We have been waiting for the past month or so for kids to arrive any day, first off I worked out the due dates a month early, I’ve never been very good at pregnancy maths, and secondly one of the two goats that is due is a white ‘any-other-verity’ who we have been desperate to have healthy kids from. Maude came with Jessica, my first goat after the 2001 FMD outbreak, the couple who had them didn’t really know a lot about goats and even though they were well looked after they would both spend all day shouting if they didn’t sit out in the garden with them, which just isn’t a practical thing to do all day. We don’t really know how old Maude is, or even if she has had kids before she came to us but she loves babies but she has never carried her own kids to full term though, it has been getting later and later each time but so far her kids have all been born too early to survive. We don’t really know why.
Until this year, she is now only three days from her due date and we all have our fingers crossed. We’ve been able to see the kids (or I hope it’s kids, if there is only one she is going to have a lot of problems delivering) moving and kicking inside her for three or four weeks now, normally kicking babies is a sign that kidding is very close. So we have been holding our breath, looking for any little sign that kidding is going to happen or is happening. There have been many false alarms. In the past week or so she has taken to standing on her own in the pen talking to herself; another sure sign that kidding is very close, but still nothing. Her udder, which is misshapen, is almost touching the ground it is so big.
Fucshia is the other goat who is due to kid. I got Fucshia in 2007, I had gone with mother to get a new male Anglo Nubian from a local breeder, mother was also looking at a British Tog. When we had seen the two goats that we had gone to see we looked round the other goats, a black female was taking interest in who we were and what we were doing there. She was sweet and I said so, the reply came as something like “you can have her if you like, she’s a little too small for what I’m trying to breed” and that was that. A price was agreed and she was put in kid to Fungus (a very well known Anglo Nubian male) who the breeder happened to have there (!!) and delivered six weeks later with mothers Tog and my male.
Fucshia started kidding at the beginning of a bad patch of weather, we knew that she wasn’t right but weren’t completely sure she was kidding. She seemed very uncomfortable but she was MASSIVE. We called the vet just as they had put out a call to all the vets to return to the surgery as the snow was too dangerous to be out in. They advised us to give her lots of sweet tea, still a favourite of hers, to help things a long if she really was kidding, which we did. Nothing happened but she seemed to become more comfortable than she had been so we decided that one of the kids must have been laid in an awkward way. Two days later when the snow had cleared she started pushing but was having problems so after trying ourselves to sort the kids out we called the vet who came and after a lot of trouble delivered three very large male kids who were sadly all dead, it would seem that she had been kidding two days before but two of them had tried coming out at the same time, one on top of the other, and were they weren’t positioned right for kidding they were not pushing on the right bit for her cervix to open.
Fucshia is showing signs that she is in kid but not so many signs that she is close to kidding yet, Knightshade was left in with her and Maude so it is not completely certain that she was mated on the day that he was putting with them and didn’t come back into seasons three weeks later without us noticing.
That was the conversation that me and mother had stood down at the goat pen watching the goats mill around a little after lunch time. Maude was stood talking to herself again but no other signs of kidding.
A few hours later middle-sister came rushing asking if we wanted to see the kids. Maude! No, not Maude. Fucshia. By the time I got down to the goat pen she had had she second one and was being annoyed by the other goats who wanted to know what she was up to. We moved her into a house and shut the door, adding more fresh bedding and helping her clean off the babies. Middle-sister went to get her camera, we checked her stomach and there was another one. She lay down and before the camera could even be switched on delivered a third kid.
Triplets! And all girls and beautifully marked.