Characteristically, Thursday’s always a busy day, here on the Ffarm;
& today was no exception. After my usual solo round of initial morning chores I unearthed Tony from deep beneath the duvet & left for my morning Welsh lesson, which I was determined to attend even though I was pretty certain that at least Ninny would have to kid, today; it was the last of her ‘due’ dates, & she’d been bagging up nicely over the last 24 hours.
I found however, that I couldn’t concentrate as well as usual, wondering what was happening back home. Just before heading homewards the ‘missed call’ alert bleeped from the mobile ‘phone – it was Tony. Concerned, I immediately returned his call, imagining multiple kiddings, lambings & goodness knows what else; but thankfully it was ‘none of the above’. He had news, however….
We’d been advised by our Environmental Health Officer that we’d need to contact the Building Regulations Office, regarding our plans for the Dairy Complex – something which Tony had dreaded & subsequently thus far, managed to avoid. But as we’re installing a compostable loo, Building Regulations approval would be a necessary part of the procedure; & whilst we were confident that everything we were doing was technically correct, we still couldn’t be sure that something might be picked up which could reduce all our hard work, to nought.
So it was with great relief, that I received Tony’s news: the Buildings Regulations Officer had inspected the plans Tony had faxed over on Tuesday; & was content that he needed nothing further. So now it’s full steam ahead, again….!
Back at home I turfed Tony out of the house; as being a rare, fine & sunny day I felt there were far more things we could & should be doing outside, than being stuck indoors fixatedly working – yet again – on the Business Plan, important though it is. Thus he repaired a wall of the duck house & replaced the rear door’s hinges, which have become rusty & fragile of late. Whilst he did that I worked with the goats; & noted that Ninny seemed to be muttering to herself rather a lot, as well as being a little restless – in between hearty mouthfuls of hay, that is. I mentioned to Tony that I thought she may well give birth, this afternoon; also Aechmea (social name, Eek) was looking a little thoughtful.
On returning to the house for a cuppa I heard an agonised yell from the Baby Monitor – someone was evidently in labour. Hastily scrambling back into our work shirts we hurried back outside, to find Ninny-goat throwing herself dramatically on the floor & bawling at the top of her lungs, much to the consternation of her caprine chums, who’d gathered in an anxious knot at the far end of the pen. We quietly created a hurdle pen around her & helped calm her as best we could; although with her narrower hips giving birth evidently wouldn’t be easy; & she was clearly in a great deal of pain (mind you, she always has been a bit of a ‘drama queen’!).
After around twenty minutes of belaboured yelling, there was one final long, loud, expressively ear-splitting “OWOWOWOWOWWWWWWWWOOOOOOAARRGGGGHH!”; & Ninny abruptly fired out the first of her babies – literally – as the lanky, long-legged lad flew out on the final contraction & landed with a thud in the straw a short distance away. He was fine; if a little bemused from the whole experience.
Fifteen minutes later & without so much as a squeak from Madam, the second kid arrived – a little, leggety girl with one crinkled, floppy ear from lying awkwardly inside Mum which gave her the semblance of a bedraggled black-&-white puppy, rather than a goat kid. Ninny cleaned them off, clearly proud of her offspring although when I took a little milk from her udder she all-too-clearly recalled the joys of being a bottle-fed baby herself; & tried to snatch the teat from her own kids’ mouths, greedy girl! She had to content herself with a bucket of warm, molassed water instead; but I know she’d rather have nicked the milk.
We named Ninny’s kids, Bryngwyn & Berwen – both essentially meaning ‘white peak’ – as when they were born they appeared to have such long legs they looked more like a little goat standing on a snow-capped mountain, than a kid! Like their Mum, they have extremely dark coats & will doubtless grow up to be very striking.
We decided that, to make things easier, we’d move the contents of the feedstore into an individual loose box so that we could house the mums in separate pens in the stables, once the babies had been given sufficient time to adjust to their surroundings & ‘toughen up’ a little. Whilst we busied ourselves with this fairly hefty task, I noted that Eek was looking increasingly thoughtful; although Tony wasn’t so sure as she was so very quiet. As the hours progressed she seemed to go into an almost meditative state; closing her eyes & focussing on the birth to come. And it was only because I popped my head around the door every few minutes, that we caught her going into labour at around tea-time; as in spite of her nickname she gave birth in almost complete silence – bar for the massive fart & single bawling yell which accompanied the final mammoth push.
We were quite concerned as she typically managed to get her rear end squashed against the corner of the wall (why they do this I don’t know; but they always do – I suppose it’s nature’s way of shielding the newborn) & as the baby emerged we could clearly see the head but no feet. I was also concerned that the tongue seemed quite swollen; then the kid tried to shake his head & sneezed, seeming to be trying to breathe & remove the mucous from his nose. Thankfully he was out only seconds later, before we were tempted to intervene – if they can get on with things unassisted, so much the better.
But alas, it was again a ‘he’ – not the girl we so desperately need to increase our milking herd. Baeddan is a very handsome little chap though; correct in conformation & markings & a lovely mid, milky chocolate colouring, he would doubtless one day make a very nice stud male for someone’s herd.
By now things were getting a little crowded in the main pen; so we opted to move some of the new Mums across to their alternative accommodation, with me carrying armfuls of shrieking, wriggling kids & Tony guiding the anxious mothers. Once they were settled we gave everyone their supper & then continued with the removals work we’d started; not finishing until almost 10pm. Whilst Tony stoked up the fire I rustled up some haggis & mash for supper; warming, hearty food which was much needed as the weather was by now deteriorating rapidly, with a chill wind whipping up & the sting of rain in the air.
So: of our first-kidders, that’s Eek, Ninny, Rally & Koo having successfully & thankfull uneventfully, given birth; with a tally thus far of two girls & five boys (oh dear). Which means there’s still five to left to kid, this month: Aloe, Anthem, Agro, Apricot & Booty……come on ladies; we want more little GIRLS, please!
And we haven’t even started lambing yet – after which the next set of kids are due – we must be gluttons for punishment.