The last two weeks have been very interesting. We decided to kid 6 of the full blood Boer girls early to
have extra kidding stalls in January when the serious kidding takes places. In other words, a multitude
of does kid then. And, itís strange after a few months off from kidding how you forget what kidding is
like. This small dose of does was like a taste test, a reminder of what is to come.
We carefully hung up two baby monitors down in the barn, putting them on different channels to cut
down static. We had three monitors up at the house for listening. I had one in the "office" where I
answer a lot of emails on the computer, one in the bedroom, and one in the living room.
I set the kidding bucket with kidding "things" and towels on the downstairs chest freezer where all the
barn coats hang and barn boots are handy. The girls were in their bedded stalls and heat lamps were up
because even in late fall it can hit 20-30 degrees F at night. Now we would wait.
One afternoon I was in the "office" writing on the computer when I heard an odd sound from the baby
monitor. I flew out of that chair, down the stairs, partially threw on a coat on the left side of my body
and the rain poncho on the right (it was raining that day), snatched up a wooly toboggan for my head
and charged down the hill with the kidding bucket to the barn. I got there with my heart pounding in my
throat, puffing and wheezing enough that all the girls turned and gave me a startled look, making sure it
was really me and not a grunting, snorting, wheezing, oddly dressed bear standing and staring at them.
And, I was staring at them. At least trying to stare at them. I noticed I couldnít see out of one eye. In
alarm I reached up to feel my face and discovered that my toboggan was on the right side of my head,
covering my right eye. In great relief I straightened up my toboggan, put my coat and poncho on right,
and saw that the girls were fine. No one kidding.
A day or two later one of the girls acted more frantic then usual to get her breakfast, rushing to her
feeder and back to the door, over and over. I fed her and went on feeding the others and carrying hay
and stopped to check her 15 minutes later and she was down kidding! Hay flew everywhere as I threw
it out of my way to rush and get the kidding bucket.
This was a yearling doe and I was betting she was only going to have a single, out popped two cute
kids. I was surprised but she wasnít. She was so happy with her babies as I helped clean them up and
put iodine on their belly buttons.
Kidding means getting up several times in the night to check on the girls and I check on them during the
day every two hours. I donít like nasty surprises, only good surprises, so I keep that hill hot as I run up
and down checking on due girls. One thing both Lee and I forgot about kidding was Shorty, the barn
rooster. With the baby monitors on, somehow Shorty always lined himself up in front of one and
crowed his little rooster heart out at 3:30 a.m. every morning, and then again at 4:00 a.m., and at 4:30
a.m. We usually got up and turned baby monitors off at that time because we get up at 5:00 a.m. and
we needed at least a little sleep. One 3:00 morning, Lee swore he heard a new born kid over the
monitor. He jumped up and went and checked and nothing was going on at the barn. Personally, I think
he got up at 3 a.m. to wake Shorty up and get even with him for once.
Another girl decided to kid in the afternoon (I love day kiddings) and she was so close that I got a
bucket and sat on it in the stall with the twins that had been born two days earlier. I could watch, yet be
there if she needed help. While I was sitting there I was watching the two day old kids play. The little
girl lined herself up with her momís short water bucket and reared up and did a hop and tried to leap
over the bucket. Pretty impressive attempt for such a young kid. But, she landed with her belly in the
middle of the bucket opening, and legs hanging on either side, far enough off the ground that she was
stuck over the bucket. She grunted and complained a few seconds until I got over there and lifted her
off the bucket. I was laughing so hard the tears were flowing.
Since this little girl didnít have a name yet, the idea of Bucket for a name came up. But, she was a cute
little girl, I couldnít call her Bucket. I remembered an old British show on PBS called "Keeping Up
Appearances" or something like that. And, this very snobby lady married a fellow whoís last name was
Bucket, but she couldnít have that and insisted on everyone calling it Bouquet. So, that little girl was
christened Autumn Bouquet right then.
The doe in the next stall started serious kidding, got the first kid out fine, but the second came out hind
feet first and got stuck. I did some wiggling with the kid and quickly got her out, and to my surprise a
third kid popped out! This yearling doe stood up to survey all that she had accomplished and almost
immediately dried up. No joking here. Never saw anything like it. She had a bag a couple of days ago
but somehow it just withered up after she kidded. Nothing in it. Nada. So, I found myself with three
very cute bottle babies. I left them with their mommy because she dearly loved them and I set them up
on schedule for bottle feeding every two hours for these newborns. Which was easy since I was
running to the barn every two hours anyway!
This young mom took my feeding her kids very seriously. She knew when they were suppose to be fed
and would stand and holler until I showed up. She would then check the bottles over well and check
her kids to make sure everyone was getting fed and was getting plenty. There was to be no hungry
babies on her watch.
Another wonderful doe decided to kid in the day and as I watched this first time mother I was
impressed. Here, she had never kidded before and when it was getting close and she was straining, she
found herself licking the air like crazy. And when the first kid popped half way out she swung around
and continued licking and got the kidís head immediately cleaned up and then she finished pushing the
rest of him out to clean him up. I remember thinking, "Youíre a keeper, girl." A lot of first timers just
basically donít know what is going on, until they kid a second time. Here, she just knew what to do the
first time. Good girl.
In all my ramblings up and down the hill to check on the girls, I got to study the new kids closely. One
three day old buck kid was a hunk, a super chunk and we named him Autumn Strong Man Joe
and he thought he was hot stuff. Three days old and he stood behind his mommy and started acting like
a big buck, doing the "na-na-na-na" talk and striking her with a front leg. He kept striking her in the
udder and she just ignored him, contently chewing her hay, and on the fourth strike from her obnoxious
offspring, she lifted her tail and dropped a double load of goat berries on his head. As the berries
rained all over him, he stood there blinking his eyes to see better through the berries and gave it up. It
was time to be a little kid again.
Another doe kid had discovered heat. When she was born she had this little white ring on her head
making you think of a crown. I dried her off, watched her nurse, and then stood her under the heat
lamp. Ahhhhh, luxury, she said. She stood with her head turned upwards towards the warmth of the
heat lamp and became a heat worshipper. She had such a noble stance that she became Autumn
Princess. After that she thought she had it all figured, all she had to do was point her little nose to the
sky and heat would come. I saw her several times that day walking around the stall and then suddenly
striking a pose, with nose pointed skyward, waiting for the heat to fall. Naturally it did because I would
always go in there and place her under the heat lamp. Eventually she did learn that the heat did come
from the heat lamp, not from striking a pose with nose upward.
One particularly gentle doe decided to kid at suppertime. She had very studiously been staring at the
corner since 1 p.m., concentrating, gritting her teeth every now and then. Now at 4 p.m. she was
starting to make nests and getting up and down. She was one of my sweeties and I took a bucket into
her stall to sit on and just watch, trying to get an idea just how close was she.
The stall was getting darker with the evening hour and I had hooked up the heat lamp and itís warm
welcoming light was shining in the center of the stall. I had my bucket placed in a dark corner to watch
her as she lay under the hay manger. She rolled her head back and saw me and looked around the stall
and very carefully got up. Cautiously, she walked over to me, lined herself up so that she could stare
into the stall the way I was and started looking intently around.
Silly thing. She thought I had seen something that needed to be watched and had come over to help
me. She stood 20 minutes by my side watching the stall with me. I had to laugh and give her a hug. She
then went back to her hay manger and laid down and put me through torture for the next 3 hrs.
You know how the sound of nails raking over the chalkboard sound? Well, someone gritting their teeth
makes me feel that way. This doe had gritted her teeth off and on since 1 p.m. and now it was
continuous. I was almost rolling off that bucket in agony for the next 3 hrs. Several times I thought I
was just going to start screaming and run out of the stall and around the barn a few times to let off
steam. But, I controlled myself. I sat hunched on my bucket with hands over my ears keeping watch
over this young girl. I thought I was going to totally lose it a few times, but the S in my middle name not
only means Sue, it also means stubborn.
She kidded at 8 p.m. with a huge baby boy. No wonder she was gritting her teeth! So, now Lee and I
are reminded once again what kidding is like. And, all I can say is Ö. Are we crazy?!!!!