All of our yearlings had their babies by early June, pretty much on schedule. Most actually gave birth in the pasture on beautiful, warm, sunny days. We didn’t discover the new kids until they were all dried off and up on their four wobbly legs, nursing.
Flossie, however, has been a hold out. As day after day went by without any signs of impending labor, we really began to wonder if she were really pregnant. But she looked kind of broad in the beam, so we kept waiting.
Finally, yesterday evening at chores, we all definitely reported a mucousy show which is pretty much a telltale sign. By the time Steve returned to the house from milking at seven, he reported her watery bag was protruding and she was in labor. We decided we would grab some dinner (thank goodness it was our niece Chelsea’s night for cooking) and then go back over to oversee progress.
Then a big deluge hit with lightning and thunder and dinnertime got extended. By the time I was brave enough to run over to the barn, seemingly dodging lightning bolts as I ran up the hill, Flossie had already successfully delivered a good looking, relatively large, black and white baby boy and was busily licking him clean.
So, as the rain roared down on the greenhouse barn, I took on my role of support person. I went to get a bucket of warm water and molasses which Flossie sucked down without even standing up. I put up the fencing around her and Stormy (the obvious name for the wee one) so they could stay together and bond for the next 24 hours or so without any unnecessary distractions from the ever-curious goats.
Then I stood and just witnessed the power of birth, motherhood, the incredible drive to thrive of the baby, and the torrential rain. It was a moment, as Mary Pipher says.
The other goats began coming up to the fence to see what was what and to make sure they weren’t missing out on something, like food. They were, in fact, since I had just given Flossie a bucket of cracked corn and alfalfa pellets. That convinced her to stand up and gave me a chance to confirm that Stormy was a boy. I dipped his umbilical cord in iodine, squeezed both of Flossie’s teats to make sure colostrum was flowing freely, and then showed Stormy, by holding his head in the right place and holding Flossie’s teat in the right place, where all good things would come from. He got it and actively nursed from both sides for a bit.
After adding some fresh hay and a bucket of clean water to the pen, I congratulated Flossie one more time, took a deep breath, observed the general sleepiness of the barn, and headed back to house to go to bed myself, feeling about as warm and fuzzy as one can feel.