Last weekend I just knew was "the weekend" for Juniper! She was large, slow, cranky...and, well...large...
I was checking on her 4 times a day, determined to be there for the birth. Our temperatures were below freezing, and I didn't want to risk kids dying or getting frostbitten. Monday at about 4:30 PM, she started having some goo, and acting uncomfortable. I put her in a kidding stall, and sat with her, hoping for things to progress. It was chilly enough in the kidding stall that I moved her to the hoop house. Having put the hoop house in the goat shed has been a HUGE help. It was the best place for labor and new babies. Draft free and secluded, perfect! I called my niece over, and we sat, talked, and watched Juniper until about 8:30 PM. During this time she was walking, sleeping, yawning, and had lots of goo. We saw lots of contractions, but that was it. I was fairly worried, Lucy had acted completely normal and had a baby by herself in about 2 and a half hours. Juniper was going on 5 hours and no signs labor was imminent. I decided to go home, and come back at midnight to do another check. My husband got off work and dropped by with doughnuts and coffee. Juniper also appreciated having a little nibble of our doughnuts! We left after about 30 minutes, and went home. We stayed awake until 3:30 AM, and went back to check on her. Juniper seemed to be having more regular contractions, but no pushing. I went back home and decided to come back at 6. I got to the farm at about 6:25, and heard Juniper yelling. I knew babies were here, or close to being here! I got into the hoop house and Juniper was pushing. At first I was concerned as I didn't know how long she had been pushing. It was soon clear that babies were on their way! As I think is common, she struggled pushing that very first kid out. It finally slid out, and I grabbed it, pulling the membrane away and starting to rub it. It was completely limp. I rubbed it's face, and swung it upside down, but there was no hint at life. Before I even had a moment to work more, another water bubble appeared. That one came out and I started clearing the membrane, wiping it's face and nose, and trying to get it as alert as possible. I hardly did anything to it when another bubble appear and out slid a little white kid. I repeated the cleaning process, while Juniper laid there. She was obviously exhausted, and to be honest not very responsive to the little baby cries. I am very glad I was there, because I got them fairly clean and drug them up to her face. She smelled them so intently, like she was completely unsure about what they were. But once she took one lick, she lost it! She started talking to them, and aggressively cleaning them up!
I went and got more towels, warm water, and a big pan full of grain and alfalfa for Juniper. I made sure everyone knew how to nurse, and that mom seemed to be caring for them, and headed home. I was hoping not to be unexpectedly pulled over on the way home. I had blood streaked hands and arms, and had to have looked a bit ragged. The kids seemed much smaller than Buckwheat, but have thrived very well. I think I may name them Peter and Piper, or even Dottie for the girl (due to her little black dot on her back!). So nothing offical yet.
Although Juniper was rough with Buckwheat at first, and although she is herd queen, she has taken to being a mother very well. Quite attentive, and when they cry she runs to them where ever they are! She is quite thin, now that she's kidded, but I'm hoping with extra feed, and spring coming she will fatten up. I was having to milk her, as the kids were only nursing on one side. That quickly escalated to her having udder edema/udder congestion on one side. It seems to be clearing up, and I hope it'll be gone soon. I'll end things with this cute picture...
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.