October kidding is over and you would think that it is time to catch up on our rest. I think lack of sleep feeds on itself. The less sleep you get, expect to get even less then that. Take during kidding season. Our pregnant girls have their own alarm clock. Any time day or night, they can go off and start kidding. You may have it wrote down when they got bred, but even then they can decide if it’s going to be day 145 or day 153 or any time in between. Then they also have the hour down.
I have seen does not let on until breakfast is over, and then lie down and kid. You wouldn’t have known they were even getting ready to kid at all. I’ve seen others grunting, pawing, making nests, then run over to check out their feeder every few minutes. Now, maybe they are just trying to get their mind off of what is about to happen, but when I put out their breakfast and they gobble it down and then immediately lie down and kid. You know then that they were just putting kidding off to make sure they didn’t miss a meal. I’ve held off feed time to give them a chance to kid and they have held off kidding until they finally did get fed. So, we pretty much just go ahead and keep things on schedule and it works better that way. If she is one that is looking for that meal, she’ll eat it, but if she is one that doesn’t give a hoot and just wants to get kidding over with, she’ll ignore the meal and carry on with the business of kidding.
Whatever, during kidding you can still find yourself going without sleep. The baby monitors are left on and during the night, even after the regular checks down at the barn, you find yourself just lying there listening. One wrong peep and suddenly you are sitting straight up in bed going, “What’s zat?!” Then running up and down the hill in the middle of the night to see what exactly it was you thought you heard, this tends to shock you into extreme wakefulness.
I like it best when you have girls that talk to themselves before they kid. They might talk half a day or all night or a few hours or a few minutes before they kid. It’s a constant low key talking, sometimes a mumble, and you can just picture her standing there going, “Oh, dear, this is going to hurt.” Or, “Ouch. Not too bad, I can take it. Ouch.” Or, “I’m going to have a sweet baby. Ow.” The first timer says, “What?! Why am I hurting?! OW! Did something just move inside me? It’s an Alien! Oh no!”
At least the talkers give you a chance to get ready, even if you don’t get much sleep listening to them talk. Plus, they seem to be more willing to really let out a loud grunt when they push or a very loud yell when they push the kid out. That’s always good to get you fully awake and down to the barn.
But, what it all amounts to still is a lack of sleep during kidding season and after. Now, with us, usually we end up with some bottle babies. That first week of their little lives, you tend to give them a little bit of milk every few hours. And, if you are like us, you have the new bottle babies up in the living room in their Rubber Maid tubs for easier feeding. They are quite willing to let you know when they are hungry. After a week, I set them on a schedule of four times a day and slowly build up the amount of milk that they can take, but still, at the beginning, once again you are not getting the sleep you need or crave.
What happens to me when I get sleep deprived, other then the usual thing of acting like an idiot, not able to put two sentences together, and as soon as I sit down or lean against something I fall asleep, is that I get twitches. These twitches occur in one eye. Doesn’t matter which eye, but one eye will twitch.
This is a bit disconcerting when you are trying to read a label. You have two good eyes focused on a label and suddenly one blinks out on you. And, then it constantly blinks, while the other eye does its best to read what you need to know.
I’ll have to admit that it’s frightened more then a few goat customers, this sudden wink I give them. Picture this, someone sidling up to you and saying, “Wanna buy a goat?” and they suddenly wink at you, not once but several times. You would be totally confused too as to exactly what that wink meant.
You’d be more then confused, you’d be downright frightened having an older lady with wild gray frizzy hair, dressed in barn clothes, big bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep, sidle up to you and ask a confusing question about buying a goat, and then giving you several big winks. You’d certainly find me leaving the country fast.
Poor Lee, with all my winking at him, he doesn’t know what is going on. I ask him to get in a load of firewood to put in the wood box in the house because we are running low, and then I wink at him. I ask him to get me some more hay down from the loft, and then I wink at him. He doesn’t know if I’m just joking and we don’t really need those things at all. I have since advised him, when in doubt, get to work. It’s always safe to do the work then to not do the work.
Thinking about the goat customers, I will be very concerned if after I ask a goat customer if they want a particular goat and then find myself winking like crazy at them and instead of it putting them off, they sidle up to me in great friendliness. Maybe I should wear a patch over the offending eye until I catch up on my sleep. Yeah, right, that would look good. Look like a pirate and try to sell a goat. I’m sure that’s going to work. Looks like I’m back to winking at everyone.