How to Milk a Wild Goat

| 4/1/2009 2:33:50 PM

Jacqueline WiltMy day ended with the quip from my husband: "Looks like Kate got some placenta on her shoe." It was true. I looked over the side of the bathtub where I was trying to soak away the day's latest misadventures and saw what he was talking about…a bright red blotch of blood smeared across Kate's little white tennis shoe. Kate, at 15 months, is frequently part of our farming activities and today's crazy day was no exception. So, here's what happened:

I spent the majority of the day working at my parttime job as a home health nurse. I came home, tired and ready to sit down for a while. Doug and his Dad were outside working on our old tractor, which had recently decided to go on strike after a particularly hard day of hauling hay.

"Have you checked the goats?" I asked, knowing we had three left to kid, and one of them was a first-timer.

"No we've been stuck here since early afternoon," came the reply. I handed Kate off to her grandpa and headed toward the doe pen. I fulled expected to return shortly, so didn't even bother to change out of my scrubs. However, when I approached the pen, I could clearly see one of the does was ready to kid … NOW.

My heart did a little leap (as it does every time I see a new baby!), and I gently entered the pen, so as not to scare the new momma. It was our last first-timer left, a fullblood Boer doe named Polly. She had afterbirth visible from her backside. But I didn't see any babies. Maybe she hadn't had them yet, and what I thought was afterbirth was really waterbag? As I approached Polly, who was nonchalantly munching on hay, I noticed a small white thing at the far corner of the pen. Yikes!!! She already had a baby, and she was nowhere NEAR mom! I jogged to the baby, who looked remarkably good considering she was dry, meaning she was at least a couple of hours old. She was bright-eyed and sitting up. Then another spot of white caught my eye, nearly buried in the deep hay. Another one! I scooped up both babies, healthy adorable does, and took them into the barn. I put them, squirming and squalling, into a kidding stall and went out to grab Polly. She wanted nothing to do with the babies. She scampered away, trailing afterbirth after her as she expelled the remains of her birthing process. About that time, Doug came into the barn with Kate in his arms.

"Polly had her babies and doesn't want them," I said.

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