We’d been on kid watch for a week, with Wellesley’s due date this past Monday. I’d cleaned the kidding stall down to the bare floor, swept it clean, filled it with fresh bedding, and assembled the “kidding kit” with supplies we might need.
Saturday afternoon, we read the changes in Wellesley’s body (softened ligaments, raised tail, hollowing hips) put her in the stall, turned the baby monitor on so we could hear her from the house, and waited.
But we’re still new at reading the signs, and had never gone through a kidding with Wellesley, so we were a bit premature. She wasn’t ready for another few days.
I spent most of Monday and Tuesday in the barn with her, reading and keeping her company. She got to listen to a lot of NPR. And we talked about some things.
Wednesday morning, we knew something was afoot. She was making different, quieter sounds. And she didn’t gobble up her morning grain. We made a plan: M would take H to school, and then come back to check on things and then decide whether or not to go to work for the day.
So, naturally, Wellesley had the first kid between the time M left and returned. Minutes after M & H left, I heard a different-sounding grunt through the baby monitor. Out I flew to the barn, where Wellesley was lying down, beginning to push out those little front hooves, and the first kid was born by 7.30 am.
Wellesley went to work cleaning her, and I helped where I could, wiping the kid clean with towels, cleaning up the stall, keeping an eye on Wellesley’s posterior to see who else might be on the way.
M returned in plenty of time to help with the second kid, who, like the first kid, came out in proper position: two front hooves, followed by a nose. This time, though, there was a little waiting period between the time the head emerged and the time the rest came out. Which was a bit odd looking. Two hooves and a face in one world, a body and two hooves in another.
And then there were two.
And then we checked. And found they were girls. And there we were, us two humans, wearing big grins and our blue surgical gloves, high-fiving each other with happiness.
Another step up the Guernsey breeding ladder. Future mothers of future daughters.
We spent much of yesterday afternoon glued to them. They grow so darn quickly, we didn’t want to miss anything. Within minutes of their birth, they were trying to stand. 30 minutes later, they were walking. Another hour and they were beginning to “spring” around the stall. Look away for ten minutes and you could miss a lot of development.
We even put them in a basket to take them on their first car ride when we picked H up from school.
Just like human babies, the gentle engine vibration made them soooooo sleeeepyyy.
This morning, they were fluffy and clean, and full of spring. They nap a lot. Then they eat. Then they explore. If you sit low, on the floor or near the floor, they’ll come over and sniff you, and then try to climb on you. Awkwardly, with those new hooves, but persistently, because they’re goats and they’ve got so much curiosity in them they’d put a cat to shame.
And today, they also have names: Darcy and Dory.
Welcome to the world, little ones. You have a sweet, attentive mama and good genes from your gorgeous father. And those long, airplane ears. And those darling hooves. And those sparkly eyes.