Moby Goat

Sharon August 20th, 2010

The goat birthing is just about over here, which is both sad and good.  Good because I have stuff to do, sad because there’s nothing like new life in the barn.  So far the result is 9 kids – 5 does and 4 bucks from 5 does.  Mina the Milk Truck brought us up to 9 with a beautiful pair of twins, a doeling, Poppy and her twin brother, Hemp (well, we said we were naming them after herbs, right?).

We’re waiting on Jessie.  Now you’ve got to understand that Jessie, while gentle and unobtrusive in personality, is not a slim goat.  She’s a bit of a beachball most of the time.  Right now, she’s huge – I mean, huge.  These goats aren’t that big, you know, so when they are pregnant they look like they are going to burst anyway, and Jessie is the roundest of all.  She’s also apparently decided she likes being pregnant and doesn’t really plan to ever have kids.  Most of our does kid between 144 and 148 days (Nigerian Dwarves run a bit earlier than other breeds), Jessie at 151 days is serenely happy with her present state and simply uninterested in giving birth (this is still within the normal range, so we’re not worried).  Hey, she can still reach the food, right?

Jessie also likes to act as though she’s going to give birth.  Labor signs in goats are a little ambiguous, but most of them have some discharge, go apart from the other goats, and seem a little abstracted at the least, and we’ve always been able to tell (for everyone but Maia, whose only advance sign of delivery both times was the sound of amniotic fluid bursting as she delivers her kid – in about 30 seconds).  Jessie, however, is the mistress of faux-labor.  She has vaginal discharge.  She gets abstracted and goes off by herself and paws the ground.  We get excited and say “today is the day” – and then half an hour later, she’s off grazing or hanging out on the extra milking stanchion letting the baby goats climb on her back.

Nah, I think Jessie is just not interested.  And I sympathize a bit.  With Eli, with my first child, I went overdue by two weeks.  And while there was a part of me that longed to have this over, there was also an inner sense that most likely, as uncomfortable and unpleasant as all this was, he was probably easier to take care of inside me than out.  As it got further and further from my due date, you’d think I would start feeling that birth was more pressing – in fact, it was the opposite – when Eli didn’t come and didn’t come, I gradually began to feel he never would, that maybe I just had to get used to this huge belly of me, and was faintly relieved.

Which is why I think Jessie has just decided to live her life as Moby Goat – every time we say “it has to be today” she says “nope, sorry, it really doesn’t have to be, so there.”  She remembers from her first kidding that babies are a lot of work.  Why not just get comfortable as the goat the size of the moon?

Sharon

2 Responses to “Moby Goat”

  1. e4 says:

    That’s no goat. It’s a space station!

  2. It’s like this with the Icelandics every spring – we never really know who’s due when as we don’t use a ram harness to mark them (it’s more hassle than it’s worth, as we have so few sheep and there is someone home most of the time to keep an eye out for problems – or new lambs). Besides, being seasonal breeders, they tend to all deliver fairly close together .. but someone always seems to be the holdout. I had one ewe that looked like she needed a ‘wide load’ sign slung across her backside, she was so huge. She’s another one who looks like she swallowed a basketball even on a good day, so I know what you mean!

    It’s so much fun watching and waiting – and it’s always a little scary not knowing how things will turn out – but so cool wondering if you’ll get boys or girls, and what colours, and twins or singles … it’s like Christmas (umm, or whatever other present-oriented holiday you have, birthdays, maybe? :D )

    Hope all goes well … and soon!

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