I have several ladies who are due to deliver during the first week of April, by my calculations. Nature always has the upper hand in the situation, but I like to think I can pin point the tim frame of deliveries. What I do is watch and keep a very close eye on my ladies. I know them all intimately; how they sound, how they eat, how they drink, how they interact with others and even how they go down to rest. I look for any subtle changes to let me know that she may be getting close to labor.
The feelings came over me yesterday with our little Pygmy doe Iris. I knew she would be the first of my 4 does or maybe 5. She is quite wide and he baby bump is very pronounced. I watched her and how she was out in the enclosure. She was licking at her teats, and looking at her rear end. I said to myself, hummm, looks like she will be any day now. We checked her often out in the enclosure and during the night even when she and the others were back in the stable. She was resting easy. I had placed a large amount of fresh clean straw in one corner for her just in case. Nothing happened during the night and she was quite eager to hop up on that Milk Stand for her grain this morning. I massaged her as she ate and kissed he baby bump and had a bit of a chat with her babies. I love my goats and am always so excited when they are due to deliver. it’s a special time in our stable.
Iris is out in the enclosure on this beautiful Spring day. I sat with them for some time, as always, but kept a particularly close eye on iris to see subtle changes in he behaviour. There were some changes:
- a bit of a discharge
- I could see she was a bit uncomfortable when she went down to rest
- Unable to decide where to lay down
- Other goats came to sniff her
- Her pals who share her large box came to stay by her side
With all these developments, my husband decided that today was the day to clean out her box and place all clean straw down for he delivery. We have been lucky and been able to change boxes for all our pregnant does. We have just come into Spring and our boxes have not been cleaned out for 6 months. Let me explain: we clean up poopies in every box everyday, but we do allow the hay and straw to build up during the winter months. This is very important in providing our goats with a really warm bed to sleep the night in. All the urine and poopies that fall through the straw will ferment and help keep them warm. Spring time is a busy time here at Gullringstorp with box cleaning.
Iris’s box is done and when she comes in she will have a clean house to deliver in, today or tomorrow.
While I am out with the goats, Leif has started on Iris’ box. There is much to remove, but he has the procedure down. It is a big job and I always ask if I may help him. The answer is always a flat NO and he means NO. I have asthma and not only this, but when I got my first goats several years ago, I was having trouble breathing and felt quite winded as I would walk back to the house. I eventually went in to have a check up and I wasn’t just winded, I was having real trouble but didn’t realize it. I was sent in for allergy testing. I felt like a kid! I was tested for so many things and I was so afraid that I would be told that I had an allergy to my beloved goats. Well time for celebration !!! I had allergies, but NOT to my goats. Boy was I relieved ! I did get some difficult news. I have allergies to both hay and straw! Lord, what kind of farmer could I be. Well I soon learned from my doctor at the Lung Clinic that I was required to wear masks when I am in the stable and handling hay or straw. No problem!! Nothing stops this country gal!
I wear 3M filter masks when I am dealing with hay and straw both indoors and outdoors. I have done so for nearly 5 years now and no more problems. When we have visitors to Gullringstorp to visit our goats, I don’t wear my mask because I am not handling straw or hay, just talking. My masks get quite expensive because they only come in boxes of 10, and they are not included in the national prescription plan. It is a bit of a problem, but a necessity. So now you can understand why my husband says NO to the cleaning up of boxes. I can however, lay down the calcium on the box floor and fresh straw, with my filter mask on.
I can’t help clear the box, but I can prepare a nice lunch for my husband for when he is finished.
It will be my pleasure to keep you updated on Iris and our other does who are in the Maternity Ward at Gullringstorp!
So don’t forget to check back for updates!