"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Set of Triplets, and Another First for Me

Iris in Labor

Iris had her babies today. Triplets, the same as Django, two bucks and a doe. One of them is the most adorable goat ever to be born on planet Earth.

When I went to bed last night, I thought odds were better than even that I'd find babies on the ground in the morning. Poor Iris was barely able to walk, between her shockingly gigantic belly and her shockingly gigantic udder. In the morning, there were no babies, but there was a string of goo, which means babies should be coming very soon. So I got her in the mama barn, raced the kids to school, called my sister, and returned as fast as I could. Sister came over with my niece, Selah, and we all sat down to wait.

Iris is a very relaxed goat. She's a big, healthy mama, and she's birthed twice before, all real big healthy babies. She's never needed help (neither have any of my other goats), and she's never made much of a big deal about giving birth. She just stands there chewing her cud until she decides to lie down and push, and it's all over in a few minutes.

So I was a little surprised when her contractions went on for two and half hours without progress. She was not in any distress, but she was stretching a lot, and she was doing a weird squatting thing I'd never seen any of my goats do before. We decided to call my sister's goat-mentor, Kim.

Kim told me straight away that Iris had a malpositioned kid and I'd have to go in and check it out. Feel the presenting part and tell her what it is, and she'd tell me if I should pull the kid or
call the vet. To tell the truth, I was a little reluctant, and not just because I didn't want to stick my hand in a goat-yoni. I thought we were being hasty. Iris wasn't worried yet, why should I be? I wouldn't want anyone to jostle me along like that.

But with my sister's encouragement, a pair of latex gloves, and a lot of canola oil, I went in. It wasn't difficult to figure out the problem, actually. The baby was hind-feet-first, not a problem in itself, but one of his hind legs was bent and only one little hoof was well positioned. Over the phone, Kim talked me through the process of gently exploring further in, following the leg back until I could find the other hoof and make sure I had both of them in my hand and they were actually hind feet (front feet with the head turned back would have been more problematic).

Once I was sure what I was holding, I could go ahead and pull, along with Iris' contractions. Little boy was born in less than a minute. He was kind of limp and I had to swing him around by the hind legs (which I was already holding, right?) and rub him vigorously with a towel, but then he sneezed and started to breathe.

Then Kim said "go back in and see if there's another." What? Now she'd get any others out on her own, surely? I stuck my hand in briefly, ascertained that there was indeed another kid in there, this time nose on front feet as usual, and retreated. Iris was nickering and licking her baby, and after a few minutes I hadn't seen any further contractions. I asked Kim how long we should wait to see if Iris birthed the next baby, and she said "Oh just go in and get him. You're already in there."

Well she had a point. I wasn't going to get any grosser at this point (actually I was wrong about that, but it's what I thought at the time). So I went back in and quickly delivered two more babies. All three of them are strong and vigorous, good-sized for triplets, and strong nursers. All baby goats are cute, of course, but one of Iris' babies is so amazingly adorable that I might just not be able to let go of him.

Yes, again, a buck. The cutest ones are always bucks. I don't know why. Murphy's law, I guess. Just like my brother was the only one to get the long eyelashes and curly hair. I'll have more to say about buck-selection in another post.

Oh one thing is clear: I spent $75 on a rented buck for no reason at all. Storm Cloud is the father of all six of these little goats. The dates make anything else impossible, but I'd know by the coloration even if the dates were inconclusive. Now I know he throws great color!

Since Iris had a rough birth this time, I'll keep her in the mama barn for a good week. Also I'm giving her penicillin (5cc IM QD x 5D) since I had to go in. She's a strong goat, and I'm sure she'll recover just fine, but I'm not taking any chances. She's really a prize animal, a terrific milker, a great mother, a beautiful girl, and a sweetheart. I'd be devastated if anything happened to Iris. When I bought her, Homero thought I paid way too much for her, but I don't think so at all. She's paid back her purchase price half a dozen times.


pandora said...

well then, what an exciting morning...great job...and i luv the stories....keep them comin...please


fullfreezer said...

Oh, he is too cute! I'm glad everything turned out well.

Olive said...

You're a braver Gal than me Gungadin!

Well done.

AnyEdge said...

I am the pretty one.

*whistles gaily...*

AnyEdge said...

Of course, I'll see your curly hair and long eyelashes and raise you alcoholism...

I didn't exactly win the genetics pot.

~Tonia said...

Its always scary the first time you have to do something like that! Glad things went well. All the boys here this year are super flashy or pretty boys... Stinkers!

Anonymous said...

what a little cutie pie.
Post a pic of Iris and her triplets soon - baby goats and sheep are the cutest of the animal world

Claire said...

Wow! Awesome post! You did such a great job, and so did Iris. Can't wait for more baby pics! I have only ever delivered one baby goat. It was exciting, but not something I would want to do every day. Way to go!

Penelope said...

I'm so glad I got to be there for that right before my does kid, I feel much more prepared now to deal with whatever happens. You were great very calm and competent. Now as for that little boy... Well you can definately be sure he's not going far, if you don't keep him you know he'll be living at my place :-)

Cattlecallfarm said...

That's farming, always something new and exciting.

WeekendFarmer said...

Congrats! You are BRAVE! We just had another lamb last night and I had to run to my wife as I didnt know what to do : ).

polly's path said...

Sounds like you had a very busy morning-with great pay-off!
I know what you mean-why are the cutest ones always, always bucks?
And that baby-couldn't be cuter. Fantastic colors!
A midwife to the goats! Well done!I am glad our momma went on her own and had no problems-I am not sure I would have been as quick and skilled as you were.

Garden Lily said...

I've gone back tonight to read more of these goat delivery posts which I missed previously. Thanks so much for sharing - I'm enjoying living vicariously through your farming experiences.