Thursday, April 11, 2013

And Then I Put my Hand Inside My Goat...

Yesterday, Max the dog found a place to squeeze through the fence. He ran away from me with that big doggy grin on his face when I called him to come back. He skipped through the front neighbor's yard then poof. Vanished.

I had an idea that I thought might work since he is such a runner and only swayed by a couple of good things in life. I went and got the milk pail, which he knows all too well as he gets the leftover milk when there isn't enough to fill a quart jar. I ran back to the neighbor's fence and called him. Nothing.

I went to the next neighbor over and that family was in their back yard blowing bubbles to their little dogs. I stood on a 5 gallon bucket to see over their wall and asked them if they had seen a brown dog. Max came bounding up to chase bubbles with the others. "Ah there he is!"

Then Max, realizing I had spotted him, smiled and ran off. I quickly gave the bucket to the man and said call him and ask him if he wants his milk.

Oh yes. They all looked at me like I was crazy.

It's okay. I'm used to that. You have to be off your rocker to want to be a farmer with real farm animals and all know...just for fun.

To his credit, that man ran after my dog asking Max if he wanted his milk. My dog ran through the easement and back to the first neighbor's yard. The man gave me my bucket back and I thanked him. Then my silly dog who thinks milk is the nectar of the gods came right back to the hole in the fence and followed me back to his kennel.

Like a good dog.

Yes, I gave him some milk.

Which leads me to today and my goat issue. So I went to Lowe's and got a bunch of fence posts and fencing to remedy this dog sneaking out issue as I do not want him or any other animal to be able to get in or out of the fence. The existing fence isn't mine, so I really have no right to fiddle with it. Besides, I have learned a trick or two about animal proofing fences.

I pulled in with my overladen truck and went to feed the animals before I could unload. There in the 'mommy' stall was Ms. Cow with a bubble hanging out of her back end.

As you can see, there is a goat head inside that bubble.

My plans now interupted, I went and grabbed fresh straw and bedded down the area with it so she could push her little one into the world on a relatively clean space. And I watched as she dutifully did so without any help for me. She's a pro after all. This is her third time having babies.

That little one came out looking healthy and fine. A girl and we later named her Barbie.

I hung around and noticed Ms. Cow give another big push. A hoof poked out. Goats can come out different ways and don't tend to need much help. But after some time I noticed that the discharge changed from clear to a yucky yellow-brown color. Learning from last year and Vanilla's stressful births, I figured this baby was having a hard time.

I looked closer to see where the nose and other hoof might be, but they were not there at all. Ms. Cow continued to push and the only thing coming out was the right front leg and shoulder. Very wrong and would not have worked out at all. I was thankful to be there and be brave enough to help.

I scrubbed up my hands and arms with soap and water and well...reached in. It was slimy. I felt around as gently as I could, surprised by how much room there is inside a goat. I followed the shoulder up to where the head should be. But where was the head? Really weird. It wasn't where I thought it should be. I felt across the chest to the other leg which was folded under the body. Felt up and to the side and discovered the head was folded to one side of the baby, squished tight to its body.

I took my hand out and pushed the leg back in, folding it inside to match the other leg. Then I found the turned head and carefully repositioned it so the nose was facing the exit. As soon as I took my hand out, that baby was zooming toward the door and was born in a hurry. He came out upside down, revealing that he had manparts.

We later named him Espresso. He's a hungry fellow and good at finding the milk spouts.

Yesterday and today reminded me that things go unexpectedly wrong in life. Sometimes all we can do is try our best to straighten them out and get them back on track. Life is too short to be angry or frustrated or squeamish. When things need to get done, it's best to just do them right away.

Tomorrow is fence day...unless something else goes wrong.

One more goat left to give birth and kidding season is done for 2013. Let's hope Cocoa Puff's birthing day goes without any hitches.

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