Video: Goat's Kidding

Warning: Some of the following pictures are GRAPHIC. Please, use discretion.

When you have a farm and return home from a weekend away, the first thing you learn to expect is that some minor disaster has taken place in your absence- especially if that weekend away included 18 hours of driving and the bone-tired weariness that ensues afterward. I don't make the rules. I merely live them. This could mean that your fish tank heater will abruptly stop working, causing the poor soul left in charge of their care to panic and call you in distress until you walk them through reinstalling a heater. Or, your basement sump pump could malfunction, flooding said basement with an inch or two of nasty water, causing many shades of distress. Or, your buck might bust down an exterior stall wall with his head ramming causing your 14 year old (newly arrived home herself) to call in a panic of there being 5 goats roaming the front yard. Oh yes, be prepared to be unprepared. In the latter case, a quick remedy of putting a bale of hay in the pasture enticed the caprice populace to stay put until our arrival one hour hence. At which time, armed with a screw gun and hardware, Sean attended to the difficulty while I settled about unpacking, sorting children and animals, and surveying the land still standing.

Now, when we decided to go to North Carolina, we knew that Ellie was close to being to term, but since we were not privy to when conception had occurred, we were in a holding pattern. We left a capable friend in charge of tending our animals while we were gone and we hoped that Ellie would not have the kids in our absence, not because I had any idea what to do to assist her, but more because I didn't want to miss it. As crazy as it sounds, it was as if she were waiting for us to return. Really. We arrived home at 7pm. Sean set to work immediately on repairing the wall and within an hour, he came inside to inform me that Ellie was acting strangely and "her teats are the size of a football, alright!" (This being the sign we were told to look for when kid time was imminent. You laugh, but many a morning had been spent in conversation previously, trying to decide if Ellie was "football" sized or not.)

I had several, big, warm towels, gloves, a light, my camera, and my book all ready to go, in that, I knew where these items were living inside the house and promptly directed Sean to their respective locations. I had not purchased a scale, iodine (to dry and protect the umbilical cord) or the shots of selenium for the kids, but there was no helping that now. This show was on the road.

I wasn't sure how much attention Ellie would want. I had assisted cats and dogs birth kittens and puppies, but each animal had been different in what they wanted for "assistance". I rubbed Ellie's head and scratched her ears and neck. I encouraged her with softly spoken words. The contractions seemed to come faster and Ellie's body hardened with them. Rubbing Ellie, holding her sides during contractions to feel their strength, I was unprepared for the sensation of my stomach muscles, clenching with the urge to bear down commensurately.

Labor lasted about 25 minutes before a tiny hoof appeared. At this point, I will admit to chanting in my mind, "Please, be a front hoof. Please, be a front hoof." I was relieved when minutes later a little black nose, complete with tongue sticking out popped into sight. Another contraction, a strain and Asher slid wetly into the world. Ellie set to work immediately to cleaning her son. I helped with this by wrapping him in a towel and rubbing him dry. I was careful to stay in front of Ellie's sight, in fear of her rejecting him. We worked together for about 15 minutes and then, Ellie started to work again.

I was expecting the twin to slide out as quickly and easily as the first. To my surprise, labor was quicker, but Abigail remained half inside her mother for a good few minutes, long enough for me to form the thoughts, "Should I try to ease her out?", "Why isn't she pushing still?", and "I thought the second kids was supposed to be the easier one???" And, then, Abigail was born. Ellie got to work licking her clean, too. Thankfully, Ellie cared for the umbilical cord herself. I couldn't weigh the kids, but I would get a scale to do so in the morning. And, Ridge Runner vets would provide me with the selenium shot for the kids in the morning, too.

We wanted to stay and watch over them, but sanity won out. With the kids warmed and dry, dirty towels and any bloody or wet hay removed from the stall and new hay put down, along with a bucket of fresh water laced with molasses for Mom, there was nothing else for us to do. Better to let mom and her kids rest and get acquainted.

2014 Video of Leah kidding Elisha.