Monday, April 13, 2015


With seven does giving birth to eleven healthy, bouncy kids, this has been the busiest kidding season we've ever had here at Lally Broch Farm.  Salome's singleton that arrived Sunday afternoon put a bow on a perfect season.  Sonja and I rejoiced over our successes and breathed hearty sighs of relief that we wouldn't have to go through this much stress and fear for another year.  We thought.

We debated sharing this story with you. It is one thing to choose to live this life with all its rewards and losses. Another to be dragged into heartache. For those of you who only want happy tidings, read one more paragraph and then, close out the window. While we still choose how much and what we share with you, we realize that you are invested in our lives. Though we have never met many of you in person and you live in other states (or countries even!), you are there with your support to cheer us on when things go well and to mourn with us when we suffer a loss. We decided to go ahead and tell this tale to those of you who want or need to hear it. I offered to write it. Sonja does most of the writing, but I know how much time and effort goes into each post and I know how hard loss is for her. This much I could take off her shoulders for the moment.

Sonja has maintained that Lilly, one of our Saanans, really looked pregnant, especially in the last couple of weeks.  Although her udder has gotten larger as of late, I chocked it up to her being like her sister, who was giving milk precociously, before even becoming pregnant.  Lilly has not looked big in the middle like her sister, Bailey, who had twins just last week and hasn't shown any signs of being in the family way.  So tonight, while I was out mucking the horse stall, I thought nothing of looking over and seeing what I thought was Bailey licking her new little buck, Benjamin in the field.  I literally did a double-take when I realized it wasn't Bailey, but Lilly, licking the little one.  Thinking this was also a little strange, but sweet, I took a third look.  It did look like Benjamin from afar, same colors, but where are his waddles?  No waddles... no waddles... Lilly KID!

Sweet girl, Chloe. ♥
After alerting Sonja that she was in fact, Right, we ran out to find a healthy baby doe almost completely clean and standing well.  We got mother and daughter up into their stall, and did our routine checks.  Tawny-colored with brown socks, she weighed in at about six pounds and has been christened "Chloe."  However, Lilly continued to strain about every three minutes.  I felt around under her belly and discovered that she still had one baby left to deliver.

It was getting dark in the barn. It took me a couple minutes to move the light to see better. Sonja watched over the proceedings.  After a few pushes, it was clear that something was wrong with the kid.  Usually when kids are coming, they still wiggle their noses or twitch their feet.  This one just hung limply.  In the few minutes that I was gone rigging the light, Sonja knew we had a stillborn. The delivery went smoothly but there was nothing to be done. The kid had died long hence; it could not be resuscitated. Lilly's maternal instincts were intact. She cleaned off the little doe and called softly to her. We were concerned that Lilly would panic if we took away her kid. She might spend her time calling and searching for it, neglecting her living kid trying to find the missing one. We left the kid with Lilly for a little while; long enough for her to be satisfied with the unfortunate results. Slowly and gently, I covered the kid with a towel. Lilly sniffed the towel and turned back to Chloe. While her attention was elsewhere, I quickly scooped up the kid and took her away.  Lilly didn't panic, and seemed to understand, going back to pay attention to her healthy kid.

Lilly and Chloe
The stillborn was very small and looked perhaps a little less developed then Chloe. She was a beautiful, soft brown doe with perfect lamancha ears. It is very sad to lose any animal, especially one so young. So, today was a mixed blessing.  Lilly and Chloe are doing very well, but our perfect kidding season has been marred by a single loss.  Still, it has been a remarkably good kidding season, and it looks like it really is over this time.  We've included pictures of the new arrival, as well as the one that almost was.  Thank you for reading friends, even through the hard times.

--Sean and Sonja


  1. Bless you. Thank you for sharing ALL of it.

  2. I am so sorry. That was super sweet of you Seany Sean to write this one up. Give each other big hugs from me.

  3. You've educated us that it's not always "peaches and cream" being a farmers. Even losing one little one is sad. But, all-in-all this has been a most successful season. Congratulations.