Thursday, April 8, 2010

Uncle Fenway's Full Report

FarmWife thought that I needed to be locked in a separate pasture for the birth of the baby goats (just in case, she says, and because you're big, she says) but she was wrong. I didn't mind; after all, birth is messy and I did have my own dinner to attend to. Nonetheless, just to prove that I would have made a very fine midwife, I will tell you what happened.

First, I looked for signs of impending labor. These included softening of the ligaments around the tail head, which I couldn't feel due to my having hooves but which I could see due to my having very big, good eyes. Imagine a typical fleshy goat butt tranformed into something more closely resembling a coat hanger.

Other signs were yawning (captured here on film) and stretching, or as some horseshow people like to say, "parking." This is something that Tennessee walking horses and valets do, but they do it differently. Missy stretched to facilitate the best positioning of her fetuses, while Tennessee walking horses stretch to give the impression of being long, to look easily mountable, or to hide leg flaws, depending on who you ask.

By the time Missy was really down to business, FarmWife was in attendance. She had a birthing kit ready with lots of disposable blue pads (but not enough), lots of clean dry towels and delivery blankets (fresher than my own turnout rug), sterile scissors of the same variety as my own mane-trimming scissors, and lots of veterinary-type stuff like bulb syringes, iodine, and rectal thermometers. Blleecch.

Missy delivered her two doelings in a very straighforward manner, and none of the emergency supplies were called into use, but if there had been trouble I could have helped in any of a number of ways! I could have brayed for the veterinarian, I could have used my teeth with gentle dexterity to extract a malpositioned infant, or I could have used my warm, soft muzzle to deliver an invigorating rub to a weak doeling.

As it was, both doelings (Pigeon, with wattles, and Dove, without) were up and screaming for milk before you could say, "welcome." Never in my fifteen years of life have I seen such robust babies as these! They weigh a mere nine pounds each, but the two of them have brays of such power and volume as to rival my own. I am proud.

I haven't much time, for these little darlings require my adoring gaze, but let me end with this: Missy will raise her own babies, but the FarmWife and her larval humans will pass many happy moments with us in the paddock as they grow to weanable age. This will be of benefit to me as well as to them, for as we know there is nothing to rival the affectionate presence of my own dear FarmWife.

Yours, Fenway Bartholomule


  1. Congratulations, Missy and Uncle Fenwick.

    Happy Birthday, Pigeon and Dove.

    Thanks, Farmwife, for this blog. Quite entertaining and educational.

  2. Awe how sweet . . . we are(still) eagerly waiting kiddlets too!! Glad is was an easy kidding!!

  3. A thousand pardons, Fenway! (Not Fenwick) Working the night shift makes for silly errors on my part. It's amazing how sleep can restore cognition, right?

  4. Oh, 5150, no harm done . . . . I had assumed that you were merely inventing a new term of endearment! And thank you, both of you, for stopping by!

  5. Awwww! Congratulations!
    So, "doelings" means they're both girls, right? I thought wattles were a guy thing? Please explain where I am wrong.

  6. Dear littledog,

    Wattles are due to a dominant autosomal locus with variable expression. I don't know exactly what this means, but you must admit that it makes me sound smart to say it.

    Some goats have wattles and some goats don't—Missy does not, but her paramour did, and that is why young Pigeon had a genetic chance to be so blessed! It is not a gender linked trait . . . perhaps you're thinking of testicles?



Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!