Well, here we go. It is that time of year again to prepare for those bouncing little babies. The work load begins, sleep deprivation, running to the barn all hours of the night…bring it on…I’m ready…I think?!
Yesterday I started getting ready. I made a little list of items that I need. It isn’t too bad this year but I need to definitely do a little shopping. I have changed…I absolutely love to shop for my goats. Yeah, I know…I am pathetic. You can say it. My husband does all the time.
I checked my due date calendar and realized that I have 7 does due in about a 2 weeks time. What the hell was I thinking. Holy crap am I going to be tired! So those 7 very pregnant ladies got a shot of vitamins and a dose of selenium yesterday. Some of them could care less. They just stand there eating their hay while I give them their shots. Most of them see me coming with a needle and take off.
There I am, chasing Dew Drop the herd queen around. Now Dew weighs about 150-160lbs. She is the boss and runs the show. It is her barn, her goats, and she has graciously given me the opportunity to take care of their every need. She has a HUGE belly once again and is known for giving us triplets and quads. She sees the needle and takes off. It is 10 degrees here so I have insulated bibs & coat over several layers of jeans, sweatshirts, flannels, etc. I just had back surgery too. So trying to run with a bad back and 400 layers of clothes on is little difficult. I am convinced that Dew Drop knows this!
The chasing begins. Dew is running full speed with pregnant belly and a full udder swaying back an forth. I am “trying” to run after her. I catch her! “AH HA”, I say to her. She proceeds to bump me and put me on my backside in a freshly laid pile of manure. I let go of her. She stands there, still as a statue. I swear she is smiling at me. I get back on my feet and off we go again. My “most helpful” son, Mikey, is watching. He doesn’t bother to help (of course). While I am chasing, Mikey is complaining about it being cold.
I catch Dew again and manage to get the shot into her. Mikey is still complaining. I give Dew a kiss (she hates to be kissed) and let her go. While I am filling up the syringe for the next pregnant lady on my list, I see Dew back with the girls and I swear she is telling them to be aware.
The chase begins with another lady and guess what…Mikey is still complaining. “That is it, I have had enough”, as my mother used to say. I stop and tell Mikey..”guess what, it is January, we live in the mountains, and yes it is cold. Unfreeze the pipes like I have shown you time and time again. I am sorry that you have to run a hose to the barn everyday…get over it…I can’t fix that problem right now. I am sorry that you lost the 1,000’s of pairs of gloves that I have purchased for you. My hands are cold too. Do I look like I am wearing gloves…nope. Why? Because you lost them too. Now, shut up, and get your work done!”
He leaves the barn in a huff…He will make a “fine” teenager in a couple of months when he turns 13. I manage to get everyone’s shots into them. I feel all their bellies and can feel the little babies moving around and kicking. They get their grain and hay. Mikey is finally bringing in the water.
He is filling up the rams’ water when I hear a scream out of him. He announces that there is a dead rat in their water bucket. OMG!!!! Mice in a barn, I can handle. I don’t like them but I know that it is normal. Rats!!!! You have got to be kidding me. Now, farmers around here tell me that this is normal also. I am told that they are field rats not the rats like the ones in the city. Still it is a rat and the city girl in me is totally freaked out!
I make a phone call to Vince. “Where is the rat poison?”
Vince: “Don’t worry about it. I will take care of it when I get home”.
Me: “I don’t think so. Just tell me where it is or I am going to go buy some”.
Vince gives in. He knows this is a loosing battle. He tells me where it is. I run back out to the barn, get it, and start putting it in strategic places. Now, you just can’t put poison anywhere in a barn. I can’t run the risk of it falling and the goats or sheep getting into it. This leads to a long and strategic discussion with Mikey. He is no longer complaining. Why? Because we are going to kill something! The hunter in him comes out. He doesn’t get to shoot anything but still…we are going to kill, kill, kill!
So the poison is out, the girls got their shots, I have my shopping list ready. The kids know their jobs. Mikey helps me clean the babies off. Katie dips their navels and feet in iodine and takes them to the house. Mikey gives the mama doe a bucket of warm molasses water. After a good long drink, I milk her out. Mikey takes the milk to the house. I make bottles up of pasteurized colostrum and we feed the babies their first bottles. They are then placed into the playpen lined with newspaper in our mud room. They are bottle fed around the clock..yep, in the middle of the night too.
This weekend the barn will be cleaned out. A birthing pen will be made. We are bringing in sheep that will be lambing soon also. Soon their will be babies, babies, babies every where. I am so excited! I am a little kid and it is Christmas all over again. I will call my mom and announce the births as they happen. She will call my sister Ann and give her the blow by blow. Ann (not the huge animal lover and a true city girl through and through) will listen like she cares.
Yep, I am ready. Bring it on. Let the birthing begin. Oh one last thing….my little prayer…
“God, are you there? It is me, Amy. PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE…let me have girls!”