel I’d grabbed on top of the second baby and squatting down so I could rub them both off. Valley had done a good job drying the first one off, (we think it was the first one because it was drier than the other), so after a minute I focused on the second one. I lifted their tails, and while I thought they were both girls, I wasn’t exactly sure. I didn’t want to waste time, so I went back to drying the second one.
Emery walked through the door, hopped the fence, and came over. “Boys or girls?” he asked as he took over drying the first one.
“I think they’re both girls, though I’m not sure,” I said as we picked them up. We were going to take them to the milk room, which is heated. As we walked in, Mom entered through the door.
“I had no idea,” I blurted out before she’d even shut the door. “She was completely quiet. I didn’t know until I heard a baby crying from the wrong stall.”
Dad came in to check Valley and we decided that she wasn’t going to have any more kids.
While the colostrum (the first milk we feed them after they’re born) was warming up, I got on Twitter and told the people I’d been writing with why I’d disappeared, and told everyone else what had happened.
— Brett Jonas (@BookSquirt) March 6, 2014
Once I was done feeding them, I looked at my watch and realized that my shift was over. I put the girls in with Castro and Cedar, who had a lot of fun jumping around and “impressing” the new kids. I said goodnight to the babies and went to bed.
We waited for daylight to get some good photos. They look very alike, but Venice has a darker face.
It was a surprising (yet easy) delivery. Hopefully the rest won’t surprise us like Valley did!
Two pregnant goats done. Fifteen more to go!
Kid count: 2 bucklings. 2 doelings.
2014 Goat Birth Stories
- Castro and Cedar
- Vanish and Venice
- Saturn and Secret
- Rampart and Reluctant
- Quality and Quest
- Idina and Iliana
- Elvis and Esther
- Factor and Ferocious
- Java and Jericho
- Tapioca and Tempest
- Yahoo and Yesterday
- Happy and Hera
- Zea and Zany