Thursday, April 30, 2009

kidding season - part two - The Resurrection Queen

Next up to kid was O'un. O'un has had an exciting life. Which for a goat is not a desireable thing. For most living things "an exciting life" means, really, that things are not going smoothly - thus the excitement (aka adrenaline). Only humans, usually young ones, think excitement is a desireable state of affairs.

This is probably a Bad Layout Idea, but I am going to put pictures of O'un's trouble-free birth throughout this story and caption them in purple. Because her kidding was so uncomplicated there wasn't really all that much to say about it. The first picture here is shows Moon, still wet, and not just behind the ears.

Visiting the Amazon or hiking across Papua New Guinea are never on any goat's list of Things To Do Before I Die. Goats don't even care how many birds are on their Life List. What would make for "excitement" for a goat? Tangling with a vicious dog? This is only exciting if the goat somehow wins decisively. Otherwise, it's a bloody crisis. O'un's life has been so exciting that her nickname is the Resurrection Queen. She's had two near-death experiences. Both before she was our goat. Both because of not getting proper nutrition when pregnant.

Another picture of Moon, nearly dry, but wet enough to still show off her crescent-moon curls.

Ronan named her O'un when she was born. Ronan was not yet two and we were living in a cabin at the Aprovecho Research Center recovering from the Year of the Thirteen Moves. We'd acquired some goats from our old place (before the 13 moves), Coyote Creek Farm, so that Aprovecho could have goats. V-2 had twins and O'un is the one we still know. O'un is how Ronan said "Other one" at the time. Nine years late, I can't remember what the other kid's name was or what ultimately happened to her. I do have a memory that O'un's birth went smoothly. We helped dry them off, and V-2, who always was more than a little gormless, seemed like she wanted to reject the kids but she got over it. Thus O'un came to be O'un. Or O'one or Owen, depending on which of us is trying to spell her name on what day.

While O'un cleans off baby brother Darshall, Moon nuzzles U'un's neck - because she hasn't yet figured out which bits of mom produce milk when you suck on them.

The name Resurrection Queen came because one year she had one kid and then she just went down and started to die. I was living in Yoncalla and came up to see her. The person who took care of her had concluded that she had a twisted intestine and was toast. She was bloated with gas and her head was thrown back over her body in what I now think of as the "death posture" for goats. It's also called "stargazing." Her kid was standing on the big balloon of her belly. She was in bad shape. She may have had pregnancy toxemia. I say "may" because a vet was never called in. Also she didn't respond to propylene glycol. I raced off to the feed store and got a tube of live gut bacteria and pumped that down her throat, too, but then I had to get back home. She still looked like a goner when I left. In two days time, though, she was up on her feet, eating and acting like a normal goat. If she had pregnancy toxemia, that also meant that she was back from having metabolized her way past a shit-load of toxins dumped into her system as part of the whole process of the disease.

I was a little worried that O'un was going to drop a third baby, but as it turned out she was just passing the placenta. Twins are plenty enough kids, and I never met a goat who couldn't count. Most mother goats I knew counted to two, or maybe three, and if there were more kids there on the ground she walked away from the rest. Some moms aren't really into being moms - or feel their lives aren't stable enough; these goats count as high as zero.

Moon, Darshall and O,un - safe and sound.

O'un went on to have a least one other trouble-free birth before having another bad time. Feed was short again and this time she had also escaped and gotten into a bag of cat food. She hadn't had her kids yet and by the time her owners got her fixed up again (with a quart of plain yogurt until they could get better stuff), the fetuses must have died. A vet was called to pull out the dead kids. As soon as she was ready to travel after this experience, she came to live with us.

O'un wasn't so far gone that she dried up, so we milked her for a year and half and then decided to breed her one last time. By the time we are ready to breed any goats again (hopefully two or three autumns from now), O'un will be twelve or something - well into retirement age. Lucky for us she had a girl and a boy. So we can hope that Moon, the girl, will be her replacement someday.
We don't mind if she has O'un's trait of bad attachment (udder attachment, not emotional attachment) but it would be really great if Moon did not inherit her mom's tendency to go from solid calm to spastic dancing as soon as she feels you've taken two seconds too long at milking.
One more picture of Darshall as he works to get his legs under him for the first time.

No comments:

Post a Comment