Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Baby Goats of Spring

My plan was to spend Friday at the Northwest Horse Expo, meet a friend from California there, learn about leg-yielding from clinician George Williams, Olympic equestrian, and generally spend a day soaking up horse information. It was not to be.

On Thursday evening, one of the two goats due that day began uddering up and losing her "cords", ligaments on either side of the tail that tell me when a goat is within 24 hours of kidding. So I put her (Ebony) in a kidding pen and went to bed, hopeful that she would kid before I needed to leave for the Expo after chores the next day. Alas, Ebony did not cooperate. Furthermore, the second doe that was imminent, Ginseng, was also uddered up and cordless in the morning, so I prepared another kidding pen and put her in. Then I resigned myself to a day cutting blackberries out of the comfrey patch and elderberry tree in front of the barn, while checking periodically on my aggravatingly slow to kid does.

It was a lovely, sunny day and I realized at some point that it was ridiculous to be irritated about spending time outdoors in beautiful weather, waiting for adorable baby goats to arrive. The Expo could wait until tomorrow.

At 3:45 p.m., Ginseng was pushing a bubble out the back with a large kid's head visible. Ginseng is a first freshener, so I helped her by gently pulling the big doe kid out... and the second kid (a buckling) not long after. Both were healthy kids soon up and nursing.

Ebony did not get around to kidding until after I'd gone in for supper. Friend Irv drove in and said, "My goats never kidded until I went in to eat." He walked out with me when I went to check and, sure enough, there was a big buckling being cleaned up by his mom. It was an hour later before she got around to having the second, a doeling.

Saturday, the first day of spring, with the first goat kids of the year all healthy and happy, I went to the Horse Expo and watched George Williams teach how to improve your horse's collection (that's not what is taken in church, but rather what a horse needs to do to transfer weight to his back end so he can move more gracefully and efficiently.) I even saw my California friend briefly and met other people I knew (naturally, since I know a lot of horse addicts.)

It is good and truly spring now, both by the calendar and by the birthing of baby goats. And I have a lot fewer berry bushes invading in front of the barn.

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