Oddly enough, with this last kidding season I wasnít expecting to deal with torpedoes and tidal waves. It all started with the first timers. You know first timers, those young does who kid for the very first time. Itís a whole new world when you deal with first time kidders. Iíve written about it before, but itís still an eye opener when you deal with them each kidding season.
We always have anywhere from a few to a lot of first time kidders each and every time we kid. And, you have to keep reminding yourself to keep a little closer watch on them. Iím considering plastering a big star on the door of each kidding stall to remind me this is a first timer, because lack of sleep during kidding time can make you forget.
Some first time kidders can actually act like old pros, whereas some are totally clueless when itís time to kid. One girl stood and hollered all day, while eating hay, until she finally kidded that night. Another ground her teeth. Loudly. Where you could hear it plainly over the baby monitors, all afternoon. That just about drove me nuts, or nuttier. Horrible sound the grinding of teeth.
Another girl frantically paced her stall, looking hysterical all afternoon, unless I came in and sat down on a bucket to be with her. Then she settled and honest to goodness laid her head in my lap and kept it there, mournfully looking up at me. She stayed that way until she kidded. Standing, head in my lap, dropping each kid on its head. When I would rush around her to dry the kidís head off, she would turn and look surprised at what had been put behind her and then helped me clean each kid up. When the pains hit again, I kept the kid at my feet while she once again laid her head in my lap and dropped another kid on its head. She ended up being an excellent mother, a little confused at the beginning, but excellent afterwards.
One favorite thing a first time kidder likes to do is to kid and then run off to the corner of the stall and stare in complete horror at the wet bundle left behind. You always wonder if they will come back. Most the time, when the kid letís out a cry, they either rush back to the wet bundle or sneak up on it and start tentatively licking it. Iím always greatly relieved when they come back.
One doe went screaming around the stall when the head of her kid came out. He was kidded on the fly. When she stumbled over him on her second trip flying around the stall, she stopped and licked him clean and then went flying around the stall again until she had the second one on the fly. Once again stopping to lick that one clean. She ended up being an excellent mother and a very knowing second time kidder the following season, calmly lying down to have her kids.
One first time doe calmly had her kids, but when she got back up to lick them, she just couldnít do it. She licked the air all around them, about an inch above the little bodies. When her tongue accidentally touched them, she looked like she was going to gag. I finally had to break down and thoroughly towel them for her and then she was quite happy. They were no longer slimy.
This year two things happened I had never had happened in 13 years of kidding, torpedoes and tidal waves and all with first time kidders. I am really starting to love those older does with all the kidding experience. In fact one selling point people ask, who have gone through kidding before, is has the doe kidded before. Itís not just to prove the doe is fertile, but that they wonít have to go through a first time kidding with this doe. I fully understand. I love those older experienced does, too.
I know I told you all about one first time thing that happened last year that had never happened to us before, a doe pushed during contractions and two kid heads came out and they both were looking around at their new surroundings. No legs or feet in sight, just two heads looking out of the behind end of a doe. Lee and I both almost passed out. How were we to deal with this? Fortunately, this doe was an older experienced doe, roomy back there, and she just gave one giant push and pushed both kids out at the same time!!! They felt a little squeezed, but were fine and so was the doe. She was fine enough to pop out a third kid right after.
This year I watched a first time kidder act antsy, pace the stall, investigate every inch of the stall, every blade of hay in the manger, anything to keep from kidding. If she could have backed up and pushed her behind against the wall to keep from kidding, she would have. She didnít understand what was going on and she didnít want anything to do with it. When she felt a pain, she rushed to the manger to eat some hay. This had been going on for quite some time and I knew she had to be close. I was standing directly behind her, behind the kidding stall door.
Suddenly, this huge tidal wave of water came out of her behind. It was like a dam giving way. No little trickle and then getting stronger, it just exploded out of her. She had held it back so long that when it went, it went. I had been running on 2-4 hrs. of sleep a night and must have been slightly sleeping with my eyes open while observing her. Because when that water exploded out of her, I almost climbed to the roof of the barn, I jumped so high. I had visions of needing a life preserver, wondering if I still remembered how to tread water. It sure jerked me awake. Then she gave up and laid down and calmly kidded two beautiful kids, acting like an old pro.
The next first time kidder was doing great, other then standing and dropping the first kid on his head. I still have to admit this is a great way for getting a kid out of sack, a little hard on the kid, but you donít have to worry about him suffocating in a sack. While she was calmly licking that kid clean, she started going into labor with the second. Still standing, she gave a push and I could see a kidís behind coming out. No back feet or legs, just the kidís behind.
I thought, oh no, Iíll have to hurry and work with the contractions and get this kid out fast. Because as soon as that umbilical cord gets squeezed, heís going to take a big breath and if his head is still inside mom, heís going to drown. So, I was rapidly debating with myself whether to push the little rump back in and try to find the hind legs to bring him out or just to grab the little rump and see if the doe was roomy enough to go ahead and take him out bottom first.
In less time then it took to type the above, the first time doe gave a mighty push and shot that kid out of there. I have never seen a kid shot out so fast and so far. He landed a foot or two from mom. Usually the kids slide down momís hind legs and land right at her back feet, not this fellow, he was shot straight out and he immediately got the name of Torpedo.
He almost shot past me. I had visions of keeping a catcherís mitt in my kidding bucket from now on. Mom was very unconcerned about all this and was stilling cleaning the first kid up. I picked up Torpedo and put him beside his brother, who got the original name of Ringo because of a ring around one eye.
Nothing is ever the same, going exactly the same way, when you raise goats. Thatís especially true during kidding season. This season I had no idea weíd be dealing with torpedoes and tidal waves.